Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Closing the Door

Leslie Basham: When Dorie Van Stone visited the orphanage where she had grown up, the young woman showing her around was intrigued by a mysterious part of the building.

Dorie Van Stone: Reluctantly and slowly, I walked down to the end of the hall. She had her hand on the door. She said, "Dorie, would you tell us what happened behind that door?"

Leslie Basham: Today is Wednesday, July 16. This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: If you've been with us over the last week and a half, I know you have found a touching story. It may have been difficult for you to listen to, particularly if you have experienced, as Dorie Van Stone did, the pain of childhood abuse and rejection.

But I trust it's been an encouraging story to you, as you've seen the hand of God intervening in this little girl's life and drawing her to Christ, and then making available to her the truth through His Word that ultimately came to set her free.

Now in the segment we're going to hear in just a moment, Dorie is a grown woman reflecting back on some of the specific abuses that she experienced growing up as a little girl in an orphanage. If you have small children with you, this is not a program that would be best for them to listen to. You don't want to put these images into their little minds and hearts. Let's join Dorie Van Stone now as she shares how God brings closure to this long process of healing.

Dorie Van Stone: When you go through things like this, forgiveness is an important part of the process. When I say forgiveness, I'm not talking about a cheap forgiveness. It's all wrapped up with the grace of God. Do you know what hatred does and bitterness? It'll fill your life and eat you up and make you ineffective. It'll affect every single one of your relationships.

"Lord, I'm not able to forgive in myself. Would You help me to forgive with Your forgiveness because I can't do it?"

When I was thinking of God's grace and how He enables us to do things, this is what I wrote: "I have as much grace for you as I have green for the trees, blue for the skies and water for the seas." That's an awful lot of grace, Lord!

"You bet it is. And I will cover you with that grace." There isn't a hurt that God's love can't heal.

Well, I want to share something with you. I have a beautiful, beautiful daughter, a handsome son, four gorgeous granddaughters and one handsome little grandson. I was going to have a conference. I flew out to California. Before I did, I called my daughter. I said, "Darlene, how would you like to go with me? I have enough miles. You could just be Mom's guest."

"Mom, I'd love to, but we're going to have to take Derick." I said, "That's okay. We'll take Derick."

We flew back to California for the retreat. When it was over, we had a couple of days left. I thought, I know she'll want to do what moms love to do when you get a minute--shop!

But she said, "No, Mom. That's not what I want to do. Mom, I want to see that orphanage."

I said, "Oh, Darlene, no, honey. Please!"

"Mom, I want to see it."

So my dear friend that I was staying with took us. She said, "I know where it is, Dorie." We went down to Oakland and went over to the orphanage. Oh, boy, was it in need of paint!

Now it was in that orphanage I told you that I learned to draw. I'm left-handed and I learned to draw. I looked up. Right across it was a sign that said "Art Institute." I thought, Oh, Lord, do You have a sense of humor! They taught me to draw here and now You've made an art institute out of it!"

I walked to the door. I rang the bell. A younger woman answered. I said, "This used to be an orphanage."

She said, "Yes. It's an art institute now."

I said, "I saw the sign. But I grew up in it when I was a little. This is my daughter, my little grandson and her friend. Would you let us come through?"

She said, "Yes, of course. I'll have to go with you because we have students in all the rooms."

I said, "That's all right."

So we went down in all the different rooms. It was filled with students. We went into some other places and we were discussing things. Some of the students started getting up and following. We went on up the stairs and opened the doors. The great big dormitory was filled with artists. We walked into this great big narrow room.

I was explaining to them how when everybody was in bed at night, after you'd get the whipping--and I was sure they were all asleep--I'd take my arms and put them around myself and rock myself and hug myself to sleep. Nobody else would do it, so I hugged myself.

I said, "I would get up when I was sure they were asleep and walk into the bathroom and bend down in the sink and pour water over it." I used to stand in front of that mirror, comb my hair funny ways and make all kinds of weird faces, hoping I could look more adoptable, but nothing worked.

We went on downstairs. I started to go downstairs. And as I started to go downstairs, the young woman said to me, "Dorie, there is one more room down at the end of the hall."

I said, "Yes, I know." I started to go down.

She said, "Will you go down there if we ask?"

I said, "All right."

She said, "Dorie, would you tell us what happened behind that door?"

I said, "That's where sexual abuse took place."

She opened the door and I looked. The two rooms had become one. I said, "It's changed!"

She said, "Yes. What was over there by that small window?"

I said, "A bathroom."

She said, "Yes. We took it out. What happened there?"

I said, "When it was my turn, they would bring me in and make me kneel in front of that john and slam my head into the china bowl and then flush it and then tell me that my eyes and my teeth would fall out if I didn't do what they said. Then they would take the toilet seat, pushing my head through it, and slam it down on the back of my neck."

She said, "The closet. What happened in the closet?"

I said, "There were hooks in the closet."

She said, "We know about the hooks. What happened?"

I said, "When it was my turn, they would put a cord around my wrist, hang me on those hooks, and what they did you nor anyone else ever, ever needs to know."

Then she looked at me. She said, "I don't understand something. By the look on your face and the tone of your voice, I would think that you would hate the people that did this to you."

I said, "Honey, the reason you don't see the hate or hear it in my voice is that a long, long time ago, down in that room that we call the parlor, I met a man named Jesus. Not right away, but over a period of time He brought me to the place where I am able to totally forgive the perpetrators of the crimes committed in that room."

She closed the door. She gave me a hug and walked away with the others. I looked at Darlene my daughter. I said, "Honey, follow them. Mother has to do something."

She said, "Mom?"

I said, "Please, honey. Go with them and follow them."

As they went down the stairs, I put my hand on the doorknob and then I opened it and I walked in. I walked all around that great big room that was once two. As I walked around, I recalled all of the horrible incidents and the perversions and the sinfulness of everything that took place. I walked on over where the small window was.

"Can I do it, Lord?" I knelt down. I took my hand and pulled the chain like my head was in the bowl. I took the back of my hand and slapped the back of my neck as the toilet seat used to. Then I got up. I walked over to the closet and opened the door. I said, "Can I do it, Lord?" I walked in.

I put my back against the wall and slid to the floor, my arms around my knees and my head in my lap. I sobbed. I thought, It's all right. It is. I got up. I stood in the middle of the room. I looked all over that room again. "Thank You, Lord." I took ahold of the handle and backed out. As I did, I closed the door. As I closed the door, no one was around.

I put my hand up and down the door and this is what I said out loud: "O Father, Father! I want to thank You with all of my being that I know it is You who has touched me and are making me whole. I'm anchored to the rock. Lord, I thank You. I thank You for it."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And what a powerful tribute to the never-failing grace and love of Jesus Christ. Dorie put her hand on that doorknob and closed the door as she left the orphanage. What a visual picture that is of how God can bring us to the place of closure--putting the past behind us, being healed, closing the door on that past for good.

Dorie pointed out for us two keys that I believe are absolutely essential, regardless of your past, if you're going to close that door and experience closure. The first is the key of forgiveness--the willingness to forgive and release from your indebtedness those who have sinned against you. And then the key of thankfulness--the willingness ultimately to give thanks to God for who He is and for His purposes and His plan in your life.

Coming to closure doesn't mean that you'll never have triggers of memories in the future, but it does mean that the sting and the bondage will no longer control or overwhelm your life. No matter what road you've walked on in the past or been forced by others to travel, God's amazing grace and His unfailing love are willing to reach out to you and to redeem your situation.

So let me ask if I could just take a moment and pray for you, regardless of where you are in your pilgrimage. I want to lift you up to the Lord as you continue to walk in a process of finding healing and freedom through Christ.

Father, I lift up my sisters who have been listening to this story of Dorie Van Stone. I know that there are many who are identifying with a lot of the details that she has talked about--women who have experienced unspeakable, unthinkable things committed against them.

I pray, O God, that You would speak help and hope and grace into their hearts this day--that they'd be willing to take the step, not just of listening to this story, but of reaching out to You and including someone else in their pilgrimage--a pastor or a godly husband. There are women perhaps who have never told their story to anyone else, but I pray that You will bring each woman a step further in that process. Help them to walk in forgiveness. Grant them the grace of thankfulness. Give a grateful heart to You.

Then, Lord, would You take women whose lives have been what the world would consider hopelessly wrecked or destroyed in the past--and would You not only make them free and enable them to experience the fullness of life that You have available for them, but then would You make them instruments of grace and mercy and help in the lives of others. May they be able to comfort others as You have comforted them and given them Your grace and Your peace. For Jesus' sake I pray it. Amen.

Leslie Basham: If you just prayed with Nancy, would you write and tell her how God is working in your life? When you write, you may want to ask for a copy of the book, Dorie: The Girl Nobody Loved, which tells her story, or the other book Dorie has written called No Place to Cry, which deals specifically with healing from sexual abuse.

For more information on these books, you can give us a call at 1-800-569-5959. Or visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Tomorrow Nancy will address depression and doubt, showing us what the Bible has to say about these emotions that we commonly face. We hope you can be here for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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