Monday, July 15, 2013

Anonymous Guest Writer: "OUT OF THE PITT"

Christal Cooper – 1,651 Words
Facebook @ Christal Ann Rice Cooper

by Anonymous Guest Writer  
So when Joseph arrived, they pulled off his beautiful robe, and threw him into the pit.  This pit was normally used to store water, but it was empty at the time.                                                                  

Genesis 37: 23-24 New Living Translation 

Then just as they were sitting down to eat, they noticed a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them.  It was a group of Ismaelites traders taking spices, balm, and myrrh from Gilead to Egypt.  Judah said to the others, “What can we gain by killing our brother?  That would just give us a guilty conscience.  Let’s sell Joseph to those Ishmaelites traders.  Let’s not be responsible for his death, after all he is our brother.  And his brothers agreed.  So when the traders came by, his brothers pulled Joseph out of the pit and sold him for twenty pieces of silver, and the Ishmaelite traders took him along to Egypt.
Genesis 37: 25-38 New Living Translation

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.  But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.  So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.”        
Genesis 45: 4-8 International Version Translation                                                                                                         

One of my earliest memories is sitting on his lap and being told, “This is how mommies and daddies kiss.” I had no idea it was wrong since I was only four years old. Not long after this I had been slapped so hard a welt was left on my face. I can’t remember why I was slapped but the apartment manager was able to see the mark on the following day and asked me what happened. I told the truth, “Daddy hit me.” Social workers came to question but nothing was done although they had been getting referrals since I was 3. I was told never to talk to strangers again. The apartment manager wasn’t a stranger to me. I had talked with her often before that day. Events such as these occurred for the next 3 years. A neighbor thought she saw him with his hand in my shirt while I was sitting on his lap in the backyard. I can’t tell you if he did or didn’t. If he did, I had no idea it was wrong. It caused adults to ask me if anyone had ever touched me. Of course, I told the truth and was taken out of my home. It was almost enough to make me think telling the truth was wrong.

I was supposed to be in foster care for nine months. He had been sent to prison. She went through parenting classes. She passed her classes in seven months so I was allowed to go home in time for Christmas. Nearly a year later, I asked Jesus to live in my heart.

Less than 6 months later she had a boyfriend. He did horrible things, things that caused nightmares for many years. He used the classic threat of, “If you tell anyone, I’ll hurt your mom.” One day I summoned up the courage to tell her what was happening. She was looking over the bills and told me, “I have more important things to worry about, Blondie.” The beatings and rape continued. Church attendance had ended since the predator had isolated us from family and friends.

     I learned a new word in my fifth grade health class. Self-esteem – something I lacked severely. I contemplated what to do. I had one close friend at school so I passed her a note. She took it to our teacher. I didn’t go home again. Three months later parental rights were terminated. Ten years of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and parents were now gone. I knew I needed to be protected but I didn’t want to have to pretend so many loved ones were dead. That’s what my counselor told me. Pretend all your relatives are dead. You’ll never see them again. Those were pretty harsh words for a ten year old.
Thankfully, I was not in the foster care system for long. Five months later I was placed with a family who wanted to adopt me. This is completely a God thing. My parents had just met the woman who handled the area foster-to-adopt kids. Her child was on the same t-ball team as their children. She gave them info and they started attending classes to be adoptive parents. My sibling and I were in the first newsletter they received. They saw us and heard God say, “These are yours.” They ran into the woman at the grocery store shortly thereafter and said they knew which kids they wanted. Only five months after parental rights were terminated a nine year old and a ten year old were placed with their forever family. It was the fourth of July weekend, a new independence day for me, personally. 

I believe the weekend was meant to be a trial placement. Mom and Dad had no intentions of giving us back.
Many people are shocked to hear about the first decade of my life and respond with, “But you are so normal! Why aren’t you throwing chairs on that crazy talk show?” My only answer is Jesus. I didn’t get into serious trouble during my teen years but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have attitude problems at home. While in college I realized I was holding on to a lot of anger. I remembered an incident involving retaliation between my siblings when my dad had told one “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19). I could hear his voice repeating the verse over and over in my mind. How was my anger going to do anything to the people who had hurt me, especially since they would never see me again? “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” God will repay them for what they did. They had already been punished and have to live the remainder of their lives with their respective punishment. Two of them had two beautiful, intelligent children taken away. Of those two, one lives with schizophrenia. I don’t know the full extent of how the third was punished nor do I care. I decided to forgive all of them. I prayed and asked God to remove the anger from my heart. I could feel my burden lift from my shoulders. It was amazing. I cried.

Some years later I felt the need to let the people in my past know I forgave them regardless of whether I’d hear an apology from them. I didn’t want it to be a stumbling block for their salvation. All sins are the same to God. All sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus when we accept Him as our Savior and confess our sins daily to Him. As He was being crucified Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” 

He forgave his own executioners. Who am I not to forgive the molesters, the rapist, and the emotionally dependent woman who cared more about the so-called love of a man than she did about the welfare of her own flesh and blood? Thanks to the Internet, I came in contact with two uncles I was supposed to believe were dead. I found the email for one online and he later informed me of an ad in the paper placed by an uncle on the other side of my bloodline. I learned that my biological father had served his prison time and was released. As a registered sex offender, his address was easy to get.  It took many years to write the letter but I did, finally. I told my uncle what I had done. He waited a few days to be sure the letter was received and called his brother. He shared the news of the letter but said he couldn’t accept forgiveness because, in his mind, it would make it okay to offend again. This was the counseling he received in prison. Obviously, it was not Biblical. Everyone deserves the forgiveness of Christ.
I feel the need to write about the reunions I have had with aunts, uncles and friends of the family. All but one told me, “I would have adopted you but….” The “buts” were all different. The one who didn’t say “but” simply said, “I wish I could have made you mine.” That stood out for me and I talked to him about it. He said he had dealt with enough “buts” in his own life to know I didn’t need any more in mine. I appreciate that. I want to fill in the blank for everyone who gave me a “but”. I know you would have taken me but it wasn’t God’s plan. Everything that I have endured had to go through His hands first. Yes, I’ve asked “Why?” a number of times. I still don’t know, however I have learned to accept it and continue to seek His guidance on how to use it to further His kingdom. The grace of God has brought me this far. I can’t deny His work in my life.

 I am now a mother to two gorgeous children. The oldest is 6. I can’t imagine her knowing what I knew at the same age.  
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1 comment:

  1. Wow. What a powerful survival story. I'm very glad the author got to a good loving family. I'm glad she had the courage to tell a friend about the predator boyfriend.