Peace after life of torment
A life from hell can only describe Bunny Klassen’s life but today she shares why forgave her abusers
In summarising her life Bunny recounts: "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 (Jesus) has kept me safe from the worst of what could have been. He has spared my life."
It is an interesting statement to make given the suffering she has endured over the years.
While Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome has affected her memory, Bunny remembers the cruelty she suffered at the hands of her stepfather.
"Things such as ... having my tailbone broken at least three times whilst being kicked with steel-capped boots; being told that I was stupid ... dumb, lazy, unfit, and unwanted," Bunny recalls sadly.
At 11 years old he was the first of many other men who sexually abused her.
"I quit speaking for a period of time," she adds, "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."
At 14 she ran away from home and at various times stayed with a biker gang, and slept in random houses, unlocked cars and on the streets.
"Many times I could have been coerced into hard drugs, prostitution, or even turned up dead. I dread to even think about that 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."
This understanding about God came from earlier years spent in Sunday school, where Bunny remembers learning about Jesus and His love for her.
“He kept me safe from the worst of what could have happened”Yet at 14 Bunny ended up in jail after her boyfriend coerced her into stealing a car and, fearing being sent home to her stepfather, she told her jailers she was 18 and spent over three months in prison.
Later, having survived two bouts of cancer, Bunny was miraculously healed from a third cancerous attack.
"I thanked (God) with heartfelt thanks, but I could not bring myself to walk into a church," she explains.
"I had drank too much, done too many things I was ashamed of ... I knew I was too bad for the Lord to forgive. I was wrong!"
Then one Sunday morning Bunny woke up feeling an inaudible voice prompting her to go to church and, although she tried to fight it, she found herself at the steps of a church that day.
She was not brave enough to go in but went back the following week and felt a strange sense that someone was pushing her up the steps to the church.
"I kept wanting to turn around and run the other way, but I could not," she recalls as she entered the church. "I sat at the back trying to be as inconspicuous as possible and I started to cry."
Then, to her 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."
While Bunny did not feel brave enough to come forward that day, the following Sunday she did.
"For the next several months I could not go into a church without immediately starting to cry," she says after experiencing the love and forgiveness of God that day.
"I didn't know it then but the Lord was healing me. I changed from an extremely angry person – who couldn'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 she was baptised on the Easter Sunday, publically declaring her decision to spend the rest of her life living for Jesus.
"I am imperfect; I fall just as everyone does, but I get up, ask forgiveness, 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 that really is," Bunny says joyfully.
To others Bunny concludes with an encouragement, "I know that God's grace [undeserved kindness] 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."?