I praise God that I finally have the courage to share this letter with you. I have no idea how you will respond, but here I am: to tell you that you are forgiven, whether or not you think you need to be, and whether or not you’d like to hear it, and whether or not you’d like to listen, and whether or not you think I’m crazy or it’s a waste of your time.
It has taken me some two years to come to terms with everything that has happened. After feeling afraid for so long, it is time to talk to you with the God-given dignity and worth that I possess as a beloved daughter of the king.
Two years ago, my family was in shambles and I spent my time wandering in total trust of God’s providence alone, unaccompanied except for the loving and gentle hands of Jesus. Two years ago, I decided that I would like to make friends, and during that time, I met you.
Two years ago, I asked you explicitly if you were married and you told me yes. What you did not know is that I practiced for hours beforehand encouraging you to be faithful to your wife and praying about the best course of action for me to take since I saw you coming before we even talked. I blessed her and I blessed your family and I told God, who had already spoken to my heart about you, that I was willing to help you. You are not the first person I have encouraged to be faithful by a long shot. You are, however, the first and only person to have reacted like you did. My intentions from the beginning were to not see you or talk to you at all, and to honor you and protect you like a Christian and a friend. I praised God later that you appeared to have listened to me and that our conversation had gone well. I thought it was like any other conversation I had in the past. What I did not realize is that it hadn’t.
The first time you touched me I felt like someone had shattered my heart. It was horrifying, not least because you told me shortly afterward that you had already cheated on your wife before a long time ago. It was horrifying because all I saw was the pain I was already experiencing from my own family being in shambles. It re-traumatized me in so many ways I cannot begin to explain. The worst part was that you thought it was romantic, and it wasn’t. I was vulnerable, isolated, and you saw an opportunity—saw that I was kind-hearted and cared, and you took advantage of that because you wanted desperately to feel like you were worth something and you were loved. I did not believe you could protect me, though you tried to tell me you would. The truth is that you cared more about what you wanted than me or anyone else.
There are a couple of things people who are sexually violated do. For example, sometimes they try to put on a tough mask. You chose to do that with your anger from what happened to you in your childhood. When you hurt me, I did too. Part of that was my own family: I was struggling to just keep it together. Part of that was you: in your own words, you told me that if someone found out, you could lose your little girl. You told a little girl who wanted more than anything for her family to be okay that if anyone found out about what happened, you could lose your own little girl. What you don’t know is that from that point on I became more strategic than you, because I hoped for your family what I hoped for mine: total healing in the hands of the Father.
Something you may know: People who are abused also can become super compliant. I did. I stonewalled my emotions and my horror at the reality of what was happening to minimize the influx of crisis data suddenly pouring into my system and focused on one thing: telling you that you were worthy of being loved and that you were loved. You also contributed to that: You looked for me when I avoided you and asked where I had run away to. You asked me whose bitch I was. You placed the fate of your family in my hands like it would be my fault if something happened when you knew full well that it was you, your “crazy” wife, and your mutual decisions that brought you to the place that you were in. So it was later, after you were gone, that I woke up in the middle of the night in agony feeling like my soul was on fire and pouring my heart out to God, and begging for Him to give you mercy.
You told me not to make you look stupid. You told me that you had an anger problem, and told me that you didn’t believe you needed to change. You talked to me about guns and buying them. You told me the story about threatening to kill the men who stole your daughter’s things. You were bigger, heavier, faster, and stronger than me. I responded by doing what I knew how to do: showed you what you yourself recognized and reflected back to me: you said, “You treat me like I’m a normal person. You listen to me like I am not crazy. You care about me because you are kind to me.”
Something you should know and remember: I put all of my focus on telling you that you are loved and worthy of love. On pouring Christ’s healing into every wound you showed me. You showed me so many wounds. From your childhood. Your high-school sweetheart cheating on you. Your broken body. Your current family situation. Your fears about work and being promoted. I desired in those moments with all of my heart to love you like Christ. That love is genuine, sincere, authentic, true, faithful, and pure… but it is not romantic love. You do not understand that behind all of my masks, I was praying to God fervently to teach me to love you like Christ.
Two years ago, you assaulted me in my own doorway at night, and when you did it felt like acid poured over my brain. Do you know that when you left and I finally pushed you out the door, I looked to God in tears and cried? That I tried to take a shower to clean myself off? You thought it was romantic. It wasn’t. Even if you were single and unmarried, I would not have wanted you to touch me like that, ever. But you were interested in control and what you wanted. And you were hopelessly lost, and you desperately needed help. How many women were you trying to sleep with at the time? There was no way to know, and every reason to distrust you and suspect. You did not understand that I saw how you treated other people as how you would treat me. That I saw the people you kept company with as the measure of what you wanted to amount to as a man. You did not understand that I knew you had rejected love to the point that you were so thirsty for it that you were willing to do anything to try and get it, not realizing that the source of that love is God the Father, and he will never turn you away. That the healing you needed comes from God the Father, and that any ability I had to help you in my broken fragile state came from the grace of God.
Two years ago, you tried to give me your e-mail to keep in contact with you. You didn’t know that I had been writing and praying to Jesus in my journal for at least three months, that I had seen this ahead of time, that I had prayed for the courage to tell you what I told you, and that to be sure I would stand in the truth I was tracking my own mental struggles and confusion and horror at what was happening and fighting with everything I had to stay awake. I saw in my journal that God hadn’t given up on me, so I didn’t give up on you. God can change any heart. And He can, and I know He has, changed yours.
I told you, even though I was afraid that you would hurt me in anger, even though I was afraid that you would be so angry that you would not listen, that I would not talk to you for at least four weeks. I was planning on walking away from you forever.
I asked you, do you believe that there is a shred of hope that things will work out with your wife? Because I had all the hope in the world that it would. You do not know that the night she saw me, I planned for her to see me. That the day she saw me, I planned for her to see me. You do not understand that I purposely severed every opportunity I could in every way that I could at a “future” with you. I know that you don’t, because you blamed it on your roommate, like I myself would not have done such a thing. Like I was innocent. And I was innocent–And you were violating my personhood in increasingly serious ways like it was no big deal, and I had no idea what to do but do everything in my power to love like Christ.
I told you, your daughter needs a mother. Because she does—she needs a mother. I told you, crying, because I told you from the brokenness of my own heart, from the brokenness of my own relationship with my mother at the time, the truth about daughters and mothers. I wanted at that point so badly to believe the lies you had been telling me for three months, because it hurt so badly. I told you for her sake, not mine, because you had at that point contributed to destroying my sense of self worth beyond what had already been done, and I was so bent on doing the right thing that I found another reason to fight to do it: because she also needs a father who knows how to love women, because she will look to him as the example for how she should be treated by her husband. Because I started out with a mission, and I needed to complete and keep fighting for my mission. Because she needs a family, just like all of you need a family.
For two years, I have lived with this reality: From the moment I saw you I was competing with your will; from the moment things went wrong I wanted to outlast you in the fight for purity, outlive your life of sin with the life of God, outdo your works of revenge and despair with works of mercy, and to outpray your sins with prayers of forgiveness. I wanted to annihilate your soul with God’s love so that I would never see its fallen broken shape again. I wanted your family transformed by His hands beyond recognition, like I had never seen before. And I prayed for this transformation intensely—more intensely and more fervently than I have ever prayed, in proportion to the weight of your sins against me—and when I grew tired and felt weak and uncertain, I asked people in my church to pray for you. They did.
With all due respect, I hope to God that in His kindness we will never talk or see each other in this lifetime on earth again. I have had more than enough of counseling visits and flashbacks. I did listen to you, you know; I did not tell anyone in your immediate circle. I choose to let God, who was there the whole time and saw everything that happened, be your judge. Which… you will have to talk to Him if you have not already, and get back in right relationship with Him.
But ultimately, I want you to forever know: in Christ, you are loved unconditionally by the King, you are made righteous in His eyes, you are clean, free from all stains of sin, your past does not define you, and the sins committed against you do not make you dirty. I pray for you and your family every day like I have done since day one.
I want you to know and to believe: you are forgiven. God forgives you. I forgive you. I forgive you for everything. I want nothing more than for you and your entire family to know that you have been forgiven, to know that you are loved by the King, to know that He is love, He is true, He is faithful, and He is with you.
That is all.