I am going to be very brave today and speak openly to you about a weighty subject that has been on my heart for a long time now.
Because of my role as pastor’s wife, I have been gifted with the stories of many women who have spoken to me in confidence. Over the years, I have gained an increasing awareness of the number of women who have experienced some kind of sexual abuse in their past.
I have never experienced sexual trauma, so at first these stories were shocking to me. Now I have come to expect them.
I want you to do something: Think of three other women with whom you go to church. Statistics tell us that one in every three or four women knows the pain of sexual abuse, which means it is likely that one or two of these women you have thought of carries this secret pain. Maybe you are one of them.
Paul says, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality…” (Galatians 5:19 NIV)
The world is filled with sexual immorality.
So today I speak to two camps of women. First, to those of you who have not known the horrors of sexual trauma, I ask you to live in awareness of the pain around you and to ask the Lord if there’s anything you can do about it. Also, be prepared to offer grace. These scared and wounded women desperately need to know that church is a place where their past can be known, and they can be loved and accepted.
To those of you who have been hurt sexually:
I am so sorry. This should not have happened to you, and I grieve over the pain you have experienced.
I can’t really understand or empathize with what you have experienced, but I do care.
And I do know God.
I have one thing to offer to you: Faith. I know God can fix your broken life. Not only that, but I know God wants to redeem your experience so that you can be a blessing to this world. He wants to pour out his grace through you to other women. He wants to flip your past to influence the future of others in a positive way.
Jesus offers everything you need for healing. He gives grace and forgiveness for everything. He mends broken hearts. He gives power to forgive the offender. He has the keys to release you from the prison of pain and anger. He can bring light into the darkest place.
I have witnessed this miracle with my own eyes.
God loves you and understands your pain.
And now a prayer for all of us:
Father, please help us always walk in compassionate awareness of the pain of those around us. Forgive our sin and those who have sinned against us. Heal our brokenness. Restore joy. We’re trusting You with our hearts.