How Could Any Father Do This?
CBN.com - Janette McGhee expresses her heart in music, dance, and spoken word poetry:
“But I won’t need to identify you by any special Matthews or any special Marks,
‘Cuz His Word will be tatted all over your heart.”
She also finds healing from the wounds of her past. “You start hearing the back and forth between your parents, automatically, you know, my heart starts beating hard. Like, ‘Where’s this going to go and how far is it going to go?’”
As a little girl, Janette McGhee never knew when it was going to be ‘one of those nights.’ Alcohol and drugs turned the dad she loved into a stranger she feared. “’Okay, what can I do? Can I go get a knife? Can I help her?’ Like, ‘What to I do once I get in there?’ You know, you have all those things that just made you feel like, helpless.”
There were good memories of him too. “He was a musician. He was talented with a beautiful voice. I remember just loving to hear him sing. I always thought that he was just this really cool guy. It just seemed like he had a struggle within him. Even in all that, I knew that he loved me. That’s the crazy thing about it. I never thought it would get to an extent like, ‘This guy’s really going to kill me.’”
Her dad wasn’t the only family member Janette had to worry about. “He was our babysitter. Things kind of just started out as little things and little games. I didn’t know what was going on, but in my spirit I knew it was bad.” He molested her for a year and a half. Then, her dad crossed that line. “It was a complete shock. It was completely scary. So what do I do, other than kind of just go with what’s going on. I really trusted him as my dad.”
Janette says she had faith in God even as a little girl. Her mom and grandmother were godly women who taught her the Bible. When she finally told her mom about the family member, he never babysat again. But she never said anything about her dad. She didn’t want to add to mom’s burdens. So he molested her two more times and physically abused her for years. “It was always a struggle of not having any confidence in who I was. (I was) looking at other families. ‘Why does she get to have a good dad?’ I don’t know anybody who hasn’t had those moments where they just feel like they’re angry with God. Because it’s just like that doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t understand why or what sin I committed.”
When Janette was 15, her father became deathly ill and asked for her forgiveness. “I responded to him horribly, because I wanted him to hurt like I hurt. And he was like, ‘I really need for you to forgive me.’ When I heard ‘need,’ I took that to my advantage. And I said, ‘No. I will not.’ I looked him dead in the eye and I said that. My plan was, you know, ‘I’ll tell him no now and then after he suffers long enough, I’ll tell him.’ But that didn’t work out that way.” He died a few days later. “I felt horrible.”
And she would for years. Though Janette never again had to face abuse, she did have to deal with its consequences. She was lonely and withdrawn throughout her teens – keeping her sickening memories to herself. When Janette was 22, her roommate unknowingly triggered her breaking point. “I heard my garage door open and it just kind of immediately flipped me back to being in that home and my dad sending my mom out and watching my mom leave and that immediate terror of, ‘What’s going to happen when she’s not here?’ I thought I was going to check into a mental institution. I was terrified. And I didn’t want to tell anybody, because I was just completely and utterly embarrassed.”
She finally decided that getting help was worth the embarrassment. She told every detail to a friend from church. “Finally I felt so much more free because I didn’t have the same thing that was keeping me bound. Not having the freedom to be able to talk about things can really, really weigh you down.” She also told her mom, who was livid. “I didn’t tell my mom about my dad until my dad passed away. I knew that would tear her apart. I knew that would. I had family members who would happily serve a prison ministry knowing if that happened to me.”
With a couple of years of Biblical counseling, Janette started to heal inside. “One way the enemy defeats us is in our mind and making us think that we’re all alone, that nobody else understands, and that there’s nobody else that they can talk to. That’s how he kept me bound; making me feel that I was filthy, that I was dirty, that there was nothing I could do to even be cleansed of the things that happened to me, even though they weren’t my fault.”
“The glory of Christ is the resurrection, but you can’t just skip the Cross.
You can’t skip the suffering or the souls He came for that were lost. There is light at the end of the tunnel; you may not see it, but He sees it clear; but some of us are running haphazardly in the dark due to fear.”
She says that her music and poetry also allow her to lead others out of their secret pain.
As for her dad … (Interviewer asked: “Have you come to the place where you’ve forgiven him now?”) “Yeah, definitely. Only the Lord can place that type of forgiveness inside of you. There’s nothing that can happen that God doesn’t allow to happen. So resting in that truth allows us to know that even the things that seem horrible in this crazy, sinful world and the things that transpired to us, that which was meant for evil will turn out to be for our good. Being able to rest in that gives me a lot of peace. God has had me every single step of the way and He’s not forgotten me, ever.”