Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

Laura and Me by Sylvia Peterson November 11, 2014

laura and me


Laura and Me is a unique look inside the mind and personality of serial pedophile Laura McCollum who is currently being held indefinitely at Washington State’s Commitment Center for violent, serial sex offenders. The author had an opportunity to meet with Laura over a period of nine years, during which she explored questions regarding her own childhood sexual abuse—questions such as, “Why did he do that to me?” “How could God let that happen?” “What do I need to do to heal?” Perpetrator and victim stood eye to eye as the author insisted Laura give her the answers, without which she refused to forgive her grandfather. The author discovered that Laura struggled to answer the same questions regarding her own childhood sexual abuse, but she also had others: “Can God forgive me after everything I’ve done?” “Will anyone ever be able to love me?” Laura and Me is the heart-wrenching true story of two women pursuing many of the same answers, but from polar positions. What they learned from each other changed them both forever. This book is an opportunity for other childhood sexual abuse survivors to make the journey of discovery along with them, traveling from pain to redemption and into healing.

My thoughts:

This book is a tough read emotionally. It is hard to read about what someone has done to a child. Selfish, hurtful acts. This is especially hard to read as a sexual abuse survivor but I think even if you have never been abused this will stir your heart.

There were times I was disgusted and angry and other times I felt great pity for Laura and wanted to see her redeemed.

Sylvia has taken a look at a very tough issue, something she has dealt with personally as well. I loved her raw honesty with her own feelings as she walked this journey. How she even slipped back into old feelings as things came to the surface.

If you wonder if healing is possible after abuse, or you want to gain a better understanding of the mind of an abuser this is a book you must read. It will leave you haunted and aching but with hope as well.

Visit Sylvia here.

Grab your copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

An e-copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through in exchange for an honest review.


Review: Clean by Douglas Weiss July 15, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:05 pm
Tags: , ,


A Proven Plan for Men

Committed to Sexual Integrity


Douglas Weiss

From the back cover:

You have been called to a life of sexual success!

Every Christian man is born into a sexual war. The enemy attacks the young, hoping to scar them permanently and leave them ruined. But your past is not enough to keep you from the enduringly clean life you want and deserve.

Clean is a priceless, no-nonsense resource for every husband, father, brother, son, friend, pastor, and Christian leader on the front lines of this war. It is a soldier’s handbook for those ready to reclaim their homes, churches, and nations for the God who has built them to succeed.

Dr. Doug Weiss has been clean for more than twenty-five years, and he has devoted his life to helping other men achieve victory. “This book,” says Dr. Weiss, “contains tested and tried weapons for you to get and stay clean, not for a week, month or year, but for the rest of your life.”

Clean provides you with biblical, practical, dependable weapons for seizing and maintaining a clean life for yourself and those you love. You will even be equipped to reach out to your brothers-in-arms and teach them to walk with you in cleanness.

“If the Devil wants war, bring it on!” says Dr. Weiss.

Join the battle! Your sexual life is worth fighting for!

My thoughts:

Yes, this is a book for men and I am a woman but I was drawn to this book because I know there are many men struggling with this area of their life. But I have to tell you, if you are a woman who struggles in this area (as I have been) you can glean a lot of great information from this book.

I think it is becoming more and more clear that women have unhealthy sexual thoughts and impulses more than most people realize. So whether you are a man or a woman I think this is an excellent resource for you, or if you know someone who is fighting this battle pick up a copy and give it to them (that is what I plan on doing with my copy).

What I liked about this book was that it didn’t just tell you what your problem was but the author gave you actual steps you can take to get clean and walk away from this addiction or struggle. Becoming clean is not for the wimpy man or woman, it take courage to get clean because you have to confess your sin and be held accountable.

The author encourages people who are clean to be bold and ask the hard questions, not easy.

The thing I didn’t like about the book was that it didn’t address the root of the problem, why are some men draw to sexually inappropriate behavior? As someone who has fought with this I know my root cause was sexual abuse and I needed help healing from that. There is usually a reason someone is draw to this type of behavior.

I also felt that the author used the book to promote his other books. I am sure they are good but there are many other excellent resources out there as well but they were never mentioned. It was a great book and I do recommend it but I think there are other wonderful resources and they shouldn’t be neglected.

You can grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or

Visit the authors website here.

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through the Booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review.


Part XXV-Out of the Boat August 10, 2012

The Sunday before we talked to my abuser our Pastor spoke about Peter and when he got out of the boat. He was full of confidence at first but when he saw the waves he became afraid and started to sink.

Facing my abuser was me climbing out of the boat. For all of my life I lived safely in my boat. In my boat I didn’t have to be brave. Now God gave me a clear command: Get out of the boat and trust me.

I left of last week with all of us (my husband, my abuser and me) sitting around the dining room table as I prepared to read my letter to my abuser. Below is the letter I read. I have edited out some parts to protect my abusers identity but for the most part it is the letter in its complete form.

Dear (name removed),

This letter has been a long time in coming. But I know it needs to be written.

I am writing you this letter to tell you I forgive you. I forgive you for sexually abusing me as a little girl. I am assuming you thought I didn’t know, or had forgotten. I never forgot. But I didn’t understand what happened to me until I was in middle school.

The truth is I dismissed it as my fault and I must have done something to make you do that to me. I made excuses for you and I thought it had no impact on my life. I was wrong.

Of course after I became a Christian I thought God would just automatically heal me and I even game testimonies in the prisons about being healed. (Side note-I was in a band with Patrick and we traveled to prisons) I was deceived, I was not healed because I never sought healing, I just assumed.

My marriage wasn’t good. I constantly looked for attention from other men. I see now I had done this since I was a little girl. I learned not to trust men, even my husband. I wanted power because power had been snatched away from me for as long as I can remember.

So I had emotional affairs. I even reached the point of wanting to leave my marriage in 2005. But Pat wouldn’t let me go. We didn’t seek counseling which was a huge mistake. But I got pregnant with Kieran and things were good for a few years.

Then I got on Facebook. I knew that is was a dangerous place for me and it didn’t take long for me to become friends with someone from my past. I shared about the sexual abuse with this other man, which was odd, because at that point only three other people knew. I was sharing too much but I couldn’t stop. I wanted love so bad. More than that, I wanted power.

This time it went beyond an emotional affair. In June of 2009 I had a physical affair. It was short and fast. I fell fast and Pat found out fast. But I wanted out of my marriage. I was ready to throw my life away for this other person. I am so glad God stopped me, I would be so totally miserable. Pat fought for me. For the first time in my life I knew what true love looked like. I never knew. My dad’s love was based on me being good all the time. I felt pressure to be the perfect child or I wouldn’t be loved.

I saw Jesus through my husband. We finally sought counseling but I didn’t even want to share about the abuse because I didn’t want that to be an excuse and I thought it was. I thought I did the things I did because I was bad, not because I had scars. But I did have scars.

Because of the sexual and verbal abuse I had some pretty messed up ways of looking at things. I didn’t know how to set boundaries since boundaries were crossed when I was a child. I wanted power over men because men had been having power over me all my life.

I finally found the healing I needed for years. And I finally could forgive you and my dad. I do forgive you. Totally and completely, just as my Heavenly Father has forgiven me for my sins. You are forgiven.

I share this now because God is urging me to share my story with others, so He can be glorified. He keeps whispering in my ear when I get nervous about telling everyone, “For me Melissa, for me.”

I am done keeping secrets. God gets no glory if I remain silent. I don’t know what He has planned for me but I will be silent no longer. I wanted to talk to you first because I want to be able to tell my parents I have forgiven you completely and that I have spoken to you about this already.

If and when  I speak about this publicly I will not say who sexually abused me. I do that to protect your family, no one else needs to be hurt by this.

If you have been carrying around the weight of this sin I pray that God will release you from it. The enemy would like nothing more than to make you feel about this. Please don’t. I forgive  you. I know God will redeem this, He has already. He is leading me to write, which has been my dream forever. I am also able to relate to other sexual abuse victims and I wouldn’t be able to help them if I hadn’t gone through it myself. Genesis 50:20 has been the verse Pat and I cling to though all of this: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”

Joseph spoke those words to his brothers when he told them he forgave them for selling him into slavery. When I hear those words I don’t of the “you” in that verse as “you” (name removed) but as the enemy, the devil, who used you and then used me to do things to hurt other people. I don’t believe your were thinking about hurting me. I believe you were/are broken. I can only imagine how you have been hurt and the pain and confusion have been overwhelming for you. I believe you did what you did out of your brokenness, your desire to feel loved or maybe your desire for power because you felt you had none. The enemy wants to kill, steal and destroy you and I.  I pray that you allow God to come in and heal any places you need healing. He longs to, he has been searching for you all of your life. He is the Father you long for. He loves you with an unfailing love, He is dependable, unrelenting, trustworthy. Your Father longs to hold you.

God is good, He does redeem, I believe it with all my heart, I have seen Him do it in my life with everything. I have asked God why all of this stuff had to happen to me. He asked me, “If being abused and having an affair was the only way you could really love me and have the relationship you have with me now, would you let it happen all over again?” If I am honest, I would have to say I wouldn’t trade any of it for the relationship I have with my Heavenly Father. Every tear, ever heartbreak, every moment of shame was all worth it to rest in the arms of my Savior.

I hope you believe God redeems all things. He longs to redeem your wounds.

More than anything please take away that I love you and your forgiven, but more importantly Jesus loves you and forgives you, more than you could ever know.

In Christ’s Love, Melissa


Would he just stare at me and say, “Okay”? Would he deny it?

My abuser crumbled before me. His head fell forward and he sobbed. He said three words I never expected to hear, “I’m so sorry.”

Without even thinking about what I was doing I stood, went to him, wrapped my arms around him and cried along with him. “I forgive you.”

We held each other for a long time. Years of silence, shame, heartache, found peace, rest.

After we calmed down he shared with me that he had been abused when he was younger by older boys.

I hit the table with my fist. “I knew it.”

I did. Hurt people hurt people, he was a mess inside too. The mess was reflected in the horrible choices he made in his life as well.

We talked awhile longer. Patrick and I really wanted to make sure he felt loved and knew he was completely forgiven.

I know not every person will be able to face their abuser, or tell them they forgive them. I also know that even if you do you might not get the reaction you hope for. That is why you need to be in a place where you don’t need anything from your abuser. They let you down once , they might do it again. You wanted something from them before, love, acceptance, I know I did, and it got all twisted. You can’t expect anything from your abuser.

But you can expect to receive all you need from your Heavenly Father. Only He can give you all you need, He will not let you down.

I stepped out of the boat when I spoke to my abuser. Now I needed to stay out and talk to my parents and Patrick’s.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage!  It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Matthew 14: 27-29 NIV

Have you ever gotten out of the boat? What happened?

What’s your Genesis 5020? Share with us at: 5020genesisstories(at)gmail(dot)com


Part XVI-A New Perspective June 8, 2012

In the back of Every Woman’s Battle  is a phone number that will put you in touch with counselors in your area. Patrick made the call and we had an appointment only days after my last email to the man.

Our appointment was set for 10:00 in the morning. We dropped our kids off at Deanna’s and headed in the direction of what we prayed would be healing.

I remember telling Patrick I hoped the counselor didn’t ask  if sexual abuse played a part in my life because I didn’t even want to talk about it. I felt like people used that as an excuse for making bad choices. I was just a bad person. I had no excuse.

We arrived and waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally, one of the secretaries came out and told us they made our appointment but forgot to tell the counselor about it. She asked if we could come back at 5:00.

I immediately felt defeated. We had band practice that evening and Patrick’s parents where watching the kids for us. I did not want to explain to them that we needed to drop the kids of sooner because we had to talk to a counselor.

We left without making another appointment.

On the drive home I  stared out the window of our car and thought, “What is the point? Nothing will help us.”

I honestly believed that appointment didn’t work out because we weren’t meant to fix our marriage.

Patrick and I talked about what we should do and I did not make things easy.

I fell back into my dark hole. In my hole I saw no hope, no light. Death surrounded me. So I spoke death. I didn’t care if we ever saw the counselor.

Thankfully, once again, Patrick persisted and before we arrived home he called the counselor’s office back and we scheduled an appointment for that night at 5:00.

We decided to tell his parents we just had an earlier rehearsal with our band then we thought. Yes, a lie. But we were  not ready to make our story public.

At 5:00 we sat in the same room we waited in seven hours earlier. This time our counselor came out and got us.

I can’t really remember what we talked about that first session. I know Patrick did most of the talking.

I couldn’t get the words out. To actually say, “I had an affair ” seemed impossible.

What I do remember about that first session was the feeling that swept over me when the counselor prayed. A feeling I never felt before, like God was in the room, like his arms wrapped around me.

As Patrick and I stepped out into the parking lot the sun shone brightly down on us, we stopped walking and looked at each other.

We both smiled.  At the same time.

“What do you think?” Patrick took my hand.

“I think we’re going to make it. ” I don’t know how I knew that but I did. For the first time, since this all began I believed we had a chance at surviving.

Patrick drew me into his arms and held me as I cried.

As we climbed into the car Patrick reminded me, “The best part is we get to go worship God now.”

Yes, we were on our way to a band practice. We were learning a new song.

Revelation Song.

Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”…… “You are worthy, our Lord and God,  to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:8 &11 NIV

When things were going wrong in your life did you reach a point when you knew everything would be okay? How did you know?


Part I-The Game February 17, 2012

Filed under: Melissa's Genesis 5020 — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:55 pm
Tags: , , , ,
Sexually Abused child.

Image via Wikipedia

First, I just need to say thank you to our church family. God’s amazing love  poured out on us last Sunday. We love you all so much and thank God for you.

As I stated in my last post I will be sharing our Genesis 5020 in installments. There is much to share and I want to be respectful of your time.

Part I:

Somewhere around the age of 4-6 years old, a boy, who I should have been able to trust, asked me if I wanted to “play a game.” Of course I said yes, every kid wants to play a game.

The game was sexual abuse. I did not know the name of this game for many years. I learned how to play and I even tried to take control of the game; I would seek out the attention of the boy and ask him if he wanted to play the game.

He would always say yes.

My little girl mind and heart, thought this was love. I wanted this boy to love me and I believed he did when we played the game. I even remember hoping other boys would want to play. I became very disappointed when no one else gave me the same attention. I thought I must not be loveable, or pretty

At some point the boy stopped asking for the game and I didn’t ask either. But it was too late. Lust had been awakened in me and I didn’t know how to put it back to sleep. Instead, I would try to play the game in different ways for the next twenty-eight years of my life. I would search for power, acceptance and love any way I could get it.

 The boy stopped playing but I would never stop trying to win.

Sexual abuse is one of those things we don’t talk about. But we need to. It is happening all around us. We need to open our eyes to the reality of this truth. We would all be shocked if we knew how many girls and boys have been abused in some way. Sexual abuse doesn’t have to be physical. Being exposed to things a child should not be exposed to —  ex. pornography — is a form of abuse as well. I know ten people who have experienced some type of abuse. This number includes the boy (who is now a man) who abused me.

Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. Song of Songs 8:4 NIV

Let’s open the door and be real. Won’t that tick the devil off? How many women, or men, do you know who have been sexually abused? You can’t count me.  Count yourself if you have been abused, but you don’t need to share that it is you if you don’t wish to. Just give us a number.  Let’s bring what has been hidden in darkness into the light.