“It affected her forever”

I wasn’t familiar with late Amanda Peterson, an actress who tragically died of a drug overdose in July, but I saw an online article stating that the toxicology report revealed,

the former actress had multiple prescription drugs in her system, including anti-anxiety medication, an anti-psychotic medication, pain medication and opiates. She also had marijuana in her system.

It would have been just another sad Hollywood story until, as I read further, her parents revealed that for more than thirty years “Amanda carried a secret that affected her forever”

The “Can’t Buy Me Love” star was raped at the age of 15.

Her mother added;

I think it affected her forever

“She became more defensive, less trusting,”

“Some of the sparkle was gone.”

I had to walk away from the computer…It hits so hard to hear stories like this because there but for the grace of God…would be my story.

But God.

Many times over I’ve told people– professionals included– that there is no way out the aftermath of this kind of trauma apart from the power and love of God. And it does indeed affect you forever.

Last year I encountered a young rape victim on one of my pastoral care visits who had given up on life, overdosed several times and couldn’t seem to express to the professionals the depth or the breadth of her pain..She felt trapped as she bounced back and forth from mental health facilities to the ER where one day she prayed she’d “go home to be with Jesus.”

Very rarely do I feel called to share my testimony with the people I visit, but this was one of those times. I’ll never forget the beauty of the moment when she realized I could relate to the intensity of her struggle and that yes, she was looking into the face of a fellow survivor…realizing for the first time, there is a way out. She doesn’t have to drug herself to numb the pain or kill herself to end the pain.

It does affect us forever.

We do become more defensive and less trusting.

Some of the sparkle definitely goes out.

But, there is hope in Christ who teaches us to begin again even if some who know us, might decide walk away from the challenges we face.

For Amanda…How I wish she could have known this. I’m so sorry someone didn’t get the message to her while she  suffered and despaired for those thirty years.

Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord,

may the perpetual light shine upon her.

May her soul rest in peace.



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