So, for Christmas,
my mom Santa got me Elizabeth Smart's book. It's called My Story. My goodness! I could not put it down. I read it in one night. That maybe, might have involved staying up till 4 in the morning. You can read a preview here. You know you want to!
What I really got out of it was that I should be SOOOOOO grateful for all that I have. Elizabeth Smart got taken from her home, abused in so many ways, and forced to do things I wouldn't wish on an enemy.
This poor girl was 14 and was taken from the safest place she knew - her own home! I can't even imagine. But through it all, she ultimately made it her goal to do whatever it took to stay alive and keep her family alive - for Brian Mitchell David was a master manipulator. He made Elizabeth believe that if she ever did anything to get away or tell people who she really was, that he would kill her and her family, and that he had friends who would help him do that. He instilled so much fear into here that when an investigator confronted them directly, she looked away from him and didn't say anything, while Brian Mitchell David deceived the investigator away.
Elizabeth managed to think pretty positively through the whole thing, and she remembered that her Heavenly Father had not left her alone, and that (among a few other things) gave her hope. I believe that she was being looked out for. Now, that idea must be hard to understand, considering all the horrible things that happened to her, but reading her book you understand. She was at times, given little miracles. Tender mercies, you could call them. And she felt her grandpa, who had recently passed away, watching over her and guarding her, so that above all, she wasn't ever killed. Seriously, read the book. You'll see! Elizabeth has an amazing perspective!
After 9 months of captivity, starvation, abuse, and even being forced to drink so much that she woke up in her own vomit, she finally returned home. I have to give the girl credit, she was able to deceive her abductor to decided that they should move back to Utah from San Diego, CA. She was recognized relatively quickly as they returned and eventually had the courage to tell a police officer who she really was. And God bless the man who questioned David Mitchell on the bus and asked Elizabeth who she was. I like to think that he would've called the police or something, to let them know that he saw a girl who looked like Elizabeth with two weirdos.
She returned to her family. That alone is such a blessing! I totally take my family for granted. I love them so much, and I can't imagine life without them. Not even saying goodbye, and not knowing when or if you'll see them again. How horrible! But Elizabeth survived long enough to see them again. And her mother gave her a truly amazing piece of advice when she did finally see them again:
"Elizabeth, what this man has done is terrible. There aren't any words that are strong enough to describe how wicked and evil he is! He has taken nine months of your life that you will never get back again. But the best punishment you could ever give him is to be happy. To move forward with your life. To do exactly what you want. Because, yes, this will probably go to trial and some kind of sentencing will be given to him and that wicked woman. But even is that's true, you may never feel like justice has been served or that true restitution has been made.
"But you don't need to worry about that. At the end of the day, God is our ultimate judge. He will make up to you every pain and loss that you have suffered. And if it turns out that these wicked people are not punished here on Earth, it doesn't matter. His punishments are just. You don't ever have to worry. You don't ever have to think about them again.This is the best part -
"You be happy, Elizabeth. Just be happy. If you go on and feel sorry for yourself, or if you dwell on what has happened, if you hold onto your pain, that is allowing him to steal more of your life away. So don't you do that! Don't you let him! There is no way that he deserves that. Not one more second of your life. You keep every second to yourself. You keep them and be happy. God will take care of the rest."I find it amazing, that Elizabeth didn't need any kind of formal counselling. But she's not the first like that. She did 4 things to help herself. She rode horses. She played the harp. Any time she remembered the bad things that happened to her, she realized that those things made her realize how good she now had it. And fourth, she realized the empathy she now had for those in similar situations. That brought her to start the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. She also helped develop a survivors guide for children in similar situations to never give up and know that there is life after those terrible things have happened.
So go read her book! And become educated about what she has to say! Happy Tuesday and NYE!