Stalwart Men & Noble Women

[In today’s guest post Elena Williams (a pseudonym) writes of a painful childhood at the hands of family and church, and her experience with God that drew her through and brought her to a place of life and rest in him.]

The problem growing up in my male-dominated church-centered family was that “Honor your father,” meant incest. At church the pastor ruled and his needs, for money and control, were met. At home, Dad ruled as sanctioned by the pastor he financially supported, and Dad’s needs for power, sex, and money, were preeminent and enforced. It was said that since heaven would be an orgy, better to go to hell.

At age 14, I read the Bible cover to cover. At 15, on a church retreat, my only escape from home, I planned to end my terrifying life. I had seen others lose their minds, commit suicide, do substance abuse, or embrace promiscuity. Fearful of these, I reasoned that the way to quietly and peacefully end the situation was to end the life.

Before I could carry out my plan, I believed God spoke to me personally with: “I want you. I will change your life. Will you let Me do that?” I liked hearing God’s offer, because the men I knew neither offered nor asked. They overpowered and took what they wanted, in God’s name and quoting the Bible as their authority.

“Yes,” I said to the gentleman of the Bible. Thereafter I studied the Bible and prayed, seeking God. He promised a new life. God gave me an education and a profession to be able to grow up and leave terror behind.

Most difficult was after I became a professional, when the local authorities investigated my dad with regard to younger siblings still at home. One of my sisters was suicidal. I publicly testified about the incest by day and had nightmares at night. Church members shouted, “You slut!” each time, as I exited the courtroom. Relatives accused me of ruining the family, harassed with intimidating phone calls, and stalked. Eventually, the minors were saved from further violation as the County restricted access of their biological dad.

I married my college friend. We were married 30 years and have two wonderful, accomplished, and loving children. My husband had confronted my dad, establishing safe boundaries. Eventually my husband passed away. I was saddened with losing my best friend and thankful God would continue the victory.

2 Cor. 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away, all things have become new.” This came true for me, I believe. The power of evil – violation, stepping out of reality, drugs, depravity, threats, accusation and stalkers – diminishes – when we experience the power of God through those who love us, and these folks may not be our biological family.

I waited a long time to find human love – my husband was the first person, I believe, who loved me, and our relationship began when I was well into my twenties. It was a faith journey for me, believing that God loved me, so I should not take my life, and that He would provide a new family and dear friends, some day.

God in heaven, my husband (when he was here before going to heaven), our children, and my close dear friends have held life together with me through all. I am ever so grateful, and I have the opportunity in turn to share God’s love with folks who are not my biological relatives.

Regardless of our background, in Christ we can go forward and choose to be stalwart men and noble women. One of the questions that comes up regarding my story, my journey, is, “Who helped along the way?” I would have to say that Gladys Aylward, George Müller, and the Casper ten Boom family, for three examples, helped along the way. They lived both by the Spirit of God and the Word of God at the same time. They were true to their God-given callings and their gifts, sometimes against the protocols of culture, society, and institutions. They loved God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. They loved their fellow persons as themselves. They were stalwart men and noble women.

I’ll close my testimony of God’s love here with a poem:

My drumbeat echoes through the trees
Its rhythm softly counters with the breeze
Creator God attends His ear
I sense His presence, feel Him near.
(Elena Paige Williams.)

God is always present, carving His path of peace before us, through the minefields, as we journey, our steps a drumbeat on the trail. God attunes, He attends.

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10 Responses to Stalwart Men & Noble Women

  1. Kitti says:

    There seems to be a blurry line in these comp/ pat churches between “Honor your father” and “Worship your father.”

    • Elena Paige Williams says:

      Hi Kitti, It’s wonderful to read in the Bible that we worship only our Heavenly Father. He and He alone is the perfect gentleman, always and forever. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Kathy Heisleman says:

    This brought me to tears. So very powerful. I need to be sure that I am one of the ones who helps along the journey. Loving your neighbor means asking God “Who is My Neighbor? “How can I love them?’ and, “Please give me your eyes Lord to see people as you see them and not only judge from the outside.” Give us tender hearts to the wounded.

    • Elena Paige Williams says:

      Kathy, thanks for your comment and I agree with your questions about loving our neighbor. I always ask, “Who is the ‘least of the least’ in my world right now and how can I show them God’s love?”

  3. Tim says:

    Elena, thanks for letting me run this guest post. What you went through is horrific. I’m glad you have become brave in being able to testify long ago and to share your story here now.

    • Elena Paige Williams says:

      Hi Tim, You are welcome, however, thanks to you for allowing me to share what God has done. More by the grace of God than bravery, I would say. Thanks to JC for His redemption, to the Holy Spirit for speaking to us, and to our Father in Heaven, the ultimate Father.

  4. Anu Riley says:

    Hi, Elena thank you so much for sharing and for so eloquently describing the Lord’s amazing grace and power to save. And to reach out to the broken. No one is ever the same after enduring abuse, but God has a way of making beauty from the ashes.

    People like you are an answer to my prayers. I am deeply concerned that persons abused (in general, but specifically by professing Christians) will have no interest in salvation. They will sadly associate the abuse with the Lord, and therefore want nothing to do with Him. They have been bruised so badly in this temporal life that they will miss out on eternity with Him.

    Even if they don’t believe He sanctioned the abuse, they will have a hard time understanding why God allowed such atrocities to happen to them, and that anger will keep building walls of hostility.

    So I am so grateful that He got a hold of you, in His mysterious but incredibly effective way. He was so gentle and kind and loving to you—in a way your own father was not. This is why those that have no fathers or no parents that loved t hem—need a Father like Him so badly. And so often, victims have such a hard time trusting Him as a Father, because of the cruelty of their earthly parents.

    Thank you for standing up for your younger siblings. You endured much suffering to stand for His righteousness, but I’m so glad those kids were protected from more of what you endured.

    There was so much that stood out to me in your story. I kept seeing how His love weaved through your life, despite much heartache and hardened hearts from professing Christians.

    I kept seeing Him using the weak to shame the so-called strong ones, those that claimed to believe in Him, but had no love in their hearts. I saw Him raise up those that DO love Him, to work in your life and become a real family for you.

    I kept seeing Him triumph over evil in your life, even as He did when He died and rose again. Even when the evil is as strong as incest (a horror to even imagine)—He did not let the evil rule your life.

    You didn’t bring this up, but I’m sure you cried many years during your abusive childhood and probably afterwards, even after you left that horrible home behind. Many of those tears were probably in secret, where no one could see or no one really cared.

    I know your story is not unique, so for those who read her story, and know that pain—please know that God sees EVERY tear. EVERY single one. He stores them up and does not forget.

    “Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll — are they not in your record?” Psalm 56:8

    And for those of us wanting to know how to help (or a chance to love on) such broken persons—just ask the Lord to reveal such persons to you. More than likely there is someone around you already who needs that love, but you can’t always see it with human eyes. The broken know how to hide their pain well, but God sees all.

    Sorry for a long comment! I also left one on Facebook :-). God bless you.

    • Elena Paige Williams says:

      Dearest Anu,

      From your comment, “…ask the Lord to reveal such persons to you. More than likely there is someone around you already who needs that love…”

      What you wrote is perfect. Thank you for every word and heartfelt thought. There are those around us that need God’s love, and He is faithful in bringing them to us, if we are willing. Therein is our blessing, too, in following Him just like Jesus.

      God bless you, too, Anu.

      – Elena

  5. Pastor Bob says:

    My heart bleeds when I hear of and read stories like this.
    The same heart leaps when I see/read growth and strength, and strong people.
    I feel the pain, I know His love is with you. You have a story to tell and i really want to see it touch others, help the victims, and grow stronger through it.

    You will see why I say this, but i question if this church. The “beliefs” and practices were cultural not biblical. Leaders are stuck showing His love for the offender and the offended/victims.

    Years ago I befriended a young woman who had an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Tongues started to flap, an i confronted someone with the Pastor present. My words were something like ‘The Jesus in me wants to beat the devil out of you. I won’t but I insist with the Pastor present you hold your tongue.’

    Next Sunday Pastor described something similar with this phrase I have heard a lot since, “Christians are very good at killing their wounded.”

    Seems like little has changed at times.

  6. Elena Paige Williams says:

    Dear Pastor Bob,
    Thanks for sharing and for your love for others. Most church people are kind and loving, in general, however, dealing with extreme evil is a challenge. Also, as you point out, there are cultural habits. Thankfully, folks like Tim Fall biblically address cultural ideas that need change. It seems as though you also address this. God bless you, – Elena

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