Spirit-Led Woman

Want to receive SpiritLed Woman by email? Sign up here
scared girl

The SpiritLed Woman podcast is empowering women weekly to follow their purpose in Christ and boldly walk in faith. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.

On that day, my grandparents’ two-story farmhouse was full of company. Grandma’s closest friend in the world, Minnie*, and her husband, Fred*, were there. Even though I was 11, when I spent the night, I would either sleep on a pallet beside Grandma or on the living room couch. I was afraid of “Boo,” the ghost from stories I told my cousins as we hid in the big closets. Grandma told me Minnie and Fred would be sleeping upstairs. I shouldn’t be scared.

At bedtime, I reluctantly went up to the first room at the top of the stairway. It made me feel closer to my grandparents. Their room was directly below. 

The windows were open to the summer breeze. I could hear the rumbling of Papaw and Grandma’s voices as they talked before going to sleep. I heard Papaw pray with her as he did every night. Then I heard their soft snores. It was a security I loved. I fell sound asleep. 

The next morning, Minnie went downstairs early to help Grandma fix breakfast and get ready for the fish fry later that day. 

The day before, when Fred asked me to sit on his lap and give him a kiss, his hands seemed to stray accidentally. I ignored it, got up quickly, and left thinking I must have been mistaken. Those kinds of imaginary acts happened often when Fred was around. I was keenly aware I was developing quicker than most of the girls in my class. I was the first of the girls I knew to reach puberty.

That morning, though, imagination played no part. As I lay asleep, Fred tiptoed into the room. I woke when I heard the door open. I saw him come in. I quickly shut my eyes and pretended to sleep. In my mind, I fervently prayed for God to intervene. But Fred was still there.

“Wake up, little darling," he said. "Come on, time to get up and give your old Fred a kiss.”

He leaned his entire body over the bed and gave me a kiss I was sure would bruise my lips. I still pretended to sleep.

He jerked back the sheet. I could feel the morning breeze on my skin. I was well aware my short nightgown covered very little.

“Come on, now. I know you’re awake,” he said. 

In my mind, I pictured Grandma’s reaction when she encountered a Copperhead on the path to the creek. She froze. It was her reaction to danger. Following suit, I became a statue. Inside I prayed, “Help me, Jesus. Help me, Jesus. Help me, Jesus.” 

Every second of the next few minutes is etched indelibly in my mind. His snake-like hands were all over me. I attempted to go elsewhere in my mind to think good thoughts, but it wasn’t working. I prayed for God to send Grandma or Minnie up the stairs. 

Instead Fred began touching me in places my mother had said boys should not touch me until I was married. The touching felt painful. I willed the tears away. Frozen in time and space my mind went numb, my body limp. I prayed as never before. Again, I begged God to intervene.

I was afraid what Fred might do. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I was mortified by his actions, and I was sure it wouldn’t be long before something very bad would happen. In sheer desperation, I sent up a final, silent prayer: “Help, God. Help.”

When no lightening bolt appeared, a million thoughts crossed my mind about how I could stop what appeared to be the inevitable. I could claw his face. I could kick him. I could scream at the top of my lungs. I saw the actions in my mind but could not make my body move.

Then I heard the answer to my prayer. 

“Fred, time for breakfast.” It was Minnie’s voice calling from the bottom of the stairway just outside the room.

“Be right down, Sugar,” Fred called back.

He leaned close and said gruffly in my ear, “Open your eyes.”

He smelled of cigar smoke. I disobeyed. My eyes stayed shut. I played dead.

I heard the door close. He had left without doing what I feared. Several seconds passed. It felt like an eternity. The stairs creaked as he descended. 

I told no one. I didn’t know if the adults would believe me or not.

For years, I felt what he did to me must have been my fault, not his. My blossoming body must have caused him to be led astray. 

As an adult, I began to learn more about adult men who molest young girls. Most pedophiles don’t molest just one child but many. They choose those who are vulnerable.

Although I will not blame my extreme weight gain on Fred, I do know that from that time on, I was scared of Copperhead men. In many situations, young men tended to take after Fred more than the wonderful role models I had in my father and grandfathers. Those role models made me want to keep trying to find the right man—one of the good guys. 

As a kid, all I knew was men like Fred stood their ground, like the Copperhead on the path to the creek. If I was going to be protected, I was going to have to come up with a plan. This plan had to be all-encompassing, something that would keep Copperheads away.

And so, whether consciously or unconsciously, I began to gain weight.

*Not their real names

Excerpt adapted from Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor by Teresa Shields Parker. To read more, check out her book, available on Amazon. Teresa is a wife, mom, editor, publisher and business owner who loves to speak and minister to women. She blogs at TeresaShieldsParker.com.

Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.

Get to know the Holy Spirit and how to interact with Him on a daily basis. Learn to enter God's presence and hear His voice clearly for yourself! Go deeper in your faith with Life in the Spirit and change your life and destiny. Are you ready to start your journey?

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Hillary Clinton

    What if Hillary Clinton Wins the White House?

    Polls have Mrs. Clinton leading by 11 points. The church must be prepared.

  • Holy Spirit prophetic

    7 Ways to Cultivate Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit

    Too many of God's people are led by fear, doubt, man-pleasing, presumption, assumption, idols ...

  • What if You Could Save $500 This Week?

    What if You Could Save $500 This Week?

    Start saving for emergencies today with the $500 Savings Challenge by brightpeak financial. It's chock-full of inspiration, great savings tips and the motivation to make a dent in your savings—for real! Go to 500savingschallenge.com to sign up!

  • Guarding the gates of your heart will keep the demonic and evil out of your life.

    Keep the Demonic Out of Your Life With This Oft-Overlooked Spiritual Warfare Strategy

    The enemy knows his limitations. Limit him.

  • Highway exit signs

    Prophetic Word: Watch for the Exit Signs to Light Up This Season

    Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty in the harvest fields. The "barnyard anointing" ...

  • Jezebel puppets

    10 Ways to Spot Jezebel's Spiritually Slick Undercover Con Artists

    It's time to stop tolerating Jezebel in all its many manifestations.

  • Finger pointing

    The Accuser vs. Donald Trump—and Us All

    This isn't a political persuasion piece, but a current-event case study in the strategies of ...

  • Daily scripture reading, meditation and prayer can seem elusive with your busy schedule.

    10 Small Steps to Deeper Intimacy With Holy Spirit in Your Quiet Times

    If deep quiet times seem just out of your reach with your busy schedule, try one of these ...

  • Lance Wallnau

    Lance Wallnau Is on Fire and on Target With His Insights on the Culture and This Election

    I'm sickened by the self-righteous, weak-kneed "evangelicals" who want to be liked by ...

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit