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

You Are Not Alone

Has your heart, life, and voice been devastated by abuse? Is your pain even deeper because of lack of affirmation and support? Do you feel alone and afraid?

I have mentioned before that I was sexually and spiritually abused by a pastor. I have shared with you somewhat of how it affects me, how it is a lifetime of healing, and how those memory triggers can still knock me down at times.

What I haven’t said much about is how heartbreaking it is when churches still do not support victims. How they can re-victimize hurting souls by speaking up for or excusing the perpetrators. How they ignore their pain and guilt them into silence.

I wasn’t supported by the church leadership, and many Christian “friends” left me when I told the truth. Many times I felt so alone and not understood. I’m so sad that it’s still happening.

I know there are some churches and individuals who are speaking up for the victims. Who pray and work hard to change attitudes. Who learn how best to support these hurting souls. I thank God for them.

And I thank God that He led me to caring and competent counselors who helped me work through a lot. He also gave me some family and friends who believe me, support me, and understand me. I thank God for each and every one.

Above all, I thank Him that He has never left me, even when it often felt like it. When I thought He didn’t care at all about me. When the darkness consumed me.

It has been a long, difficult journey of over 40 years to healing and learning God is safe and always has honorable intentions towards me. I’m still a work-in-progress as He keeps healing deeper layers of pain, betrayal, and shattered trust.

Through the years He has strengthened my belief in the truth that we can always fully depend on Him. He is always working for our good even when we can’t “feel” Him. He remains faithful no matter what.

Jesus cries with us. He totally empathizes with us. He has been ravaged beyond anything we can imagine. His suffering was deeper than anything any of us has ever experienced. He knows what it’s like to be totally alone and forsaken.

He is the ONE who cares about us more than anyone ever will. He will never abandon us. He will always understand and support us, and He will heal us ever more deeply. He stretches His arms wide and invites us into His arms of love. He provides the safety, the support, and the healing no one on earth can.

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me,
all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

“For I will restore health to you
And I will heal your wounds, says the Lord,
Because they have called you an outcast, saying:
‘This is Zion; no one seeks her and no one cares for her.'”
Jeremiah 30:17

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a refuge in times of trouble.
Those who know Your name trust in You
because You have not abandoned
those who seek You, Yahweh.”
Psalm 9:9-10


“I Am Not Alone”
by Kari Jobe

Fighting From a Standpoint of Victory Already Won

victory-in-jesus

Satan knows exactly where our vulnerable spots are. He is a vindictive monster who wants to crush any hope we have. The closer we come to Jesus, the harder he tries to lure us away from Him.

Last week I read a Bible verse that often triggers bad memories. You may think – How could a Bible verse do that? How could God’s Word of love bring hurt?

It doesn’t. But some people abuse God’s Word by putting their own interpretation on it to justify hurting us. Like the minister who abused me did. When I come across this verse, my body and mind react. Fear grasps my heart in a vise-grip, and I want to run for my life. All the muscles in my body tense up, and the nausea rises up into my throat. A whirlwind of screaming and crying from a deep place in my heart press against my throat and eyes.

I shoved it all down and numbed myself to it, but the next day it came up again. I knew I had to address it and fight it with the truth.

I begged God to take away those memories and help me focus on His truth as He meant it to be. Not on the memories of how a man twisted its meaning to give a stamp of approval to his sinful lust.

God graciously reminded me:

To read His Word through His perspective, never man’s. His Word is meant to instruct us in the way of His love, salvation, and healing. It is NEVER meant to manipulate, to threaten, or to give an excuse to sinful actions.

To fight against the enemy and his deceitful tactics from a standpoint of victory already won by Him, not for a standpoint of victory. Fighting for victory or fighting from victory. Too often I wear myself out fighting for a victory of my own. I need to fight from the solid ground of God’s victory over Satan. The enemy can never get a foothold there.

That my heart is in His safe hands. He has access to every deep part of my brokenness, and He will continue to heal me layer by layer. Each time a painful memory is triggered, He makes me stronger in Him.

"For the enemy has pursued me,
  crushing me to the ground,
  making me live in darkness
  like those long dead.
  My spirit is weak within me;
  my heart is overcome with dismay.
  I remember the days of old;
  I meditate on all You have done;
  I reflect on the work of Your hands.
  I spread out my hands to You;
  I am like parched land before You."
  Psalm 143:4-6 HCSB

The enemy will pursue us and even crush us to the ground. Our hearts will faint within us and be overcome with anxiety and fear. But God…

I love those two words, don’t you? But God has already defeated the enemy. Yes, as long as we live, Satan is never going to give up, but God has given us a standpoint of victory we can fight from. A safe place where the devil has no access to.

“The Champion of Love”
by The Cathedrals

“He is higher than the highest
Greater than the great
No one will ever take His crown away
He is more mighty than the mightiest
He reigns from above
He’s the all-time, undisputed, undefeated
Champion of Love”