The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Dale Shiffman

Daddy's Little Girl

By Debbie White
The 700 Club There were no lullabies or bedtime stories for Michele Esposito -- just her mother’s drunken rages. There was no Daddy to lovingly call her his “little girl," just a void where a Daddy should be. But a child’s heartbreak and suffering led to an amazing journey of redemption.

"As a child, when my mother would go into these rages, I was very nervous; I was literally throwing up all the time," Michele recalls.

Michele bore the full brunt of her alcoholic mother's rage.

"She pulled my hair, twisted my ear, and she told me to get out of her house. She didn’t want me," she says.

There was no daddy to protect Michele. All her father did was abandon her and promise visits that never came.

"Many times I would just sit there, as a little kid, waiting for my father to show up. Time after time, it was really disappointing."

Michele grew up feeling like an orphan, cast aside, and treated like an inconvenience. When her mother partied all night, she left Michele in the care of several aunts.

She never knew where she was going to put her head down at night, nor who would be roaming the halls. Michele found out there was something worse than her mother's cruel insults. She was also molested by an uncle at the age of seven.

"I was always anxious about the next moment ... what was going to happen. My stomach was always in knots. My uncle would come into my room at night, and he would touch me in the inappropriate places. He would tell me not to tell anyone because it was my secret," she says. "He told me that if I did tell anyone, they would probably blame me for what happened."

So Michele told no one of her mother's drunken rages or her uncle's sexual abuse. These painful secrets became a slow poison. Michele entered her teen years broken and full of self hatred and shame.

"I found solace in drinking and going out with friends. I thought that drinking a lot would kind of numb out a lot of that pain that I had from my childhood ... a lot of that anger that I had, so I got into a lot of drugs."

"There was this restlessness inside of me. All the drinking never numbed out all the pain. All the drugs never took away the anxiety or the anger, and there was no one who gave me the kind of love that I was looking for," she remembers.

During college, Michelle sought help from a therapist who practiced hypnosis. He said he could cure her ... if she slept with him.

"I was so upset, I was so angry. I was angry with God, I was angry at men, [and] I was angry at my past. I said, 'Why me, what have I done?' "

Michele met one man who seemed different -- a man she'd eventually married. Their wedded bliss was short lived. Her husband's lies brought out Michele's deep seated hatred of men. She flew into fits of rage -- just like her mother.

"There were points I was in a rage half of the time. I was kind of at a low boil all the time."

Several years later they divorced, leaving Michele to raise their young daughter alone. Michele descended into a deep depression.

"I would just cry and cry and cry, and sleep. I would just go to sleep. I barely ate -- I just watched TV all the time. I barely took care of my daughter. I was just going through the motions of what was going on."

One day while mindlessly flipping through the TV channels, Michele stumbled upon a television program with a message that would change her life. It happened to be The 700 Club. They started showing a segment of someone who found salvation.

"Pat Robertson talked a little bit and he says, 'Does this relate to you, can you understand what this person is going through?' "

He [Pat] said, "If this is you, I want you to bow your head and accept Jesus into your life."

"I started praying the sinner’s prayer. I prayed for God to forgive me for all the sins I’d done.When I stopped praying, I felt so good. I felt washed, I felt clean," says Michele.

Friends noticed a change in Michele immediately.

"Friends that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years said,  'You are different. You used to be so edgy and angry all the time. You are really calm now, there’s a glow -- a happiness that’s really nice.' "

But Michele continued to battle bouts of depression and anger. She knew she had to draw closer to God.

"The more that I read Scripture, the more I came to know God, [and] the more that peace started washing over me."

A few months later, Michele realized she had overlooked an important key to complete healing -- forgiveness.

"And so I realized that in order to receive God all the way into my life, I needed to forgive a lot of people."

Michelle wrote a letter to each person that had hurt her, asking for and extending forgiveness.

"I was like this weight started lifting off of my shoulders. I felt like I wasn’t hunched over anymore. I always had this pain in my neck, and I never realized what that pain was. I started feeling lighter, I started feeling better," she says.

Today, Michele is a busy mother of nine-year-old Remy and runs a prosperous business called, "The Organized Room."

"I give all the glory to God, I give all the praise to God. Even when I didn’t know that He was working -- He was working. I realize now that even though as a kid I felt abandoned by my mother and my father, in Scripture it says, 'Even though my other and my father have forsaken me, the Lord God has adopted me as his own.' "

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