Episode #09 Lifted to Hope out of Childhood Abuse and Shame. Louise Sedgwick

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From Today's Episode

Louise Sedgwick, author of Lifted from Shame, shares her powerful journey out of significant childhood abuse and shame. Her story shines as a beacon of hope and redemption. She explains how God rescued her from rage, perfectionism, unforgiveness, and the lie that God could never love her. Louise hands us practical tools to replace the lies of shame with God’s truth.

Key Takeaways:

“Because what Jesus did for us is greater than the most severe abuse anyone can experience, we have hope.”

“God, show me your love in a way I can see it, not your love for all of mankind, I need to see your personal love for me uniquely, and that was a powerful journey of healing for me.”

Today's Verses
  • Titus 2:13
  • 1 John 4:18
  • Jeremiah 31:3
  • Matthew 5
Additional Resources

Buy Lifted from Shame: Trauma to Redemption  https://amzn.to/3O6P578

Connect with Louise and Lifted to Hope podcast: https://www.louisesedgwick.com/

Lifted to Hope out of Childhood Abuse and Shame. Louise Sedgwick

Kelly: Welcome to the Unshakable Hope Podcast, where real life intersects redeeming love. I’m Kelly Hall and this is where we wrestle through faith questions such as, how do I trust God’s heart when his ways and delays are breaking mine? How can I believe God is good when life doesn’t seem good? My prayer is that God would renew our hope in these conversations and that each of us would experience the very real power of his presence and love.

Welcome. My guest today is Louise Sedgwick. She’s a survivor of significant childhood trauma. As an adult, she struggled with shame and wrestled with hard questions about God and suffering . My friend Louise is passionate about pointing people to the hope Jesus offers and has counseled countless people on their journeys out of trauma.

Her book is called Lifted From Shame, where she shares her healing journey. Her podcast is called Lifted to Hope. Both are [00:01:00] powerful resources. I highly recommend them. Louise has been married to Chuck for 40 years and they have two adult daughters. So happy you’re here Louise.

Louise: I’m honored to be with you. Kelly, thank you for inviting me.

Kelly: Absolutely. I’d love for you to begin by sharing with us how God is speaking to you in this season of your life.

Louise: This season currently, God is asking me to step out of a place of dreading the next hard thing cuz I can do that. Yeah. When we’ve had a lot of hard things in life, I can just go, okay, what’s the next thing that’s gonna happen?

And I’m dreading it. And he is asking me to consider living in expectant hope that I can expect him out of his promises and his word that he will show up for me might not change my circumstances or. Make the hard things go away, but he is going to be there with me in them. And, I’m grateful [00:02:00] for his promises and so I can watch for him.

So there’s a verse in Titus, and it’s talking really about the second coming of Jesus, but the first words in Titus 2:13 says, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, that I can look for Jesus to show up in my circumstances, to encourage me to be there with his presence, to free me from my fear. I can just have an expectant hope and it’s just changing how I face my tomorrows. And so it’s, it’s been a blessing for me.

Kelly: That is awesome .Expectancy. I love that. I can remember a particular time in my own life when God stirred that in my heart, and he was trying to tell me, Kelly, stop letting your past disappointments define your future.

Louise: Amen.

Kelly: Yeah. And stop letting your [00:03:00] past disappointments diminish my goodness and my power. So yes, expectancy, it changes everything.

Louise: It absolutely does.

Kelly: I’d like you to share with us about your childhood and also, how you came to know Jesus.

Louise: I’d be glad to do that. I grew up in a home that I went to church.

At the time, every time the church doors were open in that season where it was Sunday morning, Sunday school and worship service, and then Sunday night service and Wednesday night prayer meeting and kids clubs and youth, just busy, busy church. And my family was like that. We went every time the doors were open.

And so I heard he gospel from the time I was small. When I was a little girl, I asked Jesus into my heart. I sat on the hill, in front of my house and just asked Jesus to be my savior, come into my heart, take away my [00:04:00] sin, make me clean, and I wanna go to heaven when I die.

So it was just childlike faith that I did that. And then when I was going into seventh grade at camp, I went forward and dedicated my life to the Lord. It wasn’t just an emotional camp experience, I really meant it because I defined my life as before and after that moment when I fully gave my life to Christ.

And I said, use me God for whatever you wanna use me big for your kingdom purposes, as I just wanted to a hundred percent give my life to Christ and my life changed after that. And I started sharing with the gospel with my friends and. That kind of thing. And the churches that we attended, they were churches that preached the gospel and taught the word of God, but they were performance based.

And so I was taught to strive. One of the songs we sang, striving to Be All God wants me to be every moment of every day. So it was all very God’s grace for salvation. [00:05:00] But in that journey of growing and sanctifying the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, It was really up to us to make it happen. So that was kind of the, the church piece of it.

But, my mother was a musician in the church. She was very visible back when there was choirs and pianos and organs. She was very visible in front of the church. And my father was always the resident bible theologian, often the church elder. Adult Sunday school teacher where he taught through scripture.

So he knew a lot of scripture and there was all of this that looked good up front. But what happened in our home was very different. My father there, I don’t remember a time when my father wasn’t sexually abusing me from the time I was small until my teen years, and my mother knew what was going on and didn’t do anything.

It wasn’t just my father. He would bring in other men [00:06:00] before we had the word of trafficking. That’s what like my experience was. We were sold, I was sold. I’ll speak just for myself. I was sold to other men. And, will spare your listeners the details. Because I know it can be triggering for some who’ve experienced it.

But, it was evil. It was terrifying. It was severe and it made me feel like raw sewage. And, that was, that was my experience. And so here I had given my life fully to Jesus. And yet I was living this terrifying reality. In my home and sometimes outside of the home at my father’s, ha hand, and he would use scripture to get me to do what he wanted me to do.

He would say, children obey your parents in all things. So it was very confusing as you can imagine. It [00:07:00] was terrifying. And because I was in this performance-based environment at church and at home, I learned to try to survive by being perfect because most of the time when there was violation, my father would tell me it was because of something that I had done wrong, that I needed to experience this.

So This was my punishment. And so if I could just be perfect, it wouldn’t happen. And of course, looking back, I know that’s not true, but from a child’s perspective, who has been trained in this her whole life, it’s what you do to survive. And so I tried to be perfect and honestly there was all this pain that I felt cuz I was a leader kind of personality.

But it didn’t come out in sadness like it does for some, or isolation for some, for me it came out in [00:08:00] rage. So all my fear and my sadness were covered up with rage cuz rage made me feel powerful And, in that striving environment, I wanted to be the best that I was supposed to be. I was just a high achiever by design in school or whatever, and I thought if I’m doing things that other people are supposed to be doing, and that makes me better.

If they’re not doing it and I am, that makes me better. Or if I’m not doing something they are doing that makes me better. And so here I felt like raw sewage on one hand. And on the other hand, to make myself feel better, I would feel superior to the people who weren’t performing like I was. So I struggled with perfectionism and arrogance and rage.

And yet, I loved Jesus and wanted to serve him with [00:09:00] everything in me, and I couldn’t stop doing all these things . That I know now were sometimes trauma responses of trying to just survive, but that’s how I did it. I came into my adult life with all this mess and feeling like a failure constantly because, in my logic, I believed that only someone that God didn’t value, would he allow to go through what I went through.

Because I’d look at my friends and they had healthy homes. And they weren’t experiencing, so what’s wrong with me? So that journey of shame of saying there’s something significantly wrong with me, that my mother and father would allow these things to happen and do these things and God allowed them.

So what’s wrong with me? The problem is me. So I had all this shame I felt because of what [00:10:00] happened to me. So, So Jesus was there through it all, but I didn’t know how to connect with him because I was so full of shame and did not believe at all that he loved me, that I was like for my father, I was my father’s workforce.

He was just using me. He wasn’t, he’d say he loves me before he abused me. He said he loved me, but he didn’t really. And so I put the same thing on God, that God says he loves me in his word, but look what he allowed to happen to me. So he really doesn’t love me.

Kelly: That’s how everything played out in your life. There was nothing, nothing in your life. Looked like love.

Louise: Exactly, exactly. So , it was very confusing to me.

Kelly: Yes. Because you had seen some people at camp who actually did love Jesus and [00:11:00] knew how to show love, and you had experienced. God’s love in that moment, but yet the reality of your life was playing out in ways that didn’t support that heart of God,

Louise: Right. And I had all this evidence in my mind, and the pile of evidence grew bigger and bigger as to why the problem was me. Every time I failed or every time another hard thing happened, it just grew my pile of evidence, that the lie of my shame was the truth.

Kelly: Yes. So you were living with all these lies and you were living with the consequences of shame as you described, the rage and the perfectionism and comparison, but you didn’t understand where it all came from?

Louise: No, because I believed the problem was me, I didn’t see it was sin done against me was the problem. I [00:12:00] believe the problem was there was something faulty with me,

Kelly: and because you were in a church that actually preached a lot of performance versus grace, you would try very hard in your own strength not to do those things, but nothing worked.

Louise: Right, exactly. Exactly.

Kelly: I would like for you to just describe to us, I know you got married and all of this is still going on. You still didn’t understand what was happening. So describe to us how you came to a place where you were finally able to get help.

Louise: Well, when I was married and I had two children, Unfortunately, my survival skills that I had in my childhood, like all of us do it to one degree or another, whatever we use for my childhood to cope with our shame, I brought it into my marriage, into my parenting. And I saw my children as an extension of myself, and I needed them to be perfect, like I was perfect.

And any place where they weren’t perfect, I couldn’t handle it, and I needed my [00:13:00] husband to be perfect. Anytime he did something that remotely felt like he was using me, like my father used me, I would just scream and rage at him. If he didn’t do the dishes when he said he was going to do the dishes, I would, I was out of control in my rage.

Instead of it getting better as I went away from my parents, it got worse because, nothing was changing in how I saw myself or how I saw God. And so it just got worse and we started attending a church that was a grace based church. My father wasn’t an alcoholic. He obviously had an addiction to sex, but I started going to adult children of alcoholics group meetings because it was about addiction in your home growing up.

And that was my experience. And so this new church we were going to had one of those support groups and I started [00:14:00] attending it. And then I started at meeting with the senior pastor of the church one-on-one, cuz he did a lot of pastoral counseling. And when my support group leader asked me to start meeting with my pastor, I could then tell him I have rage that’s out of control.

I am so critical of my husband. I’m critical of everyone in my thoughts all the time. I’m arrogant. And yet I feel so bad about my, you know, I started just telling him and he began first by helping me understand God’s grace and that the performance teaching I had growing up wasn’t even biblical.

And we went through Romans and, and he started teaching me those things. And the more I felt safe with him, the more I could begin to look at the sexual abuse of my childhood and begin to understand that it was that all that pain that was fueling my rage. And so it began [00:15:00] that journey for me of healing. I’m so grateful to God.

Kelly: Yeah. Wow. What stuns me about your story is how intense and enormous all the trauma was. I remember the first time we’ve been friends for a long time and I didn’t know your story when you first began to describe to me a little bit about your childhood. I was shaken so deeply, I was sobbing and you had to stop.

I couldn’t even, go there. My heart could not wrap around the truth of everything that you had been through and I would sit there thinking, God, I know you’re big enough, but I cannot even imagine how healing, true healing and transformation can come into that life. But your story is a beacon of hope and it really stands [00:16:00] as a huge testimony of the power of God to transform someone.

Louise: And it’s really because the church where I was, the pastor and the gal who was the support group leader, they knew the power of God.

Kelly: Yeah,

Louise: that nothing is impossible with God. Nothing is too hard for God, and they knew and understood the theology of the cross and the resurrection. I’d heard about the power of the cross. I’d heard about the power of the resurrection, but I never saw anyone live it out, and so here I am with these people who believed it, and so they weren’t looking at how severe my experience was.

They kept their eyes focused on Jesus and what he has accomplished for us. And because what Jesus did for us is greater than the most severe abuse than anyone can experience, we have hope. And [00:17:00] it didn’t happen overnight because it, it was a complex experience, and so it needed step by step healing.

And God, the Holy Spirit took me on that, but there’s nothing too hard for God.

Kelly: And that what I love about your book is you, you take people through this step-by-step. You’re not throwing out platitudes. You’re not saying it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work cuz you know, deep down it does not work.

So you just go. Step by step by step through the many layers of healing that you experienced. I remember this one particular moving dialogue in your book. So you’ve already begun to heal. Yeah. You’ve been uncovering lies and your counselor said, Louise, I know you don’t believe God loves you. Tell us about that.

Louise: I’d been meeting, this was my pastor, he was my pastoral counselor. I also went to professional counselors, so I want [00:18:00] that to be understood too. But , he was teaching me about God, and that was pivotal for me. We had been meeting for a long time, and I had been vulnerable and bare about my arrogance and my perfectionism and how much I’d harmed my husband and my kids with my rage.

It wasn’t like I was withholding from him, but he sat with me and he said, Louise, I know you have a lot of fear and I know you don’t believe God loves you, and I just sat there and went, how did you know that? I’ve never told you that. How did you know that? And he said, well, it’s because you’re so full of fear.

First John 4:18 says, there is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear. Because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. Mm. So I feared that if I did the next wrong thing, God would punish me by having another [00:19:00] hard, horrible thing happen and I was full of fear. So it was powerful.

Kelly: Wow. Wow. That is very powerful. That is a hard thing to grasp, right?

Louise: Yeah. But it changed my trajectory because up until that point, remember I’m trying to be perfect. So nothing bad happens, which is about performance and fear. I fear the next hard thing, and so fear has to do with punishment. So I realized I had to make my focus be on learning to experience and know the love of God and recognize the love of God.

I needed to look at who God is rather than on the pain. Mm-hmm. And so I said, God, show me your love. Show me your love in a way that I can see it not your love for all of mankind, I need to [00:20:00] see your personal love for me uniquely, and that was a powerful journey of healing for me.

Kelly: Let’s just stick with that process for you. You’ve said that nothing in you knew how to feel loved. That was your experience, and so you were slowly starting to understand, but there was fear standing in the way and there were many, many steps that you went through.

There’s this time when you’re memorizing Jeremiah 31:3, which says, I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Can you describe part of the process really practically speaking, how that love began to penetrate deeper into your heart?

Louise: Absolutely. It was pivotal for me, and what I came to understand is that I had this imaginary wall around my heart and we talk about [00:21:00] people being guarded. That’s what it feels like. You can feel it when somebody’s guarded. Well, that’s what it is. That guardedness is an imaginary wall that we put around our hearts to try to protect ourselves from being hurt. That wall goes up and we think if I keep that wall up, you won’t hurt me.

Of course it doesn’t work. Mm. But what happened was when I had that wall up, if you came toward me or God came toward me to try to love me, the love would hit the wall. I wouldn’t let it in cuz I trusted no one. I had to somehow take the bricks of the wall down one by one. Very practically, I just looked up a ton of verses in scripture about God’s love and I put them all around my house and at work and that particular day with Jeremiah 31:3. That was a verse I put it over [00:22:00] my refrigerator, near my cutting board in my kitchen and I was cutting vegetables and whenever I would see a verse, whether I was standing at the refrigerator or the sink or my bathroom, whatever, I would say the verse out loud.

I’d just say it out loud, so I’d read it and hear it. So, two senses were happening. And it usually it would just go wa wa. It didn’t hit me, it was mental ascent to the truth, but that particular day, I’d read it so many times that I had it memorized and I was cutting and I read the verse and I realized, I have to take a couple bricks of the wall out.

And so in my mind, I took a couple of the bricks out, not all of them, and I read them and I made a decision that I was gonna believe it. Wow. And when I believed it, I could, I [00:23:00] felt that my shoulders droop like, relax. Yeah. And I let, I let God’s love in and I felt it.

Kelly: That is so cool. Wow.

Louise: And I’d like to say the bricks stayed out forever, but sometimes I’d put ’em back in and it was just a practice of taking them out and risking believing it. And when a hard thing would happen, sometimes the bricks would go back in, but it was still a process of choosing to believe it.

Kelly: That picture of your shoulders dropping. That is one of the ways I have described: What would it mean to walk into a room? Without shame. Mm-hmm. So there’s a room of people, you don’t know them, you’re walking in you and what would it feel like if you had zero shame and you were standing confidently in who you are in Christ?

And that’s how I [00:24:00] describe it. My shoulders would relax. Yeah. I wouldn’t be tense at all. I could be myself. Right. I, I love that you connect being able to receive God’s love with really standing in the true identity as a loved child of God.

Louise: Amen. Amen.

Kelly: it helps to hear the practical ways that the walls were coming down for you. I’d like to go back, you were talking about the anger and rage you had towards your husband and your girls. Can you talk about how you worked through that with them?

Louise: Well, It was a process because it was, many years, 30 plus years of living the other way. But I needed to repent of those things and I needed to learn a new way of doing life. I needed to apologize, make amends for what I had done. But. [00:25:00] Sometimes my husband would say, I don’t want an apology, Louise. I want change. And that was right. And so it was a journey for me to get to a place of repentance.

And I was afraid to let go of my rage because it’s the only thing that made me feel strong. I didn’t know how to have strengthen the Lord. And so, my pastor encouraged me to go to my family and asked them to tell me how my anger affected them. Wow. So I sat down with them and cuz I wanted to follow his counsel.

So I sat down with them and my youngest was three and my oldest was seven. And I said, we all know mommy has a big problem with anger. And the next time I get angry it would help me if you let me know how my anger is affecting you. My 3 year old daughter looked up at me and said, oh no, mommy, I won’t do that.

You are scary [00:26:00] when you’re angry. And my older daughter, the tears just ran down her face and my husband looked away, and the pain on his face said it all. And so hearing how my anger affected them helped me to be willing to repent of it. And I couldn’t stop unless God helped me. Because I had tried to control my anger on my own for decades, and I was unable, and only through God’s enablement could I begin to live in another way.

So it was a process. It didn’t happen overnight, but my family would tell you today that it’s not the same. It’s very different. Praise God. But there was a lot of damage that I did in those years that I have to trust God for the redemption and full healing in their lives for it because it was [00:27:00] significant damage that I did to their hearts, to their person. It’s very painful for me today even, but it’s my journey to trust God with it.

Kelly: So you don’t continue to condemn yourself. You’ve been able to stand in His forgiveness in that place.

Louise: That was a process too. Because it was my anger, my perfectionism, my critical spirit that was all bigger than anything I could stop doing. It had to be the Holy Spirit through me, Christ in me, who made the changes in me. It was a journey of continuing to believe that God loved me and at the same time, God’s power to allow me to do something different. For a long time, I held both truths in my hand where I was still holding onto the old patterns of survival and I’m learning these new tools of who I am in Christ. I wish it was a quick [00:28:00] pass from one to the other, but it wasn’t,

it was a long journey mm-hmm for it to happen. But it did. Because God is faithful.

Kelly: You say in your book, you didn’t yet know how to live in relationship with God except to feel shame in his presence. Your shame and unbelief were inextricably linked. So your conclusion was, nothing good’s gonna happen to me because I am not enough. So how did you find freedom from that lie, and also, could you break down for us the steps that are involved in helping other people be free from those lies?

Louise: Yeah, I first had to understand what shame is, cuz I just thought I was shame. I didn’t know that it was this state of being or this emotion that it’s when we think there’s something inherently wrong with me and, I had unbelief because of that and it wasn’t like my unbelief just [00:29:00] came out of my pride or my confusion. It was birthed in my shame. And so until I could name the shame that I felt it was gonna be hard for me to believe God because I had to see God apart from my shame. So to be able to name the shame lies that I felt, that was the first step.

And to say, God, free me from my shame. I can’t free myself from my shame. Free me from my shame. Help me to understand where it began. And so for me to look back and say, I don’t just feel like raw sewage. I do, but I do because. I believed I’m only worth being used and tossed aside, that was my worth and that was my shame statement.

I’m only worthy to be used and tossed aside, and it’s different [00:30:00] for all of us. And so that makes me unlovable for men. It makes me, I don’t measure up and to name the shame lie. And where it came from, and ask God to speak the truth to that shame lie because I am loved with an everlasting love. I’m the apple of his eye and to quote scriptures that contradict the lie of what I was believing and then to forgive the people who intentionally, in my case, but for some people it’s even unintentional, who, who birthed the harm in the beginning. Cuz sometimes children experience harm from their parents and the parents didn’t mean anything, they were just being human beings or their teacher or their friends or whatever. But to, but to forgive the people who have harmed us. Because if we don’t do it, that pile of evidence that keeps bringing [00:31:00] experiences to say this just confirms that first lie, if we don’t forgive, that pile of evidence grows and grows and we can’t be free from it.

So to start that beginning and say, God, it is Jesus and his work on the cross, that Jesus died to set us free. What does that mean? That Jesus died for the sins that I’ve committed and for the sins done against me, and I can repent of my sin and I can forgive those who have harmed me. And once I can forgive and repent. Then the pile of evidence gets wiped away and I’m left with just the truth of God and his incredible love for me, and that he sent Jesus to die for me so that I could be free from what was done to me and what I’ve done to others. Because sometimes the shame lie, even as what we’ve done, cuz sometimes we [00:32:00] do terrible things cuz we’re mistake makers. We need God’s forgiveness for us.

That’s why I wrote the book because it’s really a practice. It’s not a one and done thing. It’s a discipline to keep choosing to believe what is true and keep asking God to remove the lies. And let us see him for who he really is, rather than what we see of him through the veils of our shame.

Kelly: Yes. And the first step is really uncovering the lies and uncovering the root. Where did it come from? Right. And then asking the Lord to speak into that place

Louise: right. And to forgive those who’ve harmed us or to receive forgiveness if it’s our own mistakes we’ve made.

Kelly: Okay, let’s talk about forgiveness. There’s one point where you and your counselor felt led to confront your parents. I wanna hear about what led to that and what that was [00:33:00] like. But I’m pretty sure forgiveness was a part of that journey.

Louise: Yeah, absolutely. Because my parents claim to be believers, claimed to be Christians, the goal needed to be reconciliation and I had zero interest in reconciling with my parents. I wanted to confront them if it meant that I could expose them in their church where they were very visible and had a lot of influence and I wanted to have exact vengeance that that was where I was at.

My pastor wisely said, we can’t do this until you forgive your parents. And because I so much wanted to expose them because of the lie of them being these visible, influential church leaders and having this double life I. That’s what was my initial motivation. My motivation wasn’t to reconcile and to love them and honor, no, it was nothing good.[00:34:00]

I wasn’t willing to forgive and I wasn’t even willing to be willing to forgive. I. Asked for three willings. God help me to be willing to be willing, to be willing to forgive. And so I started praying that and God is faithful to answer prayers and so went through a process of writing down a list of all the ways they’d harmed me.

And I needed to feel something besides anger. I needed to feel the sadness of what happened, not just the anger for it of the injustice. And that just happened in the months that went by. And as I slowly got to a place of frustration of realizing that my parents were getting away with what they’d done, and I was the one carrying the misery of it, and that was not fair.

And I [00:35:00] realized that I needed to forgive my parents for my sake so that I could be free, not just to reconcile with them and give them an opportunity to repent, but for my sake, I needed to forgive.

Kelly: Right. I wanted to step back a little bit. So what you said was as you made a list of all the ways that they had harmed you, a big part of the healing was actually letting yourself be sad.

Louise: Yeah. That it was tragic. Yes. Not just wrong. It was grievous. Yeah. And I’d never allowed myself to feel that grief. I was just angry.

Kelly: Right. I think that’s such an important point that you make because along my own journey with all the sorrow that we have walked through, there have been many times when the Lord just said to me, you need to grieve all of the losses you’ve experienced. Yeah. And I’ve had to take [00:36:00] time, time to sit down in those losses and just process the grief instead of just stuffing them inside.

Louise: Yes. Or pushing ahead with life. Exactly. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah, me too. There was times in that season where I would just set aside a few hours on a day to grieve. Oh. My friends would say, what are you doing this afternoon? Well, I’m trying to spend some time grieving. It just sounds ridiculous, but I’m so thankful I did because it was healing for me to cry.

To experience his compassion and his comfort. When I was young, the verse in Matthew 5 and the Beatitudes, it said, blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. That sounded strange, but is there is a blessing when we mourn because we get to experience God’s comfort.

Kelly: It is powerful. Thank you for clarifying that. Okay, so let’s step back into the forgiveness journey and the story of [00:37:00] confronting your parents.

Louise: Yes. So I eventually did forgive my parents I got to a place where I was able to forgive them cuz I needed to step off my judgment seat.

I could never forgive them from a place of judging them, but when I saw them as. On level ground in front of the cross that I, my sin nailed Jesus to the cross as much as their sin did, then I could forgive them. And when I forgave them, then I was free to confront them, because of the dangerous nature of what happened to me as a child My husband and I went together to where my parents live and our pastor actually went.

We invited them to bring a pastor from their church. So my parents and I and their pastor came and met with my husband and my pastor and me we did Share about the abuse and they denied it. [00:38:00] I won’t go into the details of all that, but they denied it, which didn’t surprise me. We came back the next year cuz it’s, the scripture says we’re supposed to bring another witness.

So my sister also experienced the same. Abuse from my father with my mother’s knowledge. We asked her to participate and she was, honestly, she was afraid my father would kill her for telling, cuz that was one of his threats when we were growing up. She sent her husband with her written testimony, once again, my parents denied anything happened and I was able to share with them that I’d forgiven them.

I quoted Genesis 50:20, what you meant for evil, God is meant for good, the saving of many lives. And so they heard, and the people from their church heard my sister and me and we said we’re willing to reconcile, but this needs to be addressed. And that was over 30 years ago and my [00:39:00] parents still have not acknowledged it, but the door is open for reconciliation with them if they would be willing.

They so far are not, and I can only guess why they’re not that it’d be pretty difficult for them to face these things in front of the people that they know. Yes. But that door is still open.

Kelly: Okay. So they’re choosing to live a lie rather than to live in a place of truth.

Louise: Exactly.

Kelly: Okay. That’s something that I’ve shared with a lot of people over the years. I’ve always remembered that part of your story. When people would say to me, they’re trying to forgive but reconciliation wasn’t happening. They were still trying to continue this relationship and it was very dysfunctional.

Yeah, and I would share what you had said. We’re gonna have a relationship that’s based in truth, right? Or we will have no relationship. Right. When I would share this with people, it just set them free to be in a healthy place rather than in a forced dysfunctional relationship.

Louise: Yeah. I [00:40:00] need to be responsible for my side of the relationship. If I’ve done my part, then it’s on them. For their part. So I’ve been obedient to God. I honored my father and my mother. I honored them and I sought reconciliation. It was their choice. And so I don’t have guilt.

It’s sad to me, that they walked away. It didn’t surprise me cuz the cost would be high for them to reconcile. But it frees me because I’ve done my part.

Kelly: Right, right. Well, you talk about a moment when you felt disqualified for ministry. And you said it seemed like all you were ever gonna do was heal from your childhood issues.

And it sounded like you felt very impatient. Like, when will I ever get to the other side of all of this? So could you describe how God did bring redemption out of your story?

Louise: Absolutely because when I was in my thirties and I spent my [00:41:00] thirties doing all this hard work cuz it’s was years of work . I had such a passion to be in ministry full-time I felt that was what I was designed for and I’d see friends who were released to ministry and I felt like the victim.

I didn’t ask for this, I don’t wanna do this all the time. I didn’t understand that that hard work that was happening in my thirties was the preparation for what God had in my tomorrows, I couldn’t see it. I just felt like I had been set aside by God.

But then in my forties and beyond, I started having a support group, for women who had been sexually abused and discovered in that journey of doing that for four years, that I had, a pastoral counseling natural ability.

In that time in, in my early forties, people began asking to meet with me. I was also leadership gifted [00:42:00] and in my forties I had done children’s ministries forever, since I was a teenager and loved it. And I became the children’s pastor at our church. I did that and got to teach the kids and do all kinds of fun things, but I was also meeting with people.

In my forties and on, I eventually came on the pastoral staff over adult ministries, a big part of what I did was meeting with people and teaching them and doing counseling, training and getting to teach about shame and healing and the power of the cross and teach women’s Bible study in the adult classes and all those things.

All those years of preparation, began to bear fruit in the wisdom that I learned and the practical tools that I learned and the truths that became real to me, then I could pass on to other people. I saw other people who had my same exact questions like, where is God? Where was God? All the same things I [00:43:00] asked, I could then pass on the answers that God had given me to them and get to see God do miraculous work of healing in other people, it was just a huge joy to my heart to get to see that redemption.

Kelly: Yes. It just thrills my heart. You are such a powerful woman of God. You bring hope wherever you go. Thank you.

Louise: Oh, my privilege.

Kelly: Would you tell us a little bit about your podcast?

Louise: Oh, thank you. Yes. My podcast came about as an extension of the work that I did for my book, lifted From Shame and of Good Friends said I should call the podcast Lifted to Hope from Shame to Hope. And so I get to share, some of the things that I taught.

In my role at the church, but I also do lots of interviews with friends who I ministered to along the way, and they share their stories of shame and the healing that happened for them or the hardships that happened and how [00:44:00] God showed up. I also interview people who are experts in the area of healing.

Professional counselors and social workers and pastors, and so it’s a great joy for me to get to do that.

Kelly: The podcast is inspirational and I love the stories and also the expertise that you bring. It’s a wonderful resource and your book lifted from shame is powerful as well.

Louise: Thank you.

Kelly: . I was wondering if you could pray for those who might be listening who just need to be convinced that God is big enough.

Louise: Absolutely. I’d be thrilled to do that. Father, I just wanna lift up anyone listening who resonates in any way with the things that I’ve shared today.

Lord you are greater than our shame. You are greater than the greatest violation we have experienced or we ourselves have done. You are greater. [00:45:00] Jesus, you died on the cross to free us from that shame and from the bondage of sin and the effects of sin, and you rose from the dead to break the power of sin and break the power of death.

And I pray for each one listening, Lord, that you would take them on a journey to heal from all the places in them where sin has destroyed, that you would bring it to life and bring healing and hope, because that’s what you do. You’re the God of all hope. You’re the God of all comfort. Would you do a mighty work in each one, listening, Lord, for your glory and their good?

In Jesus’ name, amen. Amen. Thank you so much, Louise. You’re so welcome. I’m honored to be with you.

Thanks for listening to the Unshakable Hope podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please subscribe and leave a review. To continue the conversation and for free resources, be sure to visit me@kellyhall.org. Thanks so much.

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