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Nicole Bromley: Breaking the Silence
By Christine Wilson
The 700 Club
When Nicole Bromley was 15, she started writing down her prayers. It was the only way she could escape the painful memories of her childhood. Her stepfather began molesting her when she was just eight years old.
“He had asked me if I wanted to play a game of cards,” Nicole tells The 700 Club, “and as we were playing, he said that each hand whoever won got to tickle the other person. Then the tickling became uncomfortable and aggressive and in places that didn’t make sense to me. I felt dirty. I felt damaged, and I didn’t know why.
“I remember just a couple of years after that he began showing me pornographic movies. I’m thinking this is gross. This is weird. Why are you showing me this? My stepfather would tell me that he was teaching me, that this was education, that this was what good dads do for their daughters. It’s just something that happens in family life.”
Nicole had become a Christian early in childhood, but she didn’t understand why God never stopped her stepfather from touching her.
Nicole recalls, “As I was going through the abuse, I can remember thinking, this God, this all powerful God, this loving Father… Why am I going through this? [Why] would You let me suffer this way?”
A year passed, then another, then another. Nicole didn’t tell a soul. Over the course of 10 years, the molestation became more frequent. Eventually, Nicole found the courage to tell her mom, Cynthia .
“She asked me if he had ever touched me. I hinted to the fact that yes he had. My mom slammed on the brakes, pulled the car over to the side of the road and that was the first time in my life that I knew it was wrong.”
Cynthia reported the abuse to child services. She knew Nicole’s stepfather would be furious, so she and Nicole went into hiding.
“He cared about his reputation in the community, and I knew he felt like his life was over,” she says. “Everywhere we went, it seemed like my stepfather was trying to find us. I knew that if he found us, he was going to kill us. I was fearful constantly.”
They were in hiding for just one week when Nicole’s stepfather gave up the search. Instead, he took his own life. She says, “I was very angry, and I began running around screaming, ‘I hate him! I hate him!’ I was so furious that he would never face what he had done. I had found the courage after years of abuse to tell, and now he would never face justice for what he had done to me.”
She realized that only God could help erase the painful memories, so she decided to turn to God for comfort. That’s when she began journaling her prayers.
“I knew that it was God that was comforting me. I felt it deep in my heart and my soul. Every time I read the Bible, anytime I wrote out my prayers in my journal, I felt safe. I never felt safe in my entire life, and I knew this was coming from the Lord. It was like the more I felt his comfort, the more I wanted to know who He was.
“I realized that God didn’t cause this to happen, and that’s something that I want to share with so many people. God doesn’t cause this evil in our life. He was hurting when I was hurting.”
Nicole says God helped her realize something else. She needed to forgive her stepfather.
“Whenever I thought about him, whenever I thought about my childhood, there was a lot of bitterness there, a log of resentfulness, hatred.”
Nicole says she then had a vision from God. She says, “My stepfather got down on his knees and was tugging at the Lord’s robe, asking, truly asking for forgiveness. He was repenting for what he had done. I saw God turn around and forgive my stepfather and come right back and comfort me. That vision that day made so much sense to me. I knew that God would forgive him if he truly repented, and I felt that I’m not above God. I must forgive as He would do.”
Nicole forgave her stepfather. She says that doing so allowed her to move on in her life. Now she’s married and has a son. She also started an organization called One Voice, traveling to college campuses across the nation to help other survivors of sexual abuse find healing and comfort.
“I don’t believe that without Christ you can have genuine healing to where you have freedom from your past. I don’t believe that you can have healing in your heart and relationships. I believe that those things are only possible with a relationship with Jesus Christ. I believe that He’s the one that can take our pain. He took it on the cross, and He’ll take it today.”
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