From Victim to Victory!

 

"Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders You have done . . .
were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare."

Psalm 40:5

The first time I was asked to write my testimony, I thought, "Great! Now I can tell everyone what wonderful things God has done in me!" Then, as I prayed about it and asked for just the right words, I realized that there's just no way I can tell all that He's done!

I mean, where would I start? Would I start with the little girl whose innocence was stolen from her by 3 different adult men she so freely trusted over a period of 10 years, whose dad turned her into a "good little boozer" by the time she was 5? Would I start with the 12-year-old who gave her bruised and confused heart to Jesus and thrilled at the prospect of serving Him someday in some great and glorious manner?

Where would I start? Would I start with the 16-year-old whose world was turned upside-down and inside-out when she was raped by 4 men in 1965 — whose family's shame and ignorance prevented them from giving her the love and support she so desperately needed? Would I start with the 18-year-old whose overwhelming sense of abandonment, guilt and shame drove her to the streets and prostitution where she finally challenged the God she loved and wrote His death certificate on her heart?

Oh, God! Where do I start?! Should I tell about the 30+ years of alcohol and drug abuse, 25 years of homosexuality, repeated suicide attempts, multiple self-mutilations, and an all-out subconscious attempt to sabotage every good thing You brought my way? Should I tell about that September day in 1975 when you overwhelmed me with Your great love and drew me back to You — and still, I continued in my sin because I wasn't Biblically grounded and just wasn't strong enough to submit to Your love?

Or . . . would I start with that Summer day in 1996 when I knelt in a little gay-friendly church and gave Jesus permission to do in me whatever He wanted to do? That was the day when my "adoption" became final — when God became both my Father and my Mother, and Jesus became my Husband and my Brother.

"Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
For your Maker is your husband
— the Lord Almighty is His name —
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
He is called the God of all the earth."

Isaiah 54:4-5

Then started the process of healing and deliverance that exceeded my wildest expectations! As the Psalmist wrote, were I to speak of all that He has done, they would be too many to declare! (Psalm 40:5)

As I learned to lean on Him, His love prompted me to ask Him to show me His truth concerning my lifestyle. Patiently and lovingly, He opened the eyes of my heart; and in obedience to His revealed will, I haltingly walked away from the homosexual lifestyle I had embraced. Although I knew I was doing the right thing, I fully expected it to remain a physical struggle because I had been deceived into believing that I was born a lesbian and would remain that way until I got my resurrection body someday.

But, as God gently kissed away every emotional scar of the past and I persisted in seeking His truth, Satan's hooks lost their grip and the chains fell off. Then in November 1997, God breathed new life into me and delivered me completely from every homosexual desire or tendency I'd ever had! And as if that weren't enough, He even removed every physical scar from the years of self-mutilation!

Today, I truly am a "new creation in Christ; the old is passed away, behold, all things have become new!" (2 Corinthians 5:17) He has healed every hurt I so carefully guarded and nurtured all those years; He has penetrated the dark recesses of my heart and mind and flooded them with His marvelous light!

Today, I am alcohol-free, drug-free, nicotine-free, and pain-free. Instead of looking for the light at the end of the tunnel (and doubting if it's really there), I am standing in that light. I have found a joy and peace that truly surpass all understanding!

What I have learned is this: there is true freedom in becoming a captive of the King; there is healing in His outstretched guiltless, nail-pierced hands; there is unspeakable joy and peace in submission and obedience.

To anyone reading this who has tried to bury the pain, the shame, and the fears of the past — who's been told God hates you because of your lifestyle — who thinks there's no way out and the light at the end of the tunnel is a freight train — I say this: You call yourself "victim"; the world calls you "survivor"; but in Christ, you can be the victorious conqueror — once you stop seeking the God you want, and start seeking the God who IS!

Copyright © 1998 Linda Smallwood.
Permission is granted to anyone who wants to share this
testimony of God's outrageous and unreasonable love and grace.
"To God be the glory! Great things He has done!"


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