Ashes of Abuse: The White Dress

In a previous post, Ashes of Abuse: Guilt, I explained how children who are abused often blame themselves, and how as an adult survivor they can continue to feel guilty.   Recently, I was venting to some fellow survivors, on a message board, about this guilt that I still feel and how it is affecting my life.  It is changing me in ways that I do not like.  For example, I used to enjoy speaking, teaching, and praying in church, but now I am very uncomfortable with all of those things because of the guilt I feel.  My friend, Michelle, wrote a reply that really touched me.  I can’t say that this has fully convinced me that the abuse was not my fault, but this parable did reach me on a level that nothing else has so far.  With her permission, I would like to share it with you.  The name is mine, the rest is from her.  Thanks again, Michelle.

The White Dress by Michelle

Somehow, dear, dear girl you are going to have to believe Christ when He says that He has suffered for all sins and that you can be redeemed from them.

Let’s just say, for a second, that your daughter came home from a birthday party where she had worn a beautiful, new, expensive, white dress. The location of the party has a pond and while there she went down to look at the ducks and someone pushed her down and got mud all over her dress. She cried, she was distraught and no matter what she tried she couldn’t get the mud off of her dress. She came home, she didn’t want to come in to the house because the dress was so dirty and she didn’t even do it! It was 100%  NOT her fault but, she can’t get over it. She goes over and over what happened and she just can’t forgive herself for something she did not do but feels responsible for anyway.

What do you, as her Mother, who loves her more than life, do? Do you tell her she’s right, she isn’t worthy to come into the house and what was she thinking and you are going to make her pay time and again and never let her forget what she did? Even thought SHE didn’t do anything wrong?

Or, do you insist that she is worthy to come into your home, do you tell her that she is loved, that she is forgiven because there is nothing really to forgive? Do you help her understand that because of your experience in stain removal that , although she couldn’t get the stain out you can?You know about bleach and hot water and all the other things that will make her dress clean again.

Well, Leslie ,sweetheart, YOU are that little girl and you do NOT have to get the stains out by yourself. YOU didn’t make them and Christ knows how to get them out. Heavenly Father wants you in His house as much as you want your daughter in yours. He loves you. You have to tell Him you don’t know how to get the stains out and would he PLEASE help?

Don’t be afraid my friend. Father can take the pictures out of your head and the deadness out of your heart. I’m here to tell you as someone who KNOWS.

Be patient. Breathe. Pray always.


  1. Your friend is exactly right.And justice will be done for what you endured. It will have been better for them that they were never born. Our Lord tells us this. I am sorry for your pain.

  2. You're right, guilt is a HUGE survivor issue. I like the analogy of the little girl in the white party dress. It really makes the point.Hey, thanks for your e-mail through blog carnival dot com. Details are always at my blog and there is a handy widget on the sidebar that links right to the submission form. You just fill in the blanks. I hope you join us this month. We have a deadline of Wednesday at midnight (Pacific, US) for an edition Friday.

  3. I put no power in guilt. I cannot. And continue to live. I posit that there is evil in the universe that I did not cause. And it's powerful enough that I cannot combat. So I invite God in to do it for me. It is the only way I know how to survive.

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