We think it can’t happen to us. It’s something that happens to other people or in the movies or on television.
Jennifer Christie was on a business trip. After a long day of work, she headed back to her hotel room, unaware that someone followed her.
She saw him after she had opened the door to her room and stepped inside. He hit her in the face. He broke her fingers. He broke her ribs. He violated her.
She told herself he could touch her body but not her soul. She awoke in below-freezing temperatures in the outdoor stairwell of her motel.
Today she suffers from a seizure disorder because of the assault. She’s endured six major surgeries to repair the damage he caused.
“I couldn’t wrap my head around the evil we can do to each other,” she told a central Pennsylvania audience gathered last Saturday for breakfast. Her story held us spellbound.
Weeks went by after the assault. Her body healed, but sudden noises made her jump. Her husband was supportive, but she could hear him rage in the shower, shouting, sobbing, punching the wall. He would emerge and tell her: “Everything’s going to be okay,” only to rage and sob and punch again the next day.
At the end of six weeks, he suggested she go back to work–to go do what she loved. He stayed behind with their four children.
Work in this instance was a previously scheduled cruise. What could be a better way to find healing and restoration?
Unless you get dysentery on day two of the cruise.
When she didn’t bounce back as expected, the ship’s doctor suggested a pregnancy test.
That possibility had not occurred to her. Her youngest child was eight years old. Her husband had had a vasectomy years earlier.
“I was raped,” she told the doctor, having only used the word assaulted until that moment.
Yes, she was pregnant.
Others urged her to have an abortion–to get rid of the reminder sure to haunt the rest of her days.
Imagine the physical pain on top of the sense of having lost the sense of security most of us carry within us. Imagine the sense of lost control over your life.
The argument for abortion in the case of rape is supposed to be one of compassion. How can we ask a woman so violated to carry the reminder of her attacker, to bring this reminder to life, to look him or her in the face every day (as we disregard the possibility of adoption)?
Now imagine people telling you what you have to do. What you can’t do. You have to abort. You can’t keep what came from rape. Imagine many people telling you what you MUST do. So many voices saying the same thing.
But she felt protective of the life within her.
“I couldn’t protect myself. Him I could protect. . . . The more I heard how easy it would be [to have an abortion], the more I felt protective.
Her husband’s reaction? “This is a gift. This is something beautiful that came from something horrible.”
She says, “My son is a reminder that every day we can rise above our circumstances. . . . He came into our lives when we were hurting and broken and he healed our family.”
Jennifer Christie has lived that reality. She looks into her reminder’s face every day.
But five years later, she does not see “some rapist’s child.” She sees “God’s child.” His name is Joshua. And he is beautiful.
The voices that would have snuffed out his life were many. And Jennifer says, “Those voices were loud.
“But little boy, we loved you louder.”
Only a loud love can drown out the voices that would tell us that an innocent life must end because of the evil of someone else.
See beauty. See that there are no rapists’ children. There are only God’s children.
Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!
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