Rough hands drag Lisa from her warm bed and shove the five-year-old into a hall closet. “Yer nuthin’ bu tubble,” slurs the assaulter before slamming the door shut and turning the key. Small fists pound on the rough oak as she screams, “No Mama, pweese wet me out!”
In her dimly lit bedroom, she awakens to an anxious plea and gentle shaking of her left shoulder. “Lisa. . . Lisa, wake up. You’re dreamin’ again.”
Frowning, her husband says, “Honey, this is the third time this week I‘ve had to awaken you from a bad dream. What is goin’ on?”
Lisa peeks over the covers at the digital clock on the Victorian dresser—4:15 a.m. She pushes back the cream-colored sheet and duvet, swings her legs over the mattress, and dangles her feet on the side of the king sized bed. Yanking several tissues from a pink crocheted-covered box on her nightstand, she wipes her eyes and face.
Doug sits next to her wrapping his right arm around her.
“You know my paternal grandmother raised me from the age of six. But what you don’t know is the awful abuse I suffered at the hands of my alcoholic mother before going to live with Granny Miller.”
She blows her nose before continuing.
“Abuse? Alcoholic mother? You said your mother became sick after your father’s death. She couldn’t take care of you so you went to live with your grandma.”
“That’s true, but it all depends on how you define sick.” She replies shifting her weight on the bed.
Looking into her red-rimmed eyes he asks, “What did your mother do to you?”
“My father died when I was five. Our closest relatives lived five hundred miles away. There was no family close by for emotional support so I suppose that’s why Mother began drinking.
“See these scars?” Lisa asks, pointing to her bare arms and legs.
“My mother used to stick her lit cigarette to my skin when she was drunk. She thought it was funny. She often locked me in a dark closet where I sometimes stayed for a day or two. I was terrified of her.”
“Oh no, how terrible.” Doug says, pulling her closer.
Lisa gazes at a hurricane lamp and shudders at the memories.
“One night a neighbor heard me scream and called the police who found me locked in a closet—hungry, dirty, and terrified. A social worker placed me in a foster home while my mother was jailed a year for child abuse.
“When Grandma Miller heard what had happened, she took me home to live with her and Grandpa. I haven’t seen my mother since. Nightmares tortured me for a few years until they gradually disappeared.
"Granny said Mother called her about a year ago and wanted to get in touch with me. She said she had trusted Christ as her Savior and wanted to ask my forgiveness for abusing me. Granny encouraged me to see her but I just couldn’t.”
“What started up the nightmares again?”
“Monday night, after I nursed Amy, I decided to check my email. The inbox was empty except for one piece of spam entitled, Abused and Abandoned Children. Will you help?
“I opened the message and saw that a Christian organization had sent the spam. The article described how thousands of Russian children have been abused, neglected, and abandoned by their parents. The personal stories stirred up memories and terrors about my own abuse.”
Doug gently cups his wife’s face in his hands, gazes into her velvety brown eyes, and softly kisses her lips.
“Lisa, I realize you’ve been injured by your mother but I think you should see her. The Bible tells us to forgive those who have hurt us. It will also give you peace of mind. The spam email was no accident, it was from the Lord.”
Looking into Doug’s electric blue eyes Lisa is thankful to the Lord for giving her this loving and understanding man.
“I know you’re right, Hon. Since the email, I’ve been praying for courage. Talking to you has helped me see that I have to obey God and forgive my mother.”
A whimper comes from the nursery.
She stands and moves toward the door. “It’s time for me to feed Amy again.”
Doug entwines his fingers with Lisa’s as they leave the bedroom. “I’ll go with you, Love. We can pray together and continue to talk about this matter.
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