When I walked into The Refuge Center, I was a shell of a woman. Having just walked away from an 8-month long relationship full of emotional abuse, sexual mistreatment, and fear, I had completely lost myself. In the life of a girl who was usually strong, independent and confident, this was rock bottom. I felt as though I could barely breathe under the weight of the pain and grief, and I couldn’t yet make sense of what I had been through and what was daily compelling me to walk away from it. I truly needed a refuge; I needed someone to explain what was happening and give me hope that I could get through what was ahead.
From my first meeting with my counselor, I knew God had put me in the perfect place to find His healing and redemption. I felt the freedom to express every emotion and fear, even if they didn’t seem to make sense to me. It was a place to be completely honest. I had never experienced any sort of abuse or disorder in my life before that time, and through counseling I began to understand what had happened to me and how I got to the place I was when I first walked in to The Refuge Center. My counselor walked through the trenches with me; in every stage of grief, through every changing emotion, she shed light on the truth and helped me to find the strength that was still mine, through Christ. I slowly rediscovered my identity that had for so long been stifled; I learned healthy ways to express emotions (such as anger) that I had never experienced in such deep ways before. It was certainly a slow and heart-wrenching process, but through God’s grace in my counselors at The Refuge Center, I walked through and came out on the other side.
There were many points in the midst of that journey that I was sure I would never be the same again. I didn’t know if I would ever completely heal and be free to be myself. However, I can say today, without any reservation, that I am healed. Not only healed, but a much stronger and whole woman than I ever was before. God’s grace is huge; far beyond what we can comprehend — and I have experienced first-hand how He can redeem any struggle, any pain, any injury. He takes our ashes and breathes life into them to create something more beautiful than before. I never knew that my life could be as good as it is today. Struggles and trials are sure to come, but because of my experience and the truth spoken over me at The Refuge Center, I am filled with hope that I can face what comes, with the strength that only Christ provides.
I am eternally grateful to my counselors at The Refuge Center and their dedication to help bring healing and freedom into lives marked deeply by suffering. It truly is a place of refuge, hope and grace — and I would not be the same today without them!