The Process of Forgiveness After Discovering Your Child Has Been Abused
Updated: May 24, 2022
Discovering your child has been molested is devastating. Our Faith on the Journey Counselor, Dr. Jennifer Davis, shares her testimony of forgiveness, healing, and restoration after this tragedy hit her home. Here's a preview of the interview below.
This post is modified from transcripts of Jennifer Davis’ interview, airing May 26, 2022, on Youtube and our Podcast channels.
When I found out that all three of my children were molested, I felt so many emotions. The first one was anger. One would think my anger was primarily directed at the person who did this to my children. And yes, I did feel anger towards them, but a majority of my anger was directed towards myself.
I felt like…
“I should've known better.”
“I should have protected them.”
There was also a lot of sorrow and grief for the innocence that my children had lost.
I felt a ton of guilt, and God has to remind me daily that there's no room for guilt in this battle and healing process.
It took a lot of work for me to get to a place of peace and forgiveness…work that required some wrestling matches with God.
I wish I could say I just hit my knees and prayed every day, which I did do, but I also spent a lot of time in my bathroom after my children went to sleep crying and saying things to God that you should probably never repeat.
Questions like, why did this happen?
Why are you bringing this into our lives?
Why is this our story?
I was also very careful about disclosing what happened to others. For one, because it wasn't just my story. It was my children's story too.
Thankfully, God brought the right people in my life who I could share my heart with. I spoke to a good friend, who had gone through something similar.
I told her about all of the guilt I was carrying for not knowing that my children were molested.
Frankly, I’m a trained counselor who specializes in this type of work. “I should’ve known,” I told her.
And she told me exactly what I needed to hear.
If your children did not want you to know what happened, there is no way you would have known.
She said, when it happened to her as a child, she was such a good actress. She would lie through her teeth. She had reasons for not disclosing what had happened to her parents.
Eventually, I found out my children had their reason for not telling me. My children were told things like, if you say anything to your mom, I’m going to kill her, or you guys will go to jail because you did something wrong. So there was a lot of shame that God had to heal them from too, and a lot of lies that we had to uncover.
Through my time of recovery, I had to learn that it was okay not to be okay. I was brutally honest with God about all my emotions. I had to get to the very nitty-gritty with myself and God. The process wasn’t fun, but I had to get what was on my heart out. I had to allow God to heal me.
I had to get to the point where I can sit here today and say that I have totally forgiven that person. I just see them as a person with sin in their life.
Me not forgiving them, me hating or despising them, isn't going to do anything to them. They probably could care less at this point, and me holding resentment in my heart towards them would continue to poison me, which I wasn't going to allow in my house.
And that was one of the other things that I realized on my healing journey. We can continue to sit in this anger and hurt or we could work on moving forward.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn't about “getting over it” because you never fully get over it. But you do need God to heal your heart.
Forgiving the person who harmed my children was a necessary step I had to take in order to move forward, and it wasn’t easy.
I always tell people that healing comes in stages for most of us. Some people wake up and God has just taken their pain away. They're restored, and they’ve forgiven. But for most people, it's a process.
Maybe the fact that you don't want to go over to their house and yell at them in their face is a step for you. THAT’S PROGRESS.
And I think sometimes, especially as believers, we believe since we’re called to forgive, we need to forgive immediately. But sometimes I think God must take some of us through the process of forgiveness because there's so much to be learned on that journey.
Check out the full interview HERE. Want to connect with Jennifer? Visit our website at faithonthejourney.org/jenniferdavis