Forgiveness replaced Lianne’s bitterness towards her abuser
Two horrific years of abuse from age 10 tainted Lianne Bothma's picture of herself and the world.
"My trust and respect was destroyed," Lianne says. "I became bitter, angry and hateful towards everybody."
She tried to share with people she thought would understand but sadly recalls: "People treated it as shameful and tried to just pretend it didn't happen."
Severe depression, self-hate and a sense of worthlessness enveloped her.
"All my dreams and hopes of having a relationship with a man were crushed. Could someone ever love me again?
"I started running into many harmful things, following voices that lead me deeper into darkness and despair."
Yet nothing she tried worked.
"The world around me was dark and sad, I was drowning in pain."
During her life Lianne became interested in learning about an amazing Man who suffered greatly, yet was innocent and pure.
At first she thought that the love and forgiveness of this Man named Jesus was too good to be true, until a trip to Tanzania at age 21 revealed that He was God and that He loved her very much.
"I encountered an all-powerful heavenly Father who was seeking to win my heart," Lianne says.
"Jesus became more personal, and the Bible brought peace and healing to my emptiness. The light of Jesus began to shine in my lonely darkness and depression."
She surrendered her life to God and trusted that, through Jesus, He had forgiven her wrong-doing and granted her everlasting life.
As Lianne read more of the Bible and understood what God expected of her, she knew what she needed to do.
"Since God had showed me His great love and forgiveness, I wanted to fully forgive the man who abused me for so long," she explains.
"I didn't want a fake life anymore, Jesus was not a fairy tale story for me."
Through God's patient love Lianne says she was able to let go of the past and find freedom in forgiveness.
"I found a new joy and hope, a desire to live once again in the light of His victory," she shares.
Serving God became her new passion and she followed this desire to share wherever she saw need for the good news of Jesus.
One of these places was on the ship called Logos Hope, a global literature outreach ministry, sharing about Jesus through ports around the world.
"At age 26 I joined the Logos Hope volunteers for two years in 21 countries around Asia and the Arabic world."
While focused on this work, Lianne says God gifted her a surprise in a kind Christian husband.
"Before I joined the ship, I met Simeon, a passionate long-term missionary. Over two beautiful years both our friendship and my desire for long term mission work grew."
After meeting her family in South Africa, Simeon proposed to Lianne.
"I was surprised and excited," Lianne admits. "He is a Godly man, who leads me in God's love and truth, helping me when I still have struggles."
The couple now live in Japan where they continue to spread God's love to all those they meet.
"It is not always an easy journey, but we walk by faith and trust God to provide."•