There’s more to abuse than meets the eye. I found wisdom and strength in mine.

We can still find joy even after the most traumatic experiences.

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There’s more to abuse than meets the eye. I found wisdom and strength in mine.

Courtesy of pixabay.com

Courtesy of pixabay.com

Courtesy of pixabay.com

Adam Pigott, Staff Writer

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If there is one saying that has summarized my life, it is: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Compared to a lot of people, I grew up comfortably. I was raised in a loving, Christian family, had the privilege of calling Hawaii my home and went to a college preparatory school. Appearances, however, can be deceiving. I may not have grown up on the streets, lived in a war-torn country or had to worry about finding clean water, but I know what it means to suffer. My suffering has never been visible, as it has always taken place inside of me.

When I was seven years old, my family adopted three children from Colombia. I experienced various forms of abuse at the hands of the eldest child, a medically diagnosed psychopath, for almost an entire year. I developed post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder shortly after, causing years of turmoil. I experienced more than any child should ever have to experience. My family had to battle the Hawaiian state government for six years to keep my other siblings and me safe, which was an incredibly uncomfortable experience for my family.

At almost 21 years old, I can say that my early life was not easy by any stretch. Having said that, I also believe that I am much more disciplined, responsible and wise because of the things I have been through.

THE DISCIPLINE BEHIND SUFFERING

1 Peter 10:5 says, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Before my hardships, I was a hot-headed little kid filled with pride and selfishness.

It took me years of therapy and faith in Christ to get to where I am now, and it has been anything but easy to reach this point. Experiencing the horrors of child abuse has forced me to see things from a different perspective. I had every reason to be angry at my abuser, but I took it even further than that. I blamed my parents for what happened because I thought they should have known better. This was unfair of me, as I could not have possibly expected them to know all the awful things that were going to occur in the following year and a half. 

I also realized that having license to feel angry does not mean I should continue to let it take space in my mind. I may not have been responsible for the abuse that put me in that deep, dark place, but I was responsible for making the choice to leave.

My suffering taught me to take responsibility over my life—no one is responsible for my emotions and decisions but myself.”

Some have said I do not know what it is like to go through hardships because of my background and the color of my skin. That has been painful to hear, as the people who have said those things had no knowledge of the pain I had to endure as a child. I would never want anyone to feel that same pain, and that has taught me to never judge someone based off of their appearances. 

FINAL THOUGHTS 

During my first semester at Biola, my first journalism professor, the late Bill Simon saw a small tidbit of my life in his Snapshot Paper assignment, a paper where each student would write about what was on their heart. After he passed away, I started to dig through my past enrollments to find his comments on my paper. He told me that faith is seeing past our current circumstances to the joy in front of us, and how it is worth much more than the temporary crosses we bear. 

I try my best to maintain this mindset in life. I am rough around the edges and I definitely do not have everything figured out. I doubt that I will ever fully understand why I had to endure the terrible things that I went through. But, whatever the reason, God has provided and will continue to provide as I go through life.