So many women are abused daily and all their dreams and plans perish in the hurt and pain. Maybe it’s you or someone you know. Know that there is hope. It’s never too late to recover and kick defeat in the face. Here is a story of the Hillsong Bible Teacher who overcame abuse and the feeling of defeat.
Christine Caine: Abused but Not Defeated
I was adopted as an infant and raised in a traditional Greek Orthodox home with traditional gender roles. A woman was brought up to be in the home, and we weren’t encouraged to read the Bible. The priest was the one who read the Bible—not the congregation. When I brought my first Bible home, my family acted like, Who do you think you are reading this?
Marrying and having babies was supposed to be my highest aspiration in life. I’m basically a Greek Orthodox mother’s nightmare: I didn’t marry until I was 30, didn’t have my first child until I was 35, and I travel the world and teach the Bible.
In terms of my own faith journey, growing up I attended a lot of two-hour services with liturgy in ancient Greek. I didn’t really understand what was going on. We were diligent churchgoers, but it seemed to be more about our culture rather than a focus on a personal relationship with Jesus. So I grew up with a strong God-consciousness, but not a personal relationship with Christ.
I was sexually abused by several men in my life at a very young age. I tried to tell somebody that could have intervened, but 40 years ago in Australia, the word abuse didn’t even exist. Nobody talked about that stuff. You walked in the shame of it, and you buried it.
When I was young, I cried out to God in my naivete and innocence, and in my desperation felt he wasn’t stopping anything. He wasn’t helping me. That marred my image of God. A lot of my adult life has been a journey of learning to trust him. God is good and God does good, but bad things do happen to good people.
When you’re first abused, you’re filled with shame about what is happening to you. When it happens over a long period of time, you then begin to think it’s happening because of who you are. So I grew up feeling a lot of rejection, shame, insecurity, fear, and anger. Over the years I’ve had to fight to renew my mind to a place where I understand at the core of my being that Jesus is trustworthy.
When you’re abused, you shut down and think you’re used goods. You think God could never really do anything with your life. You can hear a thousand sermons on destiny and purpose and God having a plan for your life—plans for good and not for evil—but if you come at that with a shame-based nature, then deep down you can never believe God could use you. It certainly has been the fight of my life to get to the place of trusting God to redeem the broken pieces of my past for his glory.
As I started to serve in youth ministry in my mid-20s, I realized I was going to have to deal with the darkness in my own life before I could shed light on anybody else’s. And so began the journey.
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