God’s Promise of Hope for Victims of Abuse

I posted this story nearly three years ago, but for some reason God brought it to my attention again. I felt His nudge to share it again. Perhaps there is someone who needs a reminder of hope. This is an edited version.

She was standing at the windows covering one wall. A nun staring out the window. As she stood there, a rainbow broke through the stormy clouds and brightened the sky.

The glory of the rainbow drew me to the window next to her. We were hushed with awe for several minutes.

“I asked God for a sign,” she whispered, “Now I know this is where He wants me to be.”

She opened her heart to me and shared her story of devastating abuse from a priest and how afraid she was to be at this retreat (for women victims of clergy abuse).

I was afraid, too. Shame, fear, and hopelessness consumed me, and I had almost run right back out as soon as I entered the building. But now I knew, too, that I wasn’t alone, and I needed to stay.

The rainbow inspired in both of us hope that God was on our side, He always keeps His promises, and He will never, ever abandon us.

Those days were gut-wrenching as we worked through the unspeakable pain of sexual and spiritual abuse from pastors/priests/ministers from various churches. I probably didn’t get as much benefit out of it as I could have if I had dared to open up more, but God still boosted me on the road to healing.

Two women pastors led the retreat, and on the final day, they held communion to whoever wanted to join them. Love, acceptance, and support warmed the atmosphere. One woman stood rooted to the floor several feet away. Her pain was so deep, and she wasn’t sure she belonged. Could she trust the love Jesus offers? Did He even want her? We gathered around her with love and assurance and God broke the chains of shame. She stepped forward with us, and with tears flowing, we together remembered how Jesus offered up His broken body and poured out His life blood for us to free us.

I was still in deep pain, but I had a renewed hope that God held us in His loving hands. Even though the healing journey would be painful, He would be with us every step of the way. And He has been, even though there were countless times when I felt like He had abandoned me. In hindsight I can see He was there even in those dark times of despair.

As one of the projects, each of us were handed a piece of construction paper with our name written in the middle of it and uplifting stickers on it. We were to write an encouragement or praise on each person’s page. After we went home, the leaders sent our page to us. I still have mine 25+ years later.

I want to share with you what one of the other women wrote to me, and I hope you will apply it personally to yourself.

“Keep talking. Don’t allow Satan to take anymore from you than he has. You know where your power lies. In the Creator of the universe, the Creator of you. Call on His healing. He loves you, (insert your name here), and so do I.”

If you have been abused, in whatever way, whether male or female, don’t let Satan silence you or discourage you with his lies. Don’t let him rob you of your God-given voice. His power is nothing compared to God who created you. God has the power and the willingness to heal you. He even finds joyous delight in healing you.

Even when we feel like a bruised and bleeding body tossed to the side of the road, not believed or cared about by anyone, Jesus loves to tenderly pick us up and hold us to Himself, cradling us with His love and compassion.

Yes, the healing process can be long and painful and overwhelming, but He is right beside us longing for us to trust Him as our Safe Refuge, to open our hearts to His love, and to allow His grace to heal us.

God is faithful and always keeps His promises. He will never abandon us. He is beside us even on those days when we can’t “feel” Him or see His signs.

“For every one of God’s
promises is ‘Yes’ in Him.
Therefore, the ‘Amen’ is also spoken
through Him by us for God’s glory.”
2 Corinthians 1:20 HCSB
“Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds,
I will see it and remember
the everlasting covenant
between God and all living creatures
of every kind on the earth.”
Genesis 9:16 NIV
“Be strong! Be courageous!
Do not be afraid of them!
For the Lord your God will be with you.
He will neither fail you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 TLB


Overcomer
by Mandisa

Opening Our Eyes to the Beauty and Value of Winter When Our Hearts Feel Weary Of It

Is your heart weary of winter? Is your spirit sagging?

Severe cold has filled our February. And the forecast is for more of it this month. It makes us wonder if spring will ever come. On Sunday, I woke to 16 below and 35 below wind chill. It never even got above zero all day!

It’s hard not to get discouraged, isn’t it?

It helps me to intentionally open my eyes and heart to the beauty and value of winter.

Those fluffy flakes gently flowing down are so beautiful. And I’m awed that even in subzero temps, the sun’s power still melts the snow on the roofs enough to form uniquely shaped icicles.

Untrodden snow also amazes me. So white and pure. Sparkling like diamonds when the sun shines. Inspiring a deeper longing to be clean and white in Jesus, to be sparkling with His love and shining it forth to others.

“Purify me from my sins,
and I will be clean;

wash me,
and I will be whiter than snow.”
Psalm 51:7 NLT
“Come, let’s talk this over,
says the Lord;
no matter how deep
the stain of your sins,
I can take it out
and make you as clean
as freshly fallen snow.
Even if you are stained
as red as crimson,
I can make you
white as wool!”
Isaiah 1:18 TLB

I’m grateful I still can take nature photos from inside our warm home! 🙂 We planted this globe evergreen tree in between our neighbor’s and our condos two years ago. We love looking out at the green of it and how the snow forms on it.

This is after a lot of snow. We call it our cake. 🙂

I can never find one icicle identical to another. These are tiny compared to what we saw Sunday on a program in Alaska. Thirty foot icicles that are five feet thick!


This photo isn’t clear, and it certainly doesn’t do justice to what we saw. The sun was reflecting off droplets hanging from this tree, making it look like Christmas lights!

This sun dog was awesome! I wasn’t able to get the other side of it from our bedroom window. My husband saw both sides of it earlier as the sun rose, and he said it was so beautiful.

Winter not only brings beauty. It is also essential to new growth in the spring. Though the tree branches look dead and barren, their roots are growing and gathering nutrients to deliver to and strengthen the new leaves to come.

Winter of the soul can benefit us, too. Those times when losses and trials devastate us. When our hearts feel cold and lifeless. When we wonder – Where are You, God?

Those times can be brutal and debilitating, but they are necessary to deepen and strengthen our roots in Christ Jesus. Roots growing down into Him draw up much-needed nourishment for our spiritual growth. 

“And now just as you trusted Christ to save you,
trust Him, too, for each day’s problems;
live in vital union with Him.

Let your roots grow down into Him
and draw up nourishment from Him.
See that you go on growing in the Lord,
and become strong and vigorous
in the truth you were taught.
Let your lives overflow with joy
and thanksgiving for all He has done.”
Colossians 2:6-7 TLB

Though it does help me to open my eyes to the value of winter, I still long for spring. My heart yearns to be able to be out in nature and all its sights, sounds, and smells again. To feel the sun warming and thawing cold bones. As it gets nearer, I anticipate the sighting of a robin like an eager child hankering to open a long-awaited gift. Can I open it NOW?

There is something about spring that refreshes the spirit, isn’t there? To see the promising new life on the trees and perennials pushing through the soil. To watch the newborn calves and lambs kicking up their heels in the pastures. To hear the joyful chorus of birds.

Our spirits may sag when winters seem to drag on, but spring and revival WILL come, all the more refreshing and renewing after a barren winter. That’s a promise. God’s promise.

“As long as the earth remains,
there will be
springtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
winter and summer,
day and night.”
Genesis 8:22 TLB

Perhaps it’s a different season in your country right now or you live in warmer states or countries where there is no snow or cold. What are your winters like? When you’re weary of winter, what helps you get through it? Whether it’s winter in nature or in your soul? Feel free to share your thoughts!

Seasons
by Hillsong

“Though the winter is long even richer
The harvest it brings
Though my waiting prolongs even greater
Your promise for me like a seed
I believe that my season will come…”

February Roundup: Links, Quotes, Books & More



“On The Throne”
by Kari Jobe

“For the Lord is
He is able, He is faithful
Higher than the mountains that I face
Every season, I will press on
For God alone, is on the throne…”

ABCs of Jesus’ Love

Visit this page anytime and let me know if you’d like to add to the words describing Jesus’ love along with a verse supporting it. Remember, there is also a print-out of the original list.

 Another verse about Jesus’ Love:

❤  Marvelous Love 
“And I pray that Christ will be
more and more at home in your hearts,
living within you as you trust in Him.
May your roots go down deep
into the soil of God’s marvelous love.

Ephesians 3:17 TLB

Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂  Many will be from recommendations of online friends. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

The Furious Longing of God
by Brennan Manning

“Imagine a stormy day at sea, your ship yielding to a relentless wind, pummeled by crashing waves, subject to the awesome force of nature. A force that is both fierce and majestic. A power that is nothing short of furious.

Such is God’s intense, consuming love for His children. It’s a love that knows no limits, and no boundaries. A love that will go to any lengths, and take any risks, to pursue us.

Renowned author and ragamuffin Brennan Manning presents a love story for the brokenhearted. For those who are burdened by heavy religion. For those who feel they can never measure up. It is a provocative and poignant look at the radical, no-holds-barred love of our Heavenly Father. It is a message that will forever change how you view God.” (Amazon Book Review)

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Hope Harbor

💞  Articles/Blog Posts That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

💞 The Truth About You by Lesley – “It can be easier sometimes to present an image of who we would like to be or who we feel others want us to be, instead of living authentically as who we really are.” Lesley shares several truths of who we are in Jesus along with Bible verses that confirm them.

💞 Who God Says You Are: 17 Scriptures About Our Identity by Michelle Bengston – “Throughout my life, the enemy has whispered labels in my ear that I began to identify with and call myself. You’ve probably done that occasionally too.” Michelle shares the negative labels we sometimes identify ourselves with and continues with “but God says..” and proves it with a Scripture verse of the truth of our true identity in God.

💞 Only His Wounds Can Heal Us: Breaking Free from Self-Harm by Emma Scrivener – “As contradictory as it might sound, for the self-harmer, self-harm is self-help. So if we’re going to overcome self-harm, we need to embrace the help that God has given us elsewhere — help that does not scar us any further, but slowly begins to heal us.”

Nature Retreat

“For nature is the art of God.”
Thomas Browne
“Nature’s beauty is a gift
that cultivates
appreciation and gratitude.”
Louie Schwartzberg

Again, some awesome pics from my brother. 🙂 Thank you, John! (My brother kindly gives me permission to share his photos out of his desire to share the joy of nature with others, but as with all photos, I ask that you please do remember copyright laws.)

🐾 50 Most Amazing Natural Wonders in All 50 States – “From the majestic sequoias on the West coast, to the charming Cape Cod National Seashore on the East, you’ll find these 50 natural wonders simply enchanting.”

🐾 Explore.org Live Cams – Awesome! There are so many live cam feeds here of wildlife – birds, bears, African animals, ocean creatures, and more! Also domestic animals.

🐾 From Egg to Frog in 7 Weeks! – Amazing video of the growth of a frog.

cutecolorsplant1c

Quotes

Some more quotes on HOPE

❤ “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” – Anne Frank

“Everything that is done in this world is done by hope.” – Martin Luther

“Carve a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment.” – Martin Luther King Jr

cutecolorsbutterflyline


Thank You
to anyone and everyone who recommends
links, books, quotes, etc.

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