Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The House of Meanness

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Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As a young teenager, Dorie Van Stone heard these words of rejection from her mother.

Dorie Van Stone: She said, "I want to tell you something, if I could have destroyed her before she was ever born I would have done it. If you make me take her, I'm going to get rid of her."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Dorie didn't despair. Today, we'll find out why.

Leslie Basham: It's Wednesday, July 9. This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We're listening this week to the story of Dorie Van Stone, a woman who as a little girl was abandoned by her mother and sent to an orphanage where she experienced enormous abuse and neglect.

As we pick up with her story today, she is being sent to the first of a series of foster homes where she is going to experience unspeakable, continued abuse.

Let me just remind you again that if you have children in your home, this would not be a story that is appropriate for them to listen to. You'll want to protect them from hearing things that could create fear in them.

I know that, not just for children; but for some of you who've experienced the pain of abuse and rejection in your past, your first reaction will be that you just can't listen to this.

Let me just say that if you were to get shot with an arrow, when the arrow was going in, of course, it would hurt; but even more painful would be the process of pulling the arrow out, of getting relieved of that wound.

In a similar way there is an inevitable, painful process involved. I want to show you that it's worth walking into the pain and through the pain because we have a God who really is able to restore and bring healing to your broken heart.

Yesterday we heard how a college student came to the orphanage where Dorie was living and shared the Gospel, the message of the love and grace of God.

As a thirteen-year-old child, Dorie placed her faith in Christ and was born again. Yet, the abuse didn't stop at that point. Let's listen to Dorie.

Dorie Van Stone: As we were driving over, she said that I was going to be living in an apartment with this family. "When I drive up, you go ring the bell and, oh, by the way, I'm not going with you now. I'll check on you in a few days."

She did not even introduce me to the family. I rang the bell. The door opened. A man stood there in the doorway. He had a hairy chest, hairy arms, unshaven, hair all messed up and he yelled, "You're Dorie? Come in here and sit down."

I was barely seated and he said, "We've got two rules." I thought, Dumb rules.

"Rule number one: You will never be allowed to sit at a table and eat with us, ever.

"Rule number two: We eat a lot of fish. The heads and the tails are yours. The center part of the fish is for the family. If I ever see you eating it, out you go."

I'm telling you the truth. I never ate at the table with them. I'd eat in a corner. I'd eat outside, but I never ate at a table with them. It was awful.

In that house, they had big kids that beat me up. The family would beat me up, Mom and Dad. In this house of meanness I was allowed only to take a bath one day a month. I could only wash my hair once every eight weeks.

If I were to say to you that I was a dirty, filthy little girl, believe me, cause I was. I stunk! When I would walk by people, they could smell me.

I would go into the bathroom, lock the door and pat water on my face because I couldn't bathe. My hair was matted.

The kids would write notes at school. I know because I read them. They would say, "Do something to this kid and don't let her come back."

They did something. They dipped me in sheep dip. That would kill all the head lice, but you can't comb the hair. Finally, because it was so bad and so matted, they shaved it all off.

I would put a towel around my head, go to school and some smart boy would pull it off. I had a bare head and I would go sit down in the class and the kids would say, "Ugly, dummy." I would just want to bawl and I was determined they were not going to see me cry.

Other things happened in that house, the house of meanness. I had a cot and I would sleep in that cot on certain nights. But on some nights, they would allow men to come through and get me and I was molested and raped.

In that house of meanness, I began to learn as I read God's Word how wonderful He was and that He loved me. I clung to it!

When I was in the bathroom wetting my face, I would kneel down by the bathtub and take my little New Testament that I had in my pocket. I would put it on the rim of the bathtub.

As I thumbed through the pages, I found the words, like in Hebrews 13:5, where it says, "I'll never leave you, nor forsake you."

I was looking in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I knew I was going to amount to something one day because the Lord was going to help me.

Going through my New Testament one morning, I saw these words, "God so loved the world." I found John 3:16.

There would be a knock on the door and someone would say, "Times up." I would put the New Testament in my pocket, unlock the door and step out.

Now, this didn't happen just every once in a while but every morning. The man would take me, throw me against the wall and slap me in my face with the back of his hand.

If he had a fight with his wife, he would hit me with his fist in my face. I would go to school with a black eye or bloody nose.

You might think that it wasn't that bad. Yes, it was, people! Today we call them abused kids. I know all about it. Do you know how it feels to go to school all beaten up?

I would try to clean up and he would tell me to go the way I was. I learned that gas stations have rest rooms in them and I would go in there and try to clean up, but it didn't look very good. You'd still see people's faces when they would pass you by because you haven't had a bath.

People, listen, I would try to go into churches. I would go in the back and people would tell me not to walk down but to stay in the back because I stunk so bad.

When I would try to go into Sunday School classes, I would hear the kids say that if I came in, they were going out. I heard something. I heard them sing a song. Jesus loves me, this I know.

And I would say, "For the Bible tells me so." He loves me, He does!

It was a teacher that took an interest and reported me to the authorities. They would say, "We've got papers, kid. We're giving these papers to the people you live with, but you need to report to the Juvenile Authorities office."

Why am I going to a courtroom, I thought. I didn't do anything. Don't you know what they are going to do if I go back? Everyone thinks they won't do anything.

You know something, people? People that say that are never the ones that go back. They says it so glibly like, "Oh, come on, nothing will happen."

I went on back and they were waiting for me. I got in the apartment. The guy told me to get into the dining room. I went into the dining room. He said, "Get on your knees."

I got on my knees. I put my face to the floor and covered my head. He began to beat me and beat me and beat me. I thought one more time and I can't take it.

I looked and there was a dining room window that almost came to the floor. I thought, Lord, I'll do it if you'll help me. Before he could come down one more time, I went right through that plate glass window.

You think, Dorie, you didn't. Yes, I did!

You think, Didn't you get hurt when you went through that plate glass window?

Yes, I was cut a lot, but I'd been beaten worse than that. I appeared in a Juvenile Court a number of weeks later. I remember when I appeared in court, the judge looked down at me and asked me my name and I said, "Yes, sir, that's me."

Then he looked around the room and saw a woman. He asked her to come and stand by me. When I looked and saw her, I realized it was my biological mother. I was going to run to her, but her look stopped me dead in my tracks. I just stood there. She walked up to me.

You know, there are words and looks that burn themselves into your soul. That's what happened then.

As she walked up to me, she looked at me. She was supposed to stand by me, instead she turned her back. I'm standing there and she had her back to me.

The judge asked her three times if I was her child. Finally the third time she said, "Yes, I suppose she is." She said, "I want to tell you something. If I could have destroyed her before she was ever born, I would have done it. If you make me take her, I'm going to get rid of her."

I'll never, ever forget the words. Dorie, what did it do to you? Oh, by this time someone had given me a whole Bible. I got to the Book of Psalms. I found Psalms 139.

I thought, That's it Lord! You knew me from the moment of conception. I'm yours! Do you know how it feels to be denied by the very one who gave you birth?

But, do you also know how it feels to keep saying to yourself, The Lord loves me, the Lord loves me? When you pick up that Book, you know that the Lord loves you, that you're His.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That's Dorie Van Stone. For those of us who have never experienced anything like what she just described, some of this is hard to imagine.

Yet, the thing I love about this story is that running through all the atrocities, the pain, the abuse and the shame is this precious theme of the love of God and God drawing the heart of this young woman.

Dorie learned at an early age, even as she was still living in that house of meanness, to run to God. She kept clinging to the truth as her rock and her safe place.

Day by day, little by little, as she clung to that New Testament and would go into that bathroom just to read a little bit each day, the truth entered her heart. She began to be able to release her control and to turn her trust and her confidence over to the Lord.

I want to ask you, regardless of your circumstances, where do you run for safety, for security? No matter your age, where you've been or what you've been through, it's never too late to run to God and to His Word for hope and for healing from your past so that your past can actually become a bridge to bring you greater blessing in the future.

As we hear the rest of Dorie's testimony over the next couple of days, you'll see that her past actually did become a means of God bringing great grace into her life.

I just want to take a moment to encourage those of you who are listening who may have been caught in this trap of shame, abuse and rejection, don't try and find healing by yourself.

There is hope. There is healing. Ultimately you will only find it through the grace of God.

You need to find someone who will help you walk through that journey. Ask the Lord to direct you to someone who will help you walk through the process and it is a process, a process of healing.

You don't want to keep recycling the pain, digging it up, talking about it; but you really want to move through to the place of healing.

The great part of this is that once you really begin to walk in freedom from the shame and pain of your past, you can become an instrument of blessing, healing and grace in the lives of other wounded people--even as God is using Dorie's testimony in the pain of her past to bring hope and healing in the lives of thousands of women today.

Leslie Basham: If you are in the process of healing, we invite you to visit our Web site ReviveOurHearts.com.

We've posted some information on healing from sexual abuse, plus you'll find information on several books that speak biblically on healing from life's wounds.

Again, visit ReviveOurHearts.com. While you're there you can find information on getting Dorie's story in a book form called Dorie, the Girl Nobody Loved.

If you've been intrigued by the story you've heard this week, you'll love the book, which provides more detail.

If we can pray for you regarding an issue that has come up during this series, would you call us or send a letter to Revive Our Hearts.

As the abuse in Dorie's life grew, so did her reliance of God on His Word. Tomorrow, we'll hear how she enjoyed the presence of God, even in difficult circumstances as Dorie's story continues on Revive Our Hearts.

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

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