Recently, I heard about some books by Doris Vanstone. She had a very abusive childhood but with God's help she overcame, and later she was a missionary to very primitive people in New Guinea.
Dorie, the Girl Nobody Loved, was a true and touching account of a girl whose mother never gave her love. She called her "ugly" and punished her terribly. Her mother loved and cared for her younger sister, but Dorie was always treated badly. The mother had conceived Dorie out of wedlock at a very young age, but that is no excuse. My mother had me before she was 16, and I was loved.
When Dorie was about seven and her sister was six, their mother took them to an orphanage and left them, like a couple of stray dogs. She returned once in seven years. At age twelve, Dorie was forced to leave the orphanage and live on her own. She was in several foster homes and lived in some terrible situations.
But before she left the orphanage, some teen-agers from a church came and introduced Dorie to Jesus. Somebody gave her a New Testament, and for the rest of her life, Dorie clung to the promise that Jesus loved her.
At age 19, she found her birth father and lived with him and his wife for less than two years. But when she told her father that she was going to be a missionary, he disowned her. He turned his back, said, "You are no longer my daughter," and she never saw him again.
Dorie met her husband at a Bible college and they had 36 years of happiness. She had two children whom she doted on. They went to New Guinea and many of their experiences are related in this book.
Another book by VanStone, No Place to Cry: the Hurt and Healing of Sexual Abuse is a continuation of Dorie's story. She admitted in this book that she was abused sexually in the orphanage and in the foster homes where she lived until she could be on her own.
The book was written to encourage people who have been sexually abused to forgive. Dorie became a speaker after her return to the States, and worked with a nationally known organization encouraging and teaching people all over the world. She includes many letters from people who were abused, and she gives steps to help people forgive those who have abused them.
I have known some people who were sexually abused, and I know how hard it is to forget those scars. I worked with children when I was a teacher, and I saw the signs of abuse--I never knew personally of one who was abused sexually, but I saw emotional and physical signs of abuse. Just yesterday I heard on the news about a 5-year-old boy who was punched in the chest by his mother's boyfriend, and it resulted in his death. A few years ago, a two-year-old was killed in an apartment just a few blocks from my house. Abuse is very real. Our society is in need of God.
I hope you will consider reading these books. They are eye-opening.