Due to the sensitive nature of Wendy’s precious friend’s interview, Wendy will not be calling her by her real name. She will be referring to her, from here on, as “Hope.” She has known “Hope” for about 3 years. Not too long after they met each other they began attending a ladies Bible study together. She and her husband became so precious to Wendy and her husband. And when Wendy’s husband was diagnosed with cancer, they were a part of the wonderful support God had put into place to walk many steps beside them. It was during this time, Wendy got to know Hope best.
Hope’s story is beautiful and painful…. she’s a clay vessel, with God’s great light pouring out. She shares her heart on the subject of infertility, adoption and abuse. I look forward to sharing here, what God’s great grace is doing in her.
Wendy: “Hope, of all the characters in the Bible, who do you most relate to and why?”
Hope: “I have always thought of myself most like Hannah, and related so much to her story. Hannah prayed for a child and anguished over not being able to bare a child. I can relate to this, as my husband and I have walked the road of infertility.”
Wendy: “Oh Hope, what a perfect woman of God’s own choosing to relate to! I cannot even fathom the kind of pain and disappointment both of you must have walked through. How did God speak to you through her?”
Hope: “Like Hannah must have, we watched others having babies and felt such a ache in our hearts and in our arms. Praying to God for a child. Month after month and then year after year. Feeling that God was so silent, I asked ‘WHY!!!.’
1 Samuel speaks of Hannah and her prayers to God. It speaks of God’s answer to her prayers and that she bore a son. God also heard and answered the prayers of my husband and I. He did bless us with children. His answer came through the adoption of our children. What an incredible blessing they are to us. Our arms are no longer empty. During the agonizing time we prayed and cried out to God, I began to understand that this was a time of learning, great patience, growing in faith and that God’s plan and His ways are always PERFECT!!! 1 Sam. 1:27 ‘For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.”
Wendy: “Oh Hope, how heart-rending and yet how beautiful that God has become such an important part of this journey you and your husband are on. His word speaks so beautifully to all life’s circumstances. What is one of your favorite scriptures and why does it mean so much to you, as you walk though this difficult place?”
Hope: “Jeremiah 29:11, has always been a favorite of mine. ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’
This scripture became a constant comfort to me, particularly, in 2010 and has continued to be. In 2010 our youngest daughter cried out for help. Through the drawing of some very disturbing pictures, pictures of things that a little 8 year old girl should never have to know about, we discovered she was being sexually abused by a family member. She was told by her abuser, that if she told anyone, ‘He would shoot and kill all of us.’ This is why she choose to use pictures to get help. Through her brave cry for help, it was revealed that our 10 year old daughter was also being sexually abused by this same member of our family, she was also told not tell anyone or the same would happen. It was during this time I clung to this verse not only for our girls, but for our family.
In the middle of this trauma, I had moments that I read this scripture and had complete peace and hope. Then there moments that peace and hope were so hard to find. I do know that God loves us all deeply. He does have plans to prosper us and give us a future. GOD DOES NOT WASTE PAIN!!”
Wendy: “Thank you for sharing… this very real and tender place in your heart. I cannot imagine the agony you have experienced, how amazing God is to minister to you through His word, in the midst of this trauma.
Hope, there must have been such deep valleys that came of this heart wrenching time in your life.”
Hope: “There is… this life changing event in our life took our family into a very deep valley. Our daughters cry for help was such a dark place and so many things happened afterward. The abuse obviously had to be reported to the proper authorities. We watched a family member being taken away by our local police officer. At the time we did not know all that would later unfold.
When family and community was needed the most, many abandoned us. My husband’s side of the family just could not allow themselves to believe that this family member could commit this crime. Community members in our small town began to form their own opinions. The trauma that our girls had experienced was only magnified by all the drama that they were creating.
We took our girls to get help from those who were trained in this kind of trauma and found counselors for them. Our youngest daughter would not be ready to open up about her trauma for several more years.
The four of us were working as a family to begin to process and work through what our girls and us as a family had experienced. We struggled to find a “New Normal.” My husband and I always believed that there was more to be told. Two years after our girls revealed the abuse to us, our oldest daughter revealed that she had been raped by the same family member. Our other family, still had their own opinions about what had happened and all the drama was just adding to an already heartbreaking situation.
As we were beginning to try to make our way out of this valley, we could see what was behind us and where we wanted to be. Between our daughter revealing the rape to us and the drama of family and community, we found ourselves back in the valley. It became very clear to us that the healing our family needed was not going to happen in our small community. So we decided to moved away from all our friends and family. It was so hard. This place was the only home that our girls had ever known. My husband and I had grown up in this community. Through it all God gave us such an incredible peace. Those family members that I have spoke of have continued to hold their same opinions, but we are not in the valley anymore. Healing has and will continue to come.”
Wendy: “Hope, I cannot even fathom this journey you have been on, personally and as a family, so difficult. I want to thank you for being so brave to share here.
In what ways have you experienced God’s nearness in these valleys?”
Hope: “God had never left me and I knew He was not going to start now! I will tell you though, there were times He seemed so far away and the valley seemed so very deep. But God had not moved. It was me who moved. I became so involved in my own grief from the trauma my girls had experienced and what this trauma was doing to them. Then there was the loss of relationships in the family and community and the loss of relationship with the abuser who was family. It took a screaming match with God to bring me near to His side. God already knew about all of the anger and sadness and confusion that was going on inside of me and He just needed me to communicate and cry out to Him. At this time, I experienced the heart of God and the nearness of God became such a sweet experience for me. This time of nearness, while in this valley has taught me so much. That God does not waste pain and that God is good all the time…. He is so very good! Through times in the valley there will be growth. Your faith, trust in the lord and your relationship with the Lord will grow as you just draw near to Him!”
“I know heartbreak is hard, but don’t resist the blessing of brokenness that tills the ground of your heart. It breaks up the unplowed ground of your heart and will make it ready for new life, new growth, new maturity that can’t be found any other way.”– Lysa Terkeurst
Wendy: “I am honored, Hope, that you’d share in such vulnerability, your pain and heartache, as well as challenge those of us reading, to lean hard on our Father and cry out to Him in our heartbreak. May God bless you richly in all that you set your hands to. You have ministered to my heart. Thank you, dear friend.”
Please listen to this beautiful song by For King and Country called Priceless. You are all priceless in His sight!
We’d like to invite our readers to participate in a draw to win Jennifer Moye’s (Tuesday’s guest) soon-to-be-released A Gospel Christmas. All you have to do to enter is comment on today’s post, either on Anna’s blog or Wendy’s. Anna was privileged to have read it before its release and recommends it to every family with young children. You can find her review of it here: Jesus through the Eyes of Children.