What About the Victims?

Someone came to buy our stackable washer and dryer some years ago, and I was nervous about being the only one home. My nerves upped a notch when a man came alone. I was handling it fairly well until he mentioned he is a pastor, and my body responses kicked into panic mode – like an automatic switch kicks into high gear – “Run for your life!” My insides shook like a frightened puppy, and I wanted to cry.

Deep breaths… You’re stronger now. This is not the same one who hurt you many years ago. Help me, Jesus! As I zoned out and talked myself through it in a matter of seconds, my body and spirit calmed down.

Before he left, he started talking more about his church and what they believe. As God breathed power into my heart and loosened my tongue, I asked him, “So if someone would come to you and tell you he/she was abused by one of the pastors, what would you do?” Gulp! Did I really just dare to say that?!

He dodged my question…

In another instance, a sincere Christian woman said, concerning news of sexual abuse by leaders, “I don’t know why they bring all that up. It’s in the past. We’re supposed to forgive.”

Ouch! What about the victims? Where is the support for them? What about the victims who have never received justice? Who are still suffering and struggling from the trauma? What if the perpetrator is still using his power towards evil? Why are abusers sometimes protected while victims are rejected and silenced?

Some people and communities want to shove this important issue under the rug. Others may be well-intentioned, but they don’t realize that even if we make it to the process of forgiving, our bodies still subconsciously remember trauma.

It’s not easy to write vulnerably, but God is nudging me to speak up for those who have been silenced, those whose rights are trampled on, those lonely souls who inwardly cry out for validation, caring support, and justice.

“Speak out on behalf of those who have no voice,
 and defend all those who have been passed over.
Open your mouth, judge fairly,
 and stand up for the rights of the afflicted and the poor.”
Proverbs 31:8-9 VOICE

When any person or community is more concerned for the protection of the abusers than of the victims, it hurts. Big-time. When victims are ignored, not believed, or treated as the one who did the wrong, it hurts. Big-time. When Christians tell us we don’t have faith if we can’t forgive and forget and move on, it hurts. Big-time.

Love cares about the grief and suffering of victims who are hurting. Love cries with them. Love sits in the pain pit with them. Love protects  and defends them. Like Jesus does.

Jesus understands suffering more than anyone does. He bends low with us in our suffering and whispers, “I’m so very sorry.” His tears mingle with ours. He never dodges or minimizes our pain. He doesn’t treat mental and emotional pain as less important than physical illness. He doesn’t tell us we aren’t trusting Him if we need therapy or medicine. He blesses these means to help us through. He gives us grace and strength to work through the gut-wrenching grief of being robbed of the very essence of who we are. His never-failing compassion wraps us in the safe and cozy blanket of His love where it’s ok to voice our emotions. His caring support  gives hope that we can be restored to who we are in Him. Through His grace, we can become survivors and finally victory dancers as His healing works in us.

RAINN – Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network – Get Help 24/7 by calling 800.656.HOPE(4673)

What Is a Girl Worth? – Lesley’s moving review of Rachael Denhollander’s memoir of her journey of courageously fighting for justice for herself and other victims.

Cecil Murphey: Abuse Survivor“As long as I kept the abuse a secret, I still wasn’t free. But as I shared my experiences and what I had learned as a survivor, people resonated with those words, and I experienced healing.”

The Hope of Survivors – Support, Hope, and Healing for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Healing Is In Your Hand

New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

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“God Help Me”
by Plumb


Thank You
to anyone and everyone who recommend
links, books, quotes, etc.
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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 “D” Word:

❤︎  Delivering Love ❤︎
“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril,
and He will deliver us again.
On Him we have set our hope
that He will continue to deliver us.

2 Corinthians 1:10 NIV
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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. 🙂

Divine by Karen Kingsbury

This is a novel that brings awareness to the reality of horrific child abuse. It’s hard to read, but the beauty of the story is that God rescued and redeemed Mary. Then He used her to bring love and hope to others suffering abuse.

“Mary Madison was a child of unspeakable horrors, a young woman society wanted to forget. Now a divine power has set Mary free to bring life-changing hope and love to battered and abused women living in the shadow of the nation’s capital. 

Mary is educated and redeemed, a powerful voice in Washington, D.C.—both to the politically elite and to other women like her. But she also has a past that shamed polite society. Her experiences created in her paralyzing fear, faithlessness, addiction, and promiscuity. At the crossroads of her life, only one power set Mary free and gave her a lifetime of love and hope. A power that could only be divine.” (Amazon Review)

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Hope Harbor

💞  Links That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

💞 A Christian Perspective on Depression – Vaneetha Rendall Risner shares insights and an interview with Terry Powell. “Those who suffer with depression often endure silently, feeling shame and internal condemnation. For Christians, the struggle is often magnified by the assumption people are less spiritual if they can’t seem to ‘count it all joy.'”

💞 Can Christians Truly Have Mental Illness?  by Bev Rihtarchik – Bev brings awareness to mental illness. Christians are not exempt from it. She shares her struggles with it and with the misconception some Christians have that it means a lack of faith.

💞 8 Powerful Promises to Calm Your Soul When the World’s Falling Apart by Bonnie Gray – “With everything that’s happening in the news – combined with all that’s going on in our families, our friends’ lives, with our kids, our jobs, or the heated politics – we can feel despairing or overwhelmed. Yet, in the midst of chaos, we have an anchor to hold onto in the storms of life: Jesus.”

Nature Retreat

“Never lose an opportunity
of seeing anything beautiful,
for beauty is God’s handwriting.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

These photos are from a 2015 vacation in and around Duluth, MN. I believe the falls were called Gooseberry Falls and the lighthouse Split Rock. I love how lighthouses guide ships, tossed about in nature’s storms, to safety. Just like Jesus does in the storms of our lives. (John 8:12) 🙂


🐾 50 Magnificent Natural Landscape Photographs – Stunning landscape photos

🐾 Dave Morrow Photography – Breath-taking views of landscapes and night skies

🐾 Todd Amacker Conservation Visuals  Amazing nature photos from the Appalachia, Gulf Coast, Southern Africa, and more

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Quotes

New quotes this month are about Healing, especially from abuse.

❤︎ “Whether you were threatened, experienced further abuse, or shamed into silence; it is common for survivors to suppress their experiences. You may have perceived that talking about the problem brings danger and more fear. In reality, talking about your abuse in the presence of safe others helps to validate your feelings and release years of pain.” – Dan Hitz

❤︎ In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.”Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child

❤︎ “Often feelings of shame, powerlessness, and self-hate are bottled up with the memories, and as the memories come through, these feelings do, too. Yet healing isn’t just about pain. It’s about learning to love yourself.– Laura Davis, The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

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Open Up Your Wounds to Jesus

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“The scab came off, leaving the wound wide open.” I heard something like this on a TV program in reference to opening the wound of an abusive past. In context, it was considered a bad thing to open and talk about the wound of abuse.

So often I hear it is better not to open up those past hurts. Just leave them in the past, some say. Don’t talk about it, or you get yourself all riled up again. Forgive and forget. Bury the past and move on.

It’s never that easy. When it comes to emotions, healing is a process. If pain oozes when a scar is scratched open, then we aren’t really healed in the first place. If a wound is opened, especially if it’s festering underneath that scab, it needs to be opened to the air in order for the infection to seep out and the wound to heal.

If we don’t let these past painful emotions out, they will seep out subconsciously into our actions and attitudes. In a negative way that will hurt us and others around us, especially our loved ones.

I’m not talking here about those triggered memories that open up around certain people and places. We do need to set boundaries to protect ourselves from being hurt again.

I’m not talking either about opening up these hurts to people who don’t understand and don’t offer a safe place for us to open up. That can only lead to further hurt and may even shut us down further.

I’m talking about dealing with a past issue of abuse itself. It is never good to let it brew inside of us. It will continue to fester in unintended ways if we don’t expose it to the air.

Many years ago, I was under the impression in the church I grew up in that going to a counselor is sinful. That we shouldn’t seek for help in man, only in God. But then I realized that just as doctors are means provided for us to help us with our physical ailments, trained and safe counselors can be used to bless us in dealing with emotional issues. The emotions God created us with are just as important as our physical bodies. We’d be an empty shell without them.

So I finally went to a counselor. The first one I went to helped me to a certain extent, but I felt like I wasn’t going any further. I went to a second one, a Christian one, but she would have me read certain books that I wasn’t ready to read and I didn’t feel that books that were graphically detailed helped me at all, and besides that, sometimes her “Christianese” reminded me of the pastor and church who abused me. It didn’t feel safe. Finally, by the grace of God, I found another Christian counselor who God especially used to help me. She continually validated me and helped me to work through emotions  and gain freedom from my abuser while at the same time pointing me to my true identity in Christ.

In Christ Jesus. He is who we need most of all. We need to let our past pain break wide open to Jesus so He can apply His healing balm to our troubled souls. Layer by layer, no matter how hard it is, we need to scratch those scabs off and expose them to the healing air of Jesus’ compassion, love, and grace.

His compassion knows no bounds. Maybe you’ve never been believed or validated. Jesus will believe you with all His being. I care so much, I hear you, I believe you. I am so sorry you are hurting, My child.

“Who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion.”

~ Psalm 103:4

His love reaches the deepest depths of our misery. Maybe you feel unloved or all mixed up about what love really is because of what you were wrongly told it meant. Jesus will teach you that love isn’t supposed to hurt. Love sacrifices for your well-being, not your harm. I love you, My child, so much I died for you.

“No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.”
~ John 15:13 AMP

His grace is unending. Maybe you have been misunderstood, judged, and wrongly condemned. Maybe friends or family are mad at you or have deserted you because you told the truth. Jesus knows that and He will offer to you nothing but kindness and no condemnation. My child, in your desperation, you can find help and deliverance in Me, because I care about you so very much and desire to show you My favor. 

“But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!”
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

“You’re My Little Girl” by Go Fish
(Men, just imagine you’re His little boy.)

Jesus longs for us
to rip open our deepest
wounds to Him!

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews