Faithfulness in the storms of life

I was born with impaired vision. Following failed eye surgery at age 16, then told that no more could be done, left me devastated and scared for what my future would be.

My father was a uncompassionate man who had very high expectations which one had to meet. I tried very hard to do that, but I was never good enough . . . put down and declared a failure, never encouraged or felt wanted or loved by him. On occasions I witnessed violence aimed at my mother. At an early age I was raped by a family member. It was covered up. Never dealt with or spoken about again. Home was not a happy place.

Some years later, I was again raped by another family member. This continued for many years. He was sadistic, brutal, manipulative, and intimidating. He controlled my life and knew where I was – all day every day! I was depressed, scared, trapped, isolated, powerless, and hopeless. When I became pregnant an abortion was arranged. Silenced – no voice allowed. Numb to life, I was only existing and just wanted the world to stop so I could get off. My only escape seemed death. My plea was, “If there is a God, then please get me out of this mess”.

Miraculously, I was later able to make contact with a pastor and a doctor for advice, obtaining medication for the depression. I found employment, new accommodation and was able to have pets. I was amazed at what was happening! That pastor kept in contact with me and through him I knew God had touched my life. I became aware of my need of Jesus. I became a Christian and was baptised and grew in the knowledge of love and grace through sermons, Bible studies and my church family.

I met and married a man from my church. After some months though, I again faced the brutality and despair of domestic violence. Over the years the police were called many times by concerned neighbours. With the violence escalating I was advised to leave and obtain a Domestic Violence Order. My partner found out where I was, broke in, and while assaulting me he brutally stabbed another person and assaulted my pastor. He was charged with all of these offences and given a prison sentence. I thank Jesus, my church family, friends and the police for the comfort, strength and support that was mine during that very traumatic season.

Later, however, I started experiencing nightmares and flashbacks. I was too afraid to sleep because of the horrific nightmares and very scared of the flashbacks. My doctor was informed in more detail of what I had experienced in the past and was very caring and supportive. I was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with severe depression. I needed medication and counselling. I am grateful for the prayers, the Scripture verses, and songs that came to mind to encourage and strengthen me through the many counselling sessions. I wept many healing tears that still flow today as I continue to progress.

In 1997, I was declared legally blind. I sought the Lord for encouragement, which was given to me in Isaiah 42:16. I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. I treasure that verse! I found it a wonderful comfort especially in 2000 when facing cancer surgery twice and the following treatments.

Dealing with PTSD, flashbacks, and depression daily, using the many strategies, is challenging, debilitating and exhausting! Many times, I have wept and prayed for God’s comfort and strength to get me through. He has never failed me! I have experienced many intimate moments of knowing God’s love, presence and healing touch that are so precious, drawing me closer to knowing he truly is a faithful God.

In 2021 I was dealing with other health issues and struggling. I talked with my pastor, and we prayed that God would help. Several Sundays later I heard the message of Jesus coming to the disciples walking on the water, saying, “It is I, do not be afraid, come”. So, I “came”, asking Jesus to intervene in his way. Over several weeks I noticed the depression lifting. I am now free from it for the first time in my life. Sleep is no longer disturbed; it is peaceful, restful, and refreshing. I still suffer with PTSD and flashbacks, but God’s grace is sufficient in my weakness and keeps me focussed on Jesus and everything his victory on the cross gives me.

Sometimes Jesus stills the storm; other times it is for me to be still and know that he is God, and to trust him as we go through the storm together. Jesus, I love you. You are my fortress, my shield, my tower of strength, my song in the night. I am indeed carried with love in grace-scarred hands by a faithful God.

Written by Kay, 2023

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