The following post is written by Teri Zalk. Thank you, Teri!
For the month of December, I’ve been participating in a special Advent devotional study. During what is normally a very busy season, this has been a wonderful time to really slow down.
It has been a time to focus on what Advent means and how extraordinary the Christmas story is.
In week two of the study, I came across a verse that I had seen many times:
Isaiah 9:6 … “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace…”
It just really hit me; it gave me pause.
Some of the first words to describe the baby Jesus, the Savior that was to come, are exactly what we as survivors of abuse need to hear and know.
We want to let God’s Word sink deep into our soul and heart.
We desperately need someone that will come alongside us, walk beside us and hear our pleas, hear our cries, hear our begging for clarity and discernment.
Someone who will believe us, weep with us, listen to us, and comfort us.
A counselor with all wisdom and knowledge, one who will lead us out of despair and darkness.
This, Isaiah tells us, is our Lord, Jesus Christ.
God and God alone is all powerful! He is mighty to save us.
We have been overpowered, abused, shamed, tortured, crushed and wounded, but God is a mighty God, powerful enough to break those chains and set us free.
He can and does rescue us. He will bring justice in His time.
Many of us have had fathers that neglected and abandoned us. Some had horrific abuse in their childhood.
The damage runs deep, even to the core.
BUT God is our eternal Father. He is truly good, He is gentle and kind, full of compassion.
He promises never to leave us or abandon us.
He will never verbally, sexually, emotionally, physically, or spiritually assault us.
He promises that to the depth of the damage that an earthly father has done, He can heal and restore, beyond the damage.
The most profound healing can come from Him as we run into His arms and rest in Him and His love.
For those of us who are in Jesus Christ, we are His sons and daughters, and we are precious to Him. He is proud of us and He delights in us. We can dance, sing, and rejoice because of our Father’s great love for us.
Prince of Peace
My dear sisters, a heavy sigh might come when you think about peace. Oh, how many nights have we fallen asleep with tear-stained faces! How many nights crying out to God for peace, just a moment of calmness.
We have lived in utter turmoil, distress, confusion, and chaos. But God sent to us the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the reason that we can have peace. He brings rest. He brings the firm foundation on which we can build our lives.
Isn’t that a beautiful reminder as we go through this Christmas season?
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born the prophet Isaiah spoke the words to give us understanding of the baby that was to come.
“And they shall call His name Immanuel, which means … God with us” (Matthew 1:23)
May you truly know the depth of God’s love for you this Advent season!
I’m preparing for “the coming” of all four of our children, with their spouses, together for Christmas for the first time in 6 years. Maybe “the coming” of a new little niece, our second granddaughter, might be at least part of the reason they’re eager to gather.
I’m delighted to post this week from my friend Rochelle Sadie’s blog My Dear Sister. In spite of her blog’s name, please know that this post is not only for women but for men as well, anyone who has been harmed by a spiritually abusive system and made to feel “small.”
One time some friends and I were studying a book about the Christian life, and we came to a section about the way abusers think and act. I said, “Some of you may be able to think of someone you know who fits this description.”
Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil. ~James 1:27
Since 2017 I’ve been involved nearly full time with abuse victims and survivors, primarily using prayer ministry (based on the Immanuel Approach prayer ministry model developed by Christian psychiatrist Karl Lehman) to help them connect with Jesus and process their experiences, including traumatic memories. Continue reading “An update on my one-on-one ministry”