The lady cop wouldn’t accept my answer.
She sat on the kid-sized chair in my bedroom, wearing her navy uniform. A black baton dangled from her belt and clanked against the side of my kid-sized table.
With every question she asked, I moved the head of my stuffed bear up-and-down for “yes” and side-to-side for “no.” I thought that made my yeses and my noes plenty clear. But the lady cop said I had to speak my answers. Apparently, the direction I moved my stuffed bear’s head wasn’t admissible in court.
I didn’t know what that meant. I just knew I hated mumbling the words.
Something about speaking the words made it more real. And I wanted it to be unreal. Like a bad dream I wanted to forget. But the lady cop wouldn’t let me. She kept asking questions and writing words on her notepad. Words I couldn’t see.
Back then there was no such thing as “me too.” Only “me.” Me and a very dark, secret thing. I didn’t have words for what had happened. But years later, I sat in a sex-ed class in the sixth grade while the teacher matter-of-factly explained what happens to a man’s body when aroused.
My mom had already told me where babies come from. I knew all that. But it wasn’t until that moment, sitting in a sixth-grade classroom, I realized…he actually enjoyed it.
I felt sick.
As soon as the school bell rang, I ran the entire way home. A latch-key kid, I let myself in and locked the door behind me. I spent the rest of the afternoon retching at the memory.
Today, women across America are speaking. With a mere five letters, women are piercing the silence — the silence of undeserved shame. It’s a sisterhood we never asked to be a part of. The #metoo sisterhood.
In the past two years, I’ve written and published over 150,000 words. I’ve shared hundreds of personal stories. Because that’s how I reach out, how I connect. I tell stories. But not one of them was my #metoo story. Some might call it shame. And maybe there’s some truth to that. But I also believe we’re more than the sum of one story, no matter how long or how dark. As long as we’re breathing, our story isn’t over yet.
There’s more story to write.
And I intend on writing a better story than the script I was handed when I was five years old.
You can too. It starts with another five letters: J-e-s-u-s.
For some, that may sound trite or silly or absurd. But the truth is, the only five letters that will ever succeed in writing a new story begins with Jesus. Just look at all the stories about Him. Every woman He met — the used, the abused, the forgotten, the cast-aside — they ran to Him. He was likely the first Man they ever met who made them truly feel safe. The first Man who looked into their eyes with deep compassion, without a trace of anything resembling a threat.
I’ve met Him too, in the pages of the greatest Story ever told.
Perhaps it’s ironic — the justice poetic — that what one man stole another Man restored.
I’m not saying everything will be cheery and rosy. The hard reality remains: we live in a fallen world. So, yeah, the first time my husband returned home from a week-long business trip, he found a large kitchen knife under his pillow. I had forgotten to put it back.
Our kids have whined about how “unfair” it is that we won’t let them stay the night at friends’ houses. Not happening.
And when I taught my teenage daughter how to drive, I had her practice parking in the grocery store parking lot. I told her to avoid shopping at night, but if she absolutely had to, I pointed out the lamps in the lot. Always park under the lights, I said. And never park next to a van. Circle the lot if you have to, but never park next to a van. And before you ever leave a store or even a friend’s house, dig through your purse and find your keys before you step outside.
We’ve had all the conversations. Because it’s better to talk about these things than pretend they don’t exist.
It’s what we do. Those of us who have known #metoo. We protect our daughters with a fierce vigilance that might seem over-the-top to some. But we don’t care. We never want our girls to go through what we’ve been through.
As a teacher, I’ve spent untold hours in the classroom, too, and there’s just this knowing. I can see it in their eyes, their body language. First one, then another, I’ve been the one she came too, the one she told her secret to, the one she trusted to help her find help, to help her hope again.
That’s what we can do today for our sisters, our daughters, our friends. We can say #metoo, but then we tell them the greatest truth of all…
Because of Jesus I’ve been set free.
Set free from the lie that our story is ruined. It isn’t!
Set free from the fear that no man can be trusted. Many can!
Set free from the worry that true intimacy isn’t possible. It is!
Because of His healing grace, my #metoo has become a #lookatwhatjesuscando!
The same can be true for you.
In lieu of a comments section, I accept and encourage letters. You may connect with me HERE.