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

A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

Many of us will celebrate Thanksgiving Day this week. It’s a bittersweet day for some of us because of losses and brokenness.

I read a post last week by Molly Huggins, and it deeply touched me. I can’t ignore the God-nudge to share it with you. May it help us remember God’s mercy and grace stands sure, no matter how broken our families, this world, or our own hearts are.

A Thanksgiving Hallelujah

I hope you will take time to read Molly’s post. Here are three quotes that especially speak to me. What speaks to your heart?

“A sacrifice of thanksgiving means grieving what could have been while remaining grateful for what is.”
“His covenant of mercy and grace is as sure as the covenant of day. He is faithful in our loss. He is faithful in our fear. He is faithful in our grief.”
“And on this Thanksgiving Day, and all the others before and after, I will sing a sacrifice of praise and thanks, a bittersweet response to the mercy we’ve been shown. A grief-tinged, grace-laced hallelujah chorus of my own.”

May we join her hallelujah, my friends, not only this Thanksgiving Day (here in the USA), but each and every day.

“Yet I call this to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!
I say: The Lord is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in Him”.
Lamentations 3:21-24

“Our Lord and God,
You are worthy to receive
glory and honor and power,
because You have created all things,
and because of Your will
they exist and were created.”
Revelation 4:11

“Broken Hallelujah”
by Mandisa

“With my love and my sadness
I come before You Lord
My heart’s in a thousand pieces
Maybe even more
Yet I trust in this moment You’re with me somehow
And You’ve always been faithful so Lord even now

When all that I can sing is a broken Hallelujah
When my only offering is shattered praise
Still a song of adoration will rise up from these ruins
And I will worship You and give You thanks
Even when my only praise is a broken Hallelujah…”

New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

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“My Prayer For You”
by Alisa Turner

“For anyone who’s prayed a thousand prayers
And still can’t find the answer anywhere
Fighting off the lie that no one cares
For anyone who’s out there losing hope
Feeling you’re forsaken and alone
Clinging to the last strands of your rope

May God give you eyes to see, He’s still greater
Courage to rise and believe He’s able
May God be your peace in the fire you’re walking through
This is my prayer now
This is my prayer for you…”

Thank you
to all of you who share songs, links, books, or quotes
that point to hope, healing, and freedom in Jesus.
I appreciate it so much!
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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 an “L” Word:

❤︎ Light-Leading Love ❤︎
“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said,
“I am the Light of the world.
If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness,
because you will have the Light that leads to life.”
John 8:12 NLT
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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. 🙂

Life After Breath:
After Her Husband Takes His Last Breath,
and After She Tries to Catch Hers
 

by Susan VandePol

I have not yet read this book, but a friend highly recommends it. Here is a review from Susan’s site:

“LIFE AFTER BREATH is a faithful friend and companion to a widow’s grief that will enable her to look into grief and heal when others want to look away. It gives resolve without insisting on an answer and prepares a widow to champion her own Biblical cause in a way that no other book or resource on the market offers. There are countless millions of widows crippled without a voice; LIFE AFTER BREATH breathes life back into a grieving woman and prepares her apart for a set-apart calling.” 

 

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Hope Harbor

💞  Links That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

💞  Daring to Hope When It’s Not Happy Endings: How to Sing in the Dark  by Katie Majors – “Our pain does not minimize His goodness to us but, in fact, allows us to experience it in a whole new way…. It’s not light yet, but I know Him, the One who is the Light. And so in the dark, I will sing.”

💞  Breaking Free of the Cycle of Abuse – “This article is for anyone who is in or might get in a relationship that is abusive. It is full of helpful information because knowledge is power — especially when it includes knowledge of God’s love for you and his power to help you. Survivors of domestic violence need to be empowered in order to break free and learn to move from just surviving to thriving in a life of love, joy, and peace. If you’re stuck in an abusive relationship you can break free!”

💞  Having Mental Health Issues Doesn’t Mean You’re a Bad Christian by Bonnie Gray – “It is tough enough combatting the stigma of mental health in a culture that prides itself on entrepreneurship, self-reliance and curating Instagram-perfect lifestyles. But as a Christian, it was even worse. Speaking up about the emotional pain I once survived or was enduring, I ran into a lie often perpetuated in our church culture about mental health and spiritual fitness: If you’re feeling emotionally broken, your faith is weak or broken.”

Nature Retreat

“Just when the caterpillar thought
‘I am incapable of moving,’
it became a butterfly.”

~ Annette Thomas

My brother in Arizona captured the life cycle of a Queen Butterfly,
except for the eggs. Aren’t his photos awesome?!

🐾 Butterfly Photographs on Pinterest – At least 463 breathtaking photos of a variety of butterflies

🐾 19 Before and After Photos of Butterfly and Moth Transformations – “The animal kingdom is full of beautiful and mysterious processes, but there are few that are more captivating and wonderful than the metamorphoses that caterpillars undergo to become moths or butterflies.”

🐾 Monarch Butterfly Metamorphosis  A time-lapse video of the life cycle of a Monarch Butterfly

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Quotes

❤︎ Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don’t. You are in good company…You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope.– John Piper

❤︎ When tragedy makes its unwelcome appearance and we are deaf to everything but the shriek of our own agony—when courage flies out the window and the world seems to be a hostile, menacing place—it is the hour of our Gethsemane. No word, however sincere, offers any comfort or consolation… and yet it may happen in these most desperate trials of our human existence that beyond any rational explanation, we may feel a nail-scarred hand clutching ours.– Brennan Manning

❤︎ God brings fullness of joy not just despite but through suffering, just as Jesus saved us not in spite of but because of what He suffered on the cross.– Timothy Keller

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