(The Bunny Klassen Story)
By: Bunny Klassen
I started my life unwanted, the product of a relationship my mother had between marriages. I took my first beating at 10 months old at the hands of the babysitter my mother had boarded me with. Shortly thereafter my half sister, (who was 2 years older than me), was kidnapped by her father from my grandmother's house while my mother was out shopping. My grandfather accepted money to help her father and held my grandmother at gun-point so he could take her.
After my mother got over this loss (my sister was never recovered), she remarried, and in the course of time, produced a son and two more daughters to this man. Until I was about nine years old, we were sent (or taken) to church every Sunday and I learned of Christ and His love for me. I accepted the Lord at the ripe old age of seven or eight, but it didn't take too many years for me to get into the world's way of doing things.
Much of my childhood has been erased from my memory by a condition that is known as Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I do however remember some of the cruelty suffered at this man's hands - such as being made to eat in my room because I was told I was not fit to eat with the family; being picked up by the collar and beat against a wall, having my tailbone broken at least three times by being kicked with steel-toed boots; being raised and told that I was stupid ( I have an extremely high IQ); and being told I was dumb, lazy, unfit, and unwanted.
My mother and he would fight and a continuing theme presented by him was to send me somewhere else. He didn't want me there. At 11 yrs old he sexually abused me. I quit speaking for a period of time. He was the first of many adult men that sexually abused me and I was so afraid of people in general and men in particular that I was afraid to say "NO!" Compliance had been beaten into me.
I knew what I was being put through was wrong and I tried to go to Social Services to get us all (my brother, sisters and I) out of the house, but we had a "nice" upper-middle-classed family and back then, things like that just didn't happen in "good" families like ours. It was decided that I was a liar and incorrigible.
At 14 years old, convinced that I was the reason my parents fought so much, and having overheard the many comments made, I started to run away. I would head across country and disappear, but every time I left it only took a few months for someone to figure out I was underage and report me. I would be sent back only to run again the first chance I got.
The first few times I left I would get a job and a small housekeeping room and just try to live quietly and at peace. I kept to myself. After several attempts though, and being on the streets I started to be led by others. At different points I stayed with a motorcycle gang, was approached many times by people who offered to "help" me, make me a "star", slept in cars that someone had left open, stayed at "crash pads", and in general learned to survive on the streets. There were so many times that I could have been coerced into hard drugs, prostitution, or even turned up dead that I dread to even think about them now. But God was faithful to me even if I was not faithful to him. No matter what the environment, he kept me safe from the worst of what could have happened.
I even landed in jail at the ripe old age of 14 1/2. When I was picked up (having been talked into helping the guy I was with to steal a car) , I was so afraid of being sent home to my stepfather's tender mercies that I told them I was 18 and spent the next 3 1/2 months in the Don Jail in Toronto, which at that time it was considered the worst jail in Canada. The Lord provided for my protection even in that environment in the form of a woman who convinced everyone that I was her "old lady" and off limits to everyone else. She never laid a hand on me.
I did suffer a good beating though because the guards showed me some favoritism in the form of chocolate bars and privileges not normally given out and some women formed the opinion that I was telling information to them to get these things. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Due to what I now know was the Lord's intervention in my life, people just seemed to want to naturally protect me! (My nickname was pixie for a reason *Smile*). When I refused to tell who had done it to me the other prisoners left me alone.
Incidences similar to this happened to me continually throughout my life. Far too many to go into here - not to say I have escaped all things.
I have been raped (several times), robbed, beaten (throughout my life by many different people), held at gun-point, held at knife-point, given up one child and was an unwed mother to another. It was discovered that I have suffered ritual satanic child abuse. I have lived on the streets both alone and with a small child. I have been homeless. I have faced cancer twice. But, through it all, the Lord has kept me safe from the worst of what could have been. He has spared my life.
About three years ago He decided it was time for me to come to a relationship with Him. My second marriage of only a few months had broken up and they had found another growth in my abdomen. The third one. When I walked out of the doctor's office after being told, I cried out to God and told Him that if it was His will that I die, so be it. A month later, when they did another scan, it was gone! I thanked him with heartfelt thanks, but I could not bring myself to walk into a church. I had drank too much, done too many things I was ashamed of and in a town that was only 1500 people where I had spent most of the past 17 years, I knew I would not be accepted. I knew I was too bad for the Lord to forgive. I was wrong!
On a Sunday morning I got up and could hear someone saying "go to church" (there was a Pentecostal church only a block from where I lived). I, of course, was arguing with the voice I heard. I remember getting showered and putting on good clothes (slacks and blouse) and all the while arguing with this voice inside me and telling it that I was certainly NOT going to go into a church for people to judge me! I got my shoes on and went out the door still arguing.
That Sunday I won (or lost) the argument. I stood at the bottom of the small incline up to the church and listened to them sing, but would go no further. The next Sunday the scenario was repeated, but this time as I faltered again at the bottom of the short hill, I felt hands in the center of my back pushing me! I thought I had lost it for sure! I kept wanting to turn around and run the other way, but I could not. The hands just kept pushing me toward the small church and into the door!!
I sat at the back trying to be as inconspicuous as possible and I started to cry. Not loud enough for anyone to hear me, but the tears were streaming down my face. Then, to my amazement, the preacher stopped all the singing, stood and looked around and said, "The Lord just told me that someone here needs to dedicate their life to Him. I don't know who it is but I will wait. Please come up and let's pray together."
I knew he was talking to me, but I would not move. The pastor kept encouraging me to come forward with the same words for the next 45 minutes, but I could not bring myself to go forward in front of all those people! The next Sunday I did. For the next several months I could not go into a church without immediately starting to cry. I didn't know it then but the Lord was healing me. I changed from an extremely angry person, who couldn't/wouldn't talk to others without the anger, resentment, and hate showing up to one who could not only talk to others, but would hug and was able to show love to my fellow human beings.
Three months later I was baptized (Easter Sunday) and made a decision to spend the rest of my life serving the Lord. I am imperfect; I fall just as does everyone, but I get up, ask forgiveness yet again, and carry on learning to serve my Lord. He forgave me, he taught me to forgive as he has done, he taught me to love and what it really is. He is teaching me new things every day.
I thank him for His grace to me and I know that his grace is there waiting for you. He does love you. It does not matter what you have done or where you have been, He will forgive you. He will teach you to forgive yourself. He is waiting for you to earnestly ask. He is calling to you as a Father calls for a lost child he is searching for. Call out to Him. Let Him know you are searching for Him too. He will receive you right where you are. Don't wait. His arms are open to receive you now.
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