It was a perfect summer day to play in the park in small town Nebraska. We pumped ourselves high on the swings under shady green trees. We lay down on the merry-go-round getting dizzy under blue skies. Just two twelve-year-old’s enjoying life without a care, a bit of a rarity for me.
Feeling thirsty, we headed to my friend’s house at the edge of the park. His family lived above the tavern that his Dad operated. We would get to share a bottle of cold pop to quench our thirst.
We crossed the backyard, like so many times before, when our laughter was interrupted by a sudden attack by the family’s German Shepherd. Even though the dog was chained to a post, he managed to reach me and bite the left side of my abdomen. I ran four blocks home screaming and bleeding.
My dad cleaned the wound with hydrogen peroxide and wouldn’t let me cry. It burned so bad. He put on a light dressing. I didn’t see a doctor. I imagine my vaccines were up to date and I had my tetanus shot on board. The exhaustion of the shock and awe of the attack landed me in bed.
That wasn’t the end of it. Dad just had to take another piece of me while I tried to fight him off. No place safe. I was under attack again.
I had to choose if I would be a victim or a victor. Just like the German Shepherd on a chain, the shame, pain, and hurt of sexual abuse snapped its ugly jaws at me, seeking to devour my soul along with my psyche. I was a follower of Jesus Christ. He loved me and was aware of my struggles. He would help me overcome.
I slept until morning and headed to school. My friend told the dog attack story and I was hot stuff for a day. My scar reminds me despite the shock and pain, I can overcome an attack, whether from a four-legged or two-legged enemy. It takes courage, determination, and faith. Thank God for saving me.
Psalm 138:7 TLB
Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will bring me safely through them.
You will clench your fist against my angry enemies! Your power will save me.