No Longer Desolate


In 2 Samuel 13, there is a story about rape. Tamar was the beautiful virgin daughter of King David.  Her own brother, who was obsessed with her, devised a plan to get her alone. He grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.”

“No, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.” But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.  2 Samuel 13:12-14

After she was raped by her much stronger brother, “Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.”

Her brother Absalom said to her, “Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.” And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman. 2 Samuel 13:20 (emphasis mine)

That’s it.  That’s how it ends for Tamar.  A desolate woman.

Violated. Used. Abused.

Be Quiet + Don’t take this to heart = a desolate woman.

Let’s not talk about it.

BUT.  We have to talk about it!

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Let light shine!

As yellow changed to red, I had a moment with God in the pause.  I was gripping the steering wheel belting out lyrics from Bonnie Tyler:

 “Once upon a time there was light in my life

But now there’s only love in the dark

Nothing I can say

A total eclipse of the heart”

I was trying to hold back the tears as I sang. It took me back. It was as if an old best friend jumped in the front seat with me and said, “Remember? I was there!”

When no one knew my secrets and no one knew my shame, Music found me. Songs allowed me to whisper words that related to my very dark struggle. I would watch MTV and VH1 all the time, and this was back when they actually played videos and had images to go along with the words. I would record songs from the radio on cassettes and play them over and over, writing out their lyrics and memorizing their words. #onRepeat took a lot of effort back then! Song lyrics gave me words that were hard to find for my pain.

No one talked about sexual abuse. It wasn’t talked about in church, or even in school. I knew about stranger danger…. but sexual abuse? No!  I didn’t even know the words existed. I simply believed, “Something is wrong with me.”

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You are worthy.

You are worthy.

She’s a wife. She’s a mom. She works hard. She has a home with a white-picket fence. She has a dog.

She smiles and nods in light conversation. She listens intently as those around her speak. Her eyes stare as their mouth forms shapes and sounds.

She says very little. She laughs at all of the right times. She appears to be strong and determined. She can multi-task and juggle much with a smile.

She is in church when the doors are open, and she is willing to help wherever and whenever. She signs up.  She shows up. She cleans up. She sits in her usual seat with her eyes fixed ahead. Her lips move in worship with just the corners of her mouth turned up ever so slightly. She opens the Bible when prompted and follows along word by word.  She stares at the letters and words. She exhales deeply when she exits into the fresh air and sunlight.

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The Little Princess

Easter Offering - A StoryOnce upon a time long ago, there was a little princess named Reina born to a mighty King.  The princess had straight brown hair with a cowlick on the left side.  She had rosy cheeks and a gap in her front teeth.  She also had a small red little strawberry birthmark on her knee.  These features made her different and unique and the King loved them.  He would brush her hair and tell her she was beautiful, and when she would brush her teeth he would say, “I love to see you smile!”  When people would ask how did she hurt her knee, he would answer,  “This beautiful strawberry birthmark will be with her always because she is my child.”

They lived in a beautiful palace surrounded by woods. In the front of the palace at the main entrance, there was a huge statue of a big green dragon named Dracon. He stood tall and shiny, and people would come from all around to admire Dracon. There were tales of how mighty and strong he was and how he was placed at the gate to ward off evil and to protect the princess.

One night, the princess heard a knock on her window, and went to look out and Dracon was there. She almost screamed, but he covered his mouth and told her “Shhhhhh!  Come with me!  I want to show you something fun!” She was a little scared and confused but everybody loved Dracon, so she went with him. He put her on his back and took off deep into the forest. As he went around the trees, her hair was just blowing in the wind.  He finally told her she could talk so she just shrilled with excitement under the stars!  Quickly, he returned her to the window, and she climbed back in bed smiling peacefully as she slept.

When she awoke the next morning, she thought it was a dream.  It just didn’t seem possible that Dracon would take her out of the palace for a ride through the forest!  She ran to the window and looked out and there was Dracon standing tall and still.  Later that night, she could barely blink because she kept looking at the window waiting to see if Dracon would be there.  Right as she was about to fall asleep she saw him at the window with his finger over his lip telling her to be very quiet.  She closed her mouth tightly and climbed on his back and off they went.

As they entered the forest he told her she could talk now.  He started to go really fast and she was laughing, but then he went faster, and farther, and even faster.  She was starting to get afraid because she knew the King did not want her going this far away from the palace.  Dracon told her he wanted to show her all she had been missing.  He wanted to show her all of the things the King was keeping from her.  Some of the things he showed her were scary to her.  She said she wanted to go back to the palace so he took her home and told her to never ever tell the King.  Ever.

The next few nights he came to her window again and each time he would take her deeper into the forest.  She was afraid to go with him but Dracon was stronger and much bigger than her.  Dracon told her she could never tell anyone, especially the King,  about the trips to the forest.  He told her the King would be very upset and not love her anymore.  If she told anyone at all, then the palace guards would come pick her up and take her far away from the palace and she would be all alone.  He told her she had to keep it a secret.

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