Breaking In, Breaking Through

Author’s Note:  This is a lengthy, uncommon post topic for me.  But it is a true story.  I have been asked to write my story for possible publication in a woman’s magazine.  This is my “rough draft” and I would treasure feedback from anyone who has a comment.  Thank You, dear friends. ~di

 

Living alone had never been an issue for me.  I was never one of those women fearful to walk through a dark house by myself.  Was it because I was young and foolish, thinking as many 20-somethings that I was invincible?  Was it the false sense of security those few months of karate lessons had given me?  Or maybe it was the cool piece of steel in the form of a .38 snub nose kept loaded under a pillow next to me every night.  Perhaps, it was a combination of all these. More likely at the heart of it was a naiveté  assuring me, “I am a child of God.  No harm can befall me.”

 

I had no idea someone had been watching me for several weeks.  Oblivious to my stalker audience, I went about my business immune to the threat that awaited me.  The August night I heard noises outside my open window, I was startled but not genuinely frightened.  Anyone who could read the “Neighborhood Watch” sign in my front yard had to know not to mess with me, right?  Pistol in hand, I moved from room to room.  I must have looked ridiculous peering out a few windows, checking the landscape for evidence of intruders.  Unbeknownst to me, the spy was crawling in my kitchen window.  I returned my pistol to its rightful position under the pillow and disappeared into the bathroom to remove my contacts before heading back to bed.  As I emerged from the bathroom, I came face to face with a man I had never seen before and the consequences of his life of pent up rage.

 

On the night before my 3rd spiritual birthday, I became a rape statistic.  I’ve since learned that one in four women will become the victim of sexual assault in her lifetime.  I’ve also learned a few other things…things such as what it’s like to experience the agony of living in a fallen world, what the Bible says about tribulation in this world… “in this world you WILL have tribulation, but I have overcome the world” {John 6:33}and I learned how God expects us to respond to those who wound us deeply.

 

Even as a fairly new Christian, I recognized the importance of memorizing Scripture.  Some friends and I had challenged one another to memorize all of Romans Chapter 8.  That summer night after my miraculous escape from my offender I asked everyone I encountered, “Do you know my Jesus?  Do you know that He says ‘all things work together for good to those who love Him’?”  I’m sure I was in shock but I still recall the strange looks I received from ambulance driver to police officer to emergency room physician to the pastor on call at my mega church as I recited Romans 8:28 over & over to anyone who would listen.  I had no idea the impact those words would render in my own life as a result of that traumatic encounter.  I only knew that I was alive after having my own gun wrestled away from me and held to my head.  Unquestionably, God had a purpose in sparing my life.  Surely, he would work this nightmare for my good.

 

In the weeks following that horrible incident, I lost sight of the promise of Romans 8:28.  Days, weeks, months of Godly counseling passed before the prayers of loving family and friends prevailed and I received the peace of that promise. Ultimately, I realized that Abba Daddy God was faithful.   I regained the courage, albeit slowly, to face the world again.  Painfully, I submitted the reality of my experience into His loving hands as I acknowledged that my suffering, though not God’s choice for my life was part of God’s plan.  In the process, He began to work it for my good, just as He had promised.  As surely as the criminal had broken into my home, God was breaking through the bitterness of my stubborn heart.

 

It didn’t happen overnight but eventually I was able to forgive my attacker.  I realized that unforgiveness against another is like ingesting poison and expecting the other person to die.  I knew I had to surrender my assailant to the God who said, “vengeance is mine” though truthfully, I wasn’t gentle in asking God to deal with him on my behalf.  It took much struggling for me to recognize before my salvation through Christ I was as much a condemned sinner as this man was.  Only then, in light of Christ’s mercy for me could I ask the Holy Spirit to convict this criminal of his sin and rescue his soul.

 

Several years passed.  One summer afternoon I found myself standing in a State Penitentiary Chapel before a crowd of felons, a rough group of sex offenders, child abusers, robbers and murderers.  I was there to share the truth of the Word of God, that ALL had sinned and come short of the glory of God and ALL of us were in need of redemption.  Sharing John 3:16, I spoke of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross to redeem us and of the forgiveness belonging to “whosoever believes in Him”.

 

My testimony concluded in a blur, but I recall leading the crowd in a prayer of repentance.  Then, one by one, men in prison jumpsuits filed past me and were allowed to speak briefly to me.  Not all the comments were kind and I was grateful for guards posted on each side of me.  But that day I saw in the eyes of a few a repentant desire to know this Jesus who could forgive the unspeakable sins which led them to this place.

 

It was the grace of God holding me there as each prisoner passed by.  And it was the Spirit of God who whispered to my soul that summer afternoon… “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

 

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5 responses to “Breaking In, Breaking Through

  1. Di, I know that this isn’t something you need to hear but I must say it because it’s true. You are a Saint (nothing to be ashamed of). The bigger the pit, the bigger the Savior.

    Thank you for sharing this, His painful but wonderful story with us. Thank you for your courage. A testimonial of His faithfulness as answer to your prayers of wanting to know Him. Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow you and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

    “I realized that unforgiveness against another is like ingesting poison and expecting the other person to die.” could not be better put.

    In all, reading your (His) story – brought to my mind on what I have been thinking about for the last few days after reading a quote by an author named George MacDonald ” One has to Love All totaly in order to Love One completely.”

    Rejoice Love, Jesus Christ is once again leaving footprints, and they look very much like yours.

    His, therefore yours,
    Richard

  2. Precious Di,
    Of all the riches our hearts have shared, this mystery revealed tells me there is still much to understand about you. Your depth of compassion for the hurting and your willingness to forgive those who constantly wound you have taken on whole new perspectives for me.

    The danger of recounting an event such as this lies in the temptation to elaborate too much on the details of the drama and miss the glory of the Lord. You, my dear, captured the intensity of your suffering without needless gory details while pointing to the One who deserves glory in all our sufferings. It is for His sake we suffer and we know that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the GLORY which shall be revealed in us through Christ our Lord. [Romans 8:18]

    Your light shines ever brighter. To Him be the Glory!

  3. Diana Khanagov

    I am reminded of the time Jesus told Simon, “…Satan has asked permisison to sift you as wheat…” and interestingly, Jesus didn’t pray for his rescue – but instead Jesus responded, “I have prayed that your faith may not fail – and when you have turned once again – strenghten your brothers.” So, I would say to you – that the key is if and when after the sifting one turns to encourage others.

    I also want to note that I concur with Bruce – although on a different stance – too much details – especially sexually explicit details leads our imaginations to wonder all that happened and thereby does not entice us to purity of the mind.

    Sincerely and Best Wishes – Diana Khanagov

  4. Laurra Fitzgerald

    Dear DiAnna – what a powerful story! It says enough without saying too much. The only change I would suggest would be when you say it was “God’s Plan” I might change it to that the circumstances were “Redeemed by God.” I only say that because if someone who is just learning about God reads this story it might be difficult for them to think of this as God’s plan.
    You are a very gifted writer. I love the things you have sent me so far and look forward to being blessed by you again soon!

  5. James 1:12 tells us, “Blessed are those who persevere under trial, because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

    I see your love for God in this, your personal story and message. Your strength of faith in God’s plan for our lives comes through in the story of personal tragedy, without sounding preachy or vindictive.

    I am touched by your courage and strength!

    I checked over the article closely and everything looks great. Well done, sister!

    I would hate to see any of your story get edited out by the magazine — I hope you have final word on what gets published!

    Andy

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