Category Archives: A Girl Named Little

>A Girl Named Little – Part 5

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“I need to tell you something about your grandpa,” Little heard her mom’s voice say over the phone.  Sitting alone in her college apartment, Little’s stomach started to churn, her hands started to sweat.  Mom’s voice sounded concerned.  Could she know something?  How?  Or maybe he’s sick, in the hospital, dead.  Little’s mind sped through a million possibilities in just a few seconds.

“What’s going on?”
“Well, it’s crazy.  These two little girls in his neighborhood have claimed that he exposed himself to them.”
Little felt instantly queasy, lightheaded, short-of-breath. ‘Oh God,’ she thought.  ‘This is it…it’s all going to come out now…and I’m not the only one.’  Anger, disgust, rage, hurt, fear all surged through her simultaneously.  She tried to stay focused on her mother’s words…to act surprised, unaffected.
“Huh,” was the only sound she could get out.
Her mother continued, “They say that they were riding their bikes down the street and he exposed himself through the front window.  These little girls are trouble makers, though.  You know he would never do anything like that.  I have no idea why they are making up such a horrible thing.”
Little couldn’t speak…what could she say?  Should she confess her secret?  Everything in her wanted to say, “No!  You’re wrong!  He would do something like this!  He did this to me, and even worse!”  But she couldn’t…the words were stuck…fear overwhelmed…nothing came.
Finally Little asked, “So, what’s going to happen?”
“Well, this has actually been going on for a little while, but I didn’t tell you sooner because I didn’t want to worry you.  Now it’s going to court, so I thought you should know.  But we have letters from a bunch of neighbors supporting your grandfather.  Those girls make up lies all the time.  I’m sure the judge will see that they are lying and that your grandfather would never do such a thing.”
And Little didn’t tell…and the judge ruled in favor of her grandfather…and those girls were called liars…and her guilt and shame grew.
  • Painful secrets don’t sit dormant.  They are a breeding ground for guilt, shame, self-hatred and doubt.
  • Painful secrets don’t heal themselves.  Healing requires truth and light.
  • Painful secrets don’t only hurt their holder.  They create a wall of fear which separates their holder from truly loving others, and so the hurt spreads.

>A Girl Named Little – Part 4

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A Bit About Little
“We’re moving.” Little’s mom and dad were sitting in front of her, looking a little bit nervous about what they were saying, worried that Little would be upset. “Your dad has been transferred to Colorado.”

Little had only ever lived in the same small town in California. She was only 9 years old, but her childhood ended 3 years ago when her grandfather first touched her. She had lived an entire lifetime in that small town, and she was ready to leave. She would surely miss her friends, and she was afraid of the unknown that awaited her in Colorado, but the joy of moving away from her grandfather wiped away the fears.

‘It’s almost over,’ Little thought. ‘I can’t believe it’s almost over.’

What Little didn’t realize at her young age was that, although she could run from her circumstances, she could not run from her broken soul. And time does not necessarily heal all wounds.

Little would spend the next 11 years believing she had successfully escaped her grandfather…believing that what he did had no effect on her. Her depression? Insecurity? Fear? Self-hated? Those didn’t come from what her grandfather had done…no…those were her fault. If she only read her Bible more, prayed longer, then she’d feel better.

Little couldn’t see how the tendrils of shame were wrapped around her soul…she couldn’t see how those 3 years had transformed her entire being…made her a different person than she would otherwise have been.

Eventually the tendrils would slowly let loose, one at a time, but not until Little learned to face the pain, admit the truth, and share her secret.

But that’s a story for another day…

>A Girl Named Little, Part 3 – The Shame That Grows

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A Bit About Little
Little was sitting on his lap again.  “Why don’t I just say no?  Why do I sit on his lap when he says to?  This is all my fault.”  They were on the back patio, sitting on an old, faded blue metal patio chair.  Grandma was inside cooking or sewing or cleaning.  Little didn’t know which, but she wished Grandma would come outside.  Grandpa had one hand on her breast and one hand on her pants, as if these were just norm­­al places to rest his hands.  He was talking about something, but Little wasn’t listening.   She was distracted by her discomfort…her fear…her self-berating. 

Suddenly there was a sound from the back door. Grandma was coming!  Little jumped up and sprinted to the door to greet her!   
“Hi Grandma!”  Little was almost breathless from her excitement. 
“Hi Little,” Grandma answered.  “I just wanted you to know that we’ll have dinner in about a half hour.”
“Okay Grandma, “ Little said through the screen door.   “Are you coming outside?”
“No sweetie.  I have to cook dinner now.”
“Okay.”  Little felt defeated…her excitement faded. 

She walked back to Grandpa.  She didn’t know why she went back to him, but somehow she just knew that he would expect her to…and that she had to.

“Come sit back down, Little.” Grandpa said.  So she did.  His hands went back into position, and he whispered in her ear, “Don’t jump up like that when Grandma comes, or she’ll figure out our secret.” 

‘Our little secret,’ Little thought to herself, ‘this is all my fault.’
 
A Bit of Inspiration
Shame.  It’s the fungus that grows in the darkness of our secrets. 

It’s one of the things that makes me really angry with Adam and Eve (another is the whole “pain in childbirth” thing…could’ve done without that, thank you Eve).  Before the whole fruit incident, Adam and Eve didn’t feel any shame.  They experienced total freedom…nakedness.   

“Adam and his wife were naked and felt no shame.”  Gen. 2:25 

Naked.  The thought of it makes middle-schoolers giggle and newlyweds smile.  And although Adam and Eve were physically naked, there was much more to this word than simply not wearing any clothes.  No, this was more…something much deeper and more intimate than physical nakedness.  This was true freedom.  Complete vulnerability…complete openness…complete knowing…complete sharing…with no shame…no guilt…no hiding…no secrets.  This characterized their relationship with each other and with the Lord. 

Then came the aforementioned fruit incident.  And now they hid.  First they hid their bodies, Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”  (Gen 3:7, NIV)  The first secret…born out of shame.  Then, to top it off, they tried to hide from God.  Okay, seriously, they hid behind a bush in the garden that God had created…did they really think He wouldn’t find them?  Probably not.  But their shame drove them into hiding. 

There is an interesting dichotomy that exists between shame and secrets.  We keep a secret because we are ashamed of something, and our shame grows in the darkness of our secret.  As long as we bury that secret…deep into the soil of our soul…the shame grows.   

But there is a way to break this cycle, and although it is not easy, it is necessary.  The only way to get rid of the shame is to cut it off at its source…the secret.   Whether our secret is born of our own sin or of someone else’s sin (as it was for Little) we must bring that secret into the light…we must tell the truth. 

Little does eventually tell the truth…but that is still much further along in our story.   I hope you’ll keep coming back to hear more about her journey.  But for now, I’ll leave you with this….

Are you holding a secret, born out of shame, that is now breeding more and more shame in your soul?  Is it heavy?  If so, please…I beg of you…consider telling the truth…consider shining light on those hidden places. 

If you have no one you can tell, then tell me.  Leave it here as an anonymous post, or email me at kim@gobruces.com.  I can’t solve your problem…but I can listen, and I can pray for you. 

A Girl Named Little, Part 2 – A Childlike Faith

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A bit about Little
“One in every three females will be sexually abused in some manner in their lifetime.”  Little was in the car with her mom when she heard this on the radio.  It had been at least a year since that fateful night when her grandfather offered to stay home from a family trip to the movies to babysit her.  At least a year since the first time he touched her and forced her to touch him. 
Over that year, Little had grown numb to the weight of the secret she was carrying.  She had made a choice not to tell; not to risk upsetting her family; and although she was terrified, she was going to stick to that decision. 
Little couldn’t stop thinking about what she had just heard.  “One in every three,” the radio announcer had said.
‘Okay,’ thought Little, ‘if it’s one in every three, and I am one, then I can pick two other girls to never have to go through this.”  Little was only 7 years old.  She didn’t understand statistics.  So she said a prayer, right there in the car, in silence of course, for her two best friends.  “God, I pick Tanya and Jenny.  I’ll be the one for the three of us.  Now they will be safe.  Now they will never be abused.”  Little wasn’t really asking, she was telling.  It gave her a good feeling to be able to save her friends, since it was too late for anyone to save her.  Not many things gave her a really good feeling anymore, but protecting her friends…that was worth feeling good about!
A bit of Inspiration
One question that I’m sure Little will want to ask in Heaven is, “God, did you protect Tanya and Jenny… Did you honor that innocent yet profound prayer spoken from the heart of a young child?”  She’ll ask that question only because she has now grown up, and as a ‘grown-up’ she wonders.
But if Little had gone to Heaven while she was still ‘little,’ she wouldn’t have thought to ask…she would have simply assumed it had been done.
Somewhere in the process of growing up…in the midst of all of our learning, growing and maturing, we lose something important…childlike faith.  
Mark 10:14-15 says, “…Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  (NIV)   The Message version of verse 15 says, “Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”
Little saw God with simplicity.  She asked fully expecting to receive, and it brought her a joy that nothing else in her life could bring her.  If she couldn’t trust that God would answer her prayer, there would have been nothing to feel good about. 
As an adult, I don’t just accept God’s faithfulness so easily.  I question, I explain, I analyze.  I put God in a “logic box,” so that I can maybe grasp some sort of understanding of what is happening around me.  If I learn to really trust His faithfulness and if I expect Him to fulfill His promises, I might have a lot more to feel good about as well!
What does a ‘childlike faith’ look like to you?  Do you know any adults who have one?  Do you have one?

(Keep checking back for more about Little’s story…there’re so many secrets to uncover.)

>The Weight of Our Secrets and the Freedom of Letting Go (or, A Girl Named “Little”).

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This post is the first in a series.  Each post will begin with a bit of Little’s story (Little is a fictional name, but a real girl), and end with a bit of inspiration.  I hope you enjoy it…I hope it speaks to you….and I hope you add a comment to let me know.
Part 1 – A Secret is Born..The First Weight
A bit of Little’s story…It was 1977, and the girl named “Little” was 6 years old. 
“We’re going to a movie,” Little’s mom said.  “It’s called Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind.”
“That sounds really scary mom.  I don’t want to go,” said Little.
Mom sighed, “Honey there’s no one to stay home with you.  We’re all going.”
Little looked up at her family members all standing in the kitchen of her grandparents’ house.  Her dad, mom, two brothers, grandma and grandpa looked back at her with awaiting looks.  ‘So, let’s go,’ is what she read on their faces. 
Little’s grandpa spoke up, “Oh, I don’t care so much about that movie.  I’ll stay home with Little. You all go ahead.”  Little’s mom started to object, “She’ll be fine…just come wi…”  but Grandpa interrupted, “No, really.  I’m happy to stay home with her.” 
‘Whew,’ Little thought, ‘saved by Grandpa!  Now I can stay here, read books, watch TV and eat ice cream, with no scary alien movie!’
But Little didn’t know that the events of this night would change her life forever…would change her forever.  It was on this night that a 6 year old girl named “Little” would lose her innocence…lose her trust…lose her safe place. 
This was also the night that Little picked up a heavy weight… the weight of a secret….a weight she would carry alone for 14 years. 
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A bit of Inspiration…
If you’ve ever worked out at a gym, you’ve probably watched the following scene play out at some point…
A guy decides to saunter into one of the group exercise classes (usually 95% populated by women) just to see what it’s about.  Or maybe to meet a girl…or maybe just to show off…or maybe to actually get a good work out.  After some stretching and warming-up, the class members are instructed to get a pair of weights for the next set of exercises.  “Remember, start light,” the trainer says. 
The guy watches the ladies choosing weights labeled 2lbs and 3lbs.  He looks at these slim ladies…looks at his toned biceps…and chooses the 5lbs.   He doesn’t want to look like a show-off by choosing the 10lbs weights, but he has to choose heavier weights than the ladies.  Plus, 5lbs is nothing…they almost fly off the weight rack as he picks them up.
As the workout begins, all is going well for our guy.  The exercises are mostly yoga-type poses…calm…slow.  In most of them, the class members are instructed to hold their weights out to the side, or in front.  No multiple reps…just steady, continual weight bearing. 
At first this is easy, but about 15 minutes into this class, our guy starts to sense that the weights are feeling a bit heavier.   Ten more minutes go by, and he’s wondering if they are mislabeled…these no longer feel like the airy 5 pounders anymore.  Or maybe someone switched his 5lbs weights with 15lbs weights when he wasn’t looking.  These things are heavy, and getting heavier by the moment. 
As hard as our guy tries, he eventually has to give up.  These small 5lbs weights are now too heavy to bear…his muscles are too tired to hold them any longer.  He sets his weights down, pretends that he sees someone he knows across the gym, and leaves the room. 
 
Little carries the weight of a secret.  She thinks she can carry it alone.  She thinks that if she just keeps carrying it…trying to pretend that it doesn’t exist…it will eventually go away.  The truth is, though, that the weight of a secret grows heavier, and heavier, and heavier the longer we carry it…until we can carry it no longer.  Then what do we do?  The answer isn’t easy…but it is simple.  And it brings freedom beyond compare.  (But that’s a few posts down the road, so stick with me!)
In The Weight of Our Secrets and the Freedom of Letting Go – Part 2, we’ll hear more about Little, and we’ll hear what happens to her under the weight of her secret.  But for now, I ask you this…is there a secret that you carry?  It could be something that happened to you, something that you’ve done, or something that you are still doing.  Are you carrying it alone?  Do you feel it getting heavier? 
If yes, ask God to begin to prepare you to tell your secret.  Then keep reading this series, and lets just see where God takes us…you, me and Little…together.