One warm spring evening in the early ’90s, I found myself sitting in church reluctantly listening to a special speaker. I had been told the speaker had a unique ministry gift referred to as a “word of knowledge.” This gift allowed him to speak by the Spirit of the Lord with great accuracy and details into the heart of a person. I was very skeptical and the only reason I was in church was because an elderly widow in our church family needed a ride.
I sat in the service with arms folded, listening to this man minister. It just so happened to have been in the homes of the first three people he ministered to and was astonished at the things he said to them. He indeed spoke with great accuracy to the personal concerns each of them had shared with me. Yet, I still found a way to downplay his accuracy. I rationalized he could have acquired the information from conversations with them or with the church pastor.
And then it happened. He turned to me with a gentle intensity in his gaze and called me to the front of the room. When I stood before him, he said, “You are abused. You have forgiven over and over, only to be betrayed and abused again.” Tears flooded my eyes and gushed forth like water from a dam that had been broken open. I knew God was speaking to me. He had revealed to this man something no one in my church—no one in the city where I lived—knew about my marriage or my family. It was a huge secret that only God and an out-of-town counselor knew. With this revelation, God showed me in a very special way He knew what was happening in my life.
The man of God continued, “But, the Lord sees you as a woman of dignity with great beauty and grace. He will establish you and you will walk with a skip in your step. You will walk as His bride.” Still crying, I felt a deep sense of well-being and peace—a peace I rarely experienced in my day-to-day life flood over me. I wanted to linger and bask in it as long as possible.
I took the recording of these words home with me that night. The next day, I played the recording and wrote down every word spoken. I prayed these words back to God. Whenever I was alone, I listened to the tape recording. Each time I listened to it, I felt life entering my wounded heart. The truth was I had been living in abusive environments since I was a child. Now I knew God had seen it all and He was doing more than just seeing; He was giving me hope. He was revealing to me who He created me to be—a woman of dignity and grace.
At the time the Lord sent this man of God to speak to me, I had no idea the truth would so drastically change my life. I mean, I knew the Bible; I knew the truth sets us free, but to experience it like I did, made me feel seen and heard by God. It is much like I envision the experience of the woman at the well, when Jesus told her everything about her many marriages and that she was currently living in adultery.
Whatever your secret pain or trauma that may be hiding in your heart is, I want you to know, you are not alone. It may not feel like it, but the truth is, our Father in heaven is with you. As born-again Christians, we do not want to acknowledge that abuse, trauma or pain happens in our lives or our homes. The truth is, our hearts have the perfect Spirit of God residing in us, but our minds, our habits, our behaviors must be renewed. Part of the renewal is to replace the lies that reside in us because of the trauma we have experienced and the secrets we try to keep.
Let me reassure you, freedom and healing are available for your heart and soul. There is great power that comes out of discovering the truth. We know in our heads, “the truth will set you free” and when that truth penetrates our hearts, our lives change. Our prison doors open. Our bruised souls are healed.
I cannot lie, it takes courage to embrace the truth and face our painful secrets. but the reward of doing so is beyond anything we could hope for or imagine.
The good news is that the prison of secrets cannot hold us captive. Healing and freedom from shame, humiliation, guilt and abuse is for us. So, hang in there! “Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5 NASB).