If we don’t take our pain to the Lord, we can be destroyed. I learned this the hard way through an unexpected and violent attack on my person. I didn’t process the event well and, over the years, my mental and physical health suffered. I internalized stress and eventually developed viral arthritis and depression. It was to the point that I was barely able to get out of bed before God intervened and helped me find freedom from my self-inflicted prison of anger, frustration, self-pity, and resentment. His love led me to a place of peace.
I had been raised in the church and had received Jesus as my Savior when I was 11. As an adult, I went to church regularly and called myself a Christian. But it wasn’t until these dark times happened that my need for a personal relationship with the Lord came to light and I finally became aware that Jesus was my only hope out of the darkness.
Thankfully, my church family and friends were praying for me. Their prayers sustained me. I could sense the Lord’s love keeping me close.
There is so much to this part of my story, but the details are not relevant here. I was a struggling single mom, facing difficult challenges. I didn’t think life could get any worse, but then the unthinkable happened.
I was worried for my safety, but I needed time alone to think, so I decided to go for a drive to clear my head. Before long, I noticed a white truck following closely behind me. The driver flashed his lights.
I grew uneasy. Something didn’t feel right, so I decided to turn, hoping the driver would continue straight. Instead, he made the turn behind me, and I decided to go to my friend Sarah’s house, who lived just a short distance away. Surely when I pulled into her driveway, whoever was behind me would be scared away.
I was relieved to see that Sarah’s garage light was on. I swung the car into her driveway, hopped out, and quickly made my way to her front porch. But before I could reach the steps, the man who’d been driving the truck jumped me and threw me to the ground. The last thing I remember is him sitting on top of me and reaching for his belt.
“He’s going to rape me,” I thought, and then everything went black.
I have no idea how much time passed or what happened to me in those moments. When I came to, I was sitting in my car, alone and confused. I took inventory of my surroundings and saw my purse and keys sitting on the seat next to me. Nothing had been stolen.
“Pull yourself together!” I told myself. Then the words, “Get to Pam’s house,” came to mind. Pam was a dear friend who worked at the hospital. She would know what to do.
I cranked the car and started driving toward her home. As I went, I became disoriented and felt like I was driving in a maze.
“God, help me!” I prayed. It was about a five-mile drive to Pam’s, a very familiar route, but I knew if God didn’t intervene, I wasn’t going to get there.
After I prayed, God Himself or perhaps an angel must have taken the wheel. In the blink of an eye, I was at my destination, and I have no idea how I got there. I believe I was in and out of consciousness during that time.
When I pulled into Pam’s driveway, she was in her front yard talking to Sarah, who happened to be visiting. Amazingly, Sarah had been at Pam’s house while I was being attacked in her front yard.
Pam looked confused as I called out to her from my rolled-down car window. She later told me that she had recognized my car, but not my face.
“Debbie, is that you? Oh my God!” Pam screamed and ran toward me. Fortunately, I hadn’t looked in the rearview mirror, so I had no idea how badly I’d been beaten. My face was disfigured and covered with blood. Pam got me out of the car and assessed the situation. Then she and Sarah rushed me to the hospital.
Soon, detectives were standing by my bed, asking questions to which I had no answers. The hospital staff administered a rape kit. It returned negative, but my face was fractured and cut in many places.
Bad news travels fast, especially when you live in a small town. My church family, friends, and even strangers who had heard of the attack began praying for my physical and emotional healing. God heard those prayers, and He moved in miraculous ways.
The first evidence of that was the incredible speed at which I healed physically. A mere two weeks after the attack, my face was completely whole. Not one scar was left behind from the attack. Also, I suffered no lingering physical pain or headaches from the beating. The doctors were amazed, as were those who came to visit me. Everyone could see that God was at work as my face healed right before their eyes.
The Lord also healed me emotionally, although this healing took longer than the physical one. As you can imagine, a vicious physical attack also inflicts many invisible, emotional scars. Fear, anxiety, and a deep need to understand tormented me.
I wanted answers. I had been attacked and had almost lost my life. Why?! It was terrifying to know that whoever was behind the attack was roaming free, and it was unjust. But God intervened and released me from that emotional prison as well.
Most people would say I deserved answers and justice. But was my right to know the answers and to obtain justice worth my health and sanity? Was it worth isolating myself in a prison of bitterness and revenge? And then God laid before me a choice of life or death.
He said, “Debbie, you can trust Me, or you can lose your mind. Which will it be?”
In a moment of clarity, I suddenly understood that continuing down this road of “rights” would cost me and those I loved everything and would bring much trouble (Hebrews 12:15).
Godly counseling helped me process my thoughts and choose God’s better way. I took my need to know and my desire for justice and handed them over to Him, trusting that He would fight my battles and provide any answers I needed. As a result, I found peace of mind.
Proverbs 3:5–6 promises that if I trust the Lord and refrain from depending on my own understanding and seek His will, God will show me the path to take. He did, and He will help me walk that path too. God is always faithful to His Word.
Since the day I trusted Him, I have been able to move forward in life. I still don’t know the how, why, who, or what, and maybe that’s God’s way of protecting me. Who knows? But here’s what I do know: I don’t need all the answers when I have the Lord. My relationship with Him and the peace He gives me is way more important than fighting for my rights. His peace is my power. He is the protector of my heart and mind (Philippians 4:7).
Whatever you’ve been through, I want you to know that God loves you. You can trust His love for you. He knows what happened to you, and He cares.
Sometimes after we go through terrible abuses, rejections, and traumatic events, we are tempted to believe that God doesn’t love us or that He is absent. I see it differently now. God was not missing the day I was attacked. He was right there with me, protecting, helping, and healing me. God is the only reason I am alive.
He is the reason you are still alive too. Don’t be fooled. Every day, countless people are destroyed because they believe the lie that God doesn’t care. They fight for answers and revenge, and in the process, they imprison themselves. Don’t be one of them. Choose to trust God and live.
Don’t forfeit the good things God wants to give you now by hanging on to your past. Surrender your questions, your accusers, and even your attackers to the Lord. Cry out to Him, the only One who can vindicate you (Psalm 57:2–3).
There are some injustices you’ll never be able to right, but God can. And that’s His job. What’s your job? Your job is to trust and obey Him and to pray for, forgive, and bless your enemies (Matthew 5:44, 6:12, 18:21–22). It’s not easy, but it’s worth the reward.
As you obey Him, “the Lord your God will restore your fortunes. He will have mercy on you and gather you back from all the [places] where he has scattered you.” (Deuteronomy 30:3 NLT). He picked up my pieces and made me whole. He will do the same for you.
It’s interesting to me that the morning of the attack, I had asked God for a powerful testimony. I had wanted to be able to stand before people and share His goodness.
Well, now I can.
Please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying that God sent that man to attack me. The enemy wanted to destroy me; God is the giver of life. But God used that experience to help me know His faithful love in new ways. The experience has also given me more compassion for others.
As you trust the Lord with your pain, you will come to know His love and comfort too. Don’t forget to share your story. Tell others how the Lord put your shattered life back together. People need to know that He is alive and able to restore their lives. You have a unique experience that can help them see that truth. Ask God to help you. He will place His power on your words and make them relatable so they can penetrate the hearts of others. With God, your story will draw many people to His saving grace and defeat the enemy (Revelation 12:11).
It’ll be scary at first. I was terrified the first time I shared my testimony in front of a group of people. But as I persevered, the Lord helped me, and several came to know the God of comfort for themselves (2 Corinthians 1:3–7).
Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past will strengthen your faith and enable you to face new trials. Trusting God will bring you to a place of protection, healing, and peace. It is the key to unlocking the door of your self-inflicted emotional, mental, and physical prisons.
Give God the pieces of your depressed and shattered life and let Him restore you to wholeness.
DEBBIE SANDERS retired from a 33-year career at East Carolina University and now ministers the hope of Jesus through music and the sharing of her miraculous story in the US and abroad. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother who has a heart for evangelism and introducing others to the restorative power of Jesus Christ.