My father took things from me. After filling a supper plate for myself, sometimes my father would take it. Just as I was salivating at the smell of fried chicken or bean soup, he'd require me to give it up. And he stole my innocence when I was four, when he took me out to the half-picked cornfield in the big Nash and molested me.
I grew up on an Illinois farm where I learned to can corn, pluck chickens, and cut out weeds in the soybeans. However I also learned to trust no one, stuff my feelings, and tuck the family secret of my father's molestation into a dark corner of my mind.
At 20, just before I got married, Jesus took my hand. I felt safe with him, but I was afraid of his Father. He seemed a little too much like my father—distant, angry, powerful. I rejoiced in Jesus' sacrifice for me, but I didn't let him into my secrets. Until I had a baby, three years later, the childhood abuse stayed hidden.
In those early years of marriage nothing interested me, I didn't like myself much, and sometimes I couldn't get out of bed in the morning. I cooked meals and washed clothing, but dishes piled up in the sink and dust accumulated in the living room.
Twice in the two years after childbirth, I experienced not just depression, but much more serious mental illness, even losing touch briefly with ordinary reality. With much prayer and support from God's people, I recovered. But that experience and the stress of those years opened an opportunity for Father-God to give me a much deeper healing. God brought my father's betrayal into the light, and whispered to my soul, "Karen, you have deeply rooted weeds in your heart. Let me pull them."1