When Dawn Milberger learned that her birth parents tried to end her life before she was born, she began a journey of forgiveness that has brought Dawn through the ups and downs of life. Dawn was adopted after she was born, and her adoptive family raised her with a strong Christian identity that taught Dawn to value the gift of adoption, and see her role as an adoptee as part of God’s bigger plan.
At the age of 17, Dawn experienced a violent trauma that cried out to God for justice. Dawn was brutally raped and beaten in a car by someone who she thought was a friend.
Dawn shares, “I remember disassociating from myself while it was happening and watching the brutality take place from the back seat of my car while my head fell to one side. I can still smell the unforgettable smell of sulfur like evil, it was horrific and soul numbing, with just the smell of pure evil.”
It turns out that her perpetrator was on the destructive path of becoming a serial rapist and murderer, and ended up killing the rest of his victims. As far as Dawn or anyone else knows she is the only one left alive. Once again, Dawn’s life was spared from a brutal horrific death.
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Not until many years later, when her rapist was behind bars serving a life sentence, did Dawn begin to hear God’s call to forgive the perpetrator of the evil she suffered.
She was peacefully living her life in the suburbs with her husband when, at the end of 2008, she heard the Lord whisper, “Give him the gift of forgiveness. Give him the gift of forgiveness.”
Dawn knew instinctively whom the Lord was talking about. Although Dawn thought she had already “forgiven” her rapist (insofar as the world defines the term) by putting the event behind her and not thinking about it, she chose to ignore the call. Initially, she felt angry that God wanted her to forgive her rapist. So she ran from forgiveness as fast and for as long as she could. After two years of avoiding the call, she was exhausted. The Lord brought her to a place of complete surrender and obedience. She proceeded with the assignment of forgiving her rapist.
Dawn sought counsel from her husband and her pastor, and together they reached out to her Victim Offender Mediator (VOM), requesting their assistance. Her VOM met with her perpetrator, and Dawn was informed that there was absolutely no way they could allow a face-to-face meeting. It was still too dangerous for Dawn.
Dawn was relieved by the news, and saw the denial of her request for a meeting as her biblical “ram in the bushes,” sparing Abraham from killing Isaac at the last moment. She was spared from a face to face meeting but not from the assignment. Instead, Dawn wrote a forgiveness letter to her perpetrator and allow the authorities to deliver the message. Dawn was overcome with emotions as she wrote the letter, and realized that she had never truly forgiven her rapist, biblically in her heart, but only with her head, empty words, and avoidance.
As she typed the words, “I forgive you,” the shackles of unforgiveness quickly fell away, which allowed her to then freely share the gospel message with him as well and tell him how much the Lord loves him. When she completed the letter and sent it off, she realized that the gift of forgiveness was actually a gift from God meant for her. Dawn felt an unshakable freedom in forgiving her rapist, saying, “In retrospect, I was actually kicking myself later that I didn’t even WANT to trust the Lord earlier because I could have been set free two years earlier!”
With this journey to biblical freedom through biblical forgiveness, Dawn has redirected her outreach, Gotcha Ministries of Central Texas (GMOCT). Initially, Dawn focused on providing education and transformation through pro-life talks. Now, however, Dawn’s mission is first to spread the gospel, and her pro-life work has come to greater fruition with her rearrangement of priorities, putting god first.
As Dawn now states with this new mission, she is a follower of Jesus Christ first and foremost before she is an abortion and rape survivor, with that comes the command to fulfill the great commission, GMOCT will be evangelizing, teaching and showing biblical forgiveness with Dawn’s abortion and rape survival as examples of application. Should you be interested in having Dawn and her team teach God’s word on true biblical forgiveness and/or share her powerful and moving personal forgiveness testimonies, you can contact her at Gotcha Ministries of Central Texas’ Facebook page.