But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. – 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

In the first dawn of our nightmare, Joseph and I made a decision that we would be honest with ourselves and transparent with others during this journey. It was a selfish decision. We knew we were going to need the support that could only come from people who knew what was happening in our life. It was also a precaution against self-deception.

Because I really don’t want this to be my life. And as much as I am honor-bound to the truth, I am still a woman who would love nothing more than to pretend this whole thing is not happening to us.

The commitment to transparency also means the enemy cannot take our fear and twist it to serve his own purposes. When I have people in my life that know my biggest fears and obstacles, I employ a safety net that keeps me from falling into a pit of man-made doubts. They become the very voice of Christ speaking His word to my heart – reminding me that what I am experiencing will not separate me from the love of my Father, and that it is not a death knell to the dream of a family that loves Him and one another.

I pray that someday our transparency allows others to see that beauty came from this place of pain and profound evil. I pray that one day others see redemption that brings glory to Christ. I beg God to restore my family in a way that leaves no question as to the author of our healing. Until those prayers are answered, I must also be transparent about the place I am in right now.

I am angry and sad and depressed – and so.very.tired.

I feel like a failure every day. How do I provide the environment my children at home need to move through the healing process from their abuse, and the moral depravity that caused it, while still remaining a steadfast advocate for their very abuser? I must eradicate so much of Asher from our home. We went through his belongings yesterday and sorted all his stuff into two boxes: one is now stored in our garage with the hope that he will someday return to us; the other was taken to the dump and thrown away as though he never existed. Nathan will never wear hand-me-downs from his older brother because of the triggers they cause, so we got rid of all Asher’s clothes. His siblings can’t play with any of his toys, so we packed up sentimental ones and threw out all the detritus that marks a life lived – scraps of paper and rocks, old screws, fishing lures, a half-used eraser with a drawing on it. We had to show Nathan and Olivia and Georgia that we see their pain and validate it.

And then we must tell Asher that he may not see his siblings. He may not speak to them. They will not visit him in in custody. He sits in a detention facility awaiting evaluations and depositions, and he is confused. His first full day in custody was his 13 birthday. He is scared and lonely, and honestly, he doesn’t understand so much of what is happening around him. Yet the battle for his heart rages between the forces of good and the forces of evil. He continues to dismiss and invalidate the pain he wreaked upon our family. He treats Jospeh and I with equal parts contempt and manipulation.

I love him. I can’t stand him. And above all, I must be willing to share this reality with God and my fellow man.