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

October Roundup: Links, Quotes, Books & More


On My Side
by Kim Walker Smith

“In the front lines, You fight for me
Oh, Your kindness is my shield
When the armies rise and I am scared
My heart You will defend
You are on my side
You go before me
You stand behind
You tell my fear to run
Always and forever
I am loved
You are on my side…”

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.

 This month I have added another “N” word for Jesus’ Love.

❤  No Greater Love 
“There is no greater love than to
lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:13 NLT

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. 🙂

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered by Lysa TerKeurst

(Lysa’s book will release on November 13, 2018.)

“What do you do when God’s timing seems questionable, His lack of intervention hurtful, and His promises doubtful

Life often looks so very different than we hoped or expected. Some events may simply catch us off guard for a moment, but others shatter us completely. We feel disappointed and disillusioned, and we quietly start to wonder about the reality of God’s goodness.

Lysa TerKeurst understands this deeply. But she’s also discovered that our disappointments can be the divine appointments our souls need to radically encounter God.” (Amazon Review)

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Hope Harbor

💞  Articles/Blog Posts That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

💞 You’ll Never Know It From Looking At Her by Alia Joy – “So many stay silent, like the woman with her Xanax prescription in the bottom of her purse. She doesn’t say a word about how a body can betray you, how a mind can be so hard to control when the chemistry goes haywire and no amount of joy or praise or prayer works to take it away.”

💞 Shattered Beyond Repair by Lisa TerKeurst – “But what about those times when things aren’t just broken but shattered beyond repair? Shattered to the point of dust. At least when things are broken there’s some hope you can glue the pieces back together.”

💞 Ten Reasons to Hope When You Are Hurting by Stephen Arterburn – Are you hurting? Here are ten reasons based on Bible verses to hang onto hope.

Nature Retreat

“Sometimes you need to unplug
and enjoy nature’s company.”
Unknown

These awesome photos are again from my brother in Arizona. 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.)

🐾 Barnstorming: Seeking Sanctuary in the Seasons of Rural Life – Emily chronicles the seasons of life at their farm in Washington. She shares beautiful photos of nature and poems/prose that relate, including her own.

🐾 Cindy Tiehen Photography – Cindy’s hope is to inspire with a glimpse of nature’s grace. She certainly does that with her breath-taking photos.

🐾 Jarred Warren Photography – Jarred’s landscape photos and time-lapse videos are awesome and inspiring.

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Quotes

New quotes this month are about Truth.

❤ “The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.” – Augustine

❤ “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” – Charles Spurgeon

❤ “Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” – James E. Faust

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

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September Roundup: Links, Quotes, Books & More


I’m back to my monthly roundup of links, quotes, books, and more. 

🙂 I hope you will visit the growing pages listed above. 🙂


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

A Personal Story of Loss in the Opioid Epidemic

Angela Kennecke, a local news anchor here in Sioux Falls, lost her daughter from a drug overdose. Angela courageously shares their story, hoping it will help others. She says, “If just one person hears me, if just one person does one thing to save a life, then I don’t care about a million naysayers or a million people who don’t understand.” 

Emily’s Hope

In coping with the loss of their beautiful daughter and sister, Emily’s family has vowed to do everything possible to give others hope of recovery from addiction.

Emily’s Hope will help offset the cost of treatment and allow more people struggling with addiction to get the help they need. Removing financial barriers and getting people suffering from addiction into proper treatment is the first step toward restoration, not only of the addict, but of the addict’s entire family.

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.

 This month I have added another verse for Jesus’ rescuing love.

❤  Rescuing Love 
“He has rescued us from the domain of darkness
and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.

Colossians 1:13 HCSB

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. 🙂

It’s All Under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee

“It’s time to get our control under control.
Jennifer Dukes Lee never thought she struggled with control. As long as everything went exactly the way she wanted it to, she was totally flexible.

But then Jennifer discovered what happens when you try to wrap your arms around everything, thinking it’s all on you: You get burned out on hustle. You toss and turn more at night, and you laugh less during the day. You’re so busy―caring, serving, working, and trying so hard―that you can’t even hear God’s voice anymore.

It’s All Under Control is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right―yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic. Join Jennifer on the journey of learning how to:

  • Overcome the anxieties and worries that burden your heart
  • Prioritize your busy life so you can make choices that align with God’s best for you
  • Find freedom through a new “Do, Delegate, or Dismiss” approach to your daily tasks
  • Let go of what God has not asked you to do, so you can shine at what he has

Discover a new way of living that will free you to be you, and finally experience the peace of knowing a God who truly has it all under control.”

(Amazon Review)

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Hope Harbor

💞  Links That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

💞 Stop Minimizing Mental Illness: Worst Things to Say by Natasha Tracy – “Why is it that just because I see a psychiatrist and you see a neurologist your disease is real and mine is not? Why is it you assume I can will my disease away while you can’t? Why is it that you can expect me to bring you chicken soup when you get the flu but when I get sick I can’t even expect that you’ll stick around?

I do understand that people don’t know they are being hurtful. People are trying to help. I get it. But here’s the thing, my illness is just as real as anyone else’s. Please stop forcing me to convince you.

💞 Truths About Faith and Mental Health by Emma Scrivener – “Having ‘faith’ doesn’t mean going it alone.  Yes, you need prayer, community and the bible.  But you can also use medication, counselling and therapy. If we can use doctors for our bodies, we can use doctors for our brains. When Saul was stressed, David played him soothing music.  When Elijah was close to breakdown, God told him to sleep and eat. So let’s not be ashamed of using the resources we have been given.” (#1 of 8)

💞 Thirteen Reasons for Hope by Lesley – Lesley has a compassion and empathy for those who feel hopeless. I love these thirteen reasons for hope based on God’s Word.

Nature Retreat

“Look at the birds of the air,
that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not worth much more than they?”
Matthew 6:26

Here are some of the beautiful bird photos my brother from Arizona shared with me this summer. 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.)

Phainopepia
Grosbeak
White-breasted Nuthatch
Pyrrhuloxia
Scarlet Tanager
Mexican Jay
Black Vulture
Painted Redstart

🐾 Rosyfinch Ramblings: Finding Birds and Beauty Close to Home – A retired couple, who are avid birders, share beautiful photos on their blog.

🐾 Chasing Bugs: Because Bugs Are Awesome – Danae Wolfe loves to capture the beauty of bugs in her macro photography. Check out her blog and galleries for her spectacular macro photos. Danae is passionate about photography, bugs, conservation, and education.

🐾 Little Big Econ State Forest – A video of beautiful photos of nature and wildlife along with soothing music.

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Quotes

New quotes this month are about Compassion.

❤ “Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.” – Henri Nouwen

❤ “Instead of putting others in their place, put yourself in their place.” – Amish Proverb

❤ “It ill becomes us to invoke in our daily prayers the blessings of God, the Compassionate, if we in turn will not practice elementary compassion toward our fellow creatures.” – Mohandas Gandhi

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