Owning my part in less than functional family
dynamics has taken me to more than a few dark and painful
places. Being honest about and shedding light on them is a
critical first step toward healing and growth. Kierkegaard’s
observation that “Life can only be understood backwards; but
it must be lived forwards” comes to mind. I mostly learn in
hindsight. A dark and painful experience taught me that as a
mom I always need to listen to my gut.
There is a church that our family fully participated in
for over seventeen years. This community experienced a
number of painful situations throughout these years. Two of
the crises involved the revelation of sexual abuse of children.
Even writing these words brings up visceral feelings and a
gnawing pit deep in my gut. The details of these stories include
the abuse of power by those in trusted positions, the
victimization of young children and teenage boys, the suicide
of a perpetrator, and individual and church blindness
accompanied by very dark and secret pain and suffering.
Comfort with the status quo opened the door to insidious evil
that thrived in darkness for years but was then jolted into the
After the shock and horror subsided in each of these
cases, there were gentle invitations to learn and grow as a mom
and member of a faith community. It was brutal yet critical that
I look in the mirror and seek my own role in letting evil run
rampant in a place that I loved. As a mom, I had to confess the
“things I had left undone.”12 This included times that people
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