Here Are Their Stories
Prior to coming to the Women’s Refuge, I had reached a place of deep despair. Life had not turned out like I had planned, and I was very disappointed. I believed in Christ but had spent many years in a vicious cycle of trying to earn His love and constantly falling short. I would then engage in self-defeating behaviors that compounded my misery. Since coming to the Women’s Refuge, God has begun to open my eyes to the truth of His love. I am already completely and totally loved by Him, even if I never accomplish another thing. Because of Christ’s finished work, I am forgiven, loved and complete in Him. I now have hope because I have placed my faith in a Holy God and not on myself. I am so grateful that there’s a safe place like the Women’s Refuge that counsels and guides the way to Him.
“When I came to the Women’s Refuge, I had a lot of sadness about the death of my mom four years earlier. I also had a lot of fear about what might happen to my younger brother who has severe autism, and I wanted to try to take control of his life so that nothing would happen to him.
At the Women’s Refuge, I learned to have faith that my life and the lives of my loved ones are in God’s hands and that God loves us enough to take good care of us. Zephaniah 3:17 has been very encouraging to me because of how it reminds me that God is ‘mighty to save’ and that He ‘will rejoice over you with loud singing’ if you are one of His children. Knowing that God values me, and all of His children that much has given me confidence to learn new skills, like how to cook.
I can trust that God will help me learn what I need to learn because He loves me. I hope to carry these lessons about God throughout my life.”
~Melissa, Two-Year Graduate
I am grateful to the Lord for giving me this opportunity, for choosing me to come to the Refuge and find Him here to receive the healing I so desperately needed. Before coming to the Refuge, I was just enduring life. Today I have HOPE and joy. Like many women who come to the Refuge, my story involves painful moments, things I wanted to forget, but the consequences of those moments left me bitter and depressed. Shelter From the Storm (a Refuge class to help people who have been sexually abused) changed my life forever. I was able to talk about the darkness in my life in a group setting, I was not alone; I felt normal and accepted for the first time. One by one, the lies were replaced by the Truth! During this process, the LORD restored my marriage and brought my husband for counseling all the way from Argentina.
We celebrated our 10-year anniversary that May, and when my husband walked through the doors of the Refuge, I knew I was seeing a miracle and I was given GRACE. I am looking forward to the rest of my life, and I know that God is there with me all the way. I know that finishing the nine-month program is a wonderful accomplishment, but I also know He is not done with me yet, so I rest in Psalm 138:8: “The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands."
I came to the Refuge because I really wanted God to do a miracle in my life. Even though I knew about my identity in Christ, had a personal relationship with God, and was able to learn from Him about His abundant life, I was living in a prison. The lies I believed about myself, the guilt, and the shame were consuming my soul and damaging my relationship with my husband and daughters. I felt that I couldn’t live that abundant life that Christ gave me with his sacrifice on the cross. But when I came to the Refuge, God, in a gentle way, showed me that was true; I can’t live the Christian life in my own strength. It’s Jesus living in me with the power of the Holy Spirit, and I just need to surrender every day and renew my mind with the absolute truth: His Word. The time at the Refuge gave me a new start on my journey with God
These past two weeks have been a time of rest and eye-opening truths. I’ve learned so much about who God says I am and how He meets my needs perfectly. Prior to coming to the Refuge, I was trying to conquer sin in my life with my own strength. Now I realize that I am weak on my own, unable to do anything without Christ. But because He lives in me, I am able to do all things in His strength. Coming here helped me to grow closer to Jesus and as my relationship with Him has become more intimate, I have found a lot of freedom: freedom from striving to do things on my own strength, freedom from crippling fear, and freedom to love others from a motivation that seeks to bring God glory by genuinely blessing them, rather than serving for recognition.
I am excited about going back home and later returning to school and being able to apply a lot of the truths I’ve learned here. God has worked in my life through so many people and circumstances, and I’m overwhelmed at His goodness to me. The Refuge has helped me to see His hand at work in my life, both in the good times and bad, and I know that I can trust Him.
I’m glad I chose to take the step to come here, and I’m so thankful that God orchestrated everything necessary to have the experience I did. I’m looking forward to continuing walking in full surrender to Him and watching Him work in beautiful ways.
Before I decided to come to the Refuge I was not in a good place. I didn’t know what to do with my anger. What’s more, I didn’t even know where it was coming from. All I wanted was for it to go away. Both my mother and my sister had previously been in the program. After praying and seeking the Lord, I decided to come for the two-week program.
When I arrived, I felt vulnerable and out of control, both of which were uncomfortable but as the days went on the Lord began to show me things I had never seen before. I began to understand that what I was going through was normal…I wasn’t some strange creature and that I wasn’t alone! My counselors helped me work through hard subjects and they did it with much love and care! I truly felt God’s love through them and I’m so thankful for the impact they have had on my life. I know I can look in the mirror and genuinely tell myself that I love me! I’ve been freed from the bondage of an unforgiving spirit; I’ve forgiven people I never thought I could ever forgive…yet here I am, forgiving, loving and growing!
I come from a dysfunctional background of verbal and emotional abuse at home and bullying at school. I struggled with depression, anxiety, and despair. I lived in a survival mode, always comparing myself to others while trying to gain approval from my parents and acceptance from my school peers. Consequently, as an adult, I was filled with bitterness and resentment and lots of false beliefs about myself. For years, my spiritual life was dead, and I was just going through the motions. I was in despair, getting sick emotionally, and my life was spiraling down very fast. Then I came to the Women’s Refuge, and I knew there was hope again. The beginning of my healing came as I dealt with my issues at the root and forgave people who had hurt me.
The Women’s Refuge has taught me how to handle confrontation, forgiveness, and conflict in a godly way. I have also learned new life skills, including cooking. With my new identity in Christ, I have confidence in what I do, and I don’t give up because I have strength through the Holy Spirit. I feel overjoyed because, through God, I have overcome my social anxiety and depression. I am able to accept people for where they are in their life; I give grace, just as Christ has given me grace. I know God will never leave me and that He loves me.
God has shown me and taught me about His love in ways I didn’t know existed. He’s shown me patience through each counselor, wisdom in the curriculum, and hope in the sessions, and with my relationship with Him. I’ve learned that God truly does love me with perfect, unconditional love and that I never have to be scared of Him. He gave me a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. I know now that He never leaves me and never will, and I am so excited to continue going deeper into the Word with Him and growing more spiritually and mentally. I also learned that forgiveness is essential to living in joy and freedom. I know coming here was one of the best decisions of my life, and I am so thankful for everyone here!