the Hope of Survivors

A Whole Lifetime to Nothing Short of Eternity by Madeline

Madeline hiking during one of our breaks.I never thought I would still be here today. It all began seven years ago, when I was only 14. I had experienced sexual abuse by my tennis coach [at the Christian academy I attended], who was five times my age. As a result of this horrific experience, I became in contact with The Hope of Survivors. It was God’s divine timing that Steve and Samantha were in the country [Australia], when I had opened up to a family member about the abuse. The first time I met Steve and Samantha I could tell there was something different about them. They had a genuine concern for my spiritual, mental, and physical wellbeing. They had an understanding that others didn’t seem to have.
 
In the years to follow, I unfortunately experienced more and more sexual abuse, by boyfriends, [church] youth leaders, work colleagues and so on. There was very little time to heal and recover between each event. When I would start to believe there was hope or that maybe I was worth more than nothing, something else would happen. The experience of having hope continually shattered was painful enough. I would not only be back to square one, but I would be left worse off than what I was before. Before I knew it, I had a big load of bad experiences, pain, guilt, and hurt. Hope and healing seemed impossible because of the overwhelming pain and despair I felt. Throughout the many years of abuse, Steve and Samantha were continually by my side. They provided support, guidance and encouragement through the strength of Jesus Christ.

At the beginning of this year, regrettably, our family business sold, after 20 years of operating. It was a very difficult time for my family and I. However, since I was out of work it gave me the opportunity to go to the States last month, and spend time with Steve and Samantha. During this time God healed, convicted and transformed me in ways I never believed were possible. Through anointing, He closed the doors of the past and opened the door to spiritual, emotional and physical healing. I still cannot describe the sense of peace and comfort of God’s presence that day. I was also strongly convicted to commit my life back to God through re-baptism. After being so lost there is no greater moment than to be found and restored to our heavenly Father—to come back and enter into a relationship with Him. When I turned 21, I felt as if I had already lived a whole lifetime. But by the grace of God and His healing power, I feel like I now have a new life, ready to face eternity with Him. Now 21 years feels like nothing.
 
Madeline playing piano at church.After returning home it has been a growing experience of learning to trust and rely on God—to commit and surrender my life to Him daily. The other night I was not settled or at peace, I was worried about the future and discontent with my current circumstances. It wasn’t until I got down on my knees and prayed an open and honest prayer that I could begin to feel at peace. I prayed for hope and for my eyes and my heart to be open to the opportunities that God has for me. Straight after praying that prayer, I saw a Facebook post by Samantha asking for donations for The Hope of Survivors. Immediately I knew that this is exactly what God wanted me to do. I opened my bank account and asked God how much? Straight away He said, “$500.” I must admit I hesitated then, that is a lot of money, especially for someone who has no income. I began to negotiate with God, what about $400 or $450? God kept saying, ”$500, don’t worry you will get it back, I will provide for you.” I made my donation and fell asleep. The very next morning I woke up to a phone call with a job offer. That afternoon I had the interview and started working the following day. I could not believe it! I had been looking for a job for over 2 months. When we exercise faith, trust and obedience in God, He will always provide, in every situation. When we give in accordance with His will, we will receive the wonderful blessings He has for us.
 
Throughout my life the pain and agony I felt is nothing, in comparison to the pain and agony Jesus went through on the cross. Jesus knows and He understands the rejection, betrayal and pain we go through. He was rejected by the very people He came to save. He was betrayed by the very people whom He was supposed to be able to trust. He felt not only physical pain but also the pain of being separated from His heavenly Father. Why would He go through this? Because He loves us and wants to set us free, so we may have eternal life with Him. There isn’t only hope and healing in the name of Jesus, there is freedom—freedom from the captivity of the past and the future. It is only by the grace of God, and the active influence He had on my life through Steve and Samantha at The Hope of Survivors, that I am still here today. To God be the glory for the great things He has done!

[END OF STORY]

If you are a survivor of pastoral abuse, we would love to hear your story and possibly make it available on this web site for others to read and renew their hope. You can use a pseudonym if you choose and rest assured that all personal information will be kept private and strictly confidential. Please contact us.

Please note: We do not necessarily agree with or endorse all the information contained in the survivor’s stories. We do, however, feel they have some valuable information that could be useful to you in your recovery. It helps to know you’re not alone, that others have shared your pain and have healed, by the grace of God, in their own time and way.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart...Psalms 34:18