Note from Eric: Lisa was a teenager who had been sexually abused, consumed with rage and very depressed. On the night she planned to take her life, she got hope from a Christian radio program. One month later, she said a prayer and felt “the most amazing peace.” She concludes, “And it has never left.”
I FELT THE MOST AMAZING PEACE
by Lisa Sutter
I am 19 years old and will be 20 in May (written in April, 1996). I got saved when I was 13. I met these two identical twin Christians. I didn’t know they were Christians when I first met them but I knew they were different from me. But I wasn’t sure exactly how.
I was raised in church, went to religion classes and went to church every Sunday. So I knew about God but I didn’t know Him in a personal way at all. The twins started asking me to go with them to their youth group.
I couldn’t during the school year because their youth group met on the same night as my religion class. But then in early June I did go and it changed my life. The twins had started a prayer group during the lunch hour at our junior high.
There I met the youth pastor at their church. The twins arranged for him to pick me up and take me to the youth group. On the way there, John started asking me all these questions about religion (if I believed in God stuff like that). Then he asked me to repeat a prayer. I did.
I will never forget what he said afterwards. He said “Lisa, if you were sincere when you prayed that prayer you’ve just accepted Christ as your personal Savior.” Then he congratulated me.
Then when we got to youth group. He took up me in front of the other kids and introduced me. Then he put his arm around my shoulders and said “Lisa just accepted Christ as her Personal Savior.” Everyone in the room started clapping and cheering. The other kids started congratulating me and shaking my hand and giving me hugs. So that’s how I met the Lord.
The next year, 8th grade, was great except I wasn’t growing at all in my new found faith. But the next year, my freshman year was the most awful year I have ever had. I had so many traumatic things happen to me. I had a friend die in a car crash. She was 14 and she got hit by a car while riding her bike. I had 6 friends try to kill themselves including one Christian.
But probably the worst thing was that I was sexually abused by a 67 year old neighbor. I was 16. The way we met was that he was on my paper route.
One day he came out and handed me a dozen donuts for me to take home. He lived on the same street as I do. I was really surprised but I didn’t say anything. His wife had died the year before so I felt sorry for him because he lived alone. So when he started asking me to do things on the weekends I was happy to. We would go shopping, take drives in the country, go out to eat.
At first he asked my brother to come along but gradually he stopped asking my brother. I remember that my neighbor would tell me I was very pretty and he would put his arm around my shoulders. That really made me uncomfortable but I never said anything. He frequently took my picture too. Once when I told him not to.
Then April came and I got really hot on my paper route so when he asked me to sit on the porch with him and have a glass of cool water I readily agreed because I totally trusted him. Then I did something that I realize now was dumb, but like I said I totally trusted him. So when he asked me to come inside his house I did.
He wanted to know everything about me. If he saw me with a friend he would ask “Where did you go, who was your friend?” Then one day I stood up to leave and he hugged me so tightly the breath is literally squeezed right out of me. Then he kisses me on the cheek. I didn’t know what else to do so I kissed him on the cheek.
He would do that every day. Hug me like that so I couldn’t move. The kisses moved from my cheek to my lips. Just quick ones at first but eventually they got passionate. Similar to how a long term boyfriend or girlfriend would kiss you. I was disgusted.
I remember walking home and thinking what did I do to deserve that? Did I lead him on? I walked into my house and went straight to my room. It wasn’t too long before my mom came in. She asked me what was wrong. I said nothing. She prompted me and finally asked “Did that man do something to you?”
I started sobbing and told her what had happened. The first thing she said after I told her was “Don’t tell anyone outside the family.” Even now I don’t know why but it only caused me to blame myself even more. I felt so many different emotions. But I kept them inside. I talked to friends about what happened but I didn’t tell them how it made me feel. So I was consumed by rage.
It scared me because any little thing my mom did could set me off and I could feel this rage boiling inside me. But eventually it went away. Then in my sophomore year of high school I started having panic attacks. At one time I was having as many 8-10 a day. But thankfully I haven’t had one in over 2 years. I was also extremely suicidal during my freshman year.
My neighbor harassed me for about a year and a half. He kept asking me to do the things we had always done. He offered me money on 3 different occasions. Then he left me alone for over a year.
Then in August of 1994 he stalked me for 3 weeks. Once he followed me from one end of the street to the other in his car. Then when I turned to corner he would go home. And every day he would come outside and just stare at me while I was on my route. Then on August 19, 1994 he died. He had always had a bad heart and died of a heart attack.
I have never felt so relieved in my entire life. I was actually happy but felt guilty for feeling happy. You aren’t supposed to feel happy when someone dies.
In about August 95 I got really really depressed again. One Sunday, October 1 1995, I decided I had had enough. I decided to try to kill myself that night.
But thankfully back in February I had discovered a nationwide Christian call in show called Dawson McAllister Live! It’s a show for people 21 and younger. It just so happened that night’s topic was Suicide. So I called in. That show gets between 10 and 20 thousand calls every night. So I prayed “Lord if you want me to stick around please make sure I get to talk to Dawson or I won’t be here much longer.” And the Lord delivered.
Dawson’s staff called back and told me that they were going to put me on the air. So I talked to Dawson and then I called his off-air “let’s talk” line called the Hopeline. That is all that kept me from killing myself. God telling the man I talked to what I needed to hear to save my life. I give God all the glory for saving my life.
Then about a month later I got down on my knees and I prayed. After I finished I felt the most amazing peace. And it has never left. It is still very difficult for me to deal the what my neighbor did to me. I have come a long way, but I still have a long way to go. I still have very low self-esteem but I am no longer suicidal. I know that God will bring me complete healing and that this experience will be used to minister to other people. And this experience has really strengthened my faith and I think made me a better person.