Being Heard (Part 3 of an Incest Survivor’s Journey to Healing)

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Looking back I realized I never fully processed what happened that day at my grandfather’s memorial service. The next day I wrote a short paragraph about traveling another 11 hours home and how Heather was the perfect person to be with me on this trip. But I didn’t write what I felt about having my voice.

It’s been two years {now three as of May 2016} since this journey and I can look back on it with gratitude, respect for putting myself out there, and respect for my uncles as well for doing the best they could to open up and show me that they always had loved and supported me.

Gods mercy verseThat day during the memorial service I was a 4 year old with ants in her pants. The officiate went on and on about the service my grandfather provided to the town and his church. When it was implied that my grandfather did his daily readings and was diligent in his bible study heat rose to my cheeks. If he was a faithful Christian then why did he blame what he did on us? Why wouldn’t he acknowledge his sinful ways and show us mercy instead of spite? The accolades went on for what felt like forever. I couldn’t take it anymore – I stuck my tongue out in disgust and rolled my eyes. An elderly woman sitting adjacent to me saw it all and gave me a puzzled look. I’m sure she was thinking what is this grown woman doing acting like a petulant child?

My uncles stood up one by one to give their personal eulogies for their father. The child in me wanted to plug her ears, rock back and forth and hum so I didn’t have to hear another word…but the adult won over and I listened to stories of an attentive father who taught them valuable lessons in life. I heard of a father greatly missed…and I recognized how difficult it must have been for them to rectify that man with the monster their sister and nieces were claiming hid within him. My hardened heart began to thaw for my uncles.

The service was over and everyone exited the building to do the gun salute for the service my grandfather gave to the Air Force. I stayed inside and held onto my nephew, Riley. He was the perfect comfort needed…I could hold him close and not feel vulnerable. I put Riley on my hip and walked up to the front of the room where my grandfather’s ashes rest among pictures of him and the family (including my mother).

“You hurt me deeply. Because of what you did to me to satisfy your own evil and sick desires I lived a life feeling like I didn’t matter. It didn’t matter how I felt or what I felt I had to please others because that was what I felt I was made to do. If it hurt me or didn’t feel right to me it didn’t matter. What you did to me tainted my understanding of what love is and should be and it kept me from receiving unconditional love because I never knew how to love without conditions. Your selfish ways affected me in so many areas of my life but I am not going to allow you to take any more of my life.”

I stared at the face of the man who took advantage of my innocence and at the same time I saw the smile I adored, the salt & pepper crazy flat top, and an arrow of nostalgic memories hit me of the man God created…not the monster the enemy formed. Riley nuzzled his head into my shoulder and I hugged him closer.

“Goodbye grandpa.”

speak life quoteThat evening I went to dinner with my uncles and tentatively a few of them talked about the gap in time we all missed since my mother came forward. They had all dispersed, never getting together again for family reunions. It hadn’t dawned on me that none of my aunts were there at the funeral, nor were my cousins. The picture I’d painted of this unified front of ‘them’ against ‘us’ was formed only out of hurt and pain. It wasn’t real. My heart went out to this family that had been torn apart by one’s selfishness and weakness against the enemy.

A few weeks later my mother met up with her uncles for a reunion, the first they’d all been together in 20 years.

I know that sometimes people don’t ‘talk’ because they don’t want to tear the family apart or ruin the family name…but if we don’t talk of the evil that is happening behind closed doors then it will continue to remain from generation to generation. To set the family ‘free’ every voice needs to be heard. Beyond all else the victims deserve to know they are worth championing.

I pray this ‘journey’ down my own healing path has given some inside look of the delicate web weaved in a family plagued by incest.

Blessings

Shannon

Exposed_cover_only  Read more from Shannon’s first memoir (the early years) EXPOSED: Inexcusable Me…Irreplaceable Him

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Day of Reckoning Part 2 of an Incest Survivor’s Journey to Healing

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*This is a revisiting of the journey I took to ‘put the final nail’ in my abuser’s coffin…*

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I figured today I would blog as I could, give you the range of my emotions.  Right now it’s 7:37am and after a very fitful night of sleep I am hearing Martina McBride’s song Independence Day  in my head “Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing.  Let the whole world know that today is a day of reckoning.  Let the weak be strong.  Let the right be wrong.  Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay.  It’s Independence Day.

I have 3 hours before the funeral service.  My uncle called me last night to check in and make sure I made it in town ok.  He mentioned the family will gather at my grandfather’s house afterward.  I know I make them nervous.  Like I’m a ticking time bomb and they need to ‘handle me with delicate care.’  I suppose they are right. 😉  Seriously, my intention is not to ‘go off’ on anyone.  Or even discuss it for that matter.  They’ve hid their heads in the sand long enough there is nothing I can say now that would make them change the way they view or care about their father or father -in -law.  Not that it would be my place to anyway.

Serenity prayerToday is for me.  Even if he is ashes.  It is for me to know that I have a voice, even if it is words I’ll say in my head.  Heather thought of bringing an actual nail.  I thought that was funny. 😉  So at this moment I am numb, not expecting anything.  I might not feel anything at all.  And that’s okay.  Because simply making the trip here is therapeutic.  I felt I needed to do it and I am.

Ran 2.5 miles around the new Hotel building… Now sitting in the service. Nice to see my Uncles… I do love them. In the shower I had another memory… And through my tears I thought about when I’ve had moments of feeling others pain. I know I don’t wish him to hell and I feel for my uncles on ever embracing the truth of their father.

Im sitting in the back and I’m catching my breath.

Catch My Breath by Kelly Clarkson..

 

Blessings

Shannon

Exposed_cover_onlyGet your copy of Shannon’s memoir today for only $1.99 on Kindle.

(Revisited) – The Final Nail in the Coffin (Part I of an Incest Survivor’s Journey)

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Because we have finished REDEEMED and I left off with the discovery of the memories with my grandfather, I felt some you might be interested in reading about the journey I took to his memorial service and have my ‘voice’.

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“Your grandfather died at 10:10pm.”  the text read.  It was 3:45am and I’d just woken up to go to my Friday 4:00am adoration hour.  I felt nothing.   I reread the text in the bathroom and still felt nothing.  Mechanically I dressed and headed to adoration.

When I arrived I saw two vehicles in the parking lot, the truck that belonged to the man who has the hour before me and the other car belonged to the older gentleman that comes in every morning to say a rosary.  Interesting fact, he was in the navy, as was my grandfather, and every time I see him I’ve wondered if they could have maybe been on the same ship.  They are the same age.  When I saw his car I thought to myself, “God I really don’t want to find out this man was buddies with my grandfather.”

In the chapel I knelt to pray and I had no words.  Instead I asked God to seep through me in any way possible.  I remembered, then, that the other couple that has the hour with me was not going to be there and the older gentleman who was praying the rosary usually comes at 4:30am but he was already done and within a few minutes walking out the door.  I had the chapel alone for the entire hour.

I allowed my thoughts to go wherever they needed and then finally pulled out the book I’d been sent by an author, Charles F. Fink,  who’d contacted me last week.  It’s called “As We Forgive Those“.

Two paragraphs in I knew God’s hand was all over this day.  Pen in hand I was marking, underlining, starring sections and nodding my head in agreement and understanding.  This book was about forgiveness but in a light that I needed to embrace.  For example,  Fink says:

 

 

Understanding is used too often as a convenient means to avoid and sidestep the process of acknowledging the hurts and wounds (which makes forgiving more effective).  We cannot truly forgive until we admit that the offense is as wounding as it really is, and therefore really does need to be forgiven.  When understanding becomes the substitute not only for forgiving but for sharing about feelings, healing does not occur.”

BAM! Right there in black and white this man was calling me out and I was listening.  There is so much more that this book has to offer but I was only able to get up to Chapter Two so far…I’m certain you will be hearing more of my ‘revelations’ as I continue to read.

However, this resonated through the day as I spoke with my mother who expressed her lack of desire to attend her father’s funeral.  The first of his ‘victims’ (or that we know of as his ‘first’) she received her closure long ago.  My older sister, yet another victim, displayed mixed emotions remembering the funny, charismatic side of my grandfather that was the ‘good’ side of his character and yet can’t erase the ugly.  “I cried,” she said.  “But I don’t need to go.  I received closure when I went to grandmother’s funeral and confronted him.  He admitted what he did to me but didn’t apologize.”   My younger sister is indifferent all together when he chose to write us all off when my mother ‘came out’ and released the skeletons from the closet.

anger of pastMe?  Well I sat for most of the day trying to rationalize why I had this deep seeded need to go to this man’s funeral.  Not necessarily for him but for me.  Neal didn’t understand, worried for me and for my true intentions.  He didn’t get it.  He supports me if I go but is simply worried.  Surprisingly it’s my younger sister’s significant other, Heather, that ‘gets it’.  She offered to go with me because she doesn’t think I should be alone.

My friends expressed their love and concern telling me to pray and God would reveal what I should do.  And that is what I did.  Would you know that I received a phone call from Dr. ‘C’ who is over the Right to Life for our Archdiocese to talk about the Maria Goretti Network.  In this phone conversation, once we dealt with the ‘business’ aspect, we were talking about the people we work with, the raw emotions, the need for healing, etc.  “May I ask you a personal question?” I said.

“Yes, of course,” she replied.

And so I told her about what has been going on with me over these last few months and how my grandfather passed away last night.

“Oh,” she said, “I bet you feel the need to go and put the final nail in the coffin so to speak?”

This rush of peace swept over me.  “Yes! exactly.  I don’t know why but I feel like I need to go.”

“Of course,” she said.  “You haven’t seen or heard from him in years and especially since all your memories came back.  You need to go and see that he is dead.  Pray and say what you need to say and leave.  That’s it.”

There it was, my answer and my validation.  So I took Heather up on her offer.  One catch with Heather…she doesn’t fly.  😀  So we will be driving to New Mexico and we are going to take my little 6 mo. old nephew, Riley, per my request. 😉  What a better way to end this ‘Sexual Assault Awareness and Childhood Abuse Awareness Month’ don’t you think?  You won’t want to miss those blogs!

It is a crazy situation but the purpose is for healing and forgiveness.

Blessings

Shannon

Exposed_cover_onlyFINAL DAY to get your copy of Shannon’s memoir for FREE.

The Effects of Abuse are Universal (Healing ALL Hearts) *Plus FREE eBook Promotion*

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*This is a past blog I felt important to share again for Sexual Assault Prevention Month*  BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE SPECIAL BOOK PROMOTION (FREE!!!) AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST!!!

“Isn’t domestic violence different than having been raped? Don’t they experience different emotions and healing?” This was a question posed to me today at lunch.

Among abuse the ‘act’ perpetrated can be different: ie: physical violence, forced sexual contact, psychological mind play, verbal degrading, neglect, etc, however, the lasting effect of surviving any form of abuse is universal. The wound of feeling unworthy, shame and guilt is the same no matter what form of abuse created it.

strength quote by Rikki RogersThe group I was with happened to be some ladies in the area that I’d never met with before and I was happy to have the question because in truth, I’m sure many people assume in helping one to heal it has to be separate. We focus on Domestic Violence separate from Date Rape, and yet, if it is the boyfriend or date doing the rape it is considered violence (domestic if they are dating)…and more often than not a young woman in a violent relationship or marriage that is being beaten, psychologically controlled and manipulated is also at some point in the relationship being raped by their boyfriend or spouse.

The verbal, mental and emotional abuse is often the underlying factor to nearly every form of abuse. Even with neglect…the lack of love, lack of care, lack of emotion and affirmation is verbal, and emotional abuse.

The effects of abuse last beyond the initial fist to cheek, push, slap, degrading comment, humiliation, or any moment of a forced sexual act or even innuendo. The effect is the insecurity that affects life-altering decisions. The effect is the lack of self-respect brought on by the guilt. The effect is the fear that is triggered by a word, touch, scent or situation.

The effect is same for a four year old American caucasian or black girl raped by their grandfather as it is for a four year old African caucasian or black girl raped by the militia. The effect is the same for a thirty year old hispanic woman beaten daily emotionally and physically by her husband as it is for an asian woman being demeaned and degraded, set aside by her husband. The effect is the same for a young boy molested by his next door neighbor as it is for a young boy being sold on the streets. Or a son beaten and verbally broken down into submission by his father as it is for boy excessively bullied at school.

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The effects of abuse are universal which is why it is so important to spread the awareness of what it does to each of us. To get more and more survivors to talk about it and be heard so that generations to come can be aware, know the effects and how they affect a person, therefore empowering them to walk (or run) from a situation before it can take place…or in the least know to get help immediately if found in a similar situation.

Another woman asked, “How do you listen to so many stories every day especially when you are a survivor? Doesn’t it affect you negatively?”

The truth is this, hearing others stories and how they have lived through them and survived them first gives me continued hope and courage because sitting before me is a person who has lived through hell. They are still here and they are wanting to live. Second, the offense fuels the fire of my calling. To speak out, to help others speak out, to spread awareness and offer hope. And finally, I want nothing more than to see the person before me succeed in reclaiming their worth and take back their life. To not only survive but thrive beyond what was ‘done or said’
to them.

I left the lunch feeling a bit more invigorated and encouraged because by having to explain what I do it was as if God wanted me to hear what I needed to say. 😉

If you have any questions about Hopeful Hearts Ministry or if you know of someone who could benefit from our ministry please do not hesitate to contact me at hopefulhearts333@gmail.com.

Blessings
Shannon

Exposed_cover_only  *SPECIAL FREE BOOK PROMOTION*  Thursday – Monday EXPOSED will be on Kindle for FREE!!!

Redeemed – Ch. 20 “Until Death Do Us Part” & Epilogue

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Our journey has come to an end. I want to thank each and every one of you that has stuck with me since January with Ch. 1 every Monday night! I know now (last least for me) why I felt God called me to share this story in this way before publishing it … I needed to focus on every gift, blessing, and lesson that each chapter of this time in my life provided.

Redeemed CoverWhen I wrote it over two years ago I was set on getting it out as I remembered. The chapters proved to be cathartic in the unfolding of what God has done in my life to date but it wasn’t until I suffered through 2015 and took a break from looking at it that I was able to see chapter by chapter a greater clarity of God’s hand not just holding me through the suffering but often gripping me by the hair and pulling me out of my own sin and shame.

In all that I am going through now I do so with a great confidence in my God. No that ‘things’ happen for a reason’, no I don’t like that statement…but that God brings GOOD from every thing. Even the ugliest choices we make.

If I can get my act together I hope to have a paperback and ebook version of REDEEMED by mid-summer to end of the summer.

Once again, thank you or the emails and comments in sharing your stories with me! Please continue to follow along the blog!

Redeemed Ch. 20 Blog Release

Redeemed Epilogue Blog Release

Click HERE to catch read all the chapters of Redeemed. They will only be available for a short time!

Blessings

Shannon

A few disclaimers:
**The author, Shannon M. Deitz, retains all rights to REDEEMED, no portion of this story can be used or sold without the author’s written permission.**

Before REDEEMED was to go to print it had not yet made the ‘copy-editing’ phase…please excuse any mistakes or grammatical errors.
Exposed_cover_onlyRead the early part of Shannon’s healing journey in EXPOSED: Inexcusable Me…Irreplaceable Him. Available on Amazon, Audible, and only $1.99 on Kindle.
JennikasBuy your SIGNED COPY of Exposed at Jennika’s – A Bazaar Place at King’s Harbor

The Stats EVERYONE Should Know!

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April is Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness month.

Did you know:

Studies by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, show that:

  • 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse;
  • Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident;
  • During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Children are most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13.

be informed

Young women and men and parents of young women and men pay attention!

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center:

Campus Sexual assault

  •  One in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college
  •  More than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault
  •  63.3% of men at one university who self-reported acts qualifying as rape or attempted rape admitted to committing repeat rapes

Finally FOR MEN and WOMEN:

NSVRC shows:

  • One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives

These statistics seem unbelievable and quite shocking. Unfortunately, from the increasing traffic into Hopeful Hearts Ministry … there is no doubt. What is worse is these statistics only come from what is reported.

2 TimothyHow do we keep ourselves and our children safe? By not being afraid to speak about the hard stuff. Having the much needed ‘sex talk’ is difficult and it is imperative to reiterate the gift we each have in our self-respect and dignity. Inform young people of what healthy boundaries are, i.e.: their body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and they have a right to say “I don’t feel comfortable with this,” or simply, “No.”

It is shocking even how many adults find it hard to feel ‘worthy’ of these healthy boundaries. I know, in my instance, because the sexual abuse happened at such a young age my boundaries are askew. I went through life feeling as if my desire to refuse didn’t matter, my power to resist with healthy boundaries was weakened through the child abuse and later through the sexual assault as a teenager.

And for the real young, in regards to all areas of abuse, allowing them to recognize that they every part of them is a special gift and should be treated as such helps to enforce those healthy boundaries of self-respect and dignity. Plus, young eyes watch and learn.

Often if we have not addressed our own issues our little ones will soon mimic our weak boundaries.

If abuse has happened to you and you’ve never spoken about it please consider talking to a trusted counselor, family member, friend, pastor, or even contact us at hopefulhearts333@gmail.com.

Listen to Shannon’s interview on AMR Today’s Issues.

Blessings

Shannon

Redeemed Ch. 18 Michael & Ch. 19 Worthy

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We are coming to an end. Next week will be the final chapter and Epilogue of REDEEMED. I’m grateful you’ve taken your time to come along on this phase of my healing journey. As you’ll see in the Epilogue next week that I knew I could go into a third book almost immediately with what I’d discovered about myself in writing Redeemed, however, the chapters of that book are still unfolding before me. 😉

Redeemed CoverMy intent in sharing my life in this way is to hopefully help others know they are not alone. I suffered in silence for so many years and to have a network of others who might not have the exact same story but have suffered through abuse and loss as I have, it makes the healing journey less burdensome and more hopeful.

Now, in Ch. 18 I discuss something very sensitive to many and special to me – the child I miscarried. I know this affects the majority of the women I know and a few years back I ddi a ‘video blog’ to help. I am including it here just in case some of you might need extra words of comfort and encouragement.

I am enjoying your emails and responses! Again feel free to comment anonymously or email me.

Redeemed Ch. 18 Blog Release

Redeemed Ch. 19 Blog Release

Click HERE to catch up and read the rest of Redeemed.

Blessings

Shannon

Neal and me and the boys when we first moved Kingwood

Neal and me and the boys when we first moved Kingwood

A few disclaimers:
**The author, Shannon M. Deitz, obtains all rights to REDEEMED, no portion of this story can be used or sold without the author’s written permission.**
Before REDEEMED was to go to print it had not yet made the ‘copy-editing’ phase…please excuse any mistakes or grammatical errors.
Exposed_cover_onlyRead the early part of Shannon’s healing journey in EXPOSED: Inexcusable Me…Irreplaceable Him. Available on Amazon, Audible, and only $1.99 on Kindle.

 

JennikasBuy your SIGNED COPY of Exposed at Jennika’s – A Bazaar Place at King’s Harbor!

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Redeemed Ch. 17 Running the Race

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When we lose a loved one the absence of their presence can be devastating, and honestly, confusing. One moment they are hear, holding our hand, making jokes, filling the room with an exuberant energy and life…and the next moment they are gone.

Redeemed CoverBut we struggle because we can still feel them. Their absence doesn’t take away the life they lived, the memories, sometimes the smells. We can often find ourselves experiencing a moment and forgetting the loved one is gone, expecting them to respond to the same moment, or come through the door, or call with a message about what’s going on.

To me, experiencing the death of a loved – still feeling their spirit with them, still having a love for them even though we are not able to touch them – solidifies the daily presence of God in our lives. We can’t see Him but we now He is there. We can’t touch Him but our spirit connects and feels His embrace.

This chapter is a moment that remains very dear to my heart and solidified this understanding for me. Our lives are never ‘over’…there is not a time that we will pass and a void be left in our place. Because of Christ’s death on the cross and redemption our life is everlasting.

Redeemed Ch. 17 blog release

I’d love to hear your experiences with this truth. Post so others can be comforted…

*We are getting to the very end! Click HERE to catch up on earlier chapters.

Blessings

Shannon

A few disclaimers:
**The author, Shannon M. Deitz, obtains all rights to REDEEMED, no portion of this story can be used or sold without the author’s written permission.**
Before REDEEMED was to go to print it had not yet made the ‘copy-editing’ phase…please excuse any mistakes or grammatical errors.

Exposed_cover_onlyRead the early part of Shannon’s healing journey in EXPOSED: Inexcusable Me…Irreplaceable Him. Available on Amazon, Audible, and only $1.99 on Kindle.
 

JennikasBuy your SIGNED COPY of Exposed at Jennika’s – A Bazaar Place at King’s Harbor!

Redeemed Ch. 16 Small Miracle

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It is hard to believe that this moment relived in Ch. 16 was over 11 years ago. Looking back I am able to see how God made all things new in my life. Despite my sin. Regardless of my mistakes, He kept at me with an intense merciful love and acceptance that I couldn’t help but be reshaped closer to the image He’d always created me to be.

I am not privy to His love and his miraculous transformations. He desires and patiently waits for each one of us to let go of the shame, pride, control, or whichever lie that keeps you from accepting His merciful love and desire to make you new.

Redeemed Ch. 16 Blog Release

The greatest amount of control I’ve ever felt in my life is when I gave up the ‘control’ to God.

Blessings

Shannon

A few disclaimers:
**The author, Shannon M. Deitz, obtains all rights to REDEEMED, no portion of this story can be used or sold without the author’s written permission.**
Before REDEEMED was to go to print it had not yet made the ‘copy-editing’ phase…please excuse any mistakes or grammatical errors.
Exposed_cover_onlyRead the early part of Shannon’s healing journey in EXPOSED: Inexcusable Me…Irreplaceable Him. Available on Amazon, Audible, and only $1.99 on Kindle.
 

 

JennikasBuy your SIGNED COPY of Exposed at Jennika’s – A Bazaar Place at King’s Harbor!

Redeemed Ch. 14 Waves of Mercy & Ch. 15 Messenger

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This year my ‘word’ has been confident. Confident in what God has called me to. Confident in my abilities. And confident in my testimony. I wrote EXPOSED lacking in this confidence. I knew I needed to get my story ‘out’ but I was uncertain of what others would think or if they’d believe. I had to do it anyway.

Redeemed CoverEight years of EXPOSED being out (and still selling) and I’ve received more and more correspondence from people all over the world who have experienced similar happenings. Whether it was the abuse, or the spiritual occurrences, they relate.

Releasing REDEEMED chapter by chapter has helped me in gaining this ‘confidence’ because more and more people are writing in sharing their relatable stories and expressing the desire to shed the shame and walk in the path He’s created for them once and for all.

AMEN!!!

Thank YOU for being a blessing to me and sharing your life with me. It is encouraging.

** Take note there are TWO chapters!**

Redeemed Ch. 14 Blog Release

Redeemed Ch. 15 Blog Release

Blessings

Shannon

A few disclaimers:
**The author, Shannon M. Deitz, obtains all rights to REDEEMED, no portion of this story can be used or sold without the author’s written permission.**
Before REDEEMED was to go to print it had not yet made the ‘copy-editing’ phase…please excuse any mistakes or grammatical errors.
Exposed_cover_onlyRead the early part of Shannon’s healing journey in EXPOSED: Inexcusable Me…Irreplaceable Him. Available on Amazon, Audible, and only $1.99 on Kindle.

 

JennikasBuy your SIGNED COPY of Exposed at Jennika’s – A Bazaar Place at King’s Harbor!

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