May 7, 2010
Ok, well, after a week of a whole lot of tears, counsel, board meetings, and phone calls to friends about this situation, I have decided to give up the secret of my life. It is all over the Internet anyway. 🙂
This has been so painful. Interestingly, I wrote a song called “Place Of Surrender” with someone else in mind, when I am the one needing to surrender! That place of surrender is for me.
About three years ago I met David Kyle Foster who has a television program called Pure Passion featuring testimonies. He donated several of those testimonies for our table outreach in West Hollywood. As we began working together, I felt I could trust him enough to tell him a secret I did not want the public to ever know: I was sexually abused at age 13 by an evangelist. I was singing solos of hymns in revival meetings affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention as a young girl, and while in India singing in a crusade, the sexual abuse began. I was in my early twenties before I realized it was sexual abuse, but the angst within me began right after the abuse, to leave me helplessly asking God to put me back at ease within for years to come.
David Foster, the producer of Pure Passion, said, “I would like for you to share your testimony on my television program.” I answered, “I am not ready for that.” For over a year he asked me to be on the television program until I finally agreed. I figured it would be aired on a small cable channel and hardly anyone would see it. I was wrong. 🙂
It was the first time I had ever shared about the abuse, and he wanted me to look directly at him while talking. I could hardly speak without crying. I look at myself on the clip today and think, “Shoot the girl, and put her out of her misery!” The taped program from early 2009 is really painful for me to watch. I hate the way I look! But that is, when people see me. When people see the love of Jesus, it makes for the most beautiful segment.
Well, it aired, and several people emailed me about it. I found myself very uncomfortable in such a vulnerable position though I was sincerely honored that God would use my life to encourage others. Then, several people wrote to say they had seen it on YouTube, to which I responded by writing David asking, “Please take that video of me down off of YouTube!” He consented.
It is now on YouTube and all over the Internet. It is in so many places that I cannot possibly call everyone and ask them to remove it! 🙂
I called a counselor and good friend to me, and she asked me to make a list of the pros and cons of having this video all over the Internet. I couldn’t make the list without crying with still no peace about everyone knowing me. Then, she said something that stopped me cold. She casually said while explaining the importance of boundaries, “There are two Dwayna Litzes: Dwayna Litz in her personal life and Dwayna Litz in her public.”
All of a sudden that changed everything, and I knew what to do. As I thought more about it, I had nothing but peace. I was going to surrender this secret of my life and be the same Dwayna Litz in my personal life as I am in my public. I don’t want to be a woman of secrets that characterize my life in and out of seasons. I want to be the same Dwayna Litz that everyone sees.
The evangelist who sexually abused me was certainly a man of secrets–the man everyone saw on the outside pubicly was nothing like the man he was in his private life. I am not perfect by any means, but I don’t want that to be said about me. As a matter of fact, I feel strongly that my life could never be defined as a “success” with two drastically different “Dwayna Litzes”. I can honestly say that if someone took a video camera and taped me day and night here in Atlanta, anyone watching me could say, “Yes, she is a Christian. She lives it.” They would not be surprised or shocked at anything they saw in my little quiet life. WHAT A GIFT GOD HAS GIVEN US WHEN HE LETS US LEAD AN HONEST LIFE. This is my goal in life over anything else I do: I want to lead an honest life.
The dangerous and dark seasons of my life have been short lived. I give God all the credit for that. He gets me out of things one way or another, so that my life can truly be defined as a woman God has redeemed for His glory.
So, as I give up this secret, I am sure I will be misunderstood for it. But, if I really trust that God has made no mistakes in my life, I can have the
courage to be known. At least no one can say that I am a woman defined by secrets. I am a woman defined by God’s grace.
Thanks to my background, I have a keen awareness that I am not better than anyone else. I can go to places like West Hollywood realizing I am not one bit better than the most debased person there. I just have a Savior who has saved me from sin and a Shepherd who miraculously keeps me.
My tears have dried, and I feel happy again as I let this secret go.
In a beautiful place of surrender,
P.S.–When I called David, the producer, last week I asked, “Can you please at least add a footnote and let the people know I have lost weight since then?” 🙂 This video has been so hard for me. Like so many other things in my life, I never planned on this place of surrender! It came as a gift from God.