Finding Faith While Healing From Childhood Abuse: A Podcast From Moody Radio Featuring Ashley Schmutzer
“When you have even just one person that believes in you and says: ‘You can do this. Keep on going,’ … it makes all the difference.” – Ashley Schmutzer
How do we find God amidst the chaos of family relationships? How do we love Him and trust Him when our childhoods can be so raw, and we endured a lot of what no child should experience?
Ashley grew up as the oldest of five children in a home where physical and emotional abuse were very common. And, as is common in many abusive situations, Ashley experienced a great deal of denial — wanting to turn her back and pretend the abuse wasn’t happening. Despite the stress, injuries, stomachaches and headaches: Ashley’s abuse remained hidden for quite some time, as her dad continued to act as leadership in the church, and no one caught on to this “other side” of her parents.
However, a series of small interventions began to lead Ashley towards another path. Finally, when she saw a child abuse hotline in a magazine, feeling truly scared that someone was going to be terribly hurt or die if she didn’t intervene, at the age of 15 Ashley turned her own parents in for child abuse.
What we find most inspirational is the true light that has come from this childhood of darkness.
Ashley became a Christian when she started college. She was ready for a Father… a loving Father. She did a lot of counseling. Prayed for healing for a lot of people. Met so many wonderful people and, through them, she felt she could truly see God.
Ashley had children and began to understand what it is to be a parent and to love your child, while at the same time confronting the realization of what she missed out on in terms of loving parenting. She began to understand how God views us – “If I can have this much love for a child, how much more must God love me?”
And though her own experience, Ashley is able to provide insight and advice to parents who have been through deep pain, bullying or trauma growing up. The following are just a few of her takeaways:
• Realize that, even though you have a story of abuse, that is not your children’s story. They are little clean slates, and you get to help them write their lives.
• Make sure you’re not viewing your children’s lives through your “abuse” glasses: anxious, fearful, angry or withdrawn, because you assume the same things will happen to them. They need a fresh start and fresh beginning. Do everything you need to do to heal before you parent your children.
• Watch your triggers. Your children are not going to understand that you remembered an abuse situation, and now you’re yelling at them. Learn to separate those things, and find your healing.
• “Love covers over a multitude of sins.” Say you’re sorry to your children. Admit you make mistakes.
If you are a parent who is struggling with your own tough history, and you’d like someone to help you through your successes and your mistakes with your children: Ashley and the rest of our Stenzel Clinical Services staff are ready to help: Contact Us by phone or online.
Our counselors create safe environments to support whatever you’re struggling with in the home, and will be here for the long journey with you towards a safer, happier, healthier family. We can help you create the peaceful, trustful home you’ve always wanted to, despite falling short at times.