On the Threshold of Hope offers hope and healing to men and women who have been traumatized by sexual abuse. Dr. Langberg's insights and the quotations from many survivors assure readers that they are not alone and that Christ, the Redeemer, can heal their deep wounds. Through stories, Scripture, questions, and encouragement, Dr. Langberg walks with survivors on the road to healing through Christ's love and power.
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On the Threshold of HopeOpening the Door to Hope and Healing for Survivors of Sexual Abuse
By Diane Mandt Langberg
Tyndale House Publishers Inc.Copyright © 1999 Diane Mandt Langberg
All right reserved.
Chapter OneGetting Started
The subject of sexual abuse is a difficult one. Most people do not want to think about it or read about it unless they have some compelling reason to do so. You have just picked up a book about the subject, so I assume something has driven you to look at it. It is likely that either you have experienced sexual abuse or you are close to someone who has.
This book has been written for those who have been sexually abused. To a lesser degree it is also for those who have chosen to walk alongside survivors as they struggle to deal with their history. I have been immersed in the topic of sexual abuse for over twenty years as a therapist. Hundreds of men and women have courageously sat across from me, struggling to find the words to tell me what they often have never spoken aloud before. They have come seeking hope and healing. They have brought me their questions, their pain, their rage, and their fear.
The exchange of such things for hope and healing is never an easy one. It is often a hard and costly labor. It is, however, an exchange that will bring life to those who will persevere. I hope that the pages of this book willencourage you in your own battle with darkness, give you hope that the Light Giver has come, and introduce you to a greater measure of his redemptive power in your life.
You will find within these pages a chorus of voices. First, of course, will be mine. My voice is the voice of one who has listened hard for many years. It is the voice of one whose heart cares deeply about the ravages caused by the evil of sexual abuse. It is the voice of one who knows something of the lies abuse instills and who wants to use these pages to tell you the truth over and over. It is also the voice of one who knows the Redeemer and who has been privileged to have what I call a front-row seat to his work of redemption in the lives of many.
The second voice you will hear often in these pages is the voice of survivors. Elie Wiesel, survivor of the Holocaust, has said that one who was not there can never truly understand it. I was not there, and I acknowledge that I do not know from experience what it is like to be abused. I have been there only as a witness to the testimony of others. But they have been there, and I believe it is important to let you hear their voices. This book, then, provides a place where survivors can speak for themselves. These are men and women I have known and loved. They are men and women who have my utmost respect. You will find that many of them will help you find words for the unspeakable. They will also give you hope-real hope. They know the depth of the darkness. They have felt the fear. To varying degrees they have seen the light dawn. Listen to them. They know the way. If you are a survivor, the third voice I think you will hear will be your own. The sound of your own voice may initially seem strange to you because sexual abuse often has the effect of silencing its victims. I hope that as you read this book, you will find help expressing what you have not had words for and that as a result, your own voice will be added to those that are included in this book.
The fourth voice you will hear in these pages is the voice of the Redeemer. Some of you are afraid he does not exist. At least not for you. Some of you do not want to know him yet. To trust anyone, perhaps most especially a powerful Redeemer, is unimaginable to you. Some of you long to hear his voice and are desperate to know that he speaks to you. He who is called the Man of Sorrows is here, and he is working even in your darkness. Whether or not you know him, whether or not you believe in him, God through Jesus Christ is the one who brings light out of darkness, hope instead of despair. He is the one who can "rebuild the ancient ruins ... raise up the former devastations, and ... repair the ... desolations of many generations" (Isa. 61:4, NASB). Whatever your story is, there is no darkness he cannot banish, no depth he cannot plumb, no devastation he cannot redeem. I know, for I have seen him do it.
As you interact with this chorus of voices, I hope that you will come to know that you are not alone, that others have to some degree walked where you walk. I hope that you will feel understood and that you will sense that there are others who have a grasp on where you have been and what might lie ahead. This book is intended to assure you that the darkness and suffering you have experienced are indeed real. It is also meant to assure you that there is a way out of the darkness, that others have gone before you and now want to lend their voices to encourage you. It is my prayer that this book will enable you to see yourself "on the threshold of hope."
Excerpted from On the Threshold of Hope by Diane Mandt Langberg Copyright © 1999 by Diane Mandt Langberg. Excerpted by permission.
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