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Monday, April 27, 2015

Soul Sister Series, the final chapter. The Redeemed Woman

I wrote the Soul Sister series about ten years ago. I’m so glad to share it with you. I pray that each one has spoke to your heart. Even now when I read them, I am stirred. I’ve received such wonderful responses, and I know you were ministered to. Now I want to share another woman’s story. My story. For many years I kept my story to myself, it was just too painful. Even after all this time, I still find it difficult to share it with you now. 

Yet, whenever I have shared my testimony, I was surprised to find I wasn’t the only one. There were other wounded ones. 

At the age of five, I was sexually abused by a man at the farm where my Mother worked. From that point on I was never the same child. Fear and shame were my constant companions, bullying me relentlessly. 

A stigma seemed to cleave to me from that day on. That stigma seemed to attract others who took advantage and stole more of me. I was left with a mangled spirit. I was convinced I was ugly and unworthy of love. 

Battered, I retreated inside myself. I longed to be loved, but kept away for safety. I bore my pain alone, keeping my secret from everyone, even my parents. I didn’t share that part of me with anyone till I was a young adult. 

I shudder today when I think how easily I could have spiraled out of control.  Certainly having a Godly Grandmother who was a powerful influence helped. Also parents who loved Jesus and lived it out in front of me. My church family was a shelter. The Word was planted in my heart and nurtured. I believe these powerful influences kept my heart tender toward the Lord even while I was camped in the muck of sin and despair. 

I was a miserable wretch. I needed healing and redemption so badly for my wounded spirit. I received it in the seventh grade when I responded to a altar call at my church. I poured out my heart to Jesus and He took me into His arms.

I walked out of the church a new person. For the first time in my life, fear and shame lost their grip on me. I experienced Psalm 103:12, “As far as the East is from the West, so far has He removed our transgressions from me.” 

I still faced issues in my life and relationships. A deep wound such as mine takes time to heal completely. 

The summer I graduated from High School, I heard a woman share about her struggles with deep hurts. Something stirred within me as she told of how she forgave her offenders. I knew that was my next step. 

I’ll always look on this day as a defining moment in my life. I forgave the man who abused me and everyone else who used me. I spoke this out loud to the Lord. I laid it down and let it go, never to pick it up again. This was the beginning of a new process of healing. 

God healed my warped view of sex and men. I honestly had no desire to marry because my only experience of men was they were out to hurt and use me. I couldn’t imagine being intimate with a man, physically or intimately.  After I forgave, He healed my distorted image. He blessed me with a wonderful, gentle, humble man whom I married. 

I have found that my Jesus is so tender, His grace so sweet. He proved His faithfulness to me over and over again. I have plunged into the depths of His love. He surrounds and covers me. He truly is the Lover of my soul. 

Satan’s purpose was to destroy me, but God, (oh how I love those words, but God...) took a broken vessel, made it whole and useful again. I have a message of hope and it’s centered in Jesus. He has sustained me each step on the long road toward healing. He gave me strength in my weakness to let go and forgive, courage to open up and enjoy sweet intimacy. 

Joel 2:25-26 says, “I will repay you for the years the locust have eaten...You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.” 

Restoration-what a sweet word. I have often felt I was cheated of something precious, but God worked wonders for me! He restored what the locusts have eaten. He has given Himself to me. And He more than satisfies. He has worked such a transformation that when I look at the person I used to be, I feel I’m seeing a stranger. 

I have scars on my hands and fingers from past mishaps with knives. One small patch from a hot glue accident. But the pain has been long forgotten. 

I have inward scars you can’t see. The pain is long gone. The wounds have healed completely. Now my painful past has been transformed into a testimony of God’s transforming power. 

I want to encourage you that If you have suffered, turn from your past and fix your eyes upon Him. You will find that His grace is sufficient. Abundant life, freedom, and restoration can be yours. He will heal your wounds. He has the power to transform your life. 

He Himself was wounded. He suffered. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses”. He has scars of His own. He bore the wounds for your healing. He is quite familiar with your pain, your hurts. Beloved, don’t hold back, run to His everlasting, tender arms. 

Find your healing.
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