As a spiritual man one of the hardest passages in the Bible I come to grips with is when the apostle Paul talks about forgetting the past. He talks about not achieving all that God has in store for him just yet but he strives for a goal. I strive for a goal of a better future. I’ve struggled my entire life to escape the past. One of my favorite songs has the lyrics of “Remember me not as you see; as I will be not as I am.” For the life of me I can’t remember what the song is but the words were penned by Kerry Livgren of the rock group
. Those that really know me and I’m not sure anyone really does know me as a whole which includes family and the many acquaintances I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and being with my entire life. Even being with one woman for over 20 years I really don’t think she fully knows or understand all that is within me. I strive today to become all that God has intended for me. Forgetting the former things, I reach for the goal that lies ahead. I want to say as a victim of sexual abuse the past does not hold me in the grips of pain, fear, shame, or embarrassment anymore. Kansas
Yes I have a bad rap sheet of the many things I’ve done to cope with the past. I no longer hide behind the many masks that I used to put on. I no longer pretend to try and be someone that I’m not. I have come to like myself. There is no one even close to being as uniquely made as I am. I am special. I make no apologies for what was once a shell of the man. I wanted to be so much more but felt like I could never attain. It led to many feelings of inadequacies, anger, aloneness, frustrations and so many more. The woman I married would say from time to time she knew I was miserable inside. I never felt like I could really express all that was within me. I myself was clueless somehow. If I really understood how simple a concept it really was to confront the past. It was much harder in reality to do so. I felt less of a man to say the very least. I know I’m not the only guy that has and is going through all that I have gone through. I personally know of at least six guys that have opened up and shared their story of being sexually abused by both other men and women with me. I know there are many others out there. I know you. I may not recognize it. You hide it well. I know you hide behind a false façade, you drink, you party, and you have your secret addictions. Your wife is concerned but hasn’t got a clue of what really troubles you so deeply. You yourself don’t even realize what the driving force behind what you do really and in your wake you leave people hurt and used and abused. I know I’ve been there.
I’m here today to say you can change. You can have life worth living. You can know a joy and a peace in your heart and in your soul. There is relief and it’s not found in a bottle. It’s not found in a woman or man for some of you. It’s not found in something you smoke, swallow or snort up your nose. That’s not the way to deal with the past. It takes a man to do so. I didn’t recover on my own. No. I had a lot of support from my friends at S.N.V. I prayed. I read many other survivor stories. I read the Bible. But most of all I talked about my past. My past doesn’t make me who I am. It does not define who I am. It does not control what I do or what I say. I speak about it only because I have the strength within me to do so. I want to prevent as many children from the tragic effects of sexual abuse. I want you to experience the freedom and escape of your own nightmare. It will be in silence that you will not escape. Healing begins when you speak out and confront and not cover it up. It takes a man to stand. Call SNV or contact me and make a stand with me to save our children, save your marriage and save your own self. When you see me today I want you to know I am not as I once was. I will not be tomorrow as I am today. I will be stronger. I will be better. I will be moving forward continuously in my quest to be the best man I can be. Join me as iron sharpens iron so does man sharpen man. I need you. You need me.
Let’s do this together. You my friend are not alone. Here’s to a brighter future. Put your sunglasses on.
Article by Jack Stoskopf