Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Red Beets and Green Linoleum

Leslie Basham: Dorie Van Stone had quite a reputation among the girls at the orphanage where she grew up.

Dorie Van Stone: I was so naughty and the girls would see me coming. I would kick them. I would pull their hair!

Leslie Basham: That behavior got her into a lot of trouble.

Dorie Van Stone: I lived in that orphanage just short of six years and every single night before I went to bed, I was beaten.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It's Monday, July 7. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: This week on Revive Our Hearts we want to share with you the testimony of a woman, who in her childhood, experienced the worst sort of abuse and rejection.

This is a true story. Let me just say for those of you who have children in your home, this is a story that has some intense details in it and I'd encourage you to be sure that your little ones aren't within earshot as you're listening to Dorie's story.

In many ways this is a dark story and the details of Dorie's testimony could be depressing, if it weren't for the fact that there runs through her story the beautiful light of God's grace and His truth that can redeem the most hopeless situation. Here's Dorie Van Stone.

Dorie Van Stone: I want to start my testimony with the Word of God and it's the first three verses in the 40th Psalm and then I'll go down to the fifth verse.

Psalm 40:1-3, "I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined unto me and He heard my cry. He brought me up from a horrible pit, and up from the miry clay; He set my feet upon a rock and He established my goings.

"He put a song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to the Lord. Many will see it and will sing praises to the Lord."

Verse 5, "Many, O Lord my God, are the wonderful works that thou has done. If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered."

Now, I'm going to endeavor to speak of some of them, but believe me, it'll only be a few. As I give the testimony, I want you to remember one thing.

Anything you're going to read isn't because a little girl was strong and pulled herself up by her bootstraps. It's because of the wonderfulness of the Lord and how He met me.

It starts out by my being dropped off at an orphanage. This was out in Oakland, CA. When they dropped me off at the orphanage and opened the door, I stepped in.

Now when I stepped in, there was dark green, inlaid linoleum on the floor. The reason I'm bringing this up is because I'm going to be mentioning it a couple of times.

I'm standing on this dark green linoleum and while I'm standing there, I heard footsteps. When I looked up I saw this enormous women walking toward me.

I had a paper sack. Everything that I owned in the world in the way of possessions was in that brown paper sack. I put it down on the floor and the woman walked up to me.

I looked up and she said immediately to me, "My name is Miss Gabriel."

I didn't know anything about an angel named that, but I assure you she was not angelic in any way, shape or form. She said, "It's lunchtime, follow me."

There was a huge dining room with great, big, long tables. I followed her to where she told me to stand. I looked down and there were beets there and I thought, I don't like beets.

I started to say it and the Matron went, "Shhhhh! We've got two rules: you eat everything on your plate, and no talking. I never kept either rule. And, of course, no woman keeps the second one. We're born that way and the men are going to say, "Amen!"

The kids came in. They rang a little bell and nobody said a word. They sat down. I thought, I'm going to show them how tough I am. So I just folded my arms and sat down.

They ate and I thought, I'm not touching those beets. When they finished, they were going to leave. So was I.

I was there all day. I started to get up and the Matron came over and squished me into the table and said, "You're going to sit here till you finish those beets." The kids left.

She said, "I don't care if you stay all day." I did stay all day, until evening when they brought some more food. When they brought the food, I got a brilliant idea. (Kids do once in a while.)

It was a great, big bowl of mashed potatoes, a bowl of peas and some brown gravy. This is what I thought I would do; I'll fix those beets.

I reached over when no one was around and grabbed a big handful of mashed potatoes and I rolled it in a ball like ice cream. I set it on top of the beets.

Then I took the peas and poured them all around, but they ran all over the plate. I picked them up and stuck them into that ball, like a polka dot ball. I took the gravy and I dribbled it, looked like a beet sundae.

When they rang the little bell and the kids came in, they saw it and laughed. I thought, Good, I broke the ice. Then the Matron came through.

I tell you something, if looks could kill, I was a dead duck. Dinner was over. I didn't touch that beautiful presentation. The kids left and I was going to leave again.

The Matron came over, put the chair against the wall, grabbed a hold of me and shook me like I thought my teeth were going to fall out. I thought, You wait.

She said, "You're going to stand up and I don't care if it's midnight, you're not leaving this room." She left.

When she left, I just went under the table and fell asleep. Later on, I heard the footsteps and I got up real quick. It was dark, but it wasn't midnight.

I'm leaning against the table and as I'm leaning against the table, the Matron walked over to me and saw the mess on the plate. I hadn't touched it.

She was so angry, she said, "Come with me. Come with me." I followed her down the hall. Inside I'm thinking, I won, I won, I won.

We went up a big stairway. When we got to the top of the stairway, there were some swinging doors and when they opened them up, there was a big dormitory with little cots.

All the cots were made up. There were skinny, skinny mattresses and thin, thin pillows, a sheet and a tight blanket.

They said to go get pajamas on and I said, " I don't have any."

She said, "There are some look-a-likes" and I went and undressed. While I'm undressing, the kids are making fun of me and I was thinking, You just wait, I'm going to get even with them.

They went over to their beds and she said for me to go over to this little cot. While I stood there, she said, "Bend over."

I went, "No."

She said, "Bend over."

Now I was a dumb kid, but I wasn't that dumb because I knew what she was going to do. So, I'm draped over the cot because she pushed me and she proceeded to whip me.

Now, this is absolutely every word of it true. I lived in that orphanage just short of six years. Every single night before I went to bed, I was beaten.

And you think, Dorie, come on, they forgot some days. No they didn't! I was so naughty and so mean as I walked around the yard or the dorm.

The girls would see me coming. They would run and hide. They would say, "Here comes Dorie!" I'd kick them. I'd pull their hair. I'd pinch them. I was mean, but the boys were just as scared of me as the girls.

I'd go in the boy's yard and they would be leaning against the fence. I'd take my hands and I'd hit them. They would say, "What did you do that for?"

I'd say, "Because I don't like you." Before you'd know it, we were in a fight. I just got meaner and meaner.

They did a couple of other things, but let me just remind you of something because I talk about these kids a little later; you're going to think, You really were mean.

We used to have buttermilk on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I hated it. When the Matron wasn't looking and after they finished their buttermilk, because you had to drink it, I'd take their empty cup and put it in front of mine.

I'd very carefully give them my full cup and I'd say, "Drink it."

They'd say, "Dorie."

I'd say, "I'll get you in the yard." They would drink it. I was mean.

We would have mush all the time. You'd put it in your mouth and it would stick to the roof of your mouth and you would think that you're not going to eat this stuff because it's terrible.

So they used to tell boys and girls then, if you have to go to the restroom, you raise your hand. The Matron would see it and nod and you would go out and come back.

All right, I got smarter. I filled my mouth and when I raised my hand, the Matron would nod, I would go out and spit it out. Well, Matrons are kind of like moms. They know what you're going to do before you do it and follow you. I was spitting it out when the Matron opened the door of the bathroom and caught me. She said, "Get over to the sink."

She took a bar of Fells-Naptha Soap. Now, most of you are too young to know what that is, but it's laundry soap. It doesn't float like Ivory or smell like Camay.

She got it and said, "Stick out your tongue."

I went, "Uh-uh."

She opened my mouth and washed my tongue down. I blew bubbles for a couple of weeks. I was mean. I was mean.

We would walk to school in big lines and the kids that were driven by their moms and dads would roll the window down and yell, "Dummy, ugly, stupid, fatty."

I got mad, oh I was mad!

We'd have a ceremony in the orphanage and they would let couples come and choose a child and take them home for the weekend. That child could find out what it was like to be with a mom and dad.

They'd come in and you know, sometimes adults say things that hurt kids. The adults think kids will forget, that they won't remember. No, we remember!

As the couples would come in and they would look at the boys and girls standing in the row, they'd go down the rows and say things like, "Isn't that a cute little girl?" "Look at that one over there, she's cuter. Look at that little boy; he's a doll. Look at that one over there, let's try them."

They never, never chose me. They were looking for the nice, cute little girls and boys that looked like they never caused any trouble.

Honey, one look at me and I looked like trouble with all capital letters. So, what happened?

I got meaner and meaner and meaner. When the Dorie book was written and there is a story about my life called Dorie, the Girl Nobody Loved.

Moody called me and they said, "Dorie, we want you to fly to Chicago because there are some questions we want to ask before the manuscript goes to press.

So I flew to Chicago. They said, "Now, Dorie, we are going to ask you any questions we want. What would some of you like to ask her?"

A beautiful, young woman stood up and she said, "Dorie, when you were standing in line like that, what were you thinking? You never were chosen."

You know what I thought? You wait, you wait. One day I'm going to get even. You wait until I get out in that world where you are. I'm going to beat you up. I'm going to be as mean as I can be. So I got meaner, and meaner, and meaner.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That's Dorie Van Stone, sharing the first part of a testimony that we will be listening to all this week on Revive Our Hearts. I know that for some of you what you just heard may trigger some intense emotions.

It may bring to your mind images of past hurts and wounds. I want to encourage you to stay with us all week long because this is a story that does have hope. The grace and the truth of God came to shine in this little girl's heart in a way that was really life transforming.

There is a God who has wept over your pain and what sin has done to His beautiful creation in you.

He is a God of unfailing love and He's full of mercy. He sees where you are right now and knows where you've been.

His love reaches further still. So, I want to encourage you right now to cry out to the Lord, out of your pain perhaps of that wounded past. Know that God is willing to meet you right where you are.

I think of the verse in Jeremiah, chapter 30, where God promises His people Israel, who had experienced rejection. "I will restore you to health and heal your wounds"¦because you are called an outcast, Zion, for whom no one cares."

Listen, you have a God who cares, a God who knows, and a God who is at work in your life, if you will let Him, to restore you to health and to heal your wounds.

Leslie Basham: If you were crying out to God as Nancy just described, we would like to pray with you. We have a team that comes together to pray for our listeners. You can write us at Revive Our Hearts.

You may also want to get a copy of the book, Dorie, the Girl Nobody Loved. In it, Dorie provides more detail to her story than we are able to bring you this week.

This true story will grip your heart and once you pick it up, it will be hard to put it down. If you've experienced hurt or abuse, you will find comfort in this story as you read how God transformed Dorie's life.

The book is available and for more information, you can all us at 1-800-569-5959 or visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Tomorrow we'll hear how one simple act of service made a big difference in Dorie's life. 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.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.