In the beginning of our lives someone records our birth and at the end someone records our death. Between those two periods of time is a dash that represents the life we lived here on this earth. Each of us has a story to tell about some significant event in our lives. This book is my story. It’s my journey through sexual abuse and how that trauma affected my life, my marriage relationship, but most of all, my ability to overcome a defeated attitude.

Imagine an eight year old girl playing alone and an adult male befriends her only to misuse his authority later and sexually abuse her. She is left feeling violated, scared, and emotionally tormented. Even though the girl needs it very much, she receives no therapy and lives life feeling she is “damaged goods.” There’s no emotional support for her because the abuse was kept secret. No crime is reported so the perpetrator goes unpunished. What a tragedy! But this is typical of childhood sexual abuse and it’s my story.

This book is about my journey through affliction, which I refer to as “the furnace”. It reveals intimate aspects of my personal life and how sexual abuse impacted our family. As a victim of childhood sexual abuse, the consequent lack of self-worth, and ensuing low self-esteem affected the decisions I made. Desperation for love and acceptance resulted in marrying a man I thought would be the answer to my happiness. Instead, the dynamics of the love we once shared turned to the ultimate betrayal – my daughter being molested by her own father.

Though I was a Christian at the time, trying to console my young daughter after the sexual abuse while dealing with the emotional struggles of my other children who were traumatized by the incest, and confronting suppressed feelings from my own childhood sexual abuse was heart wrenching. My story is a journey filled with struggles, challenges, lessons, and victories. It progresses from shame and betrayal to trust, respect, self-worth, love, and forgiveness.

This journey covers a span of thirty years. The hurts, pains, and betrayal I experienced led me to a closer relationship with the Lord. It was in the furnace that I was transformed from having a “victim mentality” to being made “healthy and whole.”  Through this journey I learned how to overcome and live a joyful and victorious life. Although I sometimes struggled with my faith in God, I was determined to be obedient to Him, and He blessed me with a challenging and rewarding life. Through Him I received healing, both emotionally and spiritually.

I have opened the windows of my heart so that others may know that no matter how dark the night, God is always there – even when we don’t feel His presence. He has a plan for our lives and often takes us on a journey through the furnace to draw us closer to Him.

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