John 3:16 Arrow For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life ^DREAM interpretation ministry

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Welcome to Overcoming Abuse

‘Perhaps for you, picking up this booklet is the first brave step towards finding the help you need’

If you are currently experiencing any kind of abuse, please act to keep yourself safe.

If you are in immediate danger. If you or somebody close to you has experienced abuse, it may feel like the situation you are facing is just too big, even for God. But be reassured, God can heal even the deepest wounds (Psalm 147:3).

He doesn’t want you to spend the rest of your life hurting; He wants to make you whole. At creation mankind was given a mandate to care for other living things (Genesis 2:15) – God’s perfect order involved protection for the weak, the needy and vulnerable; abuse was never part of God’s design for people.

Yet sin corrupted His design, turning people against one another, creating the abuser and the abused, leaving those affected with a pain that they were never born to bear.

Not knowing where to turn or how to handle our hurt when we’ve encountered abuse is very normal. We might seek solutions in the wrong places, or fight to rebuild our brokenness in our own strength. But at some point, we will realise that we’re in need of help.

Perhaps, for you, picking up this booklet is the first brave step towards finding the help you need. Overcoming abuse is a process. It’s about walking with God and others, on a pathway through the pain and into healing.

Even though our lives may have been afflicted by abuse, the acts of others do not have to dictate who we are, or determine what we will become. When we reach the end of our rope, God is ready to receive us (Psalm 27:10), and complete restoration can become our reality (Jeremiah 30:17).

The Overcoming Series is designed to help people like you find God’s help in dealing with the challenges that face us all. Contained in these little booklets are big truths from God’s Word, guidance on how to pray, and practical suggestions for change. Turn over to begin reading a selection of articles and testimonies written by people who understand what you’re going through and long to help you overcome. Then, starting on page 16, there are 28 readings from Bob Gass, author of The Word For Today, to help you practise new thought patterns and habits day by day for a month. As the Bible says, ‘He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world’ (1 John 4:4). With the help of our great God, you can overcome any challenge you face
(03-12-2016, 01:29 AM)ebankole Wrote: Overcoming abuse At

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Overcoming abuse - Where do I start?

‘What could motivate us to dig up what we’d rather keep hidden? The hope of wholeness’

We can all recall times when we have been hurt by others. Hearing careless words or feeling wronged by someone’s actions are just two examples which might make a mark on our memories. But sadly for some of us, the extent of our experiences has the potential to leave us with lifelong ‘luggage’. Left unpacked, our pain can be silenced for a time, but the contents of our cases soon become too heavy to bear. Our hurts are hidden, but not healed – and sadly the statistics indicate that there may be many more of us in this situation than we realise. When the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline was launched, it received a quarter of a million calls in the f irst 12 months, supporting some of the 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men who will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. Equally heart-wrenching are the many stories of those who have experienced childhood neglect, or specific acts of physical, emotional, sexual or verbal abuse towards them before the age of 18 years. The only strength that can be drawn from these statistics is that if you are a victim of relational or childhood abuse, you certainly aren’t alone. Whatever the varied circumstances surrounding an experience of abuse, there is a devastating impact for the individuals concerned – physically, mentally and spiritually. Because of fear and shame, denial is often our reflex reaction and we may try to bury the problem as deep as possible. But beneath the surface, it takes root. Before we know it, ‘symptoms’ may begin to sprout above the ground:

depression, anxiety, addictions and eating disorders (to name a few), all stemming from the roots of abuse. We realise that the cause must be dealt with, but where do we start? What could possibly motivate us to dig up what we’d desperately rather keep hidden? It’s the hope of wholeness. The thought of freedom. The desire for change. God is our hope for healing – and He is not like our abusers. He is kind, patient and full of true love that ‘does not demand its own way’ (1 Corinthians 13 NLT). Whatever your life looks like, ‘The Lord longs to be gracious to you…’ (Isaiah 30:18 NLT) and He will never abandon you or turn you away (Deuteronomy 31:8). Making a start requires us to begin acknowledging our abuse, the pain that it’s caused and the ways in which it has affected us. But if we accept the journey, we will find that in the midst of our brokenness, the healing can begin and, in time, we start to realise that ‘the old has gone and new has come’ – we start becoming a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
Step by step

Your guide to overcoming abuse with God’s help ‘...

no tear is ever cried twice. Every expression of sorrow, anger and agony before God is a step forwards

1. Hear your Heart’s Cry

cry out, God, call out: “You’re my last chance, my only hope for life!’ - Psalm 142:5 TM Each person’s journey through their pain and into healing will be unique, but a positive first step is to hear the cry of our hearts for wholeness and acknowledge our need for God.

Sometimes we are really aware of our brokenness, but other times, having silenced the cries of our heart for so long, we feel utterly numb, disassociating ourselves from the pain in order to cope. Commit to connecting, or reconnecting with your heart’s cry

CONSIDER...Change, true biblical healing, occurs only when we are wholly dissatisfied with our condition of heart and soul’ (Dan Allender). Have you had enough of carrying your hurt? Think about what it is that your heart is longing for on this journey. If you’re finding it difficult to connect with your feelings, pray and ask God to reveal your brokenness.
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2. Resolve to be Renewed

I want my life to tell the story of what God’s done, not what she did. I want to be renewed’ (Anon)

As much as our hearts desire wholeness, there’s no denying that facing the facts of our abuse and the feelings it has created will be tough. Our hearts have to want it, but we must also be committed to choosing change in our minds. Sometimes there is more to work through than we think, and if we have resolved to be renewed.

that decision can keep us going even when we want to give up. The renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) is an important part of this process. God might want to challenge the way we think about Him, about ourselves and about others, helping us sort through the lies that abuse can leave behind. Remember that renewal is not about losing your identity, but about being re-created and lovingly restored to life.


Have you ever worried that you’re ‘not strong enough’, or that you ‘can’t make it through this’? The good news is that this is not about what you can do; it’s about what God can do. God will give you the strength you need.
3. Make a Crucial Connection

The soul will not be healed without relationship’ (Dr Larry Crabb and Dan Allender) It is not wise to head out on the journey of overcoming abuse alone. Being able to share the facts about what happened and discuss our feelings as they surface is another key step.

It’s crucial that we are connected to other people as we ‘continually unfold the past until all is told’ (Psalm 32:5 AMP), but it is worth thinking carefully about whom we will share that information with beforehand.

Many people find that working their situations through with a trained Christian counsellor can be extremely helpful, and sharing your journey with a supportive spouse, friend or pastor can also be very beneficial. Remember that you will need support for the journey.


Can you identify a trusted person in your life who you might want to invite in on this journey? If you’re not sure, consider using the More Help section of this booklet to contact others who will be well prepared to support you.
4. Press into the Pain

I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss…Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends!’ (Lamentations 3:20-22 NLT) In THINK...

In her book Yesterday’s Child, Mary Pytches writes: ‘We must first identify our losses or traumas. Then we can begin to re-experience them, going through our grief work and completing it, rather than trying to go around it or trying to avoid it, as we have been doing until now.’ This is the crux of our journey, pressing into the pain of our experiences and dealing with the issues involved such as shame, blame and betrayal. This may take some time and some tears.

At the right time, God will also speak her book Yesterday’s Child, Mary Pytches writes: ‘We must first identify our losses or traumas.

Then we can begin to re-experience them, going through our grief work and completing it, rather than trying to go around it or trying to avoid it, as we have been doing until now.’ This is the crux of our journey, pressing into the pain of our experiences and dealing with the to you about forgiveness for those who have hurt you.

It may be very challenging, but remember that unforgiveness is a bitter poison that can hold people back for years if not dealt with.

Coming to a place where you can forgive somebody who has wronged you is not about letting them off the hook but about you being free.


Can you identify a trusted person in your life who you might want to invite in on this journey? If you’re not sure, consider using the More Help section of this booklet to contact others who will be well prepared to support you.
5. Expression and Reflection

‘There is a profound connection between writing and healing’ Catherine McCall

Expressing ourselves at every stage of our journey, reflecting on how far we’ve come and thinking about where we are heading is really important.

People do this in different ways, but some studies have suggested that writing can actually offer great benefits to us both physically and mentally when we are processing pain. Journaling is a really practical way of doing this – a way of getting our thoughts and feelings out.

Drawing pictures and creating artwork or a collage which expresses your experiences and emotions in that moment can also be very liberating.

DO...Buy yourself a notepad, journal or sketch book in which you can express the different stages of journey. If you struggle with sleeping, try keeping it by the side of your bed so that you can empty your mind onto paper before you settle down.
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6. Learn to Live Unlimited

ou have overcome, it is finished, it is done Now my heart is finally free Every chain undone, by the power of the Son Risen Saviour, Reigning King’ (I Am Not The Same, performed by Aaron Keyes) Though ‘Tears may flow in the night … joy comes in the morning’ (Psalm 30:5b GNT). This is the final step – walking into and experiencing life ‘to the full’ as Jesus describes it (John 10:10).

We may not arrive here all at once, but step by step we make it to a place where the emotions slow down, the pain is not so prominent and the past has less of a place in our present.

Of course our memories have not been erased, but they no longer consume us in the way that they once did. We carry with us a story, but no luggage. In fact, we begin a whole new, exciting journey - one where we learn to live unlimited.


As you reach points along the way where you realise that something significant has changed, worship God for what He is doing in you and share it with those who are supporting you. Throughout your story… may God have the glory

Isaiah 61 speaks of prisoners and captives. What is a captive? It is usually someone who is held prisoner against their will – in this instance they have been sinned against by someone. They haven’t done anything wrong, but they are held to ransom. This can happen via any form of abuse: sexual abuse (rape, molestation or incest), physical abuse (being hit), emotional abuse (a dominant parent or carer who is always angry and controlling, or an alcoholic carer, or mentally ill carer), or neglect (a carer withholding love and attention). Real guilt is when we have done something wrong against humankind or God. False guilt, by contrast, is when someone has done something wrong against us, but tells us or makes us feel that we are the guilty one. I have found this to be so common amongst those suffering abuse, many of whom I’ve ministered to over the years.

This means that the abusers absolve themselves of all responsibility. Then they usually go on to abuse someone else. Why do we believe them when they tell us that it was entirely our fault? Maybe because when we are children, we look up to adults. We believe them. We think that they will tell us the truth. These are some of the things that I have heard abused people say: • ’I must have been really bad for my dad to keep having to beat me up. I probably deserved it. He said I would never learn. It must have been true. He said if I told my mum she would leave him and me and it would be all my fault.’ • ‘It must have been all my fault that my uncle sexually abused me, because he said I was very flirtatious when I was seven years old. He said that I wanted him to hug and touch me. He said it was his way of showing me that he loved me. He said that I must not tell anyone or else people would know that I made him do it.’ • ‘My dad said it was our little secret. It was how daddies show their children how they loved them. If I told anyone our little secret, they wouldn’t understand and something bad would happen to me.’ • ‘I knew when I was sent to the neighbours by my mum to get something that I would be taken into the garden shed and abused. Why did I go? Why didn’t I say no? Why didn’t I tell my mum? It must have been my fault.’ The problem is, we believe the lies we are fed by our abusers. We expected adults or friends to tell us the truth. We expected our carers to rescue us or to guess what was wrong.

Abusers lie to us. When we are continually lied to,it becomes a belief – a wrong belief, and out of our wrong beliefs we make decisions.


In South Africa I met a very distressed young Zulu girl whose mother had died. Her sister consistently accused her of causing her mother’s death. When I asked what her mother died from, she said it had been ‘alcohol poisoning of the liver’. At the time of her mother’s death, her sister was out at a friend’s house. Her sister was always out and making her sibling stay at home with their sick mother. I asked the girl, ‘When did your mum start to be an alcoholic?’ She replied, ‘It was before she got married and had children'

Shocked that she could think she was to blame, I said to her, ‘How could it possibly be your fault? Your mother was responsible for her own health. She chose to abuse her body with alcohol long before you were born.’ She sobbed and sobbed. It took a while of prayer for her to relinquish that responsibility – to give to Jesus what she had taken upon herself. She had taken it upon herself to be responsible just because her sister had said so, but Jesus set her free of that false guilt. It seemed obvious to me that her sister also felt guilty because she had been out at a friend’s house during her mother’s illness, and she had passed this guilt onto her younger sister so that she could remain free. Have you done that? Have you taken responsibility that was not yours to take.


Jesus, please bring to mind now anyone for whom I have taken responsibility. (Take time to let the Holy Spirit show you anyone whom you carry as a burden – someone’s wellbeing, or someone whose death you feel responsible for.) I bring them to you now, Jesus, at the Cross. I choose to let go of them now. (Out loud declare their name and say, ‘I am not responsible for N. I hand him/her over to you now, Jesus.’ )