My testimony is not one you are going to expect. I wasn’t a drug addict, I was never addicted to heroin, speed or peanut butter, although I come pretty close to a chocolate addiction. I never snorted coke or drank myself into an oblivion every night. I didn’t sell my body, or belonged to a bikie gang, no matter how much I think motor bikes are cool. I never did anything that puts me up there in the top 5 sinners. I wasn’t dramatically saved from some insanely evil lifestyle. I was just an ordinary person, in an extraordinary circumstance that God knew about and was ok with anyway. So no, I wasn’t a Satan worshipper, and that’ s ok, but do you know which story I wish I had? In about 50 years time I would have liked to have stood up and said “I was 5 years old when I gave my life to Jesus. And I’ve been walking with Jesus every day since!” That’s a COOL testimony, and it’s stories like that, that don’t get the admiration and wow-factor they should.
Glue-sniffer or not, I have the same message – I am here by the grace of God. We are all here because of the grace of God. I am here not because I am an amazing person or incredibly strong that clawed my way up by sheer determination and psychological superiority. So why am I here? Good question!! I better answer that one!!
My story is strongly intertwined with another person’s story.
Once upon a time, in the great state of South Australia, there was a young girl. She was a Christian girl and was involved in the church her parents went to. On the outside, her life seemed pretty good. She had a loving family, friends and a job. She was quiet but very sweet. In March 1978 not long after her 18th birthday, her life was changed forever by a devastating event that was so unexpected and horrific that it was hard to understand how it could have happened to someone who loved God. She was brutally raped by a “friend” of the family in her own backyard. Apparently the guy had tried to make a move on her before and she told him in no uncertain terms that she wasn’t interested. The guy wasn’t that thrilled about being knocked back. So he came and took her by force, brutalised her and left her violated, shamed and emotionally shattered. She screamed for help while it happened – but no help came.
She reported the rape – but they weren’t much help. They asked insinuating questions, trying to pin it on her. “What were you wearing?” “Did you lead him on?” She couldn’t bear to press charges because she wasn’t strong enough to handle the accusations on her.
She didn’t want to tell her parents. Why? Why wouldn’t you tell your family something terribly had happened to you? Why couldn’t she count on their support? When she was a child, she had been molested repeatedly by a family member. She told her mother that this was happening but she did nothing about it. Before you judge harshly, know that this happens every single day. I know of many women who have been molested and raped as children, and when they told the people who were supposed to protect them, they did nothing about it. Women today hear their kids have been interfered with, and they ask “What do I do?” If the girl’s mother didn’t do anything then, then it was a fair assumption to believe that she would not be a support to her now, so she remained silent.
The poor girl became sick. She had lost weight, she was fainting a lot and she was throwing up everything she ate. She thought she was dying of some fatal disease. She went to her doctor who ran some tests. The receptionist delivered the diagnosis “You are going to have a baby” she said with enthusiasm. The girl burst into hysterical tears “I can’t be pregnant! I can’t have a baby!” and the confused receptionist desperately tried to calm her down. “It’s ok, it’s alright. Everything will be ok” But it wasn’t ok or alright. What on earth was this girl going to do? She was carrying a rape child – a child she didn’t want.
The “friend” that raped her “It’s not mine. Get rid of it” She wasn’t the first girl he had said that too. Before the incident, another girl got pregnant to him, I don’t know if it was by consent or not, but she aborted her baby. He was a very selfish and horrible man, and as if the rape wasn’t enough assault on the poor girl, he came over to the girls house, drunk and beat her up. I guess by his actions and words, he didn’t want the child either.
After months of being very sick, she finally told her parents that she was pregnant. Her mother was disappointed in her but she handled it ok, but her father was absolutely crushed. He didn’t speak to her for 6 weeks. His disappointment in her was so great and that devastated the girl so much. She didn’t say a word about the rape. And her parents never knew the truth for a few more years.
When she started showing the people in her church judged her. They assumed she had fooled around. It’s a very easy judgement to make in churches, a young woman without a wedding ring comes in, the automatic assumption is that they have been messing around. This is not so much of an issue today but back in those times the judgement was severe. Severe AND very wrong. She was isolated because of the gossip and the assumptions made by her church family.
So she was pregnant with a child nobody wanted. The father didn’t want it. She didn’t want it. She was judged because she carried it. It meant nothing but misery to her. So she decided to make an appointment with an abortion clinic. She didn’t want this baby. She couldn’t have this baby! What other choice did she have? Who in their right mind kept a rape baby? She saw her doctor who was a Christian man. He strongly recommended that she didn’t abort the baby. He didn’t think she was psychologically strong enough to handle the trauma of the rape as well as the guilt that comes with abortion. But she decided that she would go ahead with the abortion.
Who was going to speak for the life of the foetus? Who was going to defend the life she carried? Did anyone value the little person? Someone did. Someone loved the little life, and could see their future even though no one else did. God did. God knew that the little life was going to be created, even though it was through something so evil. God defended that little life and intervened in the abortion plans. On the day of her appointment, something stopped her from going. She just couldn’t do it. She had planned to go, she was ready to proceed, her heart and mind told her that this baby was not something she could keep and love. But she just couldn’t do it. Which then bought on another dilemma, if she didn’t abort, then what would she do? Adoption seemed to be the next best solution, so she got hold of some information about it, and thought very seriously about it. Her parents even offered to adopt her baby. But for some reason, unknown to her, she didn’t follow through with it.
The girl experienced so much pain and anguish and she struggled with despair and depression. When most Mums are excitedly planning their nursery, stocking up on baby booties and blankets, this Mum had to deal with terror, guilt, and shame. Psychologically she had been destroyed, and she didn’t know what to do. At the lowest of her low points, she couldn’t handle the despair any longer. She couldn’t handle carrying this child, she couldn’t handle the trauma of the rape, she couldn’t handle doing this alone anymore. She just wanted to die. So she overdosed on some painkillers, taking the whole packet. Then laid down in her bed, ready to fall asleep and die. Again God intervened, protecting the life of the baby by protecting the life of the mother. When her eyes fluttered open the next day, she was in her own room, where she had laid the night before, with no side effects to the drug overdose, and the baby within her lived.
On December 21st 1978 – she was admitted into the hospital, giving birth to a baby girl by caesarean section.
When the father of the child met his baby, he held her in his arms, looked down at her and said “She isn’t mine” and gave the baby back to the mother. Written on the baby’s birth certificate is “paternity no acknowledged” a permanent reminder to the mother and child that he didn’t want anything to do with her. The girl felt a sudden surge of determination that came out of nowhere. If he didn’t want their child, and he wouldn’t claim her as his own, well she would!! That baby would be all hers and no one elses. From that day forward, her daughter was all hers.
When most Mummies are filled with love and wonder at their new babies, the poor girl felt nothing. The nurses at the hospital recognised the signs of post-natal depression and bonding issues and encouraged her to try, “feed the baby, hold the baby, give her a cuddle, common dear, she needs you. It’s ok, just pick her up.” God didn’t just leave the girl and her baby there to muddle along by themselves, he chose the most compassionate and kindest nurses to look after the girl while she recovered from surgery. They showed her such love and kindness as they helped her come to terms with the little bundle of pink that was going to be in her life from now on.
In her heart she was empty though, she didn’t love this baby and didn’t want this baby. She couldn’t make herself love her. This little baby was a permanent reminder of what happened to her 9 months ago. One night she watched her daughter sleeping in her cot, and she was crying because she didn’t know how to love her baby. She did something that would change the baby girl’s and her own history forever. She cried out to God: “God help me! Help me love this baby the very best way I can”, Again God stepped in, intervened and showered his goodness and grace on both mother and child’s lives. He heard that cry for help and filled her heart with such a special love for the baby. He helped her to value the precious life that she bore.
I know that it is by the goodness of God that the baby was completely and utterly adored with such an amazing love. Love came in abundance! How do I know that? I am that baby. 30 odd years on, I’m that tiny little baby. I’m all grown up, and I can tell you now that no woman could love her child more. No woman could love her adult daughter more. She loves me with a love that God planted in her heart. It’s more than the love of a mother – it’s the love of The Father as well.
I can tell you honestly, right now, my life is a miracle. I don’t say that flippantly, because in reality ALL our lives are miracles. The fact that I am standing here right now with you, sharing this, is because God is so incredibly good. He protected me from abortion, from a drug overdose destroying both my mother and myself, he kept me from being adopted out to a family that may not have raised me in the things of God. It’s tough to say that no one was excited about me and my arrival – but I know that God was. I may have been a product of something yuck, but God still wanted me. He knew all about me before I even arrived. In Jeremiah it says “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and set you apart.” That wasn’t written just for me – it was written about you too. God knew you and saw you as valuable, even before you were conceived. We are all special. We are all incredible creations of God, made in his image and this doesn’t change, whether you be the child of a labourer, a drunk, Hitler or a rapist. We are all special to God, wanted, accepted and adored by him. When I was born, he was chucking a party! I can imagine him gathering around him all the angels, saying “Check this out! She’s here! Leah’s here! Awww isn’t she soooo cute? She’s going to do amazing things one day. I love her so much.”
Now for those who have experienced sexual assault and other painful experiences, there are going to be questions. The first question that usually comes to mind is why is God so good when he allowed such a terrible thing to happen? I think we all ask that question at least once in our lives.
God is good. God is incredibly good. But I didn’t always think so. I too questioned God. I too have been incredibly angry at God. I have been resentful. I have shook my fist to the heavens and demanded answers. I have up until the last few years been saying between gritted teeth “You have some explaining to do when I get there!”
When I was in a very dark time of my life, before I knew about reading the Bible, I did the typical flip open the book, and let my eyes rest on a passage. This verse happened to be Romans 8:28 ALL things work together for GOOD to those who love God to those who are called according to his purpose.
Now I know that this is probably one of the most overused scriptures with the attitude of “She’ll be right mate.” I wasn’t alright, and when I read this I wasn’t going to be alright for many many years. My life didn’t just fall together in a happy way when I read this, but it gave me reason to hope. I clung to this verse for years, hoping, and hoping that I would get through the darkness that seemed to swallow me.
So all things work together for good....How can this whole thing be good? How can rape be good?
Sexual assault and sexual abuse is rampant in this day and age. I know so many women who have been violated in some way in their lifetime. It’s a crime that isn’t getting any better. In fact it’s getting worse. In a report I read: from 1980-1990, child sexual abuse rose by 322%. Lives are being destroyed.
According to Australian statistics
Over half of the women surveyed (57%) had experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence over their lifetime. 57%!!! So my Mum was one of these statistics. Another statistic : out of 64,000 women who were raped in 2005, 5% of these resulted in a pregnancy. Out of this 5% it’s unknown how many of the baby’s were terminated.
Sometimes I wonder, how in the world did Mum get so unlucky? Out of the 24 hours in every 28 days you can possibly get pregnant, that was the time she was raped. Horribly unfair on her.
But all things DO work together for good.... if we allow God to come in and work it for good. I read the book “The Shack” and it completely changed the way I saw God – and in the pages there was one phrase that had me in tears, healing my heart and enabling me to see God as truly good. It went something like this “I do not orchestrate evil to bring about my purposes.”
God did not make the rape happen because he knew that one day I would be sharing the testimony of how God saved me and protected me, speaking hope into the lives of the hopeless. God knew it was going to happen, but he did not make it happen. Why didn’t God stop THAT from happening? Well when Adam and Even decided to not obey God’s instructions and instead chose a different path, it was their decision to not make God their king, but their own vanity, pride and wants. Human kind had a choice, and they chose evil rather than good. God made humans to be free, not puppets on a string. If God stopped every bad choice that humans made, then we would not be free.
God does not cause bad things to happen. He did not cause the rape. So where was he when it was happening? Did he just close his eyes, block his ears and ignored it? No. I like to think that God does not leave us alone when we are hurt, being hurt and hurting. God grieves with us and for us. It is not God’s “will” to hurt us and make bad things happen to us. Instead bad things happen to us because we have been given a freedom that comes with the gift of life. When something awful happens to you, God suffers with you, experienced most vividly in the hurt and suffering of Jesus, Saviour for all humanity.
But God is faithful and good to us, even though we go through horrible times in life – he is able, if we are willing to turn it around to be something good. He was able to turn my story into something so empowering and triumphant and because I am willing, he is able to use it to give hope to others. Now this will mess with people’s heads, but it truly is a miracle to be able to see such a violent horrible act as something positive. I am not trivialising the act of rape, nor do I excuse it. But God is able to make my life something beautiful and good, out of something so ugly. For people who have experienced sexual abuse in any shape or form, there are going to be very few of them that view it as a positive thing. Sexual abuse destroys lives – but thankfully I serve a God that is into mosaic masterpieces – and is an expert at piecing lives back together.
No matter how battered, brusied and broken we are, God still values us, treasures us and wants to work in our lives. A gold coin is worth the exact same amount, whether it be trodden on, dirty, scratched and old. We are so beautiful to God, no matter what our scars are.
I am thankful for God’s ability to heal and restore broken lives, because my life was not all hearts and flowers. I too bore the scars of shame, hurt, confusion and rejection.
I was incredibly blessed to be bought up in a Christian home, taught about God and exposed to the church since day dot. One day at church, when I was 2 years old, a young man fell in love with me, being as cute as I was, I’m not surprised!! But then he met my Mum, and that was it. They fell in love and were married. Mum managed to snag me a Dad!! Not only was he the bravest man on earth because he took me on as his own child, but he also would go outside with a cricket bat every time I thought there was a monster out there! My last name was changed to match theirs and we were a family. Within 2 years I had 2 brothers. Awesome!! To me, we were a typical family!
Now I want to clarify something before I move on. The man my Mum married is Dad. I always refer to him as Dad. My biological father will never be called Dad – just eliminate any confusion. Dad’s blood doesn’t run through my veins, but I am in his heart just the same and that’s all that matters. He was the one who taught me to ride my bike, built me a cubby house, bought home the puppies and did my homework with me. He read me stories at night in different accents, making me laugh until I wanted to throw up. He gave me wizzy’s and took me to the pool and beach. He was Dad where it counted!
So I grew up in a church, but I never had a personal relationship with Jesus – a real one – until I was a lot older. Unfortunately my church experiences totally warped my view of God, and sadly I was never taught about relationship as opposed to “fearing-God-because-I-don’t-want-to-go-to-hell” Every day I would give my heart to Jesus, just in case. How I saw God was not who he really is. That must have made him sad, seeing a child in the church, not really understanding who he is. I had never heard of a God who loved me, or wanted me just as I was. I never knew that God was someone who wanted to be my friend.
NEVER make assumptions that because your kids are in Sunday school and church so therefore they understand Jesus and how it all works. If you assume this, and don’t reach out to them and teach them, don’t expect your kids to be in church as late teens and adults.
Assumptions are not good. Never assume that because someone’s kid is in Sunday School they understand Jesus, and know how it all works. If you assume this, then don’t expect them to be in church as late teens and adults. In Deuteronomy 6:6-7 it says “These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” Don’t be scared to witness to your children. Don’t be scared to talk about God to them. It doesn’t have to be a full Bible Bashing, but just talk about the Scriptures, what God says, who God is etc.
I’ll get off my pedalstool and continue on shall I? My upbringing was very innocent. It didn’t occur to me to question why I was the flower-girl in Mum and Dad’s wedding? I never asked why I didn’t look anything like Dad. Plenty of other people did. To me, it just never clicked. I looked... and still do.. like my Mum. Maybe there was no room for his genes? My brothers were the spitting image of Dad... someone had to look like Mum didn’t they???
When I was almost 11 years old, my little secure world came crashing down around my ears. My Biological father rang some old friends of our family and asked our whereabouts. He lied saying he had lost our number and that he wanted to catch up with us. He called my mum and started asking questions about me and wanted photos of me. I’m not sure why – after 11 years he suddenly grew interested in the child he said wasn’t his. Anyway... as you can probably imagine Mum absolutely freaked out!! Her greatest fear was that he would just rock up demanding custody or he would kidnap me. In case he appeared out of nowhere and approached me, she wanted to be the one that told me about my biological father. So I was sat down and given the birds and the bees talk. One minute I was being told how the body worked how to get pregnant the very next she calmly told me the very worst news I had ever heard in my life.
My world crumbled into a million pieces. My head was spinning... and I think it continued to spin for a few years, as I struggled to grasp all that I had been told. The man who forced himself on my Mum, brutalised her and left her shamed and pregnant was my father. He was a monster and even worse still he said HE DIDN’T WANT ME! I didn’t know who I was anymore. I was no longer the daughter of Mum and Dad. I was no longer the sister of my brothers – I was only half a sister, and a step daughter. Everything I had believed to be true didn’t even exist.
My life and how I saw it had changed. Something took hold of my life and began to control it. Imagine a pot with potting mix in it. This symbolizes my heart. Take the seed of hurt, confusion and the realisation that my life was a complete accident and I was not wanted. Plant that in the pot and very quickly it began to grow. On the branches sprouted anger, rebellion and resentment. By the time I was 13 I was a very active volcano, ready to erupt at any moment and destroy anything that lay in my path. My anger was vile and uncontrollable. My heart was a dark swirling mass of hatred. I hated everyone. No exception.
My Dad, the man who had been my father where it counted bore the brunt of my black heart. I told him on a regular basis how much I hated him. I wanted him to hurt as much as I was hurting. I rebelled and refused to come under his authority. This may sound like typical teenage behaviour, but couple it with a seething, hurting heart, and pretty extreme verbal abuse. My Dad, the only Dad that had accepted and loved me as his own copped my emotional pain.
Mum didn’t escape from my hurtful behaviour. I used to threaten her with going out to find my “real father” and go live with him. Of course I never would have, because I didn’t WANT to meet him let alone live with him. I didn’t want anything to do with him at all. I said it because I knew it was like a knife in the heart. As you can imagine, it nearly killed my Mum every time I said that. In retaliation she would say “He didn’t want you”…which fed my roots of rejection and pain.
One day after a particularly bad fight, my Mum said in anger “I never asked for you to be born.” I was shocked. I felt like I had been physically punched in the chest. Why was I here? Why did God do this? Where was he when it was happening? Where is he now?? My view of God was warped by my circumstances. Typical Father figure, create us and leave us to muddle along all by ourselves.
I was still going to church at this time. Being a good girl on the outside. But on the inside I was rotten and decaying. I smiled, participated in the church service, but when I got home, I was nasty. People used to say “God is going to use you” YEAH RIGHT!! How could God use me? I didn’t even want to be used! I wanted him to stay away from me, He’d messed up my life enough! Somehow I missed the sermon on God being a help to me in my time of pain, and I wasn’t reading my Bible, so I must muddled along, letting this black heart take over my very being.
When I was 14, I went to a Youth Alive rally and decided to give Christianity a go. I gave my life to Jesus and then waited. Nothing happened. No one disciple me. No one taught me what to do, how to pray, how to read my Bible, how to build a relationship with God. I guess again assumptions were made because I was born and bred in a church. I had NO IDEA!! So my Christian walk died not long after getting started.
I couldn’t understand it. If I had Jesus in my heart, why was I getting worse and worse? Why was my pain so big? Why was I so poisonous? By the time I was 15 I was out of control. I was full of verbal abuse, hot uncontrollable anger, intense hatred, losing my temper frequently, foul moods, attitude problems. I was a mess.
I was emotionally and verbally abusive to those around me on a daily basis. I was extremely manipulative and angry. Outside the home, I was withdrawn, I didn’t want to become close to anyone. I was lonely. My soul was filled with poison.
Then on one happy day – Feel my sarcasm. Dad got promoted and we had to move to Charleville (does anyone know where that is?)… I saw it as the butt end of the world – and that’s because it IS the butt end of the world!! I said “God if you love me, you won’t send me there.” On my 16th birthday – not so sweet- we moved to Charleville, outback Queensland – the butt end of the world.
Romans 8:28 And we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to HIS purpose.
Even though I had prayed and begged God to keep me where I was, he had other plans for me. His purposes were unknown to me, and I didn’t trust God to know what was best for me. Although I was resentful of the move to Charleville, later on it was the best thing for me. It was where I met God.
The day we moved to Charleville I turned my back on God. I wasn’t going to forgive him for not listening to my prayers. He obviously wanted me to suffer in life. It wasn’t enough that I was experiencing such extreme pain, He had to add to it didn’t he? He decided to ship me off to the worst place on earth, where it was stinking hot, it was small, quiet and the place just swarmed with flies. God did not love me. God did not care about me or my opinions on how my life should go. God was not worth it. So I tossed God aside and though I may as well muddle along on my own.
Turns out that I didn’t do so well. The poison and acid in my heart was now part of who I was. I was monsterous! I fought tooth and nail against church and religion – but my parents, God bless them, were firm and made me go, whether I wanted to or not. So… I made sure I made my parents life a living hell before church so they would be utterly and completely miserable before church had even started. My heart was bitter, my mouth was pretty nasty. If people spoke to me, I was rude and unpleasant and pretty soon people got the drift. The pastors at the time didn’t say much to me, I don’t think they knew how to deal with someone so awful.
A few months after we moved there, new pastors took over the church. They too didn’t know how to deal with someone so troubled. They didn’t have the miraculous answers to make my pain go away, but instead they began to infuse my life with love. I may have been trouble but they were gracious and kind to me, no matter was foulness spewed from my mouth. What on earth was wrong with them?? They invited me to stay with them on their property with their family, exposing me to Jesus every single day through their actions, by bringing in youth ministries from all over the state – even though I was basically the only teenager in the church. They never once judged me, or told me that I needed to change. They never tried to change me or never told me I was no good. They just loved me – showing by their actions the love that God had to offer me.
So after having love and acceptance poured into my life, the pastors invited a youth group from the sunshine coast over to minister to our youth. I was complaining about how I had it tough. That I was in a boring town, my parents were over bearing and strict that it was all hopeless and my life totally sucked. A girl named Rosie spoke up – she was not going to sympathise or try to make me feel better. This feisty little lady had the answer and she wasn’t going to keep it a secret! She said one line – and this line hit me – hard. It struck a place deep within me that had no been touched before “Get over it and get God.” So simple… but it hit me like a fist in the stomach.
It began to stir up thoughts I had never had before. Can God really help me? My view of God was somewhat distant. Someone who didn’t love and didn’t care, who just sat up there and watched what was going on, like a soap opera on TV. Sort of how I saw my biological father. Someone who just doesn’t’ care about anyone. Creates us then walks away. As I began to ask the questions, I had people around me who were more than willing to share the answers and I will more than willing to hear them. God was approachable, and real. Not some pie in the sky. God loved me, right at that moment! He didn’t care what kind of mess I had become; he wanted me just the way that I was, broken. He wanted me to come to him and be friends with him.
I gave my life over to Jesus Christ, handing over a broken decayed vessel, trusting that he would handle me with care and love. God took that vessel that I gave him and began his mosaic masterpiece.
You would think life would get better after that. God was in my heart, my pastors were teaching me how to develop a relationship with him. I was reading and studying my Bible, I was praying. I was walking hand in hand with Jesus. But my life went down the toilet really fast. I believe that Satan suddenly saw that he was losing me and he was fighting tooth and nail to get me back. He obviously saw the same potential in me that God saw. There was NO WAY he was going to let me go without a fight.
Also I had a great big ugly plant deeply rooted into my life that had not been dealt with. I struggled to live the life that Christ would want me to live but it seemed that hatred, bitterness and anger still existed in my heart.
Not long after that I was filled with the Holy Spirit. And from then on life was hunky dory…. My heart was completely healed, I became a woman of love, grace and peace. And that’s the end of the story……
NOT! If you think my life was bad before Jesus..... it got worse!! Within my heart I had a tug of war going on between my new life and old. Rejection and anger was deeply rooted in my life. The Holy Spirit was also in my heart and had a strong hold of my life. These too occupants did NOT get along at all. I was in turmoil. I would get up at 4am and study God’s word. I would pray, I would just sit in God’s presence…. And then a few hours later scream and abuse the people around me. It just wasn’t working. My heart had two powerful forces in it and one had to go.
I tried and tried to be more Christ-like, and every single time I failed. This frustrated me, so I tried harder... and I failed again. It was like trying to crawl out of a deep mine with your bare hands. Impossible. I did not see the hand that was extended to me – which was God’s, instead I stubbornly tried to fix myself.
At the end of my 17th year, after another screaming match with my parents, I felt drained and exhausted. I couldn’t live like this anymore. How could I end it? How could I step away from this horrible darkness that was surrounding me and live the way God had intended me to live? I’d had enough! I was so sick of it all. I was so sick of living like this. I was so sick of fighting. I was so sick of feeling so wretched. I was sick of hurting. I was sick of my life. I didn’t want to live this life anymore.
The thoughts I had next are ones I’m not proud of. But they were the thoughts of a desperate girl, who was completely and utterly over it. I was washing the dishes, picked up a sharp knife and thought about cutting my wrists. No one was home, no one would find me until it was all over. I could just bleed to death and end this horrible life and just get it over with. I didn’t want to live this way anymore. My hands began to shake, and I dropped the knife into the sink. I was terrified. This is what I had come to.... wanting to kill myself. I was terrified.
I grabbed that hand...
“God, get me out of this!!”
God heard my cry and rescued me. I left home 3 days later and went to stay for a while with my Pastors. God had removed me from an environment where I was at my worst, which distracted me from what my real problem was. God showed me a great big ugly and destructive tree that was growing in my heart, with it’s roots going deep. This was not something I could remove on my own. I needed God to remove it. I spent a lot of time praying and allowing God to deal with the ugliness in my heart.
This was not a pleasant experience. It hurt to deal with it. God kept bringing up things for me to face which hurt me. Each time I cried. I was remorseful. I was repentant. But then came the biggest challenge of all – I had to forgive. Who did I have to forgive? Who had done me wrong? I had to forgive the man who had started it all off. I had to forgive him for raping my Mum, for leaving me and not wanting me. I had to forgive him for wanting me dead. I had to forgive him. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my whole life. But I can tell you now, that there is power in forgiveness.
I had to understand that God loves my biological father. God sent his beautiful boy to earth, to die for him. And me. My biological Father was made in God’s image. He is no more evil than I am. He is a sinner, just like I am. I don’t have to be his best friend, and have him in my life, but I needed to forgive him to move on. I can honestly say that after I had made the choice to forgive him, this was the very start of healing.
I had at last learned to lean on God and while he cradled my broken heart himself, he began working a miracle in my life. Over time He dealt with the mess in my heart and healed the big gaping wounds that within me. This does not mean that I am whole. I am not. I am scarred. I have big scars from where that big ugly tree was. But my scars are not ugly – they are beautiful. Because they show where I have come from, and what God did in my life. My scars show me that I serve a merciful and great God. They are healed and no longer bleeding and weeping. My pain was felt by Jesus when they whipped him, beat him, scorned him and nailed him to a cross, because he LOVED ME! Jesus paid the price so that I could be healed. In Isaiah 53 it says “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.” He died so that I could live. Jesus beat back sin on Calvary, and even though we still are affected by it, he is the ultimate victor.
Today I have an excellent relationship with my parents. I am no longer abusive and nasty. I am no longer angry and resentful. I now have people who struggle to believe that I was that way once upon a time!! I still struggle at times to understand some aspects of my life, but I just have to trust God and believe in his goodness and ultimate plan for me. I am at peace with who I am and where I came from. I have learned to be thankful for the life I have been given, and strive to bless others with it. I cannot waste it because God values it and wants to use it to show others his goodness and grace.
A few months ago my Mum said something really special to me, which goes to show just how far God has bought us. “Leah, I am glad in a way that the rape happened. Because if it didn’t. I wouldn’t have you. You make all the rubbish and the pain all worthwhile! If it didn’t happen, your kids wouldn’t be here... and I would have missed out on so much!!”
God is able to do amazing things with your pain, if you let him. The best thing he can do is help you make sense of it and help you to heal. Today if you don’t know this Jesus I am talking about, and you are wrestling with your own demons, I encourage you to contact someone to find out more. Learn about this Jesus, who took your sin and pain when he died, because he loves you and want to be in your life. Give him your brokenness. Give him your hurting heart. Let God love you and help you. Let God create another beautiful mosaic masterpiece.
I want to finish with something the Apostle Paul said and this is my prayer for you:
Ephesians 3:14 -21 For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.