Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Jennifer Hartline

5/3/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In 1975, as a young new wife with her own local television talk show and a husband on the verge of a political career, Rosemary was viciously raped at gunpoint.  A man whose face she never saw had brutally violated her body and her life, and as she says, stole her joy. Fear to Freedom is her amazing story of getting that joy back - and then some. Jennifer Hartline interviews Rosemary Trible, the author of Fear to Freedom. Hers is a real-life account of God's miraculous exchange of beauty for ashes. 

Highlights

By Jennifer Hartline

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/3/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in U.S.


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - What if you did not have to be so afraid?

With that simple yet intriguing question, a truly remarkable story begins to unfold in the pages of Fear to Freedom.  I had the wonderful privilege of sitting down in person with author Rosemary Trible to talk about the book.  Two hours later, I left the interview convinced there's not a corner of the globe that this book won't find its way into, and that everyone who reads this book will be positively impacted by its profound message.

In 1975, as a young new wife with her own local television talk show and a husband on the verge of a political career, Rosemary was viciously raped at gunpoint.  A man whose face she never saw had brutally violated her body and her life, and as she says, stolen her joy.  Fear to Freedom is her amazing story of getting that joy back - and then some.

To every person, man or woman, who has suffered the violation of sexual assault or abuse, Rosemary extends a lifeline of hope and healing.  As we talked about the darkness she walked through and the barrage of negative emotions she fought with, she told me how she felt like a big, ugly cracked pot with R-A-P-E on it.  Then she had an image of God placing His light down inside, and He asked her, "Where does the light shine through?"  Through the cracks, of course!  "That's how I want you to shine for Me," He said.

Her goal in Fear to Freedom is to let each of us know - especially those who feel like damaged goods - it's okay that we're cracked!  God repairs what is broken, and brings new life out of the ashes.

Don't be too quick to assume this book is only relevant to those who've suffered sexual assault.  That would be a big mistake.  This is not a book about rape; this is an unshakable testimony to the life-changing power of forgiveness, and the awesomeness of God's love.

If that sounds canned or phony to you, listen again.  Forgiveness is talked about a lot these days from psychologists and counselors and researchers and even celebrities.  It's acquired an almost chic quality in our culture.  But the world's brand of forgiveness doesn't even come close to the forgiveness offered to each of us by God, through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, and it doesn't always equal the forgiveness we are called to give one another.

I was amazed as I read Rosemary's account of how she made the courageous decision to forgive her attacker.  I was stopped in my tracks by what she did next.  She did not simply "release him" for her own sake and remain indifferent to him.  Most people would call that far more than anyone should expect of her, but on her knees before the Lord, she asked for the unthinkable - eternity with the man who'd terrorized her.

She prayed, "Lord, I forgive the man who raped me.  And I will pray every day for the rest of my life that someone will tell him about Jesus and that I'll spend eternity with him."  She took a step beyond mere release into love - love for her enemy!  She made her own great sacrifice of selfless love for the very person who rightfully deserved her contempt and condemnation.  In doing so, she realized as never before that "forgiveness is the greatest power on earth next to love."   She said to me, "When you pray for someone every day, you just can't hate them anymore."

The highlight of the book is Rosemary's astonishing description of what she calls her "near-life experience" after a strange car accident.  While in a coma-like state, unable to speak or move at all, Rosemary was allowed to see beyond the veil.  Though she warns that words are inadequate to describe what she experienced, she tells over and over again of the unspeakable love and peace that enveloped her, the light that warmed her, the absolute calm and joy that overtook her.

After being greeted and embraced by friends who had died, she suddenly found herself face to face with someone she did not recognize.  "Who are you?" she asked.  He replied, "I am the man who raped you.  I would not be here except you forgave me and prayed that someone would tell me about Jesus and I would be set free."

Rosemary writes that this heavenly meeting was "a great gift to my life.  To be face to face with the man who had stolen my joy, and see him now at peace with God and forgiven of his past.  What a merciful God to answer my prayer."

What she learned about forgiveness is for every one of us.  Next to love, forgiveness is the greatest power on earth.  When we forgive, the power of God is loosed in the life of our offender, to work eternal transformations.  We not only set ourselves free, but we free the one who hurt us to be changed by the force of God's perfect love.  God desires that not one soul be lost, but that every soul, every soul, be reconciled to Him through Jesus.  He will stop at nothing, and go to the ends of the earth to win back even the most hardened soul.

When was the last time you prayed for the good of your enemy?  I think back to times I have prayed for someone who hurt me deeply or hurt someone I love, and I'm not sure I was all that interested in that person's good.  I was mainly concerned with "freeing" myself from the anger I felt and getting a pat on the back for being so gracious toward a real schmuck.  Which means I have missed the point of forgiveness and love entirely. 

Rosemary has truly lived God's command to love your enemy, and she now radiates the light of Christ.  I asked her near the end of our time together, "If you could edit your life so that the rape never happened, but without the assurance that you'd be the woman you are today, would you do it?"   With barely a moment's thought, she smiled and shook her head and said, "No, I wouldn't."   

Hers is a real-life account of God's miraculous exchange of beauty for ashes.  It's through those ashes, she told me, that God has taught her the power of forgiveness and how immensely great is His love for each of us.  Her mission in life is to tell people about that love and say to every person who is broken and trapped by fear, "You can be free again.  You can have joy again!  You are loved and wanted no matter what you've done or what's been done to you."

One thing's for certain - the cracks in her pot no longer spell r-a-p-e, but H-O-P-E.  She simply shines with hope.

To order your copy of this marvelous book, visit the Fear to Freedom website (www.feartofreedomjourney.com).

-----

Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother of four precious children (one in Heaven).  She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.  She is also a serious chocoholic.  Visit her at My Chocolate Heart.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2015
General Intention:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Missionary Intention: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More U.S.

Obama Administration as Global Advocate for Radical LGBTI Agenda

Image of Randy Berry

By Keith A Fournier

Robert Reilly is right. The Obama administration is doing profound damage to the very understanding of human rights. We have fundamental human rights precisely because we are human persons. No-one should support the denial of truly fundamental human rights for ... continue reading


Climate change - WHERE IT HURTS: Scientists say warming will hit nation's agricultural heartland Watch

Image of The climate change panel's verdict came as a bit of a surprise: Greenhouse-gas emissions played a substantial role in Europe's misery, but not so much in California.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There are very few positive things to result from climate change. Researchers now say that warmer temperatures will hit America where it counts: the nation's agricultural heartland. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Researchers presented their latest findings ... continue reading


WITCHES ARE BACK: Witchcraft reappears in today's popular mainstream culture in unexpected ways Watch

Image of Witches are seen in both religion and as a feminist symbol.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The idea of the witch is making its rounds through history again. Females, both young and old, are embracing the power that comes with the feminist witch in today's society. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In a recent twitter post, popular female rapper, Azealia ... continue reading


Alaska lights up as it become the third U.S. state to legalize marijuana Watch

Image of Twenty-three states still prohibit cannabis outright. The other U.S. states have either legalized medical marijuana or decriminalized marijuana possession.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The state of Alaska is lighting up in celebration... following Colorado's lead, Alaska has become the third U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana use. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Voters passed the Alaska Marijuana Legalization ballot measure last ... continue reading


The Air Force pulls a B-52 from the 'Boneyard,' and you won't believe what they did with it next Watch

Image of A B-52, one of the largest and most effective bombers in the world.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the first time in aircraft's history, the U.S. Air Force has brought a B-52 bomber back to life from the Boneyard of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Arizona. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Nicknamed "Ghost Rider," this 53-year-old bomber had ... continue reading


Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas on the Chair of St. Peter and the Role of the Pope

Image of

By Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

The doctrine of infallibility, then, is derived from the principle of apostolic succession and from the fact that Jesus Christ promised His presence to His apostles when He sent them forth to teach all the nations (cf. Mt 28:20).  The Pope and the bishops in ... continue reading


'I don't know' whether Obama is a Christian, Governor Scott K. Walker of Wisconsin says Watch

Image of Governor Scott Walker declined to weigh in on Rudolf Giuliani's characterization of the president's patriotism and background.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When reporters asked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker about U.S. President Barack Obama's religious affiliation, he said, "I don't know." Considered a possible Republican candidate for the presidency in 2016, Walker said he was not aware of Obama's faith.  ... continue reading


Fifty Shades of Madness: No Gray Area Here

Image of

By Jennifer Hartline

I can't say it any better than the Dowager Countess of Grantham: Have we all stepped through the looking glass? Yes, I'm afraid that collectively, as a culture, we have indeed. We no longer seem to recognize the plainly absurd as absurd. Up is down; out is in; ... continue reading


15 'mortifying disasters' every '90s girl experienced Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Growing up in the '90s was full of iced-tips, crop tops, died hair, Spice Girls and boy bands. Being a girl growing up in the '90s, certain disastrous things could happen that would leave you "mortified." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) With some help from BuzzFeed, ... continue reading


Swastikas everywhere: Anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled across Washington, D.C. Watch

Image of A swastika scrawled alongside obscenities were spotted this week along 19th and N Streets NW in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in downtown D.C.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The swastika, a twisted symbol of hate and racial genocide is becoming a more common sight in the Washington, D.C. area. Graffiti expressing an anti-Semitic, pro-terror view has caused concerns among some residents, as anti-Jewish incidents rise across the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 18:21-28
21 'If the wicked, however, renounces all the sins he ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
1 [Song of Ascents] From the depths I call to you, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 5:20-26
20 'For I tell you, if your uprightness does not ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 27th, 2015 Image

St. Leander of Seville
February 27: St. Leander of Seville, Bishop (Feast - February 27th) Leander ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter