daddy, it hurts

Posted: August 11th, 2009 | Filed under: God, life | Tags: | 17 Comments »

I’m am the survivor of childhood abuse. I was born to a fifteen year old, mentally ill little girl. She brought me into a world that was full of corruption and fear and she did not have the capacity to protect me from the very evil that destroyed her childhood.

I remember sitting at a church service, as an adult, and responding to an alter call to ‘just spend time in the presence of God.’ The front was full and people filled the isles, so I sat in the walkway next to the pew. In my imagination I was sitting next to Jesus, who came and kneeled beside me. I looked up at him and unzipped myself from my head to my toes and I laid flat on my back so he could see every maggot of my experiences that threatened to kill me from the inside out.

I didn’t say a word as he looked at the child being sexually abused, beat with fists and threatened with the barrel of a gun. I let him see my cigarette burns, and the holes where the man tortured me with needles. I let him see me being pinned down and suffocated within an inch of my consciousness. He watched as the lice crawled my scalp and the dirt dug into my flesh. He heard the stomach of a starving child growl and then subside with resignation. He watched my eyes sink in and my breath become shallow. He watched as I lay alone in my pee stained bed at night and cry for my mommy.

He watched it all and while he watched, he showed me how he was there with me, too.

I sat in that isle for a while and cried the tears of a little girl who was abandoned and forgotten, abused and tortured, starved and ignored.

And then in my mind, I looked him in the eye and said, ‘Daddy, it hurts.’

My mind raced through every part of my memory and found a place where that little girl sat in a church singing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and felt his lap beneath my bruised little legs.

He met my eyes and without an apology or pity, but just a deep understanding he said, “I know.”

And I know he did.

The experience of having the depths of my pain witnessed had an enormous healing effect. Just being seen and validated in my pain was enough to move me to the next phase of healing. Nobody can go back and take it away, but having my agony witnessed gave me the sense that I could move forward.

I have wondered why God allows evil to touch one of his little girls. I could choose to be angry and demand better treatment. But, I’ve learned that there is purpose in everything.

Something that I want more than to be a ‘normal’ person with a ‘normal’ life is that I want to be a person that God can use.

I find my purpose when I make myself available to those who need to tell their story. The pain and torment that people face in a world where evil has a say rivets the souls of God’s little lambs. If healing can come by bearing witness, then I am one who has a set of eyes that can meet the pain in theirs.

I find my purpose and sometimes the only way my purpose is displayed is when I get to be the one who looks at those bloodshot eyes and says, with everything in me, ‘I know.’

Because, …I know.


17 Comments on “daddy, it hurts”

  1. 1 J2005 said at 9:17 pm on August 10th, 2009:

    Beautiful! You are the unofficial spokesperson of the "hurt kids club". It's so good to hear a fresh message from the experience of life. Thank you.

  2. 2 Susan said at 5:09 am on August 11th, 2009:

    In the midst of the pain, your story revealed the tangible healing presence of God that I could feel while reading it. Another excellent piece of your heart laid bare for God's purposes. Thanks Serena.

  3. 3 Danny said at 5:11 am on August 11th, 2009:


    I don't have much to say here, just wanted to let you know how powerful this post is.

  4. 4 Serena Woods said at 5:57 am on August 11th, 2009:

    Thanks, guys, for letting me know you're reading. Your feedback is so appreciated. 🙂

    Spread it along….

  5. 5 Sarah Mae said at 9:56 am on August 11th, 2009:

    You write this with such beauty and transparency…

    My heart hurts…and yet I thank God for His redeeming in your life.

  6. 6 Amber@theRunaMuck said at 9:59 am on August 11th, 2009:

    I love to hear what others see/experience when they unravel before their maker/lover/daddy. It's excruciatingly beautiful. Thank you for telling your story. God's name be magnified greater than any other name in your past!

  7. 7 Holley said at 10:49 am on August 11th, 2009:

    Tears, goose bumps, speechless.

    Such beauty, such brokenness.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. How delighted your Daddy's heart must be to see His girl loving Him so…and being so very brave in a way that will heal others too.

  8. 8 Jackie said at 11:58 am on August 11th, 2009:

    Thank you! You have just put into words exactly how I feel. I "know" too.

  9. 9 mandie said at 12:39 pm on August 11th, 2009:

    Achingly beautiful. I got goosebumps, too. 🙂 Thanks for being so transparent and sharing what's obviously not an easy thing in life, but you turned it into something helpful, which is awesome.

  10. 10 Serena Woods said at 1:09 pm on August 11th, 2009:

    'The only way you can find yourself is in the fires of sorrow. Why it should be this way is immaterial. The fact is that it is true in the scriptures and in the human experience. You can always recognize who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, and you know that you can go to him in your moment of trouble and find that he has plenty of time for you…. If you will receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.' – Oswald Chambers

    'Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am going to say? 'Father, get me out of this?' No, this is why I came to this place. I'll say, 'Father, put your glory on display.' A voice came out of the sky: "I have glorified it, and I'll glorify it again." -John 12 MSG

  11. 11 The Secret Life of K said at 1:36 am on August 15th, 2009:

    That was amazing and incredibly moving. Thank you, Serena…

  12. 12 deb@talk at the tabl said at 12:28 am on August 19th, 2009:

    Do my words matter to you… they mattered to me this morning. How blessed we are that you held hope long enough to get to the top of the mountain to shout it out.

  13. 13 Sisterlisa said at 4:34 am on August 21st, 2009:

    Wow (tears streaming)…wow That took courage to write, I have no doubt. sigh* wow. I'm speechless ((hugs))

  14. 14 Kathy said at 4:35 am on August 21st, 2009:

    With tears in my eyes, I just wanted to tell you how much this blessed me this morning.

    I'm profoundly thankful I 'stumbled' upon your blog.

    A friend in the journey, K

  15. 15 Cassie said at 10:48 am on August 22nd, 2009:

    THANK YOU!!!!!

    This spoke to me in such a profound way. 'I know' some as well and I really needed to hear/read this today.

    Thak you for being honest ad real.

  16. 16 Courtney (Women Livi said at 5:22 pm on August 22nd, 2009:

    Wow! Thank you so much for your transparancy. Powerful…

  17. 17 Karen Rabbitt said at 10:01 am on August 24th, 2009:


    Powerful story and beautifully written.

    "Unzipping myself" Yes.

    We must lay ourselves open to Him who knows and cares.

    May God continue to increase your influence.


    Karen Rabbitt, M.S.W., Author, Trading Fathers: Forgiving Dad, Embracing God

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