Today, during the invitation at church, I walked down the aisle with tears streaming down my cheeks. With my mouth shaking, I could barely get the words out. I told the pastor I was a visitor and wanted to thank him for the words he shared today in church. It was a full-circle moment of redemption and healing for me and the little girl inside me. God is so faithful y’all.
But let me show you how God set this up.
This morning, a friend sent me a note to listen to a sermon on abuse from Dr. Charles Stanley that I might like. I told her I would check it out and said: “I love it when a pastor is willing to talk about it!”
Then, I rushed into the kitchen to make pancakes. I mentioned we could try a new church today and would need to leave around 10:15 am. We were about six minutes late and parked in the visitor spot.
At the beginning of the sermon, he mentioned we would be in 2 Samuel 13. Tamar. My heart pounded. I never know how it will go. There have been many Sundays in church when I thought it would go well, and I left feeling shame.
I left feeling empowered, heard, supported, and full of purpose. God reached in with His Holy Balm and tended every ache and wound.
I felt seen.
He didn’t mince words or focus on forgiveness. He didn’t run from the darkness of evil. Instead, He addressed it, called it what it was, and then took it a step further.
He said this church was doing something about it. Clearly, he stood with survivors and wanted to offer hope and healing to them. What a breath of fresh air.
I cried tears of joy, healing, and sweet release.
I stood up, and my knees were shaking. The song was Just As I Am – the same song I was baptized to when I was little and when I decided to get baptized again when I was 40 years old.
I looked at my husband and said, “I have to go and thank him!”
He said, “Can’t you send him an email?”
I walked past him and made my way to the front. The pastor turned to me, and I mentioned I was a visitor and wanted to thank him. I waited 50 years to hear what he shared today. As I thanked him again, he prayed a sweet prayer of healing and hope for me.
I am still smiling. We almost didn’t go. When I realized we would be a few minutes late, I said maybe we could try a different church, but we went anyway.
I’m so thankful we did. Thank you, Jesus.
To any survivor who has waited to hear hope for their heartache on a Sunday morning, please listen.