April 14, 2010

Broken and Hurting Women in the Church…Nowhere to Turn

I will never forget the night. Looking out from behind stage, I saw an audience of over 700 women. A plethora of emotions consumed me. I was trembling…anxious, scared, wondering if God could really use this broken, damaged rape victim to touch this audience of strangers. Sure I could share my story to a small group of friends or a Bible study. But why had God brought me here? Would anyone even care? Would what I say have any value? How I wanted to run and never look back.

But when I stepped on the stage, God took over. He gave me the strength to share what happened to me that terrible day in June 1986. His peace washed over me, and He filled my mouth with His Truth…His promises…His Hope…His healing Word. As I closed my story, our pastor’s wife came out and joined me. We prayed for the women, inviting them to come forward if they needed prayer. With that many women in attendance, we were not surprised that some came forward. But what blew us away is how many women shared for the FIRST time that they had been victims of incest and rape. Women who had been in church, Bible study, and small groups for years but never, ever shared their deep dark secret. They lived in isolation and loneliness, hiding this horrible truth. It broke my heart as woman after woman shared her story.

A Christian psychologist walked up at the very end of the event and thanked our pastor’s wife for opening the pulpit for this kind of testimony. She shared how churches traditionally avoid discussing such issues. She said by opening this door in our church, many women would be set free. And she was right.

This is not unique to that night or my church. Every time I share my story, whether in Salt Lake City, UT, New Washington, OH, Buckhannon, WV, or Charlotte, NC I hear the same words. I wrote a book entitled Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God’s Story to bring awareness to this problem. We intentionally included a study guide in Hidden Joy to help women work through hurting and broken places in their lives.

The statistics are astounding as to how many women and children never report that they have been victims of rape and incest. They live locked in a prison of fear and shame for years, decades, and some never escape.

I am so thankful to Karen True of womensministry.net who invited me to write an article on this untold story lurking in the hearts of women. It is her desire to bring awareness to this issue, especially in our churches…to free women from their prisons of fear, shame, and unforgiveness.

Please visit womensministry.net to read the article and find practical ways to bring awareness to this issue in your churches and communities.

It is our prayer that God will use this article to shine His Light and Joy into the hearts of women hiding in the dark corners of churches everywhere.

If the blog post and/or article touch a place in your heart, please leave a comment and share your story. I will pray for each and every one of you who leave a comment. Also, if you are a women’s ministry director or lay leader in your church, please leave a comment, and we will direct you to resources to aid you in reaching the women in your church.

Blessings,

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Everything you wrote is so true….2 1/2 years ago I was raped in my apartment by a guy I used to date. I told my pastor's wife that night and then my best friend the next day….though I hated using the word rape to describe what happened. For over a year I sat in church feeling self-condemnation and guilt over what happened. I wondered if people would still talk to me if they knew what had happened to me. The closer it approached to "the anniversary" of my rape the harder things got emotionally. After 9 months of living this way I became extremely depressed and was suicidal. Of course no one really knew because for small periods of time I could keep up the facade of seeming ok to everyone.

    I finally realized that I needed some type of counseling. A year and a half afterwards I finally let down my guard and told some of my friends at a small group meeting what had happened. It was such a relief to know that they still accepted me just as I was.

    I'm getting better at telling people my story, but I still feel somewhat anxious because I never know how others will react to what I've been through. Fortunately I'm not imprisoned anymore to the fear, nightmares, and terrible thoughts that used to plague me. I still do suffer from bouts of shame and guilt at times.

    Carol
    (songofjoy1980@yahoo.com)

  2. Sharon Sloan - Joy In The Truth says:

    I love you, Wendy. I just love you.

    I love to see how God is continually using your heart, yielded to Him, to ministry His Truth and healing. He truly is using your testimony, and the pain, for His purposes and glory. Wendy, I pray His abundant, rich blessings in your heart and the hearts of your family.

    Big love,
    Sharon

  3. Ms. Wendy!
    I just did Beth Moore's Breaking Free Bible study. Satan loves our secrets! I just pushed my baggage back deciding it was fine there will no one but me knowing and it was not bothering me….or so I thought it was not! Satan used my secret against me ALL THE TIME!
    I knew God was telling me to share so it was no longer a secret. I just did not know how to do it. He opened the doors wide. One of the people I shared with told me she thinks she loves me more now then before! It strenghtened my relationship with all of those I told! Still others to tell!

    But I HEAR YA! Satan loves that control over us and as my friend Sam says, "Satan ain't got no hold on me!"

  4. Victoria says:

    Are you going to be in New Washington Oh, or have you already been? I live near there in rural Northern Ohio and would love to hear you speak! God bless.

  5. prashant says:

    One of the people I shared with told me she thinks she loves me more now then before! It strenghtened my relationship with all of those I told! Still others to tell!

    home jobs india

  6. Thank you for sharing your testimony. God is speechless to me. When I think about the painful situations I have gone through (such as rape and now divorce) He uses them and blows my mind. My husband and I was both in the ministry but he has decided that our marriage was something that he did not want any longer. I had to really stay before the Lord. My life was turned upside down but I tell you, God has been my stay and through it all, this is too another testimony that God is a way maker, healer, provider, and sustainer. My religions were torn down and church ways. I am just submitted to Christ and the relationship of who he is. I know that he has purpose in everhthing. Today, I work at home in my small business with my son and speaking to audiences about the power of words and whatever God puts in my mouth to speak. God bless you for your testimony and submission in him.

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