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

24 thoughts on “God’s Promise of Hope for Victims of Abuse

    1. Thank you so much for your prayers for those suffering from the pain of abuse, Martha. Yes, there countless people living with it. 😦 Blessings to you, too! May we keep praying for all the hurting souls! I pray for your hurting heart, too, in the grief of your loss of Mimi!

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  1. Oh dear friend, this is so tender and courageous and touching. That you continue to share this difficult chapter of your story with us is such a vulnerable gift. And I couldn’t help thinking as I sat with your heartwords how many women you’ve impacted along the way with your blogging. Indeed you have kept talking and proclaiming Jesus, and in doing so, the enemy has had to flee far from you.

    You have let countless women know they are not alone. Gently, kindly.

    Praying for peace for you even as I spend these minutes with you this morning. And additional healing because you’ve shared today. Blessings, many many, to you today.

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    1. Oh, Linda, you bring tears to my eyes this morning. Not only for your kind and loving words of encouragement that I’m making a difference, but also for your prayer for peace and additional healing for me. It’s like you know my heart is feeling vulnerable right now, and it is. Also feeling such a deep grief for all those who are or have been abused. May God speak peace to you, too, and all who are hurting in some way! Many blessings to you, too!

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  2. Thank you for your faithfulness in sharing your story, Trudy! I love how you keep talking, even though I know it’s hard at times, and that you point others to hope in Jesus. Your words are a blessing. Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Thank you for your kind encouragement, Lesley. Yes, it can be hard at times, as you yourself know. I’m convinced that being real about our sad stories and how Jesus helped us through makes others feel less alone, and also leads to a greater appreciation and awe of the hope and love Jesus has for us. Love and hugs to you, too! May God keep using our pain for His purpose!

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  3. Trudy, thank you so much for sharing this and for being so open about your own struggle. I was raped at age 15 (not related to the church) and your words are healing for me, too, as I’m sure they are for anyone who has suffered abuse of any kind. God SEES you, dear brothers and sisters, in your sufferings and He is working on your behalf, even when you can’t perceive it. Trust in Him!

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    1. Oh Liz, I’m so sorry you were raped. Such a devastating trauma. I’m so grateful these words are healing for you, too. Yes, He is working on our behalf, even when we can’t perceive it! Thank you for your encouragement to brothers and sisters in their sufferings, including myself. May we learn more and more to trust Jesus as our Safe Refuge!

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      1. Thank you, Trudy. It was indeed a devastating trauma, as any sexual assault is for anyone who has been through it. He continues to heal that wound. The beautiful thing is that He has showed me that He was protecting me in those moments from much worse than what I was actually experiencing, and He wept with me because it was never part of His plan for me. He is good, even when life is not kind to us. We are more than just survivors, though; with His help and healing grace, we are overcomers. All praise be to God!

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        1. This brings tears to my eyes, Liz. Yes, Jesus weeps with us because it was never a part of His plan for us. I’m so glad He upheld you with His promise. It was the evil choice of a person. It took time for me to come to realize all this. I used to wonder why God allowed it when He could have stopped it. And since the abuse was done “in the name of God,” it was hard to learn to trust God. But I know now in my heart that His intentions are always honorable. I still don’t understand everything that happened, but I don’t need to. I just need to hold His hand and let Him lead me. Healing from such trauma is a continuing journey, isn’t it? May God heal us ever deeper!

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  4. Dear Trudy,

    Thank you for your courage, trust in God, and love for others to share your story and pain as you point to God’s grace in your healing journey. I am so sorry you and the women there had to go through such suffering and are still processing it. May God continue to wrap you in His love and bring comfort and healing as you have comforted many with your words. Love and blessings and hugs to you 🙂

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    1. Oh, thank you so much for your compassion for those who go through suffering, Dolly. Also for your precious prayer. I pray the same for you. Love and blessings and hugs to you, too! May we all feel wrapped in Jesus’ love!

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  5. What a powerful testimony! The words that spoke most to my heart were, “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.” I to have always been able to look back and see how God was there even when it didn’t “feel” like He was. It helps me now to know that He is working in whatever situation I find myself in. I am suddenly thinking of the stones of remembrance, only when we can see it in our own experience it is way more effective in strengthening our faith. Great post! Many Thanks 8)

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    1. Thank you, Debra. Yes, when we’re in deep pain, it can seem God has abandoned us. I’m sorry you had times when it didn’t “feel” like He was there, but I’m glad you have learned to know He is working in whatever situation you’re in. May our hearts remember God is with us always, no matter what we’re going through!

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing your story so tenderly and with compassion, Trudy. You have such a gift of coming alongside those who are in difficult places, and understanding and sharing the love of Jesus. I pray that you feel the love of Jesus showering you with His mercy as you keep walking forward with Him. You are such an encouragement. Blessings and love to you !

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    1. Thank you for your kind and loving words, Bettie. Also for your prayer. I pray you also may feel the love of Jesus showering you with His mercy! I’m glad you find encouragement here. You are an encouragement to me as well. Blessings and love to you, too! May Jesus wrap us in the warmth of His love and strengthen us through all the trials we must walk through in this journey of life!

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  7. “Your voice matters.” Those are words just above the comment section and so true to your words too, Trudy. It’s so important to speak in a safe place when been a victim of abuse. It’s even shown that just speaking our emotions takes away their power, and brings in peace. I’m glad God’s led you places and to people for your healing journey. And now He’s got you healing in new way maybe? Through your testimony…thanks for being strong and courageous and sharing again your story.

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    1. It’s easier for me to encourage others than to embrace it in my own heart, so thank you for your kind encouragement, Lynn. Yes, a safe place is so important, isn’t it? It’s really hard when someone we think is safe turns out to be someone that doesn’t believe us and hurts us more. But yes, I’m glad, too, that God led me to places and people who did believe me and support me. Yes, I do think it is healing in a new way. Like my counselor once said, the more we tell our story, the more it loosens the hold our abusers have on us. Thank you for your love and support, Lynn. May we all be healed ever deeper from whatever hurts and losses we have in life!

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  8. Thank you for revisiting this post from three years ago. I can’t imagine the deep hurt that you carried and the process of healing that you have been through. I know that God redeems and heals and I read this in your words every time I visit here. Thank you for being so vulnerable with us.

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    1. Thank you for your kindness, Mary. Yes, it’s been hard, and the healing process is ongoing. I’m grateful God has brought me this far and I know He will keep healing me deeper. Yes, God redeems and heals. I could never be where I am without Him. May all of us open our hearts to His healing of whatever hurts we have in this journey of life!

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  9. Trudy, these thoughts are always timely, especially for those who have been sexually abused. We need to receive frequent reminders of God’s compassion and love. And to marvel anew at His tremendous grace and heart for the hurting, the broken and wounded, which includes all of us. Although it’s painful to share our personal stories, when we do so as you do here with such gentleness, compassion and grace, it opens up a pathway for greater healing to occur in others and in ourselves.

    Thank you for your courage and resilience to press into your new identity in Christ. I’m grateful for it, as are many. And truly thankful for your tender heart that reaches out to help the lost, lonely or abandoned ones. God is working so powerfully in and through you, dear warrior woman of faith. As you brave the barriers erected over the years, may you receive a fresh infusion of healing and renewed equipping to keep on blessing and encouraging others so beautifully here. Much love and grateful hugs! xo ❤

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    1. “A fresh infusion of healing and renewed equipping…” Oh yes, we surely need that, Joy! I pray the same for you! Thank you for all your support, encouragement, and prayers. Much appreciated. Much love and hugs to you, too! May we keep encouraging one another and other hurting souls!

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  10. Trudy, thank you for sharing these life-giving words. Your story is one of hope and is life-giving. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably. And thank you for the sharing the words the woman wrote to you. They are such a beautiful reminder of God’s faithfulness and steadfast love. I have gleaned much from you in the time we’ve interacted in the blog-o-sphere. You are a testimony of overcoming.
    By the way, I love that Mandisa song! Sending you love and blessings, friend.

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    1. Thank you, Jeanne, for your loving words. I’m so grateful for the hope and life Jesus gives. God has been and is and forever will be faithful. Even in those times when we feel forsaken, right? Love and blessings to you, too! May we keep encouraging one another that we are overcomers in Jesus!

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