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Have I Failed God?
Coming Out of the Abuse Closet

    My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalms 23:6). Will Rogers once said, �Why not go out on a limb? That�s where the fruit is!�

    I had thought about that quote this week and came to the decision that this was true, and that therefore, I was ready to go out on a limb for Jesus. I would do anything, especially if it would ever help my own personal development or childhood abuse survivors. The next day I was asked to speak publicly about my personal abuse! Oh, no, I was not asked for much. Just five minutes, that�s all. But for me, that particular five minutes has been a defining moment in my life.

    I have come out! I have declared myself publicly as an abused person. I have spoken specifically, although generally, about one aspect of my personal journey.

    To be absolutely honest, it was tough. It took what I would call, real �guts�. I also identified my abuser as a church vicar, and in a room full of Church attendees. God sometimes has a weird sense of humor, because the main thing I was scared of was that I might meet someone who had a connection with my family. When I arrived at the gathering, I was deliberately seated next to a lady as my companion for the day. On chatting, it soon became clear that this lady attended the same Church as a very close relative � that was the last thing I wanted! I did my little five minutes at the given time, and later spoke to many ladies who also revealed they had abuse issues of one sort or another. The time passed very quickly.

    When I got home I felt a failure. I realised that I had not talked about the impact Jesus had made in my life. That was the whole reason I was going! I was ready to talk about my abuse so that Jesus would be honored, and yet all it seemed I had done was talk about me! For several hours I felt just so low. I believed I had let Jesus down; done it all for nothing, and wasted such an opportunity. I believed that I should have remembered to speak more about how Jesus has healed me and helped me in my recovery. Surely that was the whole reason I had been prepared to talk?

    That night I poured all my despair out to my friend Jesus. I confessed my pain at wasting such an opportunity, and asked for forgiveness for using that five short minutes to talk about me, and not God. I was exhausted physically and emotionally, and felt it was all for nothing. I had failed God.

    I slept for a couple of hours, and when I woke up the first thing I though of was this, and I believe it was God�s Spirit speaking directly into my heart. My mind went something like this:

    �Julie-Anne, I hear your pain. You are never a failure. You have not even failed, for you did what I asked you to do! I asked you to come out from your hiding place. I asked you to identify yourself as an abuse survivor in a public setting. I asked you to speak of your abuse in a church where you and I both knew there could be ladies present who would know your family and may recognize you. I asked you to be prepared to grow in personal development.

    You did everything I asked of you. This time, I did not specifically ask you to talk about me. There is time for that. Another opportunity will come, and I can wait. I have waited half a century to hear you tell your story, your truth. That was all I required yesterday.

    Now rest, my child, for I am pleased. You are forgiven, because I saw your heart and I know the reason you talked was to bring me honor. I am interested in motive, remember, not perfection. Relax, rejoice and be patient with yourself. Be filled again now with my Holy Spirit, and regain my gifts of hope, joy and peace. Be at rest in your soul, for all is well�.

    In three weeks� time I am speaking about my abuse again. This time it will be in a different setting and for a different reason. I hope to do all that Jesus requires of me again. For that is all God requires � my best, an open heart, and an inner motive to please God and to grow more fully as a person.

    PRAYER: Dear Lord of Heaven, I have confessed to you my sin of wasted opportunity. I have asked for forgiveness. I believe you have heard my prayer, cleansed, forgiven and renewed me. I believe you have accepted these faltering steps and responded with love and encouragement. Now I am ready to try again, to live this day no longer condemned, but fresh with hope. For all you ask is one step at a time, the courage to grow and change, and an openness to you. Amen.

    TODAY: Do you feel a failure today? Remember no-one has failed who has the courage to try again. Tell God all about your feelings of failure, ask for forgiveness, and then�move on!!! God will give you all the encouragement you need to support you, no matter what it is you are facing. Remember the adage:

    It is better to have tried and failed, than to never have tried, and succeeded!

    � 2004 Julie-Anne Wingate

    Julie-Anne Wingate is the daughter of a Church minister. Unfortunately Jesus' example was not followed in her home. She suffered much abuse in many ways, and developed mental illness as a consequence. However her continued belief in a God who would heal her has led her on a wonderful journey. She is now committed to helping and supporting others who have also endured the scars of childhood abuse.

    John Mark Ministries (8400+ articles)
    rcroucher@optusnet.com.au