Maggots in My Soul

Jodie Tedder
4 min readSep 3, 2020


I was 22 when my memories started to emerge. I had a one-year-old beautiful little girl and had already been married for four years. I sat down one day at the kitchen table when my daughter was taking a nap, picked up a pen and just started to write.

“How my soul must have ached as I stuffed my pain and put on a happy face.” Journal Entry 1986

I remember being shocked at those words. For all intents and purposes, my life was ok. Right?

I didn’t live with the incest or murder in my mind’s eye. Those memories smoldered in the background and had been put away many years back. The abusive husband that cheated and ran around? Oh, that was nothing, too.

What hampered my growth in the beginning, was keeping the family I was born into, close to me. I was betrothed to them in a way that I didn’t know how to free myself from. Their gnarled nets had bamboozled me.

So my journey began. Those few simple words began to pry open the doors of my past. I’m now 56 and I’ve never forgotten writing those words down. It was the first time I started to see me. It truly was the beginning. My denial was cracked open and the light was starting to pour in.

Would anybody ask you to have a relationship with a person who raped you? We all scream, “No, of course not.” But, that is NOT true when the person who raped or sexually assaulted you is a part of your family. Particularly when the family has some kind of religion involved. The charge is then — FIX IT. They’re your family. Find forgiveness. You’re bad if you can’t find it in your heart to love them.


With everything in my being that is good, I know that response does not come from the throne of a loving God. It comes from an evil kingdom that wants you to remain enslaved to your past.

The maggots that infested my soul were only killed through exposure to the light and then removing my birth family far from me.

There was incest everywhere in my family line. By their own admissions: my father was molested by his uncle; my mother slept with her brother; the husband I was married to was abused by his mom; and his mom’s sister told stories of their father handing them out a window to be raped by another man. These are just the stories told. Imagine the plethora of untold horrors perpetrated and then passed down? Incest is generational and doesn’t stop without the deep and ongoing labor of sacrifice, truth-telling and accountability.

Would God want me anywhere around my family? Maybe, if there was full disclosure on their part AND if they asked for forgiveness AND if they received treatment. That is the only criteria by which you should stay close to abusive & dysfunctional families.

There is this amazing scripture where Jesus is talking to His disciples about following Him into service. It’s in John 9: Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Those words were life giving to me. I didn’t follow His words for so very long because I didn’t think they were “Christian.” A good “Christian” would forgive, help the abuser make change, love beyond measure and embrace denial if all that failed.

The years of staying in relationship with my original family cost me the most. More than over-drinking, more than bad relationships — more than searching through the ruins of my haunted past.

Get away from them. Move your soul to a territory that is safe. Away from their wicked judgment and their false pretenses of sanctity. Speak your truth and leave. If you need to go back, go back just to find healing through speaking your truth. Then, get out.

I cannot say this loud enough. Do not stay stuck with them. Do not believe them if they reject your story. They rely on oppression and depend on deceit.

Originally published at on September 3, 2020.



Jodie Tedder

We write openly about our very traumatic childhoods. Understanding. Understanding. Unquestionable understanding. That's the message God has for you always!