When Victims Can’t Pray, Read the Bible or Trust God

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and particularly those who were violated in Christian settings, often struggle to trust God. Inevitably this plays into their ability to pray or read the Bible, or even receive biblical truth in the form of someone else quoting the Bible. And understandably so.

My goal when working with people, is to show them–in word and in action–that God is a relational God. Twenty minutes of prayer and an hour of Bible reading, as a religious duty, mean nothing apart from relationship.  Oh sure, it can be presented as ‘discipline’, but what is discipline in religious duty, apart from the kindness of relationship? I’m not interested in it. I can practice discipline in any one of countless other areas, if it is discipline I want to prove.

In learning to pray, I encourage conversational prayer. All the ‘Thee, Thou and Thine’ in the world, doesn’t reach or touch the heart of God, if it is spoken in religious distance. God is a near God. He is present. He is tender. He is a Papa, who wants to hear about our innermost thoughts, and our mundane things. He is like a good daddy or mama, who delights in hearing a child’s excited account of a day at the park, playing with Lego, or listens tenderly to the tears in recounting how the kitty got hit by a car. He’s not looking for deeply religious words that sound pious in right to the masses trapped in performance, but the real and genuine things of the heart–both good and bad. That’s prayer. And when we ‘chatter’ to God at that level, moment by moment, the religious performance takes on the scent of dead flesh, while conversation becomes the thing that breathes life into our soul.

When it comes to reading the Bible, one cause of struggle is the lack of understanding of God’s message, and the way truth has often been misrepresented. The voice of condemnation often associated with the Bible is tragically warped. God’s message, in every word, every story, every line is love. Humans didn’t do it well, always, that is a reality. But God’s message remains, consistently, a message of love.

And the matter of presenting it as condemnation is a thing of humanistic desire for control over another, which is demonic at best. God never granted one of us the right or responsibility to manipulate or control the mind of another. We do it out of fear, to the detriment of those struggling, and to comfort our own minds; we have done our duty, and hopefully the individuals will head our warnings for their ‘good’.

The damaging effect of this serves to drive people farther from the heart of God, and deeper into sin and guilt, rather than drawing them to grace, to repentance and to hope. The impact is devastating.

An individual struggling with pornography or sexual immorality, as a result of sexual awakening that started him or her down that path, hardly needs us to quote a Bible verse or two about immorality and hell, in hopes it will scare them onto the straight and narrow. They need us to walk with them through the pain, the confusion and the trauma, to bring the love and grace of Jesus to that deep wound. Even Jesus, the Holy One, did not come to condemn but to offer life. Who are we, in our religious sinfulness and utter humanity, to offer any condemnation at all? I have never seen a life changed for the good through that approach. I have, however, witnessed life after life, transformed by Love, and addictions broken.

And then this whole thing of ‘God the Father’…. That’s a painful one for many. God. That fearful word applied to this Cosmic Being who wields power over us, and who has been misrepresented by fathers, brothers, preacher, bishops, pastors, uncles. To overcome such association is no small thing. And to walk a wounded heart through that pain is a thing of time, patience and the constant reminder that “He can handle this struggle… He is not put off by your fear… He doesn’t judge you or push you away for it…” and then to show the heart of the Father in love, compassion and caring for their hearts.

Many things have contributed to my healing, but not one more so than discovering the heart of my Heavenly Father–my Papa; Abba Father–for me. It was a moment of revelation that brought tears and warmed my heart when it realized, “God likes me.” I understood well that He loves me. What would drive a man–even a God-man– to a cross, to die for a sinner like me, if it were not for love? Yes, that love was an undeniable thing. But in my woundedness I believed I was unlikable, even by other humans. Even with Tim in our earlier years, I knew I was loved, but at times my mind doubted that he liked me. How could he? I was too scarred. My emotional ups and downs too ‘ugly’.

But little by little, I discovered that Tim likes me; he delights in me and enjoys spending time with me. I make him laugh. I bring him joy and pleasure, just by being me. And that same discovery with God transformed my life. It was a specific moment in time, that the awareness consciously struck me, “God likes me”. And in that moment my spirit danced and my heart laughed. To think that the God of Heaven, the Creator of the Universe, likes me…

I no longer define God based on who my earthly father–or any other spiritual figure in my life–was or is. God was not made in their image; they were made in God’s image, and failed in their representation of Him. I do not need to fear Him, based on who they were, or what they did.

God, the Highest Being, the Creator offers me His identity, invites me into conversation, and into relationship. That is Amazing Love. It is healing grace…

And that is why my hope, when working with survivors of abuse, is to always lead them gently to the Father’s heart. To offer anything less would be a grave injustice, when healing ultimately comes from Him, at that deep spirit level.

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger


When Strangers Pray & Plan

It was a mid-afternoon interruption…

Sound asleep in my chair, March 7, 2014, the doorbell startled me awake. It had been an exhausting few weeks, in my search for an agent to represent my book, and I had signed on with Vanessa Grossett, only days earlier…

In my exhaustion, I sent our son to the door; assuming it would be a sales person, he was instructed to politely tell the person I was not available. Moments later he appeared at my side with a message, “it was a friend of our neighbours’… something about having tea and praying for you…”

By this time I was wide awake. Isobel’s friend… tea.. praying…  What was this about? I walked next door, to Isobel Frey’s home, rang the door bell and waited. A bubbly woman, whom I recognized as Isobel’s good friend, Heather Tompkins, and whom I had met several times, answered the door and welcomed me in. She apologized for having disrupted my nap, and explained that a group of five women had been enjoying an afternoon tea, discussing the book I was hoping to publish, and wanted to pray with me and for me.

Isobel welcomed me into her living room, and together she and Heather introduced me to three other friends, whom I had never met: Gladys McClurkin, Mary Bell and Heather Martin. Several were pastors’ wives–which stood out because of the general reticence of churches to broach the subject of abuse–and all were passionate about breaking silence and offering healing surrounding the topic. They shared how they really believe this is a God-thing, and wanted to get behind me on it.


There I was, moments later, surrounded by a group of godly women, mostly strangers, praying for God to open doors and work out the details for the book. Though I sensed the very things they spoke–that God was in it and had a healing plan–I also had fears to contend with.

The weeks leading up to that moment, and the months that followed, were filled with deep soul-searching, as I edited, reworked, prayed and started the process all over again. One fear was that making my story public would not bring the healing I prayed for, and the enemy would take it and bring destruction. Another fear was that I would be so attacked by those resisting exposure of abuse, that it would push me to a place of unhealthy retreat and escape. I even feared that people would read it, pity me, and leave it there. I hate pity! But, little by little, as God brought prayer warriors alongside and around me, I came to a place of peace. I moved from fearing the outcome, to asking God to speak His message, His love, His truth through my story, so that my story would be all but lost in the shadows of His story, His grace…

canstockphoto12805479 (1)

By May 2014 I signed a contract with eLectio Publishing and by August I was working with a private editor–Eric Stanford, to whom I credit the ‘shaping’ of Between 2 Gods, with deep appreciation–and by October it was ‘finished’ with only minor changes and edits needed. And by early 2015 my five praying strangers resurfaced…

Heather Tompkins contacted me to say that she and her friends would like to plan a Book Launch on my behalf; would that be okay? Would that be okay? Wow! Yes! I was excited, humbled and honoured all at one time! And amazed that a group of women, whom I’ve only met a few times, would go out of their way for this, because they believe God is bringing a message of hope.

So tonight, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm we will be at Gale Presbyterian Church, 10 Barnswallow Drive, in Elmira, for Between 2 Gods Book Launch. I’ve invited several ‘characters’–what do you call them in a non-fiction?–from my book to attend, and one is able to make it, for sure–barring an unforeseen interruption.

I had also asked a client to do an interview, and it fell through, so gave that up until Wednesday… I received a message from a current client, Kim Chapple, asking if I would allow her to come and share. I was taken off guard, as current clients seldom have the courage to speak out and be so vulnerable. After some ‘back and forth’, ensuring she understood both the risks and the feeling of the public eye on our stories, I felt at peace.

My heart in ministry is the same as my heart in my book, that it will never be about me, and that healing will flow to others. For this reason, while I will do a short reading and share a few words, tonight is about offering hope and healing to those present. If I missed the mark on that, I know God could still bring that healing, but I’d so much rather be ‘about my Father’s business’ and work alongside of Him, than to try and steal center stage.

We’d love to have you come tonight and join us! For more information or to ask questions visit: Between 2 Gods Book Launch


~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Between 2 Gods Facebook Page

To Donate: Generations Unleashed (Help Victims of Sexual Abuse Churches

(Tax Receipts will automatically be issued for all donations over $20)