My beloved friend and sexual abuse survivor,
The last few weeks our news and social media sources have flooded-over with facts, theories, objective and biased opinions about the Duggar molestation case.
The intent of this letter intends to gingerly remind you: that you are loved, valuable, and remembered.
As I’ve been processing the Duggar report, I keep scratching my head, wondering why the media hunts for material to protect or expose Josh Duggar. Or to demonstrate how his changed life is a reason to dismiss his actions as a youth. Or to spend energy addressing his 3-month counseling period.
Why couldn’t they spend their time and energy on something a bit more productive, like educating the public on how to properly report sexual abuse? Or explaining the lasting effects of sexual abuse upon the victim, the victim’s family, and community? Or defining sexual abuse, which is far broader than molestation and rape.
I pray to God that Josh Duggar has, indeed, repented of his sins and walks in newness of life as a believer in Christ. I hope that he has been made new, loves his wife, and no longer takes advantage others’ sexuality.
After all, before placing our trust and faith in the work of Christ on the cross, each of us walked in the stench of our own spiritual death.
It is the gift of God that allows every one of us to have any kind of spiritual life. None of us have lived such a life as to boast and call ourselves better than another.
Left to our natural state, each of us crave to satisfy the desires of our flesh; that is, without Christ, we lust after sin. All of us.
So, dear survivor, I don’t intend to drag Josh through the mill. I am without authority to do that. And, to be honest, it benefits you not.
One of the stirrings of my heart has been for you.
Every time another case comes to light, memories dust themselves off and remind you of your own story.
Within the Duggar conversation, authority figures and counselors diminish the offense to “adolescent exploration,” or mere “touching,” which probably required you to clench your teeth to withhold the annoyed anger those words taunt.
Or at work during lunch, people may freely discuss their thoughts and opinions, saying things like, “Well, I don’t know why the media even brought this up! I mean, it happened so long ago! Let it go, people! Move on with your life!” Did you choose to take another bite of your sandwich to keep yourself from shouting, “It’s not as simple as that!”
See, that’s where my mind has gone.
I’ve been thinking of you at work, at the grocery checkout, at the bank, at church, and at your screen, scrolling through your favorite social media website.
I’ve been thinking about your heart.
I’ve been thinking about what emotional triggers this has stirred up within you.
And I’ve been praying for you.
It’s not easy being a survivor. It’s not easy listening to men and women–who oftentimes have good intentions–say the most thoughtless and ignorant comments; especially when so many around them have suffered like the Duggar girls, like you.
So my heart aches for you as you’ve had to combat through intense emotions while others fling venom or trite “forgivisms.”
They don’t mean to belittle you. They are ignorant; meaning, they just don’t know. They are uninformed.
Please try to see them in their lack of knowledge, like one might regard kindergarteners, attempting to give their opinion on American politics. They just don’t know what they are talking about.
You are loved.
As a survivor, I questioned that reality. I remember asking, “Am I really loved?” Because I hold fast to what the Bible says as true, I cannot sidestep the truth that God loves me. Nor can you. God loves us.
“God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us–even when we were dead in our transgressions–He made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:4-7)
What does this have to do with the Duggar story?
The pain, shame, anger, depression, and bent toward isolation and silence will never change, heal, or resolve itself without, first, saturating our hearts with the love of God.
You are of great value.
Whether it be the conversations the Duggar disturbance has roused or the clinging remnants of your past abuse, let it be known. You are valuable.
I hope you didn’t sneer and say, “yeah, right.”
In case you did, let me encourage you. Your value isn’t dependent upon your abuse. It’s not related to other people’s opinions or acceptance or rejection of you. Nope.
If you are in Christ, the word says that you are God’s workmanship. That means you are God’s “work of art,” which is not a common thing. The word also says that this work of art is not just some stationary object like a trophy portrait, but rather a functional work of art, purposed and created in Christ for good works.
Those good works indicate an activity that mirrors the Father’s business. Following after the God of all gods’ family business places each of us in a position of worth and value.
Lastly, you are remembered.
Others may have forgotten you in your healing journey: family, friends, classmates, co-workers, church body.
Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals, has not, nor ever will forget you. Remember in His great love He sent His one and only Son to give up His rights and die on the cross for you and your sins, so that you may have full rights to the rich inheritance of the throne, if you are in Christ.
Remember in His great love (expressed through His grace toward you) through the gift of faith in His Son, you participate in the work He predestined for you, even while you were still dead in your sins.
How could He forget you after that?
See, I’ve been thinking of you and praying for you.
With the Duggar incident fresh in the media and the conversations continuing in your face, the father of all lies–the one in whom no truth resides–intends to distract you, to blind you, to handicap you from the truth by taking advantage of your pain.
See, I write you this love letter because my heart is burdened for your peace to be secured in Him. For your joy to be made full in Him. For your heart to thump with gladness as you begin to see the progress of your healing in Him.
I write you this love letter because you are loved, worthy, and remembered by a God who has kind intentions toward you.
With much love,
What’s your next step?
Pray and ask God to reveal those areas in which the father of lies has blurred your vision of God’s love for you. Memorize Ephesians 2:8-10 and meditate on the fact that you are His workmanship, His work of art.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10