From a Secret to a Witness

From A Secret to WitnessI left the Women of Faith event a few years ago having actually acknowledged my own hurt, shame, etc. from being molested repeatedly as a child.  I no longer just held a secret…I started to heal. I prayed; soon the prayer left just me and I focused on the abuser.   (In earlier years I would periodically pray for my abuser…I prayed they died.)

Now it was different. Something inside told me that while the person was wrong, I didn’t know the life they may have experienced. I did not want to be their judge. Instead I asked God to help the abuser to recognize their wrongs and accept His grace and forgiveness. Within 60 days [of that prayer] I found out my abuser suddenly had died. I got up the courage to go look into the casket and say “I forgave you.”

I was almost hyperventilating as the minister gently assisted me, the last in the line, into the church. I didn’t know how to say, “I’m not here to go to the funeral” so I sat at the very back awaiting my escape.  The funeral service was different than any I had been to before; it began by the minister talking about how “the church would never know what brought this hurting soul here about 60 days ago.”

What?…..60 days ago???

The minister then spoke of the change this individual went through. He spoke of their sorrows and the pain caused to others….and the tears [they shed] during mass. Next he spoke of the joy they found in the Lord…and dancing.  The minister indicated that many people had been brought to the Lord through this very sinner and asked them to stand up. I could not believe my eyes. There were about a dozen people that stood and gave their testimonies of change.  They spoke about how they came to the Lord and found comfort in the forgiveness of Jesus and His love, things they learned of from…my abuser.

God allowed me to witness, even when I wanted to run.   I got to witness his love, His ability to change, His right to judge, the joy found in dancing, and the healing found in forgiveness. That Women of Faith day, as I released the secret that was crushing my soul, I received the truth in return: that nobody can change us except God.

Do You Have a Story to Share?

We’d love to know what God has done for and through you…and so would the readers of Women of Faith Daily. Share your witness with us and we may be able to share it with others in an upcoming newsletter. Share your story here.

Comments

  1. 2 years ago
    Brenda says

    I have never experienced the abuse that many of you women have. I sometimes wonder about the fact that there are no “degrees of sin”. Thank you for sharing your stories and giving hope to those who haven’t had it. God is merciful, mighty, and just! PTL that He will forgive and encourage all at the same time. You’re all beautiful handmaidens and your witness and compassion for others who have walked the road you’ve walked will help initiate healing in others!

  2. Thanks for your bravery in sharing. I am 37 years old and have been dealing with my secret, hurt, and shame the last 3 years. It took me 30 years to get to this point. I have a forgiveness letter for my abuser saved in my computer, but have not done anything with it yet. Its an older male cousin who lives in my same town, but I have avoided for decades. That side of my family has been blown apart since the abuse was finally realized, yet swept under the rug, hoping I would forget and it was never spoke of again. I didn’t forget and have been finally able to begin confronting my parents and other family members about “the secret”. I have prayed a few times for my abuse…like others here, reading about abuse and realizing their lives may include abuse and pain as well. I want to hate. At times I still do. But daily asking God to help me, I manage. Again, thanks for your bravery!

  3. 2 years ago
    LP says

    You know it’s crazy….I didn’t really even realize it until I read some of these messages. Gloria, I remember feeling so in pain for a long time; but honestly, after the forgiving happened, I honestly can’t say I can feel the “true awful sickening feelings” that I once did. The thought of it could send me there feeling it before, but it doesn’t now. When I think very hard even, it’s very different.

    I do have to acknowledge though that maybe it’s because of the death of the person too. When you don’t have to run into them anymore or they will NEVER be “just around a corner”, I suppose it makes it easier then for those of you that still have to face the person. But again, God IS working in your own lives and if you try long enough, I believe it will be revealed to you.

    I pray that each of you going through something like this is able to find the source of your inner strength to overcome the choice to allow it to get to you. Our own inner strength needs to begin with you and depend on God! If you can’t forgive, just give it to Jesus and worry about just your own being! You are important and you did NOT cause the issue. You were dealt a wrong, but you can chose to look toward the Right. May the Holy Spirit help show you that presence.

  4. 2 years ago
    Gloria Liu says

    Thank you for your courage, transparency and obedience to the Spirit. Your story really touches me. I can’t imagine what degree of hurt you must have gone thru. I was molested ONCE by a school janitor when I was just 7 years old. Though it was just one time thing, the impact of it was devastating thru my entire life. For a long time I felt broken, discarded, inferior, dirty and abandoned. I think these horriffic unresolved bitterness made me an emotionally unstable and angry person. Thank be to God that He has not given up on me but is working on me little by little. I don’t know if I have forgiven my abuser, but I pray that thru the miracle in your life, I will face this incident in my life and surrender to Him.

  5. I am still praying for my abuser after all of these years. I praise the Lord that Jesus freed me and rescued me when I was 18, right after High school graduation. My Mom was a widow,at 36,with 7 children. We had faith in Jesus and love for each other but we still went through some horrible abuse and we survived, by the grace and mercy of God! The key for me,forgiveness! Whatever we go through in life,goes through God’s hands first,he is still in control,he sees,he hears,he knows. There is sin in this world and we have free will or we’d be robots. I believe that Jesus crys when we hurt and he holds us and leads us if we call out to him for deliverance. God gave me a way out! He gave me a new life in Christ, he can do it for you too. One day we will see Jesus face to face! Rejoice! Hope!

  6. 2 years ago
    michelle says

    Finally after many years i forgave my abusers. I am free from anger hurt pain. I still have moments when fear steps in. However I have learned not to stay in fear. I move on in the name of Jesus. I am no longer a slave to my past.

  7. 2 years ago
    Cheryl says

    I am so thankful that we serve such an amazing God! I am not an abused child, but I have a grown foster child who was abused as a child, and has just been released from prison for abusing a child. I cannot tell you the pain this has given my husband & I, especially after many years spent loving and raising this child into adulthood. We tried in many varied ways to teach him the love of Christ and His power to heal. It is difficult at times to pray for this “prodigal son” without prejudice, continuing to hope in spite of many disappointments. You story encouraged me greatly, and arrives in my mail;box at the perfect moment. Thank you.

    • 2 years ago
      LP says

      Cheryl….It’s funny you say that because one of the things I strongly felt from God during my time of forgiveness for the person was that they too “may have been abused” and therefore became an abuser. Of course, I had difficulty with that thought at first because that’s the last route that I would turn (knowing the pain abuse caused me). I’ve heard the statistics are very likely that they may become abusers. I guess it’s proof that hurting people…hurt people. I suppose I was fortunate enough to have found God young enough that it just didn’t become an option. You are a special person for giving the foster child an opportunity to be in a healthy invironment. I heard a saying once that has helped me many times… “How many times can anyone expect me to forgive them for their wrongs (done to me or to others)….Well….How many times do I want God to forgive me for mine?” We all make mistakes and sin….no sin is worse then another even though it feels that way on the surface at times. Good luck with your choices toward the hurting soul that you opened your home to.

  8. The group in our chuch called Adult Forum have recently worked on our up-coming schedule. A suggestion I made turned into a topic for me to present. Child sexual abuse statistics indicate 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are sexually molested. The actual figures are probably much higher since so many abuse situations are never documented because abusers threaten the children scaring them into silence. All parents should talk to their children before they are threatened. 3 out of 4 of those sexually abused are harmed by someone they know. Most of those abused are between 7 and 13 years of age.
    The effects on a molested child are devastating. Victims may become suicidal. Please talk to your children about this topic and share information with other parents.

  9. Your story was very touching…I related on so many levels.
    I wrote my dad a letter telling him I’d forgiven him about a year before he died. I never heard back from him, and he died without us ever seeing each other. But I had peace knowing I’d finally found the strength to forgive him. I’ll never know if he had any remorse or not, but I know I did my part and that helps sustain me.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story…it meant so much to me.

  10. 2 years ago
    Linnie says

    Lisa, you are such an inspiration. God bless you for being brave enough to go through that. Too many times us girls “cowgirl up” and carry hurts from the past. I love Gods amazing ways… He always proves If we step out He will amaze us. Thank you for sharing!

  11. 2 years ago
    dawn says

    What an amazing story of redemption. I just loved it. Thank you so much for share. We serve a HUGE God!

  12. 2 years ago
    Devra Johnson says

    What an amazing witness to God’s ability to turn abuse to blessing! The whole timing aspect of it is remarkable. Thank you for sharing this encouragement to “let go & let God” & be amazed at what He can do!

  13. 2 years ago
    Sheryl says

    Thank you for the reminder as to why we are called to pray for our enemies, for those who have wronged us terribly. The person who hurt us generally goes about his/her life, unaffected by the pain and resentment that we allow to consume our hearts and minds. Although I said that I forgave my person, I never prayed for him with sincerity and now I see that I must. God does bring beauty from ashes. I hope that you have been set free from the bondage of unforgiveness. God bless you for sharing.

    • 2 years ago
      LP says

      Sheryl… Just don’t be disappointed if you don’t get the immediate results we always want. I was lucky that day to see God’s work right away. It just isn’t always that obvious….so for those days….I have a reminder on my computer that reads “The Presence of a Problem, Does Not Imply the Absence of a Miracle!”

  14. 2 years ago
    Annie says

    Thank you for sharing your story. I pray someday I, too, will be able to forgive the one who altered my life course, as it has had a life-long negative impact that still affects how I live and who I am.

    • 2 years ago
      LP says

      Annie… I didn’t always understand that saying that we were “giving them power” unitl I gave it up to God. By asking God to forgive the abuser, I took back the power that I had. The power to turn to a greater power in my own life. I don’t know your story, but this was the condensed version of mine. I encourage you to just start talking to God and not accepting the shame, blame, guilt, and ridicule of His opposition. We did not chose what happened to us. But we can chose…. to change the affects of it in our own lives. One day…and one step…at a time! I pray you find the Blessings through the negatives!

  15. That is a wonderful testament to God’s love and grace! I printed it out to read to my group of ladies at coffee today. Thank you for your courage Lisa, your story and Women of Faith is amazing!

  16. Wow. What an amazing story. I am humbled by the miraculous power of God Almighty for both of you.

  17. 2 years ago
    renda brown says

    I truly know what you are saying In this story. God changed my heart about a child abuser. He can use all things to his glory. He changed my bitterness and anger into love. I tell people all the time. It takes one bad grain of sand to rot it all. I had a heart full of hurtful sand and i prayed to god to change my heart before the hate ate me up. After a period of time i was happier and i didn’t dwell on the resentment any more. After i Removed myself from trying to help God fix the problem. He didn’t need my help he changed me in such a way that this has been a testimony God has used in mighty ways. Thank You so much for sharing. I loved it.

    • 2 years ago
      LP says

      Renda…I stuffed the feelings and ignored them for along time. Removing myself from even allowing myself to think about it. Only I would still feel the hurt inside from time to time. You are right though…only God can really fix the problem. Good luck with your continued success in overcoming the wrong that was done to you and the acceptance of God’s Grace through forgiveness.