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His Glory, Not Mine! – Testimony

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In 1997 I was leading a support group for women who had been sexually abused as children and also publishing the Angels by Grace Magazine. I wrote this article for that magazine for the April 1997 issue.

The healing the Lord has accomplished since this writing is staggering! It is amazing how the Lord will use our pain. There is hope for healing! Trust Him. He will bring you through. 

When I read the testimonies that are given from women and men that have endured the hurt, betrayal, and loss as children, I cry. I feel that pain so very deep inside and wonder how any of us have survived such atrocities. I thank God for the healing that He has done, and is doing  within me and so many others.

There are a couple of testimonies that have been offered for Angels by Grace that have mentioned my name. I feel so humbled that the Lord has used me to offer up His hope before others. If I had been asked about the love of God just a few short years ago I would have either snarled out some caustic answer or turned and walked away. Not knowing that Christ was working within my life I would have clenched my teeth in absolute anger at the very thought that God loved me! How dare anyone tell me what I thought were lies! God could not have loved me. He could not have died for my salvation. For you see I thought it was God who not only told my Dad to abuse, but sat beside me and laughed while it was happening! How very wrong I was. I have asked Christ for His forgiveness so many times for my ignorance of who He is and He has forgiven me every time I cry out to forgive me again.

Therapy brought me through the times when suicide was thought to be my only alternative to stop the torment of memories and the sense that nothing could stop the pain of those memories. Much to my surprise I have learned that it was not God who was sitting beside me laughing back then, but the devil himself! I have learned that God was crying the same tormented tears of hurt and pain, betrayal and loss of innocence that I cried about then, and sometimes cry about now.

These past few years Christ has shown me that He is the One who sits in the Angel Group Support Group and says the words of encouragement to those hurting souls. I know that it is Christ that these women see who offers hope and healing, who’s understanding is given because if it were really me, the human called Sue, I would probably be asking as many questions as the others in the group.

I don’t always have the answers to difficult questions, like those that we struggle with on occasion about why did He allow it to happen? Why didn’t He stop it? I, like so many others, do not have the answers. I have to believe what Christ tells us in the Bible, that He is love, that He does not sit and laugh at our pain, that He is faithful to complete the good work He started in us. And like so many others, I still hurt, I still cry, and I still run to Christ like a child running to daddy. ( A daddy that did not hurt me.)

Reading the testimonies of these healing people has humbled me before the Lord. I am amazed constantly that He would not only take my pain and use it to help others, but that He has chosen me to work through. I’m the one who could not mouth His name because of anger directed at Him. Yet, when I sit within a room praising Him, acting like I’ve got it all together, these women thank me for what they see before them, the healing that they see that has been done within me.

Please know that I am grateful to the Lord who has done the work. I am grateful that people look at me and find encouragement. But what you are seeing is Christ within me. You are seeing Christ at work through someone who continues to sin. And I thank Him every day that He is the One who heals, restores, and is the life within me.  He is the One who shows us that abuse is wrong, that we need others to encourage, that groups are a must for those of us who need a shoulder to cry on, someone who can share our deep pain and laugh with us when we jump for joy over some accomplishment or area of healing that we have found victory over.

He is the Power that lights the way and we are the lamp stands that He will use. Healing cannot be done alone. We need Christ, we need others to encourage. Even if you are still within the walls of pain you also can help others. A kind smile, a simple pat on the shoulder goes a very long way when someone feels cold inside.

Let Christ use you as His lamp stand. For it is His light that brings us through those dark and scary places. It is He that sits amongst us and tells us, “Healing is a process. Don’t give up. Hang in there. Been there-done that.” Christ is faithful to bring you through the pain. Trust Him for He is the One who is faithful and true. He’ll prove it was not He who hurt you. That it is His will for you to be all that He created you to be; loving, happy, and whole.

Now I cry tears of gratitude and love for the healing that He has done for me and for the healing that I know He will do for you.

~~~~~

http://www.elahministries.com   http://www.facebook.com/elahministries

elah501c@bellsouth.net

Blessings to you.

 

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Once upon a Time… No Fairy Tale Here! – Testimony

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Once upon a time a little girl was born into a family that wasn’t rich and wasn’t exactly poor. I suppose they would fall into the “middle class” category of society. They lived in the country and those who knew them thought all was well. But it wasn’t. It was a family filled with deep dysfunction.

As the little girl grew, her hurt and pain grew with her. She was being abused; physically, emotionally, sexually, and psychologically from a very early age. She had no hope, no dreams, and saw no way out. She put on a brave front but inside she was empty, lonely, and angry. Very angry!

One day her neighbor asked her to church so the little girl went so as to escape the misery at home. The preacher spoke of how Jesus saves us. Hope filled the little girls heart and she ran forward and asked Jesus to save her. When she got home she waited and watched. Any sound and she’d run to the window to see if Jesus had shown up to save her from the torture she lived in. She expected the knock on the door any day.

But no knock came. As the days passed she felt hurt and confused, then angry, then bitterness set in. As a young teen her hell continued at home with added pain piling up. She was gang raped then learned she was pregnant. The child was snatched from her womb and placed in the arms of a stranger without her ever seeing her child. Her bitterness grew and any who spoke of God would meet with her wrath.

Her rage and angry roots grew so deep no one could get through. The door was slammed shut to anything pertaining to a loving God. Her pain continued to dig deeper and deeper. She attempted suicide a couple of times but to no avail. God wouldn’t even let her die!

She married in her late twenties and thought all would be okay now. Only it wasn’t.

Her new husband beat her. He stayed out all night and brought women to their bed when she was out of town. He drank and lived in the bars. He got mixed up with the wrong crowd and finally was looking down the wrong end of a gun being held by a killer. Her pain deepened but life must go on.

Where was God? She didn’t ask. She figured He could care less. As far as she was concerned she didn’t exist in God’s eyes. If He doesn’t care, why should she?

Once again single she figured single life was okay. She dated, she worked, she had a good time, too. The mask she wore covered her wounded heart.

Four years later she met another man. A man totally opposite of her abusive husband. A Christian man. He didn’t belittle her. He didn’t hit her or call her ugly names. He didn’t drink or chase women. He supported her and loved her. He didn’t preach to her, somehow knew better. He didn’t talk about love. He showed her what love is and gradually she was able to toy with the idea that maybe God brought this loving man into her life. She trusted her husband and loved him more than anything she’d ever known.

But bad things happen.

She retired. He retired. They traveled and enjoyed doing the things they had dreamed about doing some day. But all those dreams were never met. He got sick. Five years of fighting his illness and living in hospitals brought her new pain. At least now she was talking to God. Lashing out would be more like it. “If You are real You are going to have to prove it to me!” she screamed silently.

He did.

Soon after she buried her husband she found herself standing in front of a pastor asking Jesus to be her Savior. She wasn’t sure how she got there, or really why she was there, but after that things began  changing in her life. Changing drastically! Jesus was now her Counselor and the wounds of the past were being confronted and healed. Her life was being transformed a step at a time.

Her phone rang one morning. She slowly walked toward the kitchen to answer it. While reaching for the phone the Lord spoke softly, “I’m giving back to you what was taken away.” She heard her long-lost child’s voice for the first time in thirty-six years.

God wasn’t through proving He’s real.

He used her to help others with similar pain from their pasts. He taught her to trust Him. He took her to places she had never been, not just physical locations, but emotional and spiritual places. He’s given her dreams and visions and warnings and encouragement to give to others. He’s used this once hurt and angry little girl in ways that continues to amaze her even today.

Long ago she gave up on Him – but He never gave up on her!

He uses her today to tell those that do not believe or accept Him, that He is real. He wants them to know He cares. He wants them to know they’ll never be alone if they will only accept Him. He wants them to know that He will transform their lives if they’ll just place their trust in Him.

I know, because I was that little girl.

God proved He is real and continues to prove it to me every day. He is my life, my healing, my hope, my Redeemer. He is my all. I pray He will become yours, and that if you haven’t already, you will ask the Lord to forgive you of your sins and come into your heart and transform your life.

Sue

~~~~~~

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Roman 10:9  

Feel free to e-mail me if you have confidential questions or comments at: elah501c@bellsouth.net

http://www.elahministriesinc.com

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http://www.facebook.com/elahministries

Blessings to you.

Never, Never, Ever, say these 15 comments to a Victim of Abuse!

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There’s a difference between still being a victim of abuse and a survivor of abuse.

A person that still carries the shame, guilt, unforgiveness, has not healed the emotional issues from abuse, or is still being abused is continuing to be a victim.

The person that can stand tall, speak out with no shame, no guilt, and has walked the healing path is a survivor of the abuse that was perpetrated in the past. It isn’t just having “lived through the abuse.” It is a matter of having walked the healing path and by God’s grace has over come the emotional issues and is walking in freedom from the past.

Many people want to be helpful and many think that their questions and statements are innocent and do not affect those that have been abused, be it childhood sexual abuse or spousal rape and abuse, or physical and emotional abuse.

Over the years I have heard many testimonies of the added pain inflicted upon victims and survivors of these types of abuse. I have experienced many of them myself and I can tell you from experience the survivor of abuse may steal herself/himself for the onslaught of “innocent” questions and statements but these questions and/or statements are knives deeply imbedding in the heart of the one who has survived the horrors of abuse.

Never, never, never, ever say these things to a victim/survivor of abuse: 

1. “You could have done something to defend yourself.” 

Let me ask you how a small child can defend herself against an adult? Or how can a wife defend herself against a husband that is bigger, stronger and wields some object, including his fist, at her? Or a teen girl or boy defend themselves against an angry father or mother? Children are taught to obey! Obey no matter what the parent says to do! Wives are taught to be “submissive” to their husband.

2. “Why didn’t you just leave?”

In the case of a small child, where would they go? A two-year old cannot support themselves, nor a 5-year-old or 7, 10, or 12-year-old. Teenagers? Some do leave and they end up on the street, homeless, the property of a pimp, or within a gang doing drugs, robbing, stealing, scavenging for food in dumpsters, and the Lord only knows what else. Many do not have relatives that will sympathize and take them in. For the grown woman, some are threatened with death if she ever leaves, she has children to consider, a homeless shelter may be a temporary answer IF they are not full, she may not have ever held a job in her life and has no means of support. The list can go on and on and on. I highly recommend the book, “The Walking Wounded: The Path from Brokenness to Wholeness” by Secret Angel for a better understanding of a wife and mother living with an abusive husband.  Available at: www.amazon.com.

3. “Why didn’t you tell someone!” 

Many have, most won’t. With young children some have been told to “keep the secret no matter what!” Many were accused of lying, blamed for the assaults, beaten for “telling such lies,” ignored, threatened with family members being killed (and many other guilt-ridden consequences) Most have been subject to mind control from an early age, manipulated and controlled, blamed for the abuse by the abuser. One of the things I was told over and over as a young child, “Just stay away from him!” At two and three years old I was told, “If you wouldn’t sit on your dad’s lap…” We are made to feel it is all our fault! For teenagers some have been actually thrown out of the house at fifteen or sixteen years old or have run away because no-one believed them and the abuse continued. Some married the first guy to come along only to be abused now by a husband. Victims are seldom believed! Males are laughed at. “Men can’t be raped!” If that’s your attitude then read, “Unhelpful Myths About the Sexual Assault and Rape of Men.” Posted on this blog, June 10, 2015.

4. “Well you should have……” or “Why didn’t you…..?

Unless you have been in our shoes there is no way you can even begin to understand or comprehend the dynamics that are or were going on in an abusive home. To lay this kind of condemnation on a victim is to jab the knife in real deep, smile sweetly, and then twist it!

5. “Did you call the police?” 

Young children don’t know to do that.  Some teenagers do and end up in foster care only to be abused again or bounced from one place to another to another to another. Some, when the police arrive the abuser convinces the police the teen “has some mental problems.” Unless there are obvious bruises and cuts the police will file a report and leave.  With adults, many do but out of a false sense of “I love him” or “He loves me” they refuse to press charges once the police have come. Many do not get that opportunity for the control is so great there may not even be a phone available in the home.

6. “Just get over it! It happened a long time ago!”

There is no way that dagger can be shoved any deeper into the heart of the recipient of this remark. It is one of the most devastating, demeaning, accusatory, condemning and hurtful remarks that can be made to a victim of abuse. Particularly sexual abuse or rape. Which by the way, sexual abuse that involves intercourse is rape!

7. “What’s the big deal? It was just sex!”

This shows total ignorance on the part of the speaker. Sexual abuse encompasses the mind, the will, the emotions, and the spirit of the victim. The ramifications and emotional consequences of childhood sexual abuse can last a life time. In spousal abuse, where the wife is raped by the husband (along with beatings, etc.) the same thing applies. The mind, will, and emotions are all involved and emotional damage can be severe as well as possible permanent physical injuries.

8. “I’m sure they (parents) did the best they could.”

In my opinion, there is absolutely no excuse that can be given for a parent to turn his or her back on a child that is being abused emotionally, physically, psychologically, or sexually! There is always something that can be done or someone who is willing to help. We have had police and laws for centuries. By ignoring the abuse happening is emotional abandonment and anyone who knows or even highly suspects abuse is taking place and does nothing is a co-conspirator to the crimes that are being committed. That means by doing “nothing” you are doing “something” – agreeing with, condoning the abuse.

9. “You just need to forgive and move on.”

Oh, this sounds so Christian! And of course this is done in “love.” Again, it shows the ignorance and total disregard for what abuse does to the victim; physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. The emotional pain of the victim is never taken into account with this statement. This statement gives the impression that the horrors the victim has survived are merely minor infractions. “Here’s a band-aid, I’ll kiss it and make it all better.” The knife goes really deep and twisting it hurts even more!

10. “Are you sure it really happened?”

There’s that knife again! Survivors have questioned themselves until they are blue in the face with this very question even though they KNOW it happened. They do not want to believe that someone they trusted and possibly loved would betray them in such a horrific way. It is very difficult to accept the reality of being hurt, betrayed, and used by a loved one. To have this thrown at them turns the knife at least a full turn deep in their heart. Is essence you are calling them a liar and they’ve heard that from many others.

11. “Give it to God and let it go.”

Oh such a simplistic and uncaring statement! Just twist the knife a little more for this is a platitude that many Christians will spew forth when they can’t think of anything intelligent to say. Yes, we seek the Lord, if we are not so angry at Him for not stopping the abuse.  Some beg, plead, and scream to the heavens.  Many victims of abuse carry great anger and through the grace of God we do heal but to tell us to just hand everything; emotional damage, memories, scars, and what we feel to God like we’re handing Him a stick of gum is irrational on many levels. The issues run deep and much emotional damage has been done. Each issue is dealt with in time with God’s help. We can not put an entire childhood or 20 years of an abusive marriage in a box and just cast it off and go about our merry way.

12. “Maybe it was just a bad dream.” 

You have not only stuck the knife in but have slapped the victim hard in the face. In my case, that would have been an 18 year nightmare! When victims of sexual abuse begin therapy, or even before, this thought does come to mind. “Maybe I dreamed it up. It isn’t true.” Again, it is that deep need to not want it to have had it happen. The bruises in spousal abuse prove this was not dream. A night mare in reality but not a dream during sleep. No, we didn’t dream it. We wish we had because we would wake up and it would go away after the 2nd cup of coffee.

13. “Just don’t think about it!” 

Total disregard for the hurt, betrayal, physical and emotional wounding of victim! Absolutely no compassion is being shown. Victims do not have control over what the Lord will bring to mind that He may deem as time to deal with or the memories popping up “out of nowhere.” Walk away from this person! They do not have a heart for your pain and will only cause more.

14. “Well you must have done something wrong!”

In other words, “It’s all your fault!” We’ve heard this from the first encounter, be it as a child or an adult. Abusers NEVER take the blame! It is ALWAYS placed on someone or something else (usually the victim) and the knife is being twisted around and around as it has been sunk very deep into the heart of the victim. The child victim is NEVER  to blame! With adults, there’s no excuse for a man to hit a woman, ever! Or a woman to hit a man unless in self-defense.

Are you ready? Here is the one that tops all that I have heard over the years! Out of the mouth of a youth pastor that had a seventeen year old victim living with he and his wife to escape the sexual abuse at home came these mighty words of wisdom so confidently spoken to me:

15. “A one time rape is more devastating to the victim than continual sexual molestation, they get used to it.”

I’m still speechless!

Am I saying not to talk to survivors of abuse? NO! I’m saying be sympathetic, compassionate, and caring.  If the person brings up the subject, listen before speaking. Think long and hard what questions you may want to ask. If you are sincere in learning more about what we have to face as the results from the atrocities done to us ask if there are any books we might recommend. Don’t give the platitude or outright lie by saying, “I know just how you feel.” NOT IF YOU HAVEN’T WALKED IN OUR SHOES!

Some survivors, like me, are willing to answer even the questions that you never should have asked. But that’s only because I have had years of therapy and by God’s grace and Christ’s healing I can stand up to the intrusive and inconsiderate questions and remarks. Many survivors will wilt, feel condemned, and damage beyond belief can be done. Words hurt! Words can be that knife in the heart!

Many victims of abuse are sensitive, guilt ridden, filled with shame, low self-esteem, angry, hurt, and  pain so deep only God can bring it into the light. Many continue to feel isolated, unloved, dirty, and unworthy of anything positive.

Love them to life!

~~~~~~

Feel free to add additional hurtful comments in the comment box. People need to be aware of how they can help, not hurt. 

http://www.elahministriesinc.com

http://www.SuesPen2Paper.com

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elah501c@bellsouth.net

Blessings to you.

What is Healing?

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It is atrocious what some have had done to them by those we love and are supposed to love us as Christ loves us. The stories are many and some are so horrid that they cannot be told. This is a fallen world and it is only by the Grace of God that any us that have experienced those childhood horrors have survived.

As children we were the victims of unspeakable evil but as adults we are left with the issues of guilt and shame. (along with many other issues) Guilt because we were blamed. “If you hadn’t done….” “If you had listened to me….” “I’m doing this because I love you” “I’m doing this for your own good.” “It’s our secret.” “You told! Now look what happened!” The blame comes in many forms.

I ask you this question – how is a child to defend herself/himself? We are taught that the adults are right. We are taught to obey regardless of what is being done. And yet a small child is blamed for all the evil that is being perpetrated upon his or her small body, mind, and soul. How could we defend ourselves? When we asked and was ignored, what is a child to do? When we are forced to keep silent, through threats, what can a child do?

The shame comes from what has been instilled by God in every human being; right and wrong. There is a deep sense within us that says what is being done to us at this early age is wrong! Yet we are told “we like it” or we are once again blamed is some other fashion. The perpetrator ALWAYS blames and places the guilt upon the victim! If at some point our minds are screaming to stop, go away, stop hurting me, and our body responds with pleasure we immediately feel great shame. That shame can turn to hating the body that God created. Then we feel even more shame because we could not control what God gave us. It’s a vicious cycle and can create all sorts of emotional problems.

There are many issues that we adults must overcome in order to be all that God created us to be. Unforgiveness is a big one. We want revenge! We want to hate the one/s who did this to us. We hate what they did! We want them to suffer just like we did! And yes, at times we want them to PAY!

So how do we heal from all that was done physically, emotionally, psychologically, sexually, and spiritually? How do we overcome our hatred and anger? How do we forgive when the atrocities have left such deep bleeding wounds in our heart, mind, and soul? How do we heal and what is healing?

Let me use an example here. A small dog has been beaten to an inch within its life. It has been starved, locked outside in the heat and the cold with no food or water. It has been used as a battering ram by some evil person.  Someone who devalues what God created. Someone comes along and sees the dog and rescues it. The dog is fed, watered, nurtured and loved back to life. It now looks healthy and happy. It’s filled with love and joy for the one who rescued it. But raise a fist in anger and it will shrink. It hasn’t forgotten the past.

That’s what abuse does to us. Evil entered our bedrooms (or wherever the abuse took place) and someone who devalued what God created broke us down and used us for their own sick purposes. Christ, our Rescuer, comes along and if we let Him He will nurture us and restore us but we have to trust Him. The little dog trusted his rescuer and became healthy and happy. We have to trust our Rescuer! We have to seek Him for our healing. We cannot do it alone. Like the little dog we have no hope of overcoming the abuse until our Rescuer lifts us up in His arms and says, “I love you and I’m here to help you.”

Healing is being the broken, beaten down, no hope, filled with anger and hatred and an unforgiving person to becoming the person that is not knocked to their knees with the pain of the past. Healing is confronting the issues from the past head on and not pushing them aside and walking through life like a zombie! Healing is becoming the person that can hold her head up and testify to having been abused without shame and guilt! Healing is being able to tell the world, “I was sexually abused and the Lord God Almighty brought me through it. He helped me to survive what was done to me, and I can stand here and tell you that I am NOT ASHAMED!”

It takes guts! It takes counseling! It takes fortitude to face the pain of the past! It takes perseverance! It takes a lot of prayer! It takes replacing the lies with God’s truth! It takes Christ shining His big “flashlight” within us and exposing the deep wounds! It takes learning who we are in Christ and rebuking the lies of being less than!  It takes tears of cleansing! It takes time! It takes being able to forgive! And above all – it takes walking hand in hand with Christ our Savior the full length of the path to recovering and overcoming what was done to us. It takes trusting Him for our healing!

Healing does not mean we suddenly have amnesia and the past is forgotten. We may still feel sadness or anger on occasion. What was done to us was not fair and we didn’t deserve it. We may on occasion grieve our lost childhood for a moment and we may reflect on our past but –  Healing means we are no longer crippled by our past.

Healing means that you will be able to stand tall and feel clean and whole and loved.

Take heart,” daughter,” He said, “your faith has healed you” Matthew 9:22

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Feel free to e-mail me any confidential questions or comments at: elah501c@bellsouth.net

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Blessings to you.

Adding Food to My Pain – A testimony

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Written by Robin – Angels by Grace Pub. – April 1997

Molestation, physical and mental abuse, childhood incest. I am a survivor.

From about three years old, maybe earlier, until I was eighteen years old and moved out on my own I was at the hands of some pretty messed up adults.

Throughout my twenties I tried everything from drugs and alcohol to self-inflicted abuse, to take away the deep dark terrorizing pain I felt.

The confusion of being a young adult, not to mention my past, had become almost unbearable. I tried to kill myself several times, but always unsuccessfully.  I did however find I could use food to somewhat soothe my pain. It was something I could control myself and no-one could interfere.

I saw large women who didn’t seem to be “hit on” sexually like the slimmer women did. In my mind I decided that I was going to gain weight and that would make me unappealing to men. I achieved that goal and felt safe from sexual advancements from men. That was okay, for a while.  But then my so-called solution became my problem in that I was not able to control my eating habits. Now I struggle with the issues from the past as well as struggling with my own self-inflicted abuse, overweight. I also isolated myself from others until I didn’t even know how to talk to people, nor did I feel comfortable doing so.

Life was kind of miserable and I felt it was not worth living. A friend helped me to see that it was okay to have fun and it’s okay to have problems.

I got guardianship of my five nieces and a nephew which required me to leave South Carolina and come to Georgia. I was having to start all over again and it caused me to have a very difficult time emotionally.

I made a new friend here and she helped me by talking with me and introducing me to women that I would come to feel comfortable with. She started encouraging me to take the kids to church. I did but at first it was for their sake, not mine. Little did I know that God had sent her to me so I would go to church and in turn get what He needed me to hear.

Another friend and I joined the women’s Bible study and I started learning, or I should say re-learning, that God loves me. That He has been waiting for my choice.

I started therapy and eventually joined a support group where I met Sue. She may not know how much God has used her in my life. I see what He is doing for her, through her, and with her. I also see what He can do within me and wants to do for me.

I am thirty one years old and for a year and a half now I have felt more alive than I ever have. God took me, a sinner swallowed up in darkness, and has shown me the light. He sees where you are and if you just call His name He will be there, just like that!

I have trouble feeling that He has really forgiven me. But I know that will go away in His time. My biggest problem at this time is allowing God to help me. I close up on Him, like slamming a door, and He keeps knocking. I fade out and He zones in.

I know for the first time in my life that I have Someone I can call on, day or night. Without a doubt He will be there. All you have to do is to say His name and He will come. He is on standby waiting for you to call. It doesn’t all change just like that. He sheds His light on whatever you are going through and walks you through it.

Glory to God and thanks unto Him, my Protector. I will continue to go on with the fight because He will give me victory and in turn, He has victory.

~~~~~~~

“Whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what He has done has been done through God.” John 3:21

http://www.elahministries.com   http://www.facebook.com/elahministries

elah501c@bellsouth.net

Blessings to you.

 

 

I Never Felt Loved – A Testimony

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Written by Belinda – Angels by Grace Pub. March 1997

My abuse started around the age of eight or nine, by one of my closest Uncles. This Uncle was everybody’s dream father. He helped with homework, played sports, went swimming, fishing, and so on.

My Aunt treated me as if I were her own. She took me shopping and bought me things, helped me with homework, took me to church with all its activities, and she was teaching me about believing in God. I got Baptized, too.

Because my parents always fought, would separate and then get back together, I felt my Aunt and Uncle’s home was my safe haven. There was no fighting or hitting taking place. They ate dinner together, it was like a dream home where people were family. Then my Uncle started molesting me and that’s when everything went wrong.

My relationship changed with my Aunt, it wasn’t as strong any more. I was afraid she would figure out what my Uncle was doing. I feared going to their house and was afraid to go to sleep while there, or even go to the bathroom alone.

I seemed to be afraid of a lot of things, afraid someone would look in the window, afraid my Aunt would be angry at me and not love me any more. And my Uncle seemed like he didn’t care if he was caught. Yet I felt like I was the guilty one. Knowing the abuse was wrong but being scared people would blame me.

For a year and a half my Uncle grabbed, touched me in places he shouldn’t, as well as making sexual remarks. Then my father began abusing me and that lasted until I was fourteen years old.  My father seemed like he’d turned into this evil man. I couldn’t reason with him, no amount of crying or begging helped. It was like he had no feelings.

Some of my father’s abuse took place on his boat. Hundreds of happy people walking just feet from where he was abusing me and I’d think, “Why doesn’t someone stop! Somebody come in here and help me.” When it was over I hated walking outside because I felt like everyone knew what had just happened and I felt so embarrassed.

What I really can’t understand and what really hurts me is that my mother had caught him abusing me on two separate occasions. My grandmother had also caught him and merely said, “He’ll quit.” But he didn’t. That’s when I lost all hope and faith that he would ever be stopped. He did finally stop abusing me when he and my mother divorced, but then I guess I was in “shut down.” All my survivor skills kicked in and I no longer cried, no more begging, nothing mattered. I had been an A and B student, but I no longer cared for school. I hung out with older crowds, drank, stayed out all night. I thought there was only one way for the boys to like you.

I met the man I married and I suddenly felt loved. Of course I depended on him to make me happy because I didn’t know how to be happy. Some years into the marriage I suddenly didn’t want to be left alone, not even for him to go to work. I started remembering some of the things from the past and I was so unhappy. It was like nothing could make me happy!

I refused to face the past, thinking, “All that’s in the past, it isn’t happening now.” I was in big denial that the abuse was the cause of so many of my problems. I did start seeing a counselor but I continued to feel un-loved, out of place, unhappy, and that no-one cared for me.

I couldn’t make decisions, I felt like I was just floating through life with no purpose, just waiting for it all to end. I couldn’t accept that I was going to have to face my pain and it was almost un-thinkable that I would have to do just that.

I’d tell my counselor, “I’m not angry, I’m not hurt. I feel sorry for my abusers.” Recognizing my anger was real hard for me. I felt like it was betraying my family. My family didn’t deserve any anger from me! I’ve worked on many areas of hurt in counseling. One being, I couldn’t talk about this part of my life with my husband. I didn’t want to share or for him to know I had been abused. I fought with my feelings about not telling him, yet I felt my reasons were justified. What I really felt was that he wouldn’t love me any more if he knew.

My counselor told me many times, “Go home and talk with your husband about this.” My reply was always the same, “I can’t! I’d rather jump off a bridge!” But somehow she got us to go to family counseling and its been going well.  My husband is my number one supporter.

For so long I fought the feelings that would rise up in me and felt there was no hope of ever getting past the abusive past. I felt there was just too much damage done, but I was wrong. Therapy has been very helpful.

After a while I started noticing that I paid attention when God was mentioned. I’d even catch myself praying for His help and guidance. You see, I always said, “There can’t be a God. Why would He let it happen to little girls?” Then I’d think, “Okay, He let it happen, but why make me suffer and not them?” It seemed like I was the one being punished. But then one day I realized I was angry at God. I won’t say I’m completely happy with where I am with Him now, but I’m on the right road and still learning.

I met a lady during the time I was in the hospital and she and I became very good friends. We sat up and talked all night and once when I was really upset she said, “Belinda, you know Someone has been watching over you. Because if not you probably wouldn’t be around today.” That really sticks out to me. Now when things get tough and I don’t think I can go on I ask God to please help me and guide me. Then, somehow, I get through it and the next day is a little brighter.

I feel my accomplishments have been numerous. I no longer deny my feelings (most of the time.) I can at least identify them and can put some of the shame where it belongs. My relationship with my husband and children is much better. I try to listen to myself and believe my pain does exist and it’s okay to hurt. I have hope and I’m trying to find out who “me” is.

The most difficult part of healing for me right now is my relationship with my mother. I loved her so much and I just needed her to say, “Its going to be okay.” Instead, she refuses to accept that I didn’t want the abuse or the damage that the abuse has caused. That’s very hurtful for me. I can’t pretend it didn’t happen so I struggle with feelings of guilt, fearing I’m hurting my family. They believe, “It’s all in the past, so let it go.” That makes me feel alone and that my family doesn’t love me.

I try to remember that my husband and children do care and want me to heal. I have them. I’m working on issues of my family and those losses. Letting go of that fantasy family and childhood, yet realizing “normal family” can’t be.

If someone called me on the phone and asked for my advice, I’d tell them, “Don’t deny your feelings. Things will get better and easier. Follow your heart, you deserve healing.” And I would cry for them and just let them talk until they couldn’t talk any more. And I’d let them know Someone is watching over them.

My work has been hard and I know I have only one way to go. I would choose to heal again if I had to because I’m just getting a glimpse of who I really am. I know when I am through healing I’m finally free from my childhood and its pain. My husband, children, and I can truly be happy.

I’m working very hard on my relationship with God. I am forever grateful for the people who have helped me. My husband, for standing by me and not giving up. My best friend ____, who listened and pulled the truth from me. ____for all those encouraging talks, and the work that my counselor has done. For my angels, Sue and Kay, who took the time to help and understand. I look at them and think, “It does get better. They can laugh and smile and be themselves.” So they are a big inspiration.

I’ve always thought about angels and to me it seems kind of strange that I landed at Angels Group Support Group for help, and I’m receiving it. I’m hoping for everyone to receive the healing we all deserve. Keep me in your prayers as I’ll keep you in mine.

Belinda

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Note: With Belinda’s counselor and our support Belinda pressed charges against her abuser. He pled guilty and was sent to prison.

 

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elah501c@bellsouth.net

Blessings to you.

Angels by Grace

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1994 I was facilitating a new ministry the Lord put on my heart. “The Angel Group” was a support group for women who had been sexually abused as children. It was the only Christian based support group within several counties and we had women traveling several miles to attend. The need was, and still is great.

One morning the Lord woke me up out of a sound sleep and told me, “Get up! You’re going to publish a magazine.” I had no idea how to do that but as always the Lord is faithful to walk us through whatever He calls us to do. Standing at the kitchen table with Christ beside me we put together a small outreach publication for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. All submissions were by survivors. The publication started out with only 25 mailings and by the end of four and a half years it had crossed into several states and the hands of many, from hurting survivors to professionals, pastors and everyone in between. Any time we follow the calling of the Lord and do things His way we will be successful. Over the past several months, you my readers, have read several of those submissions.

Here is a letter to the Angel Ministry, now Elah Ministries, Inc., as an example of how reaching out can bring hope, healing, and deliverance to those who are hurting. I see our blogs, yours and mine, as an outreach ministry and regardless of whether you have comments at the end of your article or not, you are touching someone.

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April 1998

Dear Angels of Angels by Grace and Angel Group:

I am a fellow “Angel” if you should call it that. Though I must confess it’s been years since I’ve felt like one. I write to you to praise, mainly because I’ve lived in this town for over ten years and your Angels by Grace magazine is the first outreach of support I’ve encountered in that time without seeking it out.

I wanted to let you know, that both witness and compassionate brothers and sisters in this healing journey that yes, you are reaching out indeed. Your magazine managed to reach its way into a secured building and guarded cell block in Douglas County jail, where myself and a handful of women have been blessed with the assurance that there are still people who care.

The other reason I wanted to send praise is on a more personal note. And actually, maybe it’s not so much praise for your work as it is a deep gratitude. I have been here a month and await my court date next week, concerning charges resulting from an addiction that I have.

The addiction in turn, results from years of traveling over, under, and around issues from eight years of sexual abuse as a child. The psychological and mental aspects of healing are nothing new to me. I’ve been through more forms of counseling than I care to disclose.

What is new to me though, is recognizing that no amount of medicine or counseling will help heal these buried hurts if I neglect to make my relationship with Jesus Christ a “constant” in that journey. I have been a born again Christian for seven years now, but oddly enough, that revelation has just occurred to me.

Receiving your magazine today made that possible by awakening a desire in me. A desire to examine my heart and surrender it to the Lord. I have realized that literally, it is too exhausting for me to carry the burdens any longer. I am now ready and willing to let God take them for me.

An added bonus, if you can call it that, is that I have taken the first step in overcoming my addiction and getting my life back on track. There is, most assuredly, a long road ahead for me. And it seems deeply overwhelming at times. I had thought, “there’s so much to do to begin really healing, make amends, forgive others, forgive myself, that I don’t know where to start.”

I do know now. I’ll start on my knees. If that doesn’t work, then I’ll try flat on my face and stomach. I’m learning to pray again and it’s wonderful. I am scared out of my wits when I think about what lies ahead. What I’ll find that I’ve been hiding away. I fear that maybe it will be to much to handle, but in my heart I know that’s just that scared little girl talking, who didn’t know Jesus.

The best part of all of this is that I’m a grown woman now, who knows and believes in Him. Satan, with all his manipulative demons, has no power here! Not in my days now.

I wanted to say to each of you that the lesson of the week for me has been to learn to take the promises of God as just that, Promises. Promises from One who would never forsake or break them. In 1Peter 5:10,11 it says, “The God of all grace, Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself perfect, establish, strengthen and restore you. To Him be the power for ever and ever.” That’s a promise!

Thank you again for sending your love, even unbeknownst, to each of us here. You are in our prayers, and I ask that if you will, would you please remember to say a word for us? There is a magnitude of hurt and bitterness here the devil himself would back away from. I know that none of it can be cleansed without the power of God. Please pray for that power. Sending much love and thanks, and may God bless and keep you.  Alice.

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http://www.suespen2paper.com   http://www.cybersupportgroup.org

elah501c@bellsouth.net

Blessings to you.