Guest Blog: The Path To Healing After Abuse

By Esther

When abuse occurs, tell someone immediately please. If that person does not believe you, try another person – please. I know this is very hard, it takes tremendous courage. Please do not do what I did and stay silent. Remember that we have the Holy Spirit in us who raised Jesus from the dead. In Him, we can do this! He wants you to begin the journey of healing. If you are not comfortable telling anyone in your life, The Victim Connect Resource Center lists many hotlines that are situation-specific (children, military, women, teens, rape, domestic violence, trafficking, etc).

After you tell someone that listens, find time and give yourself space to truly understand and process that what happened to you does not define you. What does define you is how you react to what happened to you. Pray a lot. Pray specifically. Find a prayer partner to pray for you. This journey to healing takes time and there are days when you do not want to or feel like praying. This is where you need at least one prayer partner who will pray for you faithfully daily.

Realizing that God does love you, despite what happened, was also a journey for me. I had index cards with prayers and verses to help me when I needed reminders. Examples include:

“May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
Ephesians 3:18-19

You are created in His image (Genesis 1:27). You are precious in His sight.

“Long ago the LORD said to Israel: ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.'”
Jeremiah 31:3

“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. […] But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
Romans 5:5,8

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:35-39

The prayer I pray:

“Lord, I submit every corner of my life to You. Show me what I have yet to submit to You. Help me to release my need for this to feel fair or to see (him/her/them) punished. Rip out any bitterness in me. Show me what I can learn and how to grow closer to You through this. I need your peace. Help me to heal and forgive. Rain down on me the powerful healing of the Holy Spirit. Replace my pain with a focus on You and Your love. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.”

When I first started to pray this prayer, I meant only a few of the words. I begrudgingly prayed it every morning. I did not want to forget or let the ones who hurt me “off the hook.” I had to keep reminding myself that God will take revenge. I needed to focus on His love for me and who He wanted me to become as a result of all this. I had to believe that this was not my fault. I also had to see that dragging around unforgiveness was only robbing me of the abundant life that God came to bring to me. In John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” As for the people who hurt me, I can tell you that they did not care what they did to me. They never thought about it again; I was the one who was caught in my cycle of reliving it and not healing.

As I forced myself to pray this prayer, I began to mean more of the words. Any step towards obedience, God will bless. It is okay to pray a prayer like the above one if you do not quite mean every word; you are obeying by crying out to God, trying to release the hurt and trying to forgive. Healing takes time and patience. It takes help from God, prayer partners, professionals and support circles. I read books, I journaled, I cried, I was angry and felt every other emotion you can think of. There is no right way to heal. There is no timeframe that you “should” heal by. But heal, brothers and sisters, please heal. Allow yourselves to heal.

Image Credit: JC

Please contact Wounded Butterflies if you are in need of personal prayer. Thank you, Esther, for having the courage to share your story.

Guest Blog: Sexual Assault — A Teen’s Survivor Story

Image Credit: JC

NOTE: Today’s guest blog deals with sexual assault and its repercussions. While we pray it is edifying, the material may be upsetting to some readers.

If you are a survivor of sexual assault or other violence, please seek help. The Victim Connect Resource Center lists many hotlines that are situation-specific (children, military, women, teens, rape, domestic violence, trafficking, etc).


By Esther

I was sexually assaulted for the first time at the age of eight. When I told my mom what happened, her response to me was, “Nothing happened. There is nothing to talk about. We do not need to bring this up again.” This response by my mom caused extremely deep scarring and a massive misunderstanding in my mind. This story is not intended to belittle my mom. My heart’s plea is that we learn from her response and what could have been done differently.

Brothers and sisters, if someone comes to you and shares with you that they have been assaulted or touched without consent or anything like that, please listen. I plead on behalf of all victims, please listen.

I was a senior in high school. It was a very large public school with about 500 students in each grade level. Drug raids to check lockers was the norm. There were two extreme social classes in the same school. I was from the “poor” side of town; literally I lived in a different zip code from the “rich” kids. There was a bus sent to pick up about 30 of us from the poor side of town to attend this high school. For most of us, it felt like being sent to a pack of wolves every day. We were poor, we knew we were poor and had accepted that. To be placed in a school with peers who were driving Mercedes at the age of 16 and going on international vacations regularly, was difficult for some. I chose a different approach than to try to fit in at the high school. I created an entirely different social circle.

My boyfriend and all of my friends were from other schools or people I worked with. My boyfriend would drive me to school so I could avoid taking the bus. During my senior year, I was only in school for the morning so I could go to work in the afternoons. I was not around my high school peers very much at all. I found most of them to be utterly clueless about life and self-centered. They did not understand how it felt to go hungry or not have heat in your house. Their biggest concerns were whether they would spend their time off in London or France.

Like most high schools, there was a group of athletes that traveled in a pack through the halls. For my high school, this group contained the football, baseball and basketball teams. One day, I was running a little late to class and I found myself running up the stairs in front of this group of athletes. One of them, a football player, his real name is Anthony, sexually assaulted me. Right there on the stairs. I cannot tell you what other friends of his were around or what time of day it was or what happened afterwards. As humans, I think our brains tend to block out trauma to protect us. I remember his full name, his face as he laughed at me and I remember resisting.

I grew up on government assistance. My mom had been a single mom for two decades and was doing the best she could. I started working when I was 13 so I could have clothes and shoes to go to school. I worked at a retail clothing store and had a large employee discount. Due to this benefit, I was dressed in the latest fashion. We had no dress code in our high school, and everyone just wore whatever they wanted as long as “what mattered” was covered. That day, I was in a short skirt, which was the trend at the time. I had to learn that the way I dressed that day did not result in me “deserving” to be assaulted. There are people who believe when victims dress a certain way, they are asking to be sexually assaulted. Of course, this is a ridiculous line of thinking. But one that I had to overcome in my own mind.

After the assault on the stairs happened, I recalled what my mom told me as an 8-year-old girl after that sexual assault on the subway: “Nothing happened. There is nothing to talk about. We do not need to bring this up again.” I obeyed my mom. I told no one. I did not even tell my boyfriend, who I know for a fact would have wiped the parking lot up with Anthony. Assuming Anthony even survived an encounter with my boyfriend. Once again, I bottled up the pain and the hurt and the self-blame. I had a twisted mindset of what was appropriate and inappropriate. I began to make very poor choices when it came to the opposite sex. I continued to bottle things up and push the pain down until it about killed me. All because a person I went to for help did not listen to me. I regret not trying someone else. I regret not telling my grandma, a teacher, a friend, anyone. I just did what I was told to do, “We do not need to bring this up again.”

Brothers and sisters, I say again, if someone comes to you and shares with you that they have been assaulted or touched without consent or anything like that, please listen. I plead on behalf of all victims, please listen.

Brothers and sisters, if you are a victim of any kind of abuse – know this: It is NOT your fault. You did NOTHING to invite it, you do NOT deserve it and God does NOT want you treated that way. He died for you and goes before you and after you. He places His hand of blessing on your head (Psalm 139:5). David goes on in verses 17 and 18 to say, “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!” You are God’s beloved. “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:9-10). God will deal with the ones who hurt you. You may not see the Lord take revenge, but He will avenge what was done to you in His time and in His way. “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).


Father God, we lift up Esther and all survivors of sexual assault for full and complete healing in Your loving arms. Please shower them with peace, love, and the eternal warmth of Your light. May the perpetrators fall into Your hands and learn Your justice. In the blessed name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

If you are in need of personal prayer, please contact Wounded Butterflies. Thank you, Esther, for continuing bravely to share your story.

Guest Blog: Sexual Assault — A Child’s Survivor Story

NOTE: Today’s guest blog deals with sexual assault and its repercussions. While we pray it is edifying, the material may be upsetting to some readers.

If you are a survivor of sexual assault or other violence, please seek help. The Victim Connect Resource Center lists many hotlines that are situation-specific (children, military, women, teens, rape, domestic violence, trafficking, etc).


By Esther

When I was growing up, we lived a 30-minute subway ride to a major US city. Each year, Mom would take me on the subway to the city for Christmas. All the stores were decorated and there were special lights up and Christmas shows. The city was so beautiful and so full of light and love. It was an amazing trip that I looked forward to every year. On the year that I turned eight, Mom and I did not sit together on the subway. I do not recall why; the subway was not crowded. There was plenty of room for Mom and I to sit together. Maybe she wanted me to feel independent or that I was a grown-up. I cannot say. While I do not recall the specifics of why we were five rows apart, I know we were. I also know Mom was on the opposite side of the subway. She was facing forward, so her back was to me. These are details I do remember.

As an 8-year-old girl on a subway heading toward a major city at Christmastime, I was focused on the lights I would see, the music I would hear, and the lunch I might be lucky enough to have. I loved the hustle and bustle of the city, everyone walking quickly because they were on their way to the most important thing ever. The department store windows would look amazing with scenes of Santa, Christmas presents being gift-wrapped with red ribbons and scents of pine. . . . Then it happened.

A man I did not know sat with me. He had a light tan long coat, wool. He was a white man, definitely older than me by a few decades. As an 8-year-old, I cannot say that I was taught to be leery of strangers. Maybe I was. Even if I felt uncomfortable, my ability to exit the subway seat was blocked by this man. He sat next to me in a way that nobody sitting around us could see what he was doing. It all happened so fast. I could not scream, I felt like I was under water and I could not breathe. I could not think. While I will not recount the details here, that was the day I saw a grown man’s penis for the first time. It was the last day of my innocence. I would never be and have never been the same since.

Image Credit: JC

There is nothing from that day that I can remember about the city. Not the lights, the music, the hustle and bustle or whether we even had lunch in the city. I genuinely have no recollection of the trip after the subway ride. That evening, Mom was in the kitchen cooking. I went up to her while she stirred something on the oven and said “Mom, today on the train, a man sat with me and he had his penis out and. . . .”

She said to me, “Nothing happened. There is nothing to talk about. We do not need to bring this up again.” She never turned to look at me, she never stopped stirring. I did not know what to do. I left the kitchen. Out of all the events that happened that day, that moment is what became burned into my brain. That was a life-changing moment, and I had no idea the impact that moment would have on me for the rest of my life. Yes, what that man did to me was incredibly horrible and wrong and I have my opinions about the justice I want God to serve upon that man. But what scarred me more was my mom’s response.

This story is not intended to belittle my mom or anything remotely close to that. My heart’s plea is that we learn from what occurred that day and what could have been done differently. If someone comes to you and shares with you that they have been assaulted or touched without consent or anything like that, please listen. I plead on behalf of all victims, please listen. It takes incredible courage to come forward and try to share what has happened. There is fear, shame, and guilt. There are questions of, “Did I ask for this? Did I do something that invited this into my life?” There is a lot of self-blame. “This is my fault. I deserved this.” Or questions of, “Why did God allow this? Why am I suffering?”

If you are a victim of any kind of abuse, know this: It is NOT your fault. You did NOTHING to invite it, you do NOT deserve it and God does NOT want you treated that way. He died for you and how dare someone treat you as anyone less than the child of a risen, all powerful King! God will deal with the ones who hurt you. Deuteronomy 32:35 says, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their will feet slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.” This is a promise of God. You may not see the Lord take revenge, but do not doubt for a second that He will avenge what was done to you in His time and in His way. Hebrews 10:31: “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

I know what it is like to want to hurt the people who hurt you. But please do not allow the enemy to gain a foothold in your heart or mind. When bitter thoughts come, take them captive, focus only on things that are true, honorable, right and pure (Philippians 4:8). I also know what it is like to have a gaping hole in your heart, to be walking around with a fresh wound that gets salt poured into it daily. When the enemy comes against me, I use the name of Jesus. I let the enemy know, “You cannot have me or my thoughts, I belong to Jesus.” I pray against the enemy telling me that I am not worthy of love. I listen to worship music when I feel attacked or discouraged. One of my favorite songs to turn up during those times of discouragement is by Tasha Cobbs Leonard and featuring Nicki Minaj, “I’m Getting Ready.”

It took years for me to begin to heal. I first had to realize what happened was not my fault. I had to truly believe that God loves me. I had to forgive the ones who hurt me, and I had to heal. It took me many, many prayers to realize that I am worthy of love. I also needed someone who would listen to my story, pray for me and believe me. To this day, the enemy will try to pick at that wound and reopen it. It is a scar I proudly carry because it is healed and my story can now help others.


Heavenly Father, we lift up Esther and all survivors of childhood sexual assault. The innocent whose lives are forever changed. Lord, we ask that You give them peace. That You bring into their lives any help they need. That You ensure their voices are heard. That You help them to use their stories for good. We know You are Love. We also know that You are Justice. We ask for Your Justice for these survivors. This is a dark, broken world. Please use Your children to shine Your light. In the blessed name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

If you are in need of a personal prayer, please contact Wounded Butterflies. Thank you to Esther for continuing bravely to share her story.

For Women: Our Men Are Under Attack

Whatever men you have in your life–dad, son, brother, husband, coach, neighbor, friend, boyfriend, and so on–the enemy wants them weak and vulnerable. That could mean physically or spiritually weak. Once the enemy can incapacitate a man, those around him are much more vulnerable.

This is not a sexist view, this is Biblical. Man was created first:

“The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.'”
Genesis 2:18-23 NIV

But you will also note that the serpent used the woman to get to the man:

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”‘ ‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
Genesis 3:1-6 NIV

While women have influence over the men in our lives, that can be good or bad influence. As women, we need to be on our knees for the men in our lives. If you think, “Well, there are no men in my life – no family, no friends, no Pastors, etc.,” then be on your knees for our President, for instance, if you are an American. Whatever political view you have, the Bible commands we are to submit to the government authorities that God instituted:

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
Romans 13:1-7 NIV

Men do not always pray for themselves. I understand that, for it can seem selfish to pray for yourself. David prayed for himself a lot, however, and he was a strong warrior and king. There are many examples of David praying for himself, and here is just one: “Arise, LORD! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked” (Psalm 3:7 NIV).

Credit: Snow

We need to encourage the men in our lives. We need to pray for the men in our lives. We need to let them know we are praying for them, whether they are praying for themselves or not, and that we have them covered daily.

The prayers of a woman are incredibly powerful, as are all prayers. The point I am highlighting here, though, is that the serpent used the woman to bring down the man. Can you imagine how much more powerful it would be if God used women, through prayer, to protect the men in our lives?

If they are unsaved, cry out to God for their salvation. If they are wandering, pray they would become the prodigal son. If they are weary, pray for strength and tenacity to keep their eyes on Jesus. If they are walking with Jesus, pray that they would continue to deepen their walk. (From a wife’s perspective, I personally can attest that a man who loves Jesus above all else is extremely attractive!)

Ask them how you can pray for them. If you do not know, just lift them up to God to fulfill whatever it is they need. God knows. Just be on your knees against the enemy’s attacks.

Will you join me in a prayer now?

Father in Heaven,

We lift up the men in our lives, whether fathers, friends, family, mentors, or romantic partners. We lift them up to You.

Please surround them with hedges of spiritual and physical protection forged by the precious blood of Jesus. Let only that which is of You or from You dare touch them.

We pray for their souls to grow closer to You. We pray for their flesh to submit to You. We pray for them to aggressively pursue You and Your Will daily in their walks. We pray their relationships with Jesus grow deeper every single day.

Lord, fill our men with strength and courage. Lord, fill them with wisdom.

Lord, fill us all with the desire to be on our knees in prayer for Your Will to be done in our lives. May we draw closer to You with each passing day.

Father, we thank You and praise You for all You have done.

In the precious name of Jesus we pray.

Amen

Why Does God Allow Himself To Suffer?

When going through very difficult times, believers might ask other believers, “Why does God allow suffering?” This is a valid question. In response, believers might share:

“Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.”
Hebrews 2:18 NLT

Believers might then say what we are going through is nothing like what Jesus or Job suffered–my goodness, Job lost his children, wealth, health, friends, and unity with his wife to name a few of his problems.

Both of these responses are Truth, but what about the suffering God endured?

Maybe a different question to ponder to arrive at the answer to our question is, “Why does God allow Himself to suffer?”

God planned to have His Son crushed, and it was called a “good plan”:

“But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief [. . .] and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.”
from Isaiah 53:10 NLT

It sounds like an extremely painful plan full of suffering. How is suffering good? Jesus died so that “When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins” (Isaiah 53:11 NLT).

The suffering of Jesus resulted in believers being forgiven–Thank You, Jesus! Even with the knowledge God had of the outcome of His Son’s suffering, I am sure it was painful to tell Jesus, “No” three times when Jesus asked the Father to remove the cup of suffering:

“He told them, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, ‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’ Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, ‘Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!’ Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, ‘My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.’ When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again.”
Matthew 26:38-44 NLT

As if denying His Son’s request three times was not painful enough, the Father then watched His Son being tortured, beaten, and ultimately murdered. The Father had to turn away from the Son when the sins of the world were placed on Jesus:

“At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ which means ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?'”
Matthew 27:46 NLT

Why does God allow Himself to suffer?

Love.

Jesus suffered and died to forgive our sins out of love so that we can live with Him in heaven. God crafted the good plan to crush Jesus out of love for us, His lost sheep, so we can be reunited with God. God denied the prayer requests of Jesus out of love for us. Jesus prayed, “Thy will be done” out of love for the Father.

God is all-powerful and all-knowing, and He loves us, so why does He allow suffering?

The short answer is, He loves us. When we suffer, we draw closer to Him. That is a goal of our time on Earth, to draw closer to God every day. Suffering and trials result in us doing that.

Why do we need suffering to draw closer to Him? Human nature, for “No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God” (Romans 3:11 NLT).

Can you recall a time when there was a desperate need in your life-–illness, job loss, death, etc.? The way you prayed during that time probably looks very different from the way you pray daily.

Drawing closer to God every day is what is best for us. God loves us and wants the best for us.


Father God,

We lift up all who are suffering. Abandonment. Sickness. Depression. Addiction. Unemployment. Abuse. Grief. And other burdens. May this be the day they draw closer to You. May this be the day they feel immersed in Your love. May this be the day they rise up from the burden and feel Your joy. Your peace. Your love.

In the blessed name of Jesus we pray.

Amen

Credit: JC

Guest Blog: The Truth About Abortion

NOTE: Today’s guest blog deals with sensitive subjects, including abortion, in a candid manner. While we pray it is edifying, the material may be upsetting to some readers.

Image Credit: Snow

By Esther

In the city that I live in, there are multiple abortion clinics. A simple Internet search provides you with all you need to know to select one. The location, the reviews, whether to expect picketing, where to park and so forth. The date was January the 6th. I had eaten breakfast and asked my best friend, who was also my ex-boyfriend, to drive me to my appointment at the clinic. He asked me if the baby was his, I said “No.” I did not discuss my decision to terminate the pregnancy with the father of the baby. I determined that it was my body, and so it was my choice. My decision was based on me feeling that I was too young to have a baby, the lack of relationship with the father of the baby, and that my mother would not be supportive.

I had not envisioned that my first pregnancy would be like this. I thought I would be happily married, and it would be an occasion to celebrate. I thought that both families would be filled with joy, and there would be so much love. At the time of my visit to the clinic, I was legally married and the father of the baby was my husband. He was dating another woman, he was possibly with her the day I went to the clinic, I am not sure. I was not thinking about him or what I was doing. I needed to not think about anything, just be numb. This was no big deal.

We pulled into the parking lot and maneuvered past the picketers holding up various signs, such as “Baby Killer.” They were pro-life Catholics. Instead of saying awful things, maybe just maybe, if one of them had said something compassionate. . . .

But it was my choice, I take responsibility for the decisions I made that day and leading up to that day. I entered the clinic and checked in. I was told to go into a room and strip down to just a paper gown. I was given a little bracelet that had the key to the locker where I would place all my items. I was to wear nothing, no jewelry, no watch and have no phone of course. Just the paper gown that covered some things and the little bracelet. I entered a holding room, full of pregnant women. There was one girl in there a few years older than me. I am sure it was obvious that I did not know what was going on and that I was scared. She had pretty blond hair and told me not to be nervous that she does this all the time. I asked what she meant. She shared with me that abortions were her birth control. She did not choose to use any other forms of birth control. She assured me that all would be fine, it would be over quick, and I would just feel cramping afterwards. We sat there together in those paper gowns, her comforting me and me trying to pretend this was no big deal.

I had been sexually active about a year at that point with two different men. My ex-boyfriend who drove me to the clinic was my first and the man I married was the second. I was not comfortable with nudity and certainly was still trying to figure everything out. The paper gown left little to the imagination, which made me uncomfortable. The little voice inside me was screaming, “Leave!” I was alone and scared and felt that there was no other path. I was called into the exam room where a female performed an ultrasound on me. She shared that I was 13 weeks pregnant and that I may be “too far along” for them to proceed with the abortion. I joked that I had “a big breakfast” and did not think that I was that far along. I had no idea how far along I was.

After my husband and I split up, I lived alone in an abandoned house. I had no furniture, no anything – just me sitting on the floor curled up in a ball as Christmas approached. I wanted to die, I did not attempt suicide to be clear, but I certainly wanted to die. I knew that I was pregnant, I knew that my husband was dating another woman, and I knew that I felt utterly alone. It was during that dark time that I decided to terminate the pregnancy. I reached out to my ex-boyfriend, and he promised to take me to the appointment.

After the procedure was over, I stumbled back to the room with the lockers and tried to find the one with my clothes. My head was spinning, and the locker number on the little orange coiled bracelet seemed so hard to read. I was pouring out blood and felt incredible pain. The nurse who assisted the male doctor during the procedure gave me very thick and long sanitary pads because she said I would “bleed a lot.” She recommended Tylenol for the cramping. I was embarrassed to have my legs spread wide with my feet up in the stirrups as a male doctor whose name I did not know was tugging hard on my insides as I lay there naked for all to see. I just wanted the procedure to be over at that point. I wanted the tugging to stop, and I wanted to put my clothes on and never think about any of this again. I kept thinking about what the beautiful blond girl told me. She had done this six . . . or was it seven . . . times. Why was I acting like a baby? Why couldn’t I be strong like her?

My ex-boyfriend stood up to hug me as I re-entered the waiting room. I was bleeding so very heavily, felt dizzy, and the cramps were bad by this point. He helped me out to the parking lot and into his car, past the picketers – shielding me as best he could. He knew I did not want to talk about it, so he talked about everything under the sun during the drive home to distract me.

In about a month, I recovered physically. I began to date someone new as the divorce proceeded. After the experience at the clinic, I went on oral birth control (I was not taking birth control prior). With my new boyfriend, I began to drink, a lot. So much that I would sometimes get alcohol poisoning. We were having fun and enjoying each other in every sense of the word. Life went on.

Sometime later, I had a friend who was a Pastor at a Presbyterian PCA church. He was always talking about Jesus and the Bible. I would listen, but not grasp what he was saying or really invest the time to try to understand. One day, I learned that there was an unwed young lady who was a regular attender of that church. She was pregnant and the church ex-communicated her. I wondered, how can a group of people who said they love everyone and are “pro-life” kick someone out who needed them now more than ever? I had to wonder if she had quietly gotten an abortion instead, nobody would have been the wiser. Nobody knew about my abortion, except the father and my ex-boyfriend who drove me. I never told a soul.

It was shortly after this incident that I met Jesus. I realized many things. That He is with me always. He forgives me for everything, yes, even abortion. He loves the pregnant, unwed lady in the church, too. He creates every life. A baby is alive at the moment of conception. He loves me. Yes, even a terrible sinner like me.

You never fully heal from an abortion. Your body may recover, but the scars are there. You carry them daily. It is not the easy way out; it is riddled with pain and hurt. There are also “what if?” questions. What if the baby I carried was a boy? What if the baby I carried would have cured cancer? You think about how old they would have been and what their life might have been like. You think about what your life might have been like. The pain that you carry will always be there, and nobody but Jesus can understand what you went through. We must give our pain to Jesus, because it is too much for us to bear. 1 Peter 5:7: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

In Jesus, we are forgiven. I am sorry if you have experienced a decision similar to mine. I am sorry for your loss and for your pain. I am sorry if you have been hurt by “the Church.” We are all sinners and mess up. Please do not turn your back on “the Church” if you have had negative experiences. Ask God to show you a new church that He would have you connected to.

Ask Jesus to forgive you, for He will. 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Once He forgives you, forgive yourself. Do not hold yourself in chains that the Savior has freed you from. Journal through your pain, open up to someone who will hold you while you cry and pray for you. There is hope and healing and power in the name of Jesus. He will bind up your wounds and give you the strength to carry on. All you have to do is allow Him to heal you.


Father in Heaven, we lift up all of the Esthers of the world. May they find forgiveness in You and themselves. May churches remember that You are love, that all of us are sinners, and that You love and forgive us all. May we all find You and walk closer to You. In the blessed name of Jesus. Amen.

Thank you to Esther for having the courage to share her story. If you are in need of a personal prayer, please contact Wounded Butterflies. We commit to praying for you and walking with you.

Why Does God Wipe a Slate Clean?

The life that I have known for over two decades has been completely blown up – some of it by choice, some not. It is interesting that God did not change or remove a few pieces of my life, but all of it. Every piece has been gutted. So that leads me to ask, “Why does God wipe a slate clean?”

Whenever I have a question on my mind for God, I look to the Scriptures to find answers in both the New Testament and the Old Testament. He is a God who does not change (Hebrews 13:8), so the examples we see in the Scriptures apply today, just as when they were written.

The first example I thought of in the Bible was Jesus. He wiped our slates clean with forgiveness when He died on the cross. Why did he wash us clean of our sins? We are commanded in both the Old and New Testaments:

“‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
from Matthew 22:37-39 NLT

In this context, our slates are wiped clean to focus solely on God and loving others.

Credit: Snow

A different example, found in the Old Testament, is when God commanded Abraham:

“Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.”
from Genesis 12:1 NLT

The objective of God wiping Abraham’s slate clean was to bless him and all families of the Earth to come from him:

“I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 12:2-3 NLT

Sometimes God wipes our slates clean to prepare us for blessing. The trouble with God removing pieces of our lives is that as soon as a relationship concludes or a job ends or an illness arrives, we want the answer or the next step right away. He may not provide that insight immediately, though. He may want us to rest in Him or learn to trust Him more or refine the skill of remaining joyful during trials:

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
Psalm 46:10 NLT

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”
Proverb 3:5 NLT

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
James 1:2 NLT

The goal of every Christian is found in Matthew 6:33, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (NLT).

This means seeking Jesus, who is the Word of God, the Path to God, and the Giver of the Holy Spirit. Seeking first the Kingdom of God enables all else to fall into place. We are to seek Him and live righteously, and He will give us everything we need (not everything we want).

This is what we do while waiting for God to reveal our next steps. We focus on seeking Him and drawing closer to Him by spending more daily time with Him, more daily worship of Him, and more time listening to Him. James 4:8 says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you” (NLT). Drawing close to God also means we will hear the Holy Spirit clearer, which is what we ultimately want and need.

In order to obtain our next steps after God has wiped our slates clean, we must be still and listen as we draw closer to God. He has a plan for renewing or changing our lives.

We simply must listen.