My Tribute to Ben Marsh

by Linda Settles
(Lynchburg, VA)

We Can Overcome!

We Can Overcome!

A brave survivor posted his story today. He gave us a glimpse into a life marred by an abuser's deception, betrayal, and depravity. He gave us, also, a light to shine in our darkness. He shared his victory over the powerlessness of abuse. Ben's is a story of hope redeemed.


I commented on Ben's posting, but I also want to share my response in my room. I post it here so that it will be here always--a reminder to all of us that we can overcome!

An Open Letter to Ben Marsh:

I am so proud of you Ben Marsh. You did what few people have the courage to do--stand up to your abuser. Having counseled with multiple abuse survivors, I can tell you that your story, while poignant and candidly painful, is more common than most people want to believe. Brave survivors like you bring the issue to the surface where it cannot be denied or disclaimed.

The most remarkable part of your story is that you have been able to maintain your faith in God through all of this. Though I am sure there were times that you felt abandoned and even betrayed by him, you have worked it all out in your heart and come to the conclusion (as I can see through your last comments) that He is there for you.

We don't always like the pathway our life has taken, and sometimes we stumble along for years just trying to make it through. Then somewhere along the way, the sunshine of God's love burst through the thunderheads of pain and doubt to light our way. That is when we find the "way of escape" spoken of in the Book of James.

I commend you brave survivor. You have encouraged us all by your courageous letter.

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There Will Be Justice

by Linda Settles
(Lynchburg, VA)


When I read about Baby Brianna today, I grieved over the atrocities she suffered. I was stirred to anger by the account of the inhumane treatment that led to her death. I was glad that the perpetrators of her suffering were given lengthy jail sentences.

Wouldn't it be great if justice always won out? The jail terms awarded the sick, perverted people who tortured and killed a baby proves that sometimes justice prevails. At other times, crimes go unnoticed, and if they are brought to court, lady Justice seems to wink at them and let them go. Being one of those people who have a strong sense of justice, I don't handle the "winks" very well.

One thing that assuages my anger and helps me regain my serenity when I witness the injustice in the world, is the belief that nothing goes unnoticed by the One who sees the sparrow fall. Remember the old song of faith, "The One who sees the sparrow is watching over me."?

If our vision is limited to time and space as we understand it here on Earth, we may become bitter because of the inequity and injustice of our social system. If, however, we believe that there is a "hereafter" and a High Power who represents absolute justice, then we realize that 51 years or 27 years in jail is only a relatively comfortable prelude for those who killed Baby Brianna Lopez and for all those other murderers, rapists, and sexual offenders who think they got away with their crime.

Lady Justice may be inconsistent, but there is One who looks on the heart and He will show no mercy to those who harm others and think they got away with it.

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When I get too busy

by Linda Settles
(Rustburg, VA)


Sometimes I get too busy to take time for myself; time to have my morning coffee and read my recovery literature, time to reflect on the positive things in my life, time to feel the solitude that makes room in my soul for bigger and better things.

That is when I have to say NO to the busy-ness that assaults me and remember that my healing is essential to success in everything else that I do.

And that is when I take the time to think of others, to pray for them and to drop a line here and there to encourage them.

There is a place in shadows soft
That calls to me amidst the gloom
of memories sad and treasures lost.
I'll make it there--I make it soon.

I'll silence all the ringing phones
So I can hear---inside my head
A voice that speaks to my heart alone
You are my child--won't you please come home?

Father? Not the earthly one
Who trampled me beneath his feet.
But the One who waited in the dark
And led me back to sanity.

3/1/08 Linda Settles

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A Child's Prayer

by Linda Settles
(Lynchburg, VA)


I wrote a poem today. I thought of my fellow readers on this site and wanted to share it with you.

I hope it touches your heart, as it did mine.
Love to all,
Linda

A Child's Prayer


“Now I lay me down to sleep”

Beside the bed on dirty floor

she kneels

No bath could wash away the grime

she feels…

”I pray the Lord my soul to keep”

Eyes shut tight, tangled hair

tumbles down.

”If I should die before I wake”

whispered words from trembling lips

pale face blanches, paler still

Eyes open wide –alive

against her will.

“I pray the Lord my soul to keep”

Certain that He would have no reason

to keep her unwashed soul,

the child rises from her knees

and clambors into bed

between the stained sheets.

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I am Angry and then I'm Sad

by Linda Settles
(Rustburg, VA)


I am angry...
When I read letters--words torn from the hearts of victims who are still bogged down in the muck and mire of an abuser's depravity, I feel anger rise inside me--anger at the monster of abuse -- that three headed dragon who treads upon the heart and soul of innocent children without remorse--justifying, excusing, and denying at the expense of the wounded child who has no strength to strike back.

If only the child was like a snake
the rattler variety whose bite brought death
If he -- like venomous plants that grow
In jungles dark and dense
Could wrap himself around the beast who takes away his chance
At life unblemished by his shame who draws him into dance,
Lustful dragons breathing fire, disguised with human face
If only the child could end the dance, striking like a snake.

Then I am sad.
Many abusers were once the victimized child. Others are addicted to sex and have medicated their own wounds with pornography and lewd fantasies, becoming more deeply entrenched in lust as the days go by. It is well known to those who deal with death, homicide detectives and law enforcement officers, that pornography like drug addiction, requires ever more of its lethal substance to satisfy. Child molestation is but a stop down the road for many sex addicts. They want to quit, but they wait too long and they go too far.

There may be many other reasons that sex offenders abuse, but I no longer want to put them into a permanent sleep, when I realize that they are to be pitied. Their deformity of spirit hounds many of them all the way to Hell.

Is there hope for the sex offender, the abuser of children, the rapist, the porn addict who molests if only in his mind?

There is hope--if there is repentance. If there is grievous sorrow for the offense and submission to correction--whether it be jail, house arrest, recovery programs, and/or loss of relationship with those affected by his crimes. There is hope--but the cost is high--and few who choose to abuse are willing to pay the price.

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A Thought for Today

by Linda Settles
(Rustburg, VA)

It has been busy today and I feel overwhelmed. I know that I am not alone and the sun will rise again tomorrow. Every day is a new opportunity. A chance to grow, and to share my gifts with the world. There was a time when I thought I had nothing to give--and I am glad that time is past. But today, I know that I have more to offer than I realize--just as I did back then. And I will not discover my gifts in the darkness--they will not shine when I am alone--but only as I bring them out and share them with you, and with others who have endured the night; only then will I watch them shine. And only then will I walk by the light of your gifts as well. Together we are better. Together we can make a difference.

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A Tribute to Someone Who Cares

by Linda Settles
(Lynchburg, VA)

In my last entry I spoke of eternal consequences for the unrepentant abuser. Darlene posted my article, though she views my topic from a different perspective. This post is to express my profound respect for Darlene and my appreciation of this wonderful lady.

I have linked my website to this site because there is no other site on the internet (including my own site) that offers the level of education about abuse and its effects that Darlene offers in child-abuse-effects.com

A Tribute to Someone Who Cares
(Darlene Barriere)

She travels paths long worn with dread
by those who wander here,
With empathy and wisdom gained
through catastrophic years.
She holds the banner forth, "You can!
Rise above your past."
She proves that you are not alone
for you have come at last,
To join the ranks of those who can
And fly your banner high
She offers hope to restless souls
who've managed to survive.

by Linda Settles

Thank you Darlene for offering your time, wisdom and compassion to survivors of abuse.

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A Voice of My Own

by Linda Settles
(Rustburg, VA)

I am so glad to read your submissions and have the opportunity to talk to so many survivors of abuse. It is awesome to have a voice--a way to encourage and affirm others who have suffered as I did. No matter what happened to you, no matter what you said or did in response to the mental or physical stimulus you experienced, you are not to blame for the victimization that you experienced.

There is a wonderful life to be lived. Yes, I can honestly say that even after my horrendous experiences in the past. Healing happens--every day. I hope you can believe that too.

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From the foothills of the Ozarks to the Top of the World! An Abuse Survivor rises above her past and finds JOY in life after abuse.

by Linda Settles
(Rustburg, VA)

I just spent seven amazing days at the International Christian Retailers Show in Orlando Florida. I didn't make it to Universal Studios, Disneyland, or Sea World, but I had an amazing plethora of experience standing on concrete floors at the Orange County Convention Center until my ankles resembled tree trunks! I hardly noticed. I was so caught up in the excitement of the show, the wonder of fellowship with hundreds of people whom I had never met until those seven days, and the opportunity to share my story with so many people who seemed remarkably interested in what I have to say.
All this was delightfully overwhelming for the girl (okay, slightly elderly lady) from Arkansas who lived thirty-three years before she found her voice. Thirty-three years of silent suffering. I felt like Jack coming out of the box--springing to life right there on the Convention floor. "Hey, fellow travelers though this wide and treacherous world, I am here!" "I am alive and I am talking to you!" "Yea!"
And yet, there were moments of introspection, moments when I was filled with awe at the power of God-- a God whose Grace is sufficient to take us as we are and make us what He wants us to be. He is still working on me--and he proved that often throughout the last seven days. I thank Him for it.
There were tender moments, as well, as the floodgates of the past opened up for some who came to visit at my booth and we shared both sorrows and joys that had brought us to the place where we were standing--a place of victory, a pinnacle of triumph over the past--and an aching desire to be all that we can be.
We (surviors of abuse) have been pushed down, walked on, and torn apart, but we don't stay there! By the strength of a Power Higher than ourselves, we rise again and walk. Not just walk, we run, we soar. We "mount up with wings as eagles."
We have found our voice and we will shout it from the mountain tops, "I am more than you thought I was. I am better than I believed I was. And I am on the way to the best that I can be!" Yea!

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Together is Better

by Linda Settles
(Rustburg, VA)

I was feeling sad today. It wasn't about my past abuse experiences, exactly. I was missing someone I care about and wondering if things will ever be the same. You know, that sad, quiet ache in your soul that hangs back there and won't let you forget that something is not quite right?

A friend ask me today if I am happy. Happiness, I told her, is not the word for how I feel today. I am joyful. I have peace in my spirit. Happiness is something I enjoy sometimes--but not today. Today I rely of the happiness of my friends to put a smile on my face.

So what, someone asked me, is the difference in happiness and joy? Aren't they the same thing? No. They are not. For happiness is dependent upon circumstances and is as changeable as the wind. Joy is a deep inner confidence that all is well with my soul. Happiness is fleeting. Joy is a fruit of the Power at work in me-- the evidence of a healing in process, a character 'becoming.'

I hope you have a friend that you can talk to--someone to share your joy and your pain. I am glad that Darlene has given me this room so that I can share with you. I am glad that I can be your friend.

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I remember...

by Linda Settles
(Rustburg, VA)

It is gloomy outside and I remember
gloomy days of times gone by.
It is raining today and I know the rain
will bring the flowers out of their graves.
Sometimes the gloom that drizzles down
comes in seasons from skies that frown.
And I wonder when the sun will burn
through the dismal skies and finally turn
the lights on in this world of mine,
where flowers dance and bees keep time
with the rhythm of the Universe
and grace my days upon the earth.

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It's never too late...

by Linda Settles
(Rustburg, VA)

I was at Book Expo America last week exhibiting some titles that I have written. One of them chronicles with my own abusive past and tells I am dealing with it. I was standing at my booth, talking up my books, when a precious lady stopped to look at one of my books. I directed her to my book about abuse, and she listened for moment and then began to cry. I wanted to help her, to reach out to her, to heal her pain, but instead I was helpless. I asked her to call me but I know she won't. She was humiliated by her tears and there was nothing either of us could do about it.

I say all this to challenge you. If you are reading this post, then you have probably experienced abuse. If you have never processed your pain and come to terms with the effects of abuse on your life, I want to encourage you to do it now. Don't wait another year, or another moment. Every day is precious and we want to live it the best we can.

There is healing for childhood abuse. For any kind of abuse. Darlene models that with her kind expression and gentle words. All of us can learn to rise above the pain of our past and become a person of influence, a healthy participant in the marathon of life!

I want to encourage you today that it is never too late to begin the process of healing from abuse. Time alone will not heal the wounding of abuse. You would not bother to read the postings on this site, nor would you dialogue with others who share here, unless you were a brave person who is already on the path to recovery. Keep going--and never give up.

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We need more than recovery--we need restoration

by Linda Settles
(Rustburg, VA)

Author, Redeeming Our Treasures

Author, Redeeming Our Treasures

I am a sucker for picking up old furniture. I love going to resale stores, salvation army thrift shops, etc. and finding "treasures" of antiquity.

When I, the person who will prize my new found treasure, purchase a piece of well worn furniture, the piece has been recovered. It will move from its dusty throne on the thrift store showroom floor to my home. A pleasant change. It will be polished and dusted. It will be utilized to bring joy to those who share my home.

Sometimes, however, I find a truly special piece. An antique or rare design that is truly unique. That "find" will often be restored. The old finish will be stripped off and it will be sanded down. Abrasions will be filled in and a new coat of protective finish will be laid down. I will be certain to call my new prize to the attention of all my guests.

Some (few) of course, will disdain the piece. After all, it has "character marks" that were too deep to sand out and the imprint of time is upon it. Most, however, will ooooh and awwwww over it. Some will even envy my special find because it is obviously one of a kind.

So it is with us as abuse survivors. We are unique. We have a special strength--the strength of a survivor. Perhaps, we are in the process of recovery, victims in search of victory. Let me assure you my friend, the strength that carried you through the trauma will see you through to triumph if you hold on and keep walking. Keep on moving through the process. Don't ever quit and don't give up. You are destined for victory. The very assault upon your heart and soul that stained your innocence, will be your own personal testimony of the strength and resilience of the human spirit--the God-breathed tenacity that proves our potential to win.

We are survivors. Victims in the process of restoration. No matter how you feel right now, you are more than your feelings. Feelings can deceive us for they are influenced by the mental and emotional power of those who abuse us. You are body, mind, and spirit. You are heart and soul. You are a complex being with the ability to soar on broken wings.

No matter what has happened to you. No matter how you have responded to the abuse or the abuser. You are a unique, amazing treasure in need of restoration. And, unlike inanimate objects who must wait for someone to come along and pick them up, you can choose to get out of the 'thrift shop' of life, reach out to those who have learned to soar on broken wings, and catch the currents of the air to reach heights you never imagined.

You can do it. We are here for you, to help, to encourage, and to care for you as you journey upward.

Don't wait. Time is precious. Every day counts. Call someone. Write us at this site. Talk to a wise counselor. Do it today, my friend. We are waiting.

Love,
Linda

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