Sandy Phillips Kirkham is the author of the book Let Me Prey Upon You. It details how a youth pastor preyed upon her, a betrayal that left her broken, with a shattered faith, and the ultimate shame of being blamed and forced from the church she loved.
From their very first meeting, the new youth minister slowly and methodically turned the sacred relationship of a trusted spiritual leader to one of abuse: sexual, emotional, and physical. When his actions were discovered, he was simply moved to another church, leaving Sandy to pay for his deeds. She was not his first victim, nor would she be his last.
Despite a successful and happy life as a wife, mother, and friend, Sandy successfully concealed her abuse for twenty-seven years until a trigger forced her to face the truth. Sandy’s story will take you on her journey of healing which began in 2004, first by seeking justice and closure from both the pastor and the church. Her strength and courage will inspire you.
It’s a story of sexual abuse which may be confronting for some people. It’s also a story of hope and healing.
Mary has written Not Marked, an honest book that provides a way towards healing for abuse victims and their families.
Sexual abuse does NOT need to mark you.
It did mess with me. For far too many years. Flashbacks invaded my sleep. I startled far too easily. Sex within marriage became scary and complicated. I often wondered if I’d ever be normal. I even disconnected from those I loved the most.
The mark that sexual abuse gave me felt indelible, permanently inked with a Sharpie pen. And no matter of scrubbing erased it. (Have you ever felt this way?)
The problem was, I felt that I should be “over” it (and well-meaning people said those same things to me.) After all, I became a Christian, and I heard all those sermons about everything being made brand spanking new. I believed that when I met Jesus, all those scars and marks and fears would instantly leave.
This book has amazing potential to help those who feel they’ve been marked by sexual abuse but Mary needs help to fund the publishing of the book.
Mary needs your help now to reach her goal so that others can be be helped and healed. Please visit her indiegogo page and consider making a contribution.
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I’ve been thinking recently about all the fractured people I know. I know people who have messed up badly in the past and are still paying the consequences, sometimes years after the event. They’ve made life choices that have made circumstances difficult, not only for them, but for people close to them and many others around them. Their actions have triggered splashes that will still be causing ripples for a long time. They’ve destroyed relationships, torn families apart or caused deep divisions between friends.
I know people that are incredibly sorry for the pain that they’ve caused others and some who still don’t really care or who try to justify their actions.
Many of these people are very dear to me and I consider them to be close friends. Why do I stay close to such people? I look at myself at times and see a person that I don’t always like all that much. I’m fractured too. I’ve hurt people and let people down. It’s never been my intention to do that, but like you, I’m fractured.
Part of life
Pain and disappointment seem to be a natural part of life and I think it does us well to remember that. Not so that we can sit around feeling sorry for ourselves or letting the bitterness destroy us. We must also resist the temptation to use that as an excuse to carry on hurting others. We need to remember that hurt is a part of life so we don’t spend our days yearning for something that’s not going to happen. There isn’t going to be a time when we won’t have to deal with struggles. Some will be caused by ourselves and by those close to us. Other struggles will come through external circumstances or people we don’t know.
We often can’t control our circumstances but we can control how we react and what we turn those circumstances into.
I know many people whose lives have been fractured by the mistakes and carelessness of others. My heart goes out to them and I wish I was able to heal their hurts but while I can be there for them at times I can’t change the past for them.
Let the healing begin
Thankfully, while it can be hard to hide the scars, there can be healing. I’m glad that the more I explore issues of faith, the more I discover a deep forgiveness and healing. It’s not the forgiveness that comes from a glib ‘sorry’ but a deep, heartfelt, internal knowledge that the past is over and I can start again. It’s not the kind of healing that comes from time, that’s just denial. It’s a healing that goes deep and touches each hurt.
If anyone has tried to offer you any kind of Christianity that accuses instead of heals or brings guilt instead of forgiveness, let me assure you, they’re selling a forgery.
The kind of faith I’m talking about is the type that connects you to a person named Jesus, not to a list of rules and doctrines. The kind of faith that I’m talking about lets me know that no matter what happens and no matter what struggles I’m facing, I’m not facing them alone. And in the good times or the bad times, I know I’m right where I need to be.
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What is trauma? Can we experience trauma and not recognise it as such?
If we have experienced any level of trauma how do we find hope and healing?
Sandra Sellmer has served as a prayer minister and teacher with Elijah House USA since 2002. She travels the world with a transforming message of restoration and healing for people who are wounded and broken hearted.
Sandra has recently run seminars around Australia titled Tell Your Heart to Beat Again, focussing on healing from trauma. She joined me in the studio at 98.5 Sonshine FM recently. You can hear our discussion by clicking the play button on the audio player below.
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People have been debating miracles for years. Are they real? Can they still happen today?
I’m sure there are good points for both sides of the argument but it’s not something I can debate. I’ve experienced a miracle of healing myself so I have no option but to believe.
My regular Wednesday morning guest on 98.5 Sonshine FM is Ross Clifford who is the Principal of Morling College in New South Wales and current President of the Baptist Union of Australia. Each week we chat about a range of issues relating to spirituality and belief.
Last week, in the lead up to Good Friday, we discussed the trials of Jesus and the injustice of those trials. This week it was time to look at the miracle of the empty tomb.
Do you believe the miracles of the Bible actually happened? Did Jesus truly rise from the dead?
Yesterday we discussed miracles from the scriptures and then moved to modern day miracles.
If we believe in the miracles in the Bible do we still have faith that miracles can happen today?
Ross and I discussed some modern day miracles and the experiences that we’ve both had.
My experience happened in 1987 on my first ever bicycle ride across Australia. I’d never done any long distance riding before that and so I had set my saddle too low. The added strain of days of riding between 160 and 200 kilometres a day took its toll a week or so into the ride. My knees were severely damaged.
We adjusted the saddle but the damage had already been done.
The pain got worse every day. It was excruciating.
As we rode into one town halfway across the country I was in tears with pain in both knees. I knew that I couldn’t ride any further with that level of pain.
That night I prayed that God would ease back the pain just enough for me to continue riding the next day. I was now totally dependent on him. If the pain was still as intense the next day I would be able to take no further part in the fundraising ride I was on.
When I woke up I started preparing for the day. Then it hit me. The pain hadn’t reduced just a little … it was gone. My knees were working perfectly normally with not even a hint of pain. This had been an all-consuming pain that was getting increasingly worse. Things like that don’t just disappear.
If you want to hear my discussion with Ross just click play on the audio player at the bottom of this post.
I’d be interested to read your thoughts on miracles and of any miracles that you’ve experienced.
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