|Reflections & Prayers for 2015 by Mary Jo Noworyta|
Dear Hope of Survivors Family,
The following is a post I put on Facebook recently that I wanted to share, to let you know my commitment for the new year is to trust in God more in bringing hope and healing to those abused by their church leaders. Being a victim, there are triggers that still haunt me that bring up pain. I know God is willing and able to help, but at times, I allow the pain to control my thoughts and actions and build walls of self-protection that only serve to keep God out. Walls are good, but if not properly built, will only cause more pain. I found myself drifting away from God, yet He is the only one able to heal our broken hearts. So my goal for 2015 is to read His Word in order to get to know Him as He truly is, not through the eyes of abuse; to pray for healing in our lives; to pray for justice and how to live when we don't see it administered, yet; for the church's eyes to be opened to the truth of Clergy Sexual Abuse; and for The Hope of Survivors to receive the support they need to continue ministering to victims.
I pray 2015 is a great year for you and one that you find God your best friend. Please remember that I am here if you need an ear to listen without judgment, and know we are walking this road together, you are not alone.
Here's the post:
In 2014, I became a volunteer with The Hope of Survivors and started hearing cases of clergy sexual abuse that are all too familiar. The stories are the same, the names are different. Predator pastors are leading our churches today at an alarming rate. They have access to easy prey, that is, the wounded and vulnerable. Not admitting the truth of abuse, churches simply compound the problem, causing more devastation. Victims are left with the trauma of being abused by their pastor and feelings of guilt and shame. They must learn to live with the grave injustice when their church refuses to recognize their leader abused his authority and places the blame on the victim. As a result of this sad reality, it causes me to seek, trust, and lean on God more, who will not let these predators go without administering His justice; He will not let the church go without answering to Him; He will not let victims suffer alone or without offering hope and healing. God's word is filled with many precious promises that He is completely faithful in keeping.
In 2015, I am praying it will be a year for healing for victims of clergy sexual abuse, a year of an awakening within the church to the truths and dynamics of clergy sexual abuse, and a year of putting our trust and hope in God who is completely able and willing to heal.
"Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:30-31)
May you find hope and healing in our God, who alone is our refuge, our fortress, our place of safety.