Peace replaced thoughts of death

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Incest survivor and child abuse victim Julia Bowen knows how it feels to plead for death but today she shares the source of her new life.

"I had five abusers as a child including my dad," Julia shares sadly. "I believe that abuse is the most horrible thing that can happen to a child because it costs them in self-esteem, hurt, anger, future relationships, jobs ... all facets of their life are harmed by this terrible ordeal."

Julia recalls having one prayer as a child, one that lasted 40 years: a prayer to end her misery in death.

"I would say 'God, please take me home, I want to come home'," she says. "As I prayed this prayer I cried silently ... because if my dad heard me, he would come and harm me again. So mostly I learnt to cry silently."

At age 35 the abuse Julia suffered growing up plunged her into depression and hospitalization in the sexual trauma unit.

"I worked very hard to stay alive each moment of each day but wanted desperately to die," she confesses.

After seven years on antidepressant medication Julia finally felt that she "had climbed the mountain and was free from the pain".

Despite the improvement Julia admits that she was a "draining" person to be around and felt so hateful towards herself that love from others was hard to accept.

When she discovered that her mum had known about the abuse that she had suffered and done nothing about it, things took a turn for the worse once more.

"It was a very painful thing for a child to discover," she says, "my world felt as if it crashed around me."

Then, two days after Christmas in 1998, Julia reached the end of herself.

"I kneeled and prayed to God for someone, something to intervene and help me," she recalls. "I prayed for His forgiveness for what I was doing."

Yet rather than submitting to Jesus for healing, she swallowed a bowl full of various pills in complete desperation, "wanting my own pain to stop".

Up until this point she says she had called herself a Christian, had even been baptised, but now realises that she had been trusting and depending on herself rather than Jesus Christ.

"I talked the talk ... I just didn't walk (i.e. live) the talk! Big difference," she explains.

As she lay unconscious from her drug cocktail, she was raced to hospital when a friend found her and spent three days in intensive care wavering between life and death.

When she awoke, the ensuing expensive medical bills, time in the psychiatric ward, and involuntary unpaid leave of absence from work lead to her feeling utter despair.

Julia had two choices: try take her life again or seek pastoral help.

"I prayed, I cried, I prayed and cried some more," she says.

Then she got on the Internet to seek help from people who could pray for her. Here she came across a pastor's website and digital newsletters.

"I began to find comfort in the words and knew that I needed more. Something here, with me ... within me."

Responding to her call for help, the pastor told Julia, "God loves you ... He forgives you and not only does He forgive you ... He's forgotten it!"

She sought out and was directed to another pastor who she recalls telling her: "Julia, I want you to realise that if you had been the only person on this earth ... God loves you so much that He still would have sent His only Son Jesus Christ just for you!"

"Those things were so powerful within me that I began a transformation from what I was to what I am now," Julia says after realising the depth of God's love for her.

"I knew the Bible talked about throwing off the old and putting on the new and becoming a new person [see Ephesians 4:22]... I just never understood it. Now, not only was I graced with an understanding of the new ... I was it!"

Since then Julia says she continues to build on her new relationship with God.

"I am growing each and every day and becoming stronger in the Word, God's love and myself. I love others sincerely and I have absolutely no doubt that God loves me and has a mighty plan for me," she shares joyfully.

"I have been to the depths of despair ... to the brink of death and God has brought me back.

"God answered the prayer that I had as a child and through my adult life ... He has brought me home and I am at peace! Praise the Lord."

She concludes with her favourite verse, which comforts her in tough times.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path [see Proverbs 3:5,6]."?

Read Julia's original testimony at

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