It is hard to believe 13 years ago the Twin Towers vanished. That incident led to much grief and loss. To some of us, it was also a period of awakening and readjusting on life priorities.
As we remember that awful day I felt that there are more dreadful things that happen every single day in the world that are not reported or resolved. It is child abuse. Tennyson Center of Child Abuse wrote:
● A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds
● More than five children die every day as a result of child abuse.
● Approximately 80% of children that die from abuse are under the age of 4.
● It is estimated that between 50-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.
● More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way.
The list continues. To find out more head over to Tennyson’s website.
Today I would like to share an encouraging story from Beth Tolliver of www.thethrivingmom.com. She was one of the statistics. However she is a beacon of light today and is ready to be a voice for those who have lost their voice.
For your total wellness,
Dr. Mary Starr Carter
the Total Wellness Doc and Mom
By: Beth Tolliver
I was always part of “the fringe.” My family wasn’t like other families, even though it took me a few years to figure that out. My experiences have been quite different from the majority of people I’ve come to know throughout life. Hey, even my blog is “fringe!” I don’t write about homeschooling (mainly because my child is 3), I don’t have an all-organic “crunchy” life, and I certainly am not qualified to write about anything related to style (seriously). So, I do want to write about the things I know and have experienced, good and bad.
The other night, I was talking to my husband about the desire of my heart: to reach out to the fringe, the abused, neglected and disregarded of the world. The ones who sit on church pews every Sunday hiding secrets. The ones who just can’t trust enough to try going to church anymore. The ones who want to experience God’s love, but don’t know how and feel scared and far away. I know these people because I AM one of those people.
I was relaying to my husband how abuse within Christian families is, in my experience, never talked about. In fact, in preparing to write this post, I did quite a bit of research looking for statistics and information regarding abuse within Christian families. The results were disturbing: clergy abusing church parishioners and parents who abuse children due to child training advice. These are terrible, terrible wrongs that are done to children. But even here, I don’t quite fit.
You see, our Christian family was at church “every time the doors were open,” as it was deemed an appropriate way to express one’s love and devotion to God. But behind closed doors, the truth was grossly different than the facade. I’m the child of a parent who struggled with mental illness, was haunted by their own past of child abuse, and had serious physical issues that caused further emotional trauma and inner turmoil. I can still see this parent sitting in the chair, reading their Bible every night before bed, listening to preaching tapes during the day and watching Christian TV programs. But when the anger quickly became rage, and the eyes darkened and air was too heavy to breathe, us children were beaten, bruised, berated, bullied and thrown into walls. All this while the other parent looked away with the full knowledge of what was happening to us. There were other types of abuse I suffered at the hand of other relatives, most of them devoted Christians, as well.
We weren’t bad children, just imperfect kids, you know. Kids who needed to be lovingly disciplined and shown the love of God. We weren’t wrong, we weren’t born with “an evil presence.” We were born in the image and likeness of God, like everyone on this earth.
I know what it’s like to live two different lives; the church life and the real life. I’ve gone in my Sunday best only to have the police and social services at my house during the week – because the neighbors could hear us screaming. Yeah, I remember toeing the line between two worlds, always on the fringe. I’ve experienced the withholding of love, acceptance and approval; the bullying, manipulation and shame. I’ve lived through not being protected by His own, being given lots of reasons and excuses for why horrible things happened to us. Being told that I should just “get over it” when what I really needed was to go through a healing process.
In summary, the point is this: I know what it’s like to suffer at the hands of Christians who made it clear by their actions that they cared more about their reputation and their good works for the church/God, but were horrible to their own family members. I’ve experienced that a lot. The reason I write about any of this is because I KNOW there is help. I’m walking in a level of freedom today that I never thought possible 20 years ago. There’s a way out and you don’t have to live with secrets and the shame of what was done to you. You don’t have to keep carrying secrets to protect others while you die inside. I haven’t “arrived;” I still have struggles and set backs. The healing process is like peeling an onion – there is layer after layer to work through. But if you’ll stick in there and cling to God, it will get better and better.
I’ve spent years going through intensive healing with God through all types of help: books, personal therapy, trauma recovery therapy, prayer, writing and music. I’m in a good place now and I want to help YOU get there, too. If you’ve ever been the victim of physical, sexual, verbal and/or emotional abuse, I can empathize as I have walked through those experiences. I’ll be devoting a whole portion of this website to inner healing as it relates to:
- overcoming past abuse and trauma
- forgiving God’s people and the ones who have abused you
- abuse of spiritual authority
- setting healthy boundaries within relationships
- renewing your mind and emotions to the truth of the loving nature of God
- how to handle post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- dealing with relationships with others who don’t understand your distinctive challenges
- the unique challenges adult child abuse survivors face when they become parents, and
- whatever else God impresses upon me to write about inner healing.
If you could use some help and encouragement in these areas, please join me! I’ll be writing about resources that I believe will be a great source of help to you. You are loved and welcomed here!
I’m Beth Tolliver and I’m blessed to be the wife of Dean for 14 years, and mom to a precious 3.5 year old son. I’m passionate about not just surviving, but thriving in life, and I want to encourage other people to do the same, just the way God intended us to live. I’ve seen God rebuild my own life out of the rubble of past trauma, poor health and well-being. No matter where you began in life, what obstacles you have faced, I know that NOTHING is impossible with God! I hope to encourage you on your journey to a renewed mind and body. Connect with me at www.thethrivingmom.com.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any illness or disease. It’s strictly for informational, educational, or entertainment purposes ONLY. The products I talk about are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any illness or disease. Any information I give you about them is for informational or entertainment purposes only. They have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Please seek the qualified health professional of your choice when making health decisions for yourself, your family and your pets.