Recently a friend sent me a blog that caught my attention. It was so ‘down to earth,’ I was challenged. In response, I wrote “love your honesty in this blog; in a world where there is so much fake and unreality, it is totally refreshing and real.” I trust as I introduce myself, you will meet and get to know the real me. I am wife, mother, grandmother and great grand-mother. I am a business person and farmer, I love this nation of Australia, I love writing and I am passionate to and share the reality of God. If I have not ‘walked the walk’, then I should not to be ‘talking the talk.’
Life is real, full of chaos, challenges, tears and laughter, sadness and weeping, pain and suffering ….. and the beauty of His Presence that brings Hope and Joy. Several years ago following some very challenging experiences in my life, the Lord showed me through His word that my life would be a “Door of Hope” to many, (Hosea 2:14) that He had seen my pain, and chaos; He saw me where I was and He poured out His Spirit on my life, healing my deep hurts, and making those very places, wells of hope for others to drink from. He knows my name and address. The I AM is with me!
My Story begins
On 14 July 1958, I ran to the front of a building in a Billy Graham crusade “Souls in Conflict.” I remember that building so well, the place I sat and the conflict within that I felt. I was a young teen searching for answers and searching for rescue. I had been sexually abused as a young girl. I felt shame and insecurity and I was drowning in my past and my self-pity, and I needed someone to care.
I will never forget that night. I was glued to the screen for the showing of a movie, “Souls in Conflict”, but I was also chained to my seat, or it felt like that anyway. Oh, I needed this Jesus they talked about, but I couldn’t move.
Then suddenly I almost leapt from my chair, and ran to the front loosed from the chains, and wept in deep repentance. His love overwhelmed me and I had a sense of beautiful Peace and hope.
Just a few days after the Crusade and my decision to follow Jesus, my life took a big turn and changed forever in an awful way. I was violently attacked and raped by a man I knew and had trusted. I barely escaped. As I fought off my attacker, I cried out to the God I hardly knew, the God I had just trusted my life to, for strength to escape, and I was released. I ran and ran and didn’t stop running from things for a long time.
Beryl’s story of hope and healing from abuse continues
If I was confused before I was saved, I was in shock and confusion now. How could this God I had just met allow such a thing to happen? So began my teen years, struggling and trying to live to others expectations. What I wanted to do I didn’t and what I didn’t want to do, I did. I was torn between love for Jesus and the awful pain, shame and insecurity I felt. I searched for love, the love my heart longed for and at times I lost hope. The ensuing years were times of my ‘trying and failing’ to live the Christian life. I was living dangerously, and on the edge!
I had broken free of the chains that bound me to my seat that night at the Crusade but little did I realise that I was still chained to the past in my own mind. I was seeing everything through the lens of abuse and pain. I hadn’t learned that my past was nailed to the Cross with my Saviour. I was forever seeking rescue, when it was a relationship with my Lord that I really needed…but He was there all the time.
During those years I experienced some special encounters with God, not because I was in any way privileged but simply that God the Holy Spirit touched my life and brought fresh revelation of Himself. God does not have favourites but He does have intimates. These special times have been a source of strength in my daily walk. I share the time when God Promised He would cause my life to be a Door of Hope to many.
By now our children were starting to grow up, I was aware that I was still struggling from time to time with the shame and insecurity of my youth. I would pretend that all was okay, but it wasn’t. I had been robbed of intimacy as a child and it had impacted on my life and marriage even though we were basically happy. It didn’t take much at times, for me to melt into tears, and I would temporarily lose hope.
All of my insecurities would come rushing to the surface. I can remember one day looking in the mirror and hearing the words, “You’re just a farm girl.” Somehow, I felt like the Bride spoken of in the Song of Solomon 12:6: “Do not stare at me, for I am swarthy, for the sun has burned me.” I was still comparing myself with others and couldn’t match my own expectations of what a young wife should be able to look like. I was no longer glamorous and certainly felt that way.
Would I ever find HOPE and HEALING? Could God really accept me? I share the answers in iConnect