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Archive for February 25th, 2008

Tree in swamp (c) Lynda BernhardtMany survivors of child abuse ask the question, “Where was God when I was being abused?” Some are unable to embrace a faith because they believe God betrayed them by failing to intervene. Others believe that child abuse is proof that there is no God because what kind of loving God would allow children to experience abuse?

I, too, wrestled with my faith. My mother/abuser started taking me to a Baptist church when I was eight years old. I became a Christian and embraced that faith. I took my faith so seriously by age 15 that I read the entire Bible from cover to cover because I wanted to understand the Christian faith fully. However, when my father (the sane, non-abusive parent) died when I was 16, I walked away from my faith. I could not understand why God would have allowed him to die, leaving me with an insane mother who began her abuse again.

After over a decade of wrestling with my faith, I came back to God just in time to face years of struggling to become a parent. I leaned on my faith throughout this time, and having a faith to rely upon made this time more bearable.

Fast-forward to when I started having flashbacks. By that time in my life, I knew that facing a painful time would be easier with a faith than without it. However, I had the same question that many other child abuse survivors have: “Where was God when I was being abused?” It took me a while to work through this question, with lots of prayer, Bible study, and other forms of reaching out to God for the answers.

My quest led me to a deeper understanding of who God is. It led me to a place of seeing my history of abuse through very different eyes. I also found an enormous amount of peace along this journey.

Over my next couple of posts, I will share where my journey has led me. I hope that reading about my experience of coming to terms with my faith after abuse will offer you hope along your own faith journey.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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