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

Stepping Into the Unknown With Fear and Trusting Jesus Will Never Abandon Us

One of my favorite places to visit as a child was Island Park in a small town in NW Iowa. I remember the challenge of crossing the river on stepping-stones at the bottom of a waterfall.

A couple of steps were missing and left wide gaps of uncertainty. As I sat on a step and reached my bare toes underneath the water, I could still feel the missing step’s slimy, slippery foundation. Dare I step forward?

Sometimes I didn’t dare. Other times I risked it, but I soon changed my mind when I nearly slipped into the rushing water. However, there were also times I did brave it and got to the other side of the river with a shout of victory.

Sometimes a flood drowns out Island Park. The river rages and obliterates all traces of any steps at all. When devastating storms in our lives churn up chaos in our hearts, the way forward can get blinded by fear. What if we take the wrong step? What if we fail? What if we get hurt again?

When Peter walked on the water towards Jesus, he stepped out in blind faith. His eyes were fixed on Jesus, and he gave no thought to missing stepping-stones. But then his heart looked away from Jesus, and all he saw were the winds whipping up the waves to a frenzy. His courage crashed. And he sank in fear… Save me, Lord! (Matthew 14:22-34)

Jesus stretched out His hand and rescued him. Even though he doubted. And He will do the same for us, even when we become faint of heart. Jesus never holds our lack of trust against us. He rescues us anyway.

Our lives are like taking small steps of faith, aren’t they? Small steps, not without fear, but in spite of fear. Sometimes one step forward and two steps back, but still forward.

We don’t know what lies ahead of us in this world. As we reach our toes ahead into uncertainty, our hearts may tremble with fear. Sometimes we slip and slide and fall wounded. Sometimes fear sinks us when we lose our focus on our only hope in Jesus. In panic, we cry out to God.

Again and again, Jesus will grasp our hand with His hand of powerful, unfailing love, pull us up again, and give us the strength to go on. He’s got us in His firm grip, and He’s not going to let us go.

“If God hadn’t been there for me,
I never would have made it.
The minute I said, ‘I’m slipping, I’m falling,’
Your love, GOD, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
You calmed me down and cheered me up.”
Psalm 94:17-19 MSG
“That’s right. Because I, your GOD,
have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.
I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic.
I’m right here to help you.'”
Isaiah 41:13 MSG
“When struck by fear,
I let go, depending securely upon You alone.”
Psalm 56:3 VOICE

“I Am Not Alone”
by Kari Jobe

 

Thoughts on Courage

Courage Is Possible Through God’s Grace
He Is With Us
He Will Never Leave Us

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated.
Don’t give them a second thought because God,
your God, is striding ahead of you.
He’s right there with you.
He won’t let you down; He won’t leave you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 The Message
I have told you these things,
so that in Me you may have
 [perfect] peace.
In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering,
but be courageous
 [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; 
I have overcome the world.”

[My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]”

John 16:33 AMP
“But when I am afraid,
    I will put my trust in You.
I praise God for what He has promised.
    I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
    What can mere mortals do to me?”
Psalm 56:3-4

Courage Quotes

(Some of my favorite courage quotes from my Quote Page.)

“Courage, the original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language — it’s from the Latin word cor, meaning heart — and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.” – Brené Brown

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea 
that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you’re licked 
before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. 
You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” 

- Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

Courage means not allowing your limitations to eclipse God’s possibilities.” ~ Christine Caine

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Courage Resources from Renee Swope:

Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence

Promises to Personalize

When have you been afraid and needed courage?
What Bible verse has strengthened you?
Do you have a favorite courage quote?


“Take Courage”
by Kristene DiMarco