Mercy in the Middle


My husband and I spent yesterday off by ourselves on the motorcycle.  There is nothing better to tangle your hair and untangle your thoughts than a day spent on the bike.

One of my favorite things to do on the bike is to throw on my MP3 player.  It is full of my therapy music – some of it happy and upbeat and some of it angry.  One of the songs that I often skip is by Amy Grant.  It isn’t a well known song, but it is a song that strikes me in a very deep place.

ASK ME

I see her as a little girl hiding in her room
She takes another bath and she sprays her Momma’s perfume
To try to wipe away the scent he left behind
But it haunts her mind

You see she’s his little rag, nothing more than just a waif
And he’s mopping up his need, she is tired and afraid
Maybe she’ll find a way through these awful years to disappear

Ask me if I think there’s a God up in the heaven
Where did He go in the middle of her shame?
Ask me if I think there’s a God up in the heavens
I see no mercy and no one down here’s naming names
Nobody’s naming names

Now she’s looking in the mirror at a lovely woman face
No more frightened little girl, like she’s gone without a trace
Still she leaves the light burning in the hall
It’s hard to sleep at all

So she crawls up in her bed acting quiet as a mouse
Deep inside she’s listening for a creaking in the house
But no one’s left to harm her, she’s finally safe and sound
There’s a peace she has found

Ask her how she knows there’s a God up in the heaven
Where did He go in the middle of her shame?
Ask her how she knows there’s a God up in the heavens
She said His mercy is bringing her life again

Ask me how I know there’s a God up in the heaven
(How do you know?)
Where did He go in the middle of her shame
(Where did he go?)
Ask me how I know there’s a God up in the heavens
(How do you know?)
She said His mercy is bringing her life again
She’s coming to life again
He’s in the middle of her pain
In the middle of her shame
Mercy brings life
He’s in the middle
Mercy in the middle

So ask me how I know
Ask me how I know, yeah
Ask me how I know there’s a God up in the heavens
(How do you know?)
Ask me how I know there’s a God up in the heavens
(How do you know?)
Yeah, ask me how I know
(How do you know?)
Ask me
Ask me
Ask me how I know
(How do you know?)
There’s a God up in the heavens
Ask me how I know there’s a God up in the heavens

I don’t think there is any need to explain the song.  It is pretty clear what she is talking about.  It is a sad reality that for some reason – children who are survivors of sexual assault are more likely to be assaulted as adults.  It is nothing that the victim has done and they can’t really seem to find a good reason for it.  I believe I have a big sticker on my forehead that is only visible to perverts and pigs that says – “Rape me.”

I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse.  It seemed to be the “thing” in my small town and was perpetrated mostly by the older boys.  In fact, one of my very first memories is of my foster brother making me touch him.  I was three years old. 

I didn’t skip the song on this ride.  I actually listened to it twice.  Nice thing about a motorcycle is that you can say the “wind got in my eyes” when you get caught being tearful.  It really gets you thinking…

Where is the “mercy?”  How does all of this play out?  No one named names and those people continue on with their lives seemingly unaffected.  This is my “angry at God” song and it is also my “At peace with God song” all at the same time. 

Yes, I get angry with God.  I get angry with him quite a bit.  I figure that God knows that I am angry or that I am hurting and it is just better to be honest about it with Him.  Bottled up anger leads to bitterness – and I know all to well what “bitter” people are like.  They are called bitter for a reason.

Still, I find a lot of peace in this song.  There was “mercy in the middle” even though it is hard to see.  First of all – I survived.  Even with the “scars” I am still here and I am still contributing.  I would be lying if I said that I have never once felt like ending it all.  Most of us who live through this can’t help but wonder, at some point in our lives, if there isn’t peace in death.  How quick and painless it could be.  But we continue to choose life.  Second – I am not a bitter person – at least I don’t think I am.  Brigid…anything to add?  I try to live a life of non-confrontation.  I just want all of us to play nice in the world’s giant sandbox.  Share our toys, speak kindly and not be throwing the sand.  Family, friends, laughter, love and joy are such an important part of my existence.  I admit that I am a goof-ball!  I like to hear laughter – even if it is directed at me.  Finally, I know that God is love.  In the Gospels Jesus said that of all the commandments the most important is to Love God and to Love your neighbor as yourself.  Being loved.  Having precious friends in your life and having supporting families is so important.  I have been given great mercy in that respect.

If you have found this by accident and you are going through this now – please reach out.  Don’t hesitate to contact Brigid and I.  There is mercy in the middle and we want to be part of your healing.  Even though we are still healing ourselves.

Joan

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6 Responses to “Mercy in the Middle”

  1. enemyinthewire Says:

    Dear Joan,
    You just had to pull out my favoriate of all, Amy Grant, huh? I get what you are saying, it is one of my favorite songs by her, but always painful to listen to, which is why I usually skip it too.

    Your faith has been a rock for you, as mine once was for me. I think that God gave us mercy by getting us away from our abusers. But we need even more. I have a weakness of spirit that I don’t think anything will heal, but here I am, trying everyday. Just like you.

    Maybe God’s mercy was allowing us to find each other. That was one of the greatest gifts he ever gave either of us, other than our children. I do thank God everyday that you are a part of me.

    Loves ya Chica!
    Brigid

  2. enemyinthewire Says:

    Brigid,

    I agree! God’s mercy is evident in that we have one another. I hate that we both had to live through this, continue to live through this, but at least neither of us ever has to walk alone.

    Love Ya!

    Joan

  3. jayherron Says:

    I feel it IS our faith that pulls us through. There is truly a God-but we have to endure much to understand that there are things we will never understand.
    I get angry too-and shake my fist up towards the sky-at God…and usually weep and saying how much I love God-at the same time.

    Children and abusers are one of those places where l get sad and sorely angry at God.
    In the book of Isaiah it tells us there is ‘no searching Gods’ understanding.
    Ive come to accept-that is so!
    Can’t explain it and sure don’t understand it…I dunnoe.
    Blank!

    Today is a day in the month where this old guy and myself meet at our cemetery. An old historic graveyard-here in central Florida-quaint,used in a movie or two…spooky-and the old Spanish moss trimmed granddaddy oaks make this a coveted place too visit.
    A bunch of kids are buried there-so there are myriad things to want to understand,and we cannot.
    That is why I always liked the image of Jesus (God) and Peter out standing/walking on the water together.
    I like the pureness-and the math of it…one on one with God-in a void-that is not empty,but filled of this great pureness.
    I can travel to the ocean easily-and do so when I need that Spiritual connection. I walk way up to the waters edge-the sound soothing-and the vision of the empty sky and the open sea. You understand then.

    peace

  4. enemyinthewire Says:

    I have come to learn that although we are all made in God’s image – we don’t always reflect God. (ie…the abusers) However, since we are made in His image, every emotion that we have belongs to God as well. The Old Testament bears out well that God gets angry.

    I think that God would rather have us true to our feelings than to tried to hide our hearts. God knows and sees, whether we admit our rage or not, and you can still love someone in your anger. It is only in true Love that we are able to trust someone enough to say, “I’m angry at the circumstances and I am angry that you allowed it.” I think that only then can we begin to find healing.

    Joan

  5. Susie Says:

    Hi. I wanted to ask a question. I think my nephew might have been a victim of rape. I say this because for the past two summers, he has gone away to camp. Both times that he returns, he has very little to say about camp. I have to constantly question him just to see if he enjoyed himself. I am fearful that something may have happened to him away at camp. The thing is, he was so far away – all the way in Maine. We live in the New York City. And I know all to well of people covering things up in the name of saving face. Basically, my question is, how can I help and support my nephew? I have asked him very directly if anyone touched him while at camp. He says no. But his behavior is different. At school, the counselor and soccer coach have told my sister that my nephew walks around looking very sad. They even wondered if he had any friends. There must be a reason why my nephew is walking around looking sad. And I am so afraid that someone may have hurt him at camp. What can I do? How can I help my little nephew?

    • enemyinthewire Says:

      Hi, Susie,

      I am so sorry that your family is going through this. I am certainly no expert in this field, other than knowing what happened to me. However, I have lived through this with my own son – who revealed after 10 years that he was sexually assaulted by a neighbor.

      I’m not how old your son is but I would say for certain that SOMETHING happened at camp. The good news is that it might not be sexual in nature. I spent every summer going to a Bible camp and usually had a great time – but some summers were just HELL. Children can be cruel and I had a couple of girls that made my week a living hell.

      The bad news is that it might be sexual. Camps are often a breeding ground for sexual predators. They are able to have a captive audience with a power imbalance that makes it easy for them.

      Just because he says “no” to your question doesn’t mean the answer is “no.” There is so much shame – especially for a male – that it makes things very hard to share. Even with those that they love.

      How to help is another matter. Right now, love him and listen to him! Talk to him and tell you him you are concerned about his sadness. He may be being bullied in school or just not feeling that he has any friends.

      You may want to have the parents talk with the counselor at school as well. Do they share your concerns?

      If you would like – you may email me privately at enemyinthewire@hotmail.com. We can go more indepth if you need to.

      Your nephew is in my prayers!

      Joan

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