#Mercy & Grace · Amy Grant · Bible Study · Church of England · Felixstowe · Growing in God · Lent · poem · Prayer

Mercy & Grace – Day 23

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Mercy & Grace – 40 Days with the Music of Amy Grant

Day 23 – Monday after 4th Sunday of Lent

These Reflections which take the music of Amy Grant as their theme, were originally published in Lent 2015.  They are being republished during the Covid19 pandemic which is affecting the whole world

Please Note – TRIGGER WARNING

This song is about sexual abuse.
If you’ve been there you know,
If you’re still there hang on.
If it hurts too much, don’t read this post, pamper yourself, and come back tomorrow
All of you are in my daily prayers
 

To Read:  

From the Scriptures:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.   (Isaiah 43.1b-2)

 

From Amy Grant:                                  “Ask Me”

I see her as a little girl hiding in her room
She takes another bath and she sprays her Momma’s perfume
To try to wipe away the scent he left behind
But it haunts her mind

You see she’s his little rag, nothing more than just a waif
And he’s mopping up his need, she is tired and afraid
Maybe she’ll find a way through these awful years to disappear

Ask me if I think there’s a God up in the heaven
Where did He go in the middle of her shame?
Ask me if I think there’s a God up in the heavens
I see no mercy and no one down here’s naming names
Nobody’s naming names

Now she’s looking in the mirror at a lovely woman face
No more frightened little girl, like she’s gone without a trace
Still she leaves a light burning in the hall
It’s hard to sleep at all

So she crawls up in her bed acting quiet as a mouse
Deep inside she’s listening for a creaking in the house
But no one’s left to harm her, she’s finally safe and sound
There’s a peace she has found

Ask her how she knows there’s a God up in the heaven
Where did He go in the middle of her shame?
Ask her how she knows there’s a God up in the heavens
She said His mercy is bringing her life again

Ask me how I know there’s a God up in the heaven
(How do you know?)
Where did He go in the middle of her shame?
(Where did he go?)
Ask me how I know there’s a God up in the heavens
(How do you know?)
She said His mercy is bringing her life again
She’s coming to life again

He’s in the middle of her pain, In the middle of her shame
(Mercy brings life)
He’s in the middle, Mercy in the middle

So ask me how I know
Ask me how I know, yeah
Ask me how I know there’s a God up in the heavens
(How do you know?)
Ask me how I know there’s a God up in the heavens
(How do you know?)
Yeah, ask me how I know
(How do you know?)
Ask me, Ask me
Ask me how I know
(How do you know?)
There’s a God up in the heavens
Ask me how I know there’s a God up in the heavens

 

To Listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EA0ZKOPPuB4

 

To Reflect: 

When I first heard this song, and realised what it’s words were saying, I wept.

Amy wrote these words about a friend who had survived incest as long ago as 1991 when no one was ‘naming names’ and it was hard to speak out.  It required courage for Amy to do this but she would say the bravest person was her friend.

Abuse of all kinds, but especially sexual abuse, is far more common than any society would like to own.  I was living in South Africa when the song was released.  At that time statistics showed that 1 in 4 girls and as many as 1 in 8 boys were sexually abused in some way before they were 25 years old.  These are horrendous figures that sadly, are mirrored in many nations across the world.  Some would even say that the more ‘developed’ a nation is the greater is the risk for children and young people to be abused.  This is not an easy truth to hear.

In the United Kingdom, and I hope elsewhere in the world, people have begun to find their voice and journey towards some sort of healing.  I am not sure anyone can ever be truly healed from abuse as the wounds run so deep.  I am thankful that these previously silent voices are beginning to be heard.  They are not easy voices to hear; uncertain and angry, desperate and demanding, they cannot be argued away and must not be hidden.  I remember listening to heart-breaking stories in places such as General Synod where the Church of England finally faced those whom it did not protect.  I hung my head in shame and wept at what had been done by my brother clergy.

Sadly, it will take generations for us to learn to be more human to each other and no longer see the innocent as ‘rags to mop up our need’.  We are getting better at caring for God’s little ones but I do not think (though pray God I am wrong) that we will ever rid the world of this scourge this side of eternity.

Person in dark hallWhat are we to do?  How are we to speak for those who have been hurt and those yet to be molested?  Yes, we can put in extra safeguards – which should have always been there.  Yes, we can encourage people to speak out when abused and compel professionals to report incidents.  Yes, we can, (and are) prosecuting offenders, convicting them, and sending them to jail.  But what about the survivors?  Compensation may be given to some, but Pound notes make poor bandages for deep wounds….

Amy’s friend learnt about mercy.  A difficult concept as it somehow speaks about the ‘guilt’ of the survivor of abuse.  When a survivor of abuse feels guilty it is inappropriate and deeply wrong, (we know name it as victim blaming) but for many it remains real. Deep hurtful things have been done to them that should never have happened and many end up blaming themselves, especially when someone whom they have trusted was the perpetrator. This is a ‘false guilt’ but it still hurts and haunts and assaults the survivor.  Little wonder that many keep silent.

Giving your pain to ‘The One who Loves us Best’, especially when you have been betrayed by those who should have loved you better, is hard and I hesitate to offer any advice at all.  Suffering can be vicarious – this is especially so for unwarranted suffering and abuse. Handing the wounds over to Him who from Calvary onwards, has ‘been in the middle of our pain’, can offer a glimpse of mercy and a future where the hall light can be turned off, sleep will bring rest, and peace can be found.

To those close to those who have been abused; please give as much time and space as they need – it is a long hard journey.  To those who lives have been torn by unwanted touch; remember, as a friend who has been in that place told me, you are allowed to forgive yourself, learn of this wonderful God who overflows with mercy, and look in the mirror at the lovely person He has seen in you since the day you were born.

 

To Do:

The next time you light a candle do so for those who have been molested.  As you light the candle name just one person. Sadly there are many names to choose from….

 

To Pray:

Eternal Light, shine in our hearts,
eternal goodness, deliver us from evil,
eternal power, be our support,
eternal wisdom, scatter the darkness of our ignorance,
eternal pity, have mercy upon us;
that with all our heart and mind and soul and strength
we may seek your face and be brought by your infinite mercy
to your holy presence;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.     Amen.
Alcuin of York in Pilgrim

 

IMPORTANT:

If you, or someone you know is a survivor of abuse please speak to the relevant authorities.  Nether those abused, nor those who are abusers, are ever helped by keeping silence.

If the abuse involves a member of the clergy in England please speak to ‘Minister & Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors” (MACSAS).  Their hotline number is 08088 01 03 40 and their website is www.macsas.org.uk

 

Acknowledgements:

All of the music on the video clips from YouTube is © Amy Grant.  If you enjoy listening to her songs please consider buying her recordings.  A full discography and other information about Amy can be found on her website http://www.amygrant.com

Scripture quotes are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America

Prayers from Pilgrim are copyright © 2015 Stephen Cottrell, Steven Croft, Robert Atwell and Paula Gooder.

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