Date Rape Journey (Part 6): Remodeling of the Heart~

Orchids gorgous

When my husband and I bought our home, we looked for something structurally sound but screaming, “I’m uglier than raw fish.” I soon found the eyesore online.

When we looked at the foreclosure, I saw zero potential. Someone who possibly built a bird house in seventh grade had obviously tried to remodel the wart on the Seattle’s Eastside housing market.

But trust me. He or she flunked on the bird house assignment. No. Doubt. Whatsoever.

For starters, missing appliances and plywood cabinets adorned the home. Cheap, old indoor outdoor carpeting looked like a 99 year old woman trying to act like a 20 year old.

That was only the beginning. We could see walls were moved at one time but created zero visual appeal.

Granted, the oddity boasted plenty of space for two people.

A tangled mess of wires in the crawl space acted like spaghetti noodles to feed two hundred teenaged boys.

Many potential home buyers looked at this nightmare house but knew the beast needed gutting and rebuilding. They realized the project required advanced skills, time and money to rebuild.

Orchids 2

The outside matched the inside. A large, rotten and unsafe deck provided a Texas-sized zit for the back entrance.

Another aspect of this masterpiece: A cheaply constructed, rickety wheelchair ramp beckoned the front entrance. If we ever needed a ramp, the inspectors certainly would laugh when they saw the dilapidated eyesore.

Too many other issues to list created a hodgepodge of problems not worth mentioning.

I couldn’t picture the structure looking livable – let alone beautiful.

Oh, and did I mention the pink ceiling? Pepto Bismol pink. I love pink, but really?! Even I have limits in the Pinky Department.

The previous owners saved the paint for the future buyers in case they needed to retouch. I laughed out loud when I noticed the paint cans.

Almost as soon as I entered the monstrosity,  I wanted to leave.

I saw no redemption, no hope and certainly no glory.

Enter my husband, who supervises major remodeling projects for high-end homes. Many of the homes range in the 1 to 2 million dollar price range prior to their remodeling.

After inspecting the structure he looked at me and said, “This has great potential!”


“Huh?” I’m sure my eyes grew larger than Reece’s peanut butter cups. What on earth was he thinking?

I frowned, wondering what he enjoyed about the uber ugly oddity.

Since I’ve seen his workmanship and heard homeowners rave about his skills, I listened. With his engineering degree, I trusted he knew the framing was sound.

They call him the “Master Craftsman” for a reason, although he could care less as humility runs through his blood.


We purchased the eyesore and lived in it while he gutted the structure and rebuilt the entire house.

Several years later, nothing in the home is original.

Except the kitchen sink. No kidding.

I asked if he could rebuild the dining room with a 45 degree doorway. Of course he could. I also asked him if he could create a small office off the living room with an angular doorway.

No problem.

Some of the framing looked odd to me in the beginning.


“Just trust me,” he responded.

Then he framed pillars for the living room. This scared me as they looked too large in proportion to the rest of the home.

He said, “We do this all the time.”

Well, maybe so, but those homes often run 4,000 square feet and upward.


“Just trust me.”

I sighed deeply, but said, “Okay.” I knew his ideas usually combined function with beauty.
 Little by little, the master craftsman remodeled the entire ugly mess into a lovely home.

The pillars created a lovely, elegant look. Not too large, as they created visual appeal.

We later rebuilt the yard by tearing out and rototilling, adding topsoil, sculpting burms, and designing curved flower beds. Then we planted bushes, trees and flowers.

People who saw the home before the remodel say they can barely believe it is the original structure.

What does gutting and remodeling have to do with my date rape journey?

Everything.

God stroke a radiant ray of hope across my heart to remind me He is remodeling my heart.


The Master Craftsman of the Universe can do anything.

My part is to trust him.

Why do I focus on my heart, instead of the heart of the robber of my soul?

Because I know control is an illusion. In other words, I can do nothing to change the rapist.

When I was 17, “date rape” wasn’t a phrase. Date rape wasn’t yet on the map. In those days, women were always blamed for the issue. Profoundly sad, but true.

I recognize he is a deeply wounded soul who used my curvy body to medicate his ravaged internal hurricane.

Through my tear-stained heart, I recognize God creating beauty from tragedy – as He so often does.

 

His penmanship writes grace out of the amass of bondage that once eclipsed my soul.

Although I mostly work with people high in the technology world, I counsel women who have experienced rape also.

I’d thought I’d entirely forgiven the robber of my soul, yet my body trembled and I gasped when I accidentally walked through the neighborhood where he once lived.

I’d arrived at the Seattle Lupus support group meeting half an hour early, and decided to walk through the adjoining neighborhood.

I didn’t realize the fraternities and sororities at the University of Washington resided next to the church used for lupus meeting.

The past few weeks I’ve been reprocessing the rape experience with another trauma therapist.

I feel God remodeling  my heart as my body responds much less to the triggers involved.

My breathing doesn’t quicken and I don’t feel anxious when I bring up the image I associate with the rape.


I’m still working through it, but already see how the hand of God is remodeling  my  heart.

Just as our home remodel required many steps, the remodel of a heart requires time and effort.

So far, the voyage of healing feels like a gift. I already feel compassion for the wounded soul who used me to drown his own sorrows.

Working through this wavy sea of tragedy, I remember him telling me about the hazing going on during his fraternity pledging experience.

Even at 17, I knew the fraternity abused their pledges. He said they robbed the guys of sleep for several days at a time, as one example.

Now, at age 53, I realize war camps use sleep deprivation as a method of torture. Most people don’t realize sleep deprivation can lead to a manic episode, as well. This may result in high risk behaviors.

This doesn’t explain everything, for sure.

Yet the background context helps my ravaged, raped soul to understand the system in which he lived.

I vaguely recall some other parts of the hazing rituals, which he’d told me about even though they threatened their pledges to secrecy.

The culture of secret-keeping creates a black hole of intense toxicity. As you may have heard, “We are as sick as our secrets.”

The cesspool of secrecy invades any sense of peace as the desire to connect on a soul level with another person – to expose your heart – involves risk.

Maybe the stench of secrecy captured my rapist’s life movie to such an extent he ruptured with internal pain.

This makes sense, in many ways, as people whose souls ruptured tend to rupture the souls of others.

This remembering of the details helps me to accept the sweet waterfall of peace and healing.

I know the remodeling of the heart is a gutting and a rebuilding of the savage raid of rape.

I know everything happens for a reason, even if I can’t understand why the story unfolded this way.

I certainly don’t pretend to have all the answers.

But despite the pain, I stand in awe as God helps me better understand the lovely broken souls who seek me out to grapple with their own journeys of rape.

And for this, I am eternally grateful.~

 

(Special thanks to Molbaks of Woodinville.)

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Excellent post – loved your analogy of home remodeling and what happens when God transforms our lives and heals old wounds. You have done enormous work on working on healing this part of your life. Blessings

    1. Thank you for your encouragement. I am amazed at how God uses our stories to help other people.

  2. Cherrie, may I make a suggestion? In your WordPress dashboard, can you go to the area where the social sharing buttons are and put in your Twitter username? (Without the @) That way, when someone hits share, the share is attributed to you and people know who to follow, plus it gives you a way of seeing who shares your work.

    God bless you!

    1. Thank you, Cate. I used to have the Twitter button there, but decided to go off Twitter. It was too time-consuming. It started to make my life more of a hassle. I thought I had it on there though. Thanks for your concern!

      1. My pleasure. You can shut down your Twitter account and it will delete after 30 days, but why not take advantage of it?

      2. I think my posts still show up in my Twitter feed but I’m not sure. I’ll have to check that out. Have a great week. 😊

      3. I have seen them on Twitter and shared them. You have a great week too.

      4. Oh, thank you Cate. Very kind of you. Hope you are feeling better!

      5. Thanks hon. Not great today. Praying for your achy, breaky back. 😉 (Thank God it’s not your heart!)

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