This episode is confronting. It’s the story of a young boy’s nightmare of abuse but thankfully it doesn’t end there. Forgiving the Nightmare is Mark Sowersby’s journey to forgive those who allowed the abuse to take place, and even the predator who stole his childhood.

 

His message is clear, no matter the shape of your nightmare, there can be forgiveness and even joy.

 

 

 

https://www.forgivingthenightmare.com

https://www.facebook.com/forgivingthenightmare

mark@forgivingthenightmare.com

 

 

(This transcript is intended as a guide only. It may not be 100% correct.)

 

Emily Olsen 

Wherever there are shadows, there are people ready to kick out the darkness until it bleeds daylight. This is Bleeding Daylight with your host Rodney Olsen.

 

Rodney Olsen 

This episode is confronting. It’s the story of a young boy’s nightmare of abuse but thankfully it doesn’t end there. Forgiving the Nightmare is Mark Sowersby’s journey to forgive those who allowed the abuse to take place, and even the predator who stole his childhood.

 

His message is clear, no matter the shape of your nightmare, there can be forgiveness, and even joy.

Please don’t keep this important episode to yourself. Share it with others and connect with Bleeding Daylight on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

Make sure you don’t miss future episodes by subscribing to Bleeding Daylight wherever you listen to podcasts.

 

Mark Sowersby has been married for more than 17 years, has four children, and has been an ordained Christian minister for over 25 years. He admits that life has been good to him. But that doesn't mean that it's been without its dark times. Only a couple of years ago, he faced the darkness, then journeyed through a time of great healing. These days, he shares his story through his ministry, forgiving the nightmare. It's my privilege to introduce him to you today. Mark, welcome to Bleeding Daylight.

 

Mark Sowersby 

Hello, and thank you so much.

 

Rodney Olsen 

The difficulties and the struggles that you have faced in life started well before you were even born, take me back to that time and tell me what you know of your mother's life before you came along?

 

Mark Sowersby 

Well, thank you for asking me that question. I believe every story is connected to somebody else's story and my story is connected to my mom. And I think my mom in her life carried many wounds and pains and hurts. And that just kind of floated into everything in her life, including her children, and some of her poor decisions, seeking hope of seeking acceptance and seeking love that pushed her into many dysfunctions and hurts again, spilled into our lives. And she met a man that was many years younger than her. She was looking for love. She was looking for hope, but that man became an abuser. He abused my mom, he abused my family and he physically sexually, emotionally verbally abused me to. So that's how this story begins forgiving the nightmare. forgiving the nightmare has so much in it. My testimony personally is about how I overcame abuse, how I overcame neglect how I overcame all the pains and hurts of one's rejection by parents and loved ones but the story of forgiving the nightmare is much more than that. I believe that all of us have probably walked through a season, a situation that's a nightmare. Regardless of how that came into our lives, maybe through abuse like mine, or disappointment or divorce, or rejection or death or sorrow but regardless of what it is, we've all had to live with a nightmare that would love to shackle us love to hold us down, love to lie to us, because that's what the enemy does lies to us. But through God's grace and through mercy, lots of prayer and hard work. We won't forget the hard work, a lot of prayer and a lot of hard work, that God gives us victory. God gives us hope, by His Word and His Son, Jesus Christ.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Your mother married quite early, and I believe you had a couple of siblings before you came along. Tell me a bit of that story.

 

Mark Sowersby 

My mother was a woman of her generation. She desired what many women of her generation did. She graduated from high school. It was the 50s. She graduated in 1958. She was married in 1959. And my brother came into the world in 1960. Which kind of sometimes in our culture and our season seems a little different. But in hers, that was very common. That's what she desired. She married her high school sweetheart. right out of high school. She wanted to be the mrs. She wanted to be the wife. She wanted to be the mom. But unfortunately, that high school sweetheart that Prince Charming, would turn into somebody who would be another person in my mother's life that would hurt her, neglect her and reject her, as he found comfort in other woman's arms. Has he found pleasure in in lust and sin, hurt by mom. And he stole from her. Her self worth her value that just continued to push her into poor choices for the rest of her life when it came to decision making. But that relationship, that first marriage, my mom did have two children. I have an older brother and an older sister. They're a bit older than me. But that that marriage did produce my older brother and my sister who are loving the Lord today and are serving God with all that they have.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Then you came along but not by that first man who was the father of your brother and sister. What happened before you came along?

 

Mark Sowersby 

Well, after the divorce of my mother's first husband, she went back home had no place to go. She went back to her mother's house. The marriage was over. So here she was mid 60s. She was a divorced woman felt like she wore The Scarlet Letter around her neck if you would went back home because she needed shelter. She needed support she needed hope. Her parents took her in her parents loved on her and supported her. But she needed to find a job. She was she found a job and it was a factory job. And in that factory job. Of course another man would come into her life and promise her everything she hoped for another male would come in and say that she was beautiful and perfect and life would be good. And she found comfort in that man, she found hope in that man. But that man unfortunately was married to another. And he deceived her and lied to her broker. And I am a product of that relationship. So I, my father came in and abused my mom. Also, he preyed on her pains, and he preyed on her hurts. And he also abused her by lying to her promising her the moon, but just giving her selfish desires.

 

Rodney Olsen 

So your mother has been through these two devastating relationships and we can imagine that this man was already married, so he had no intention of maintaining a long relationship. And so now he's out of the picture. And you're growing up in the home of a single mom and your, your older brother and your older sister. What happens there because now you're on the scene? Is there another relationship that comes at that point?

 

Mark Sowersby 

Yes, there's another relationship that comes, you're right, I was growing up. and in this situation, at my grandmother's house, my grandfather has already passed. So my grandmother was alive, and we kind of grew up and that's the life I do. Grandma, my mom, my brother, my sister, my aunts and uncles from the neighborhood. That's all I knew. And then another man came into my mother's life. And that was the man I was referencing earlier, the man that came in that was much younger than my mother, he came in, and at that time, my mom was just so hurting, she was so broken, so afraid, she would have done anything, she allowed her life to become, just hurt and abused. So that abuse in that hurt, reflected in many decisions that my mom made, are reflected in her health decision, or social decisions are emotional decisions or spiritual decisions, that pain from those two relationships. The first being her highschool sweetheart, that she has so much hope and loved that pain, and then my father coming into the picture and breaking her heart. It's the time the third band came into her life. She was already a shell, if you would have herself, I don't think my mom at that point really understood what love was. I think that she just was an enabler. And she accepted enable for herself, and she gave enabling to others. And that third man would come into her life, I was seven years old. And that third man would come and he was the abuser. He was the one who abused my body, the one that would steal like, destroy us, as a family because of his own pain. So yes, the third man was the one who, who hurt and broke and one who abused me he was the, the fulcrum of the the nightmare that I speak of in forgiving the nightmare.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Was there abuse for your siblings as well or had he just more or less zeroed in on you seeing you as the youngest and more vulnerable one in the family?

 

Mark Sowersby 

Exactly, exactly, I was the only one that had the physical abuse. I would say when abuse is in the family it abuses everyone but I was the only one was attacked in a physical way, in a sexual manner, in a emotional manner. In a physical manner, I was the one that was stabbed and beaten and broken and raped. But I think abuse affected the whole family. One of the reasons why I think he did not abuse my siblings is because there wasn't a large age difference between my siblings. And this man. Again, he was several years younger than my mother, I think it was almost 17 years younger than my mother at the time. So he's closer to my brother's age than he was my age. So I think at that point, my brother was transitioning out of the home, my sister was not far behind him transitioning out of the home. They were in their later teens, they were ready to go out. I was the minor I was the young one, I was the one that was the innocent one that was broken, and hurt. But again, I would say that when abuse comes into a home, even though I was the one that was physically abused, abuse, affects everyone in the home.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Were there others aware of the abuse that was going on? Did you feel that you could confide in someone else? Or was this a burden that you had to carry alone?

 

Mark Sowersby 

It was the late 70s and we look back in the awareness, the attention, the support that we see in our culture today for abuse victims, for it to have advocates and have channels to be able to report and share just simply wasn't there at the time? I think that time in our culture, at least the part of the world I was living in, when things happen like that. It was mostly handled in families behind closed doors. You didn't tell anybody, I think now we look at society and society says, oh here, there's advocates and channels to be able to share. So yes, at seven years old, I didn't know what was going on. I didn't understand. I didn't have a place to comprehend, my body was just ravaged. I was just attacked in a way that, I did not know how to understand it. I was threatened by by abuser, that if I was to share this, I would be taken away, I would be injured, I would be hurt, I would be rejected. So of course, not only did I have this abuse, now to deal with, but also the fear of leaving what I knew leaving the situation leaving my mother as only a child. So, yeah, I didn't think I can confide in anyone, I thought I did something wrong. I think as a child, I reasoned with the child's mind and again, the awareness that we see today wasn't simply there back then.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And obviously now you understand that the fear that he was using against you is a common tool that predators will use. But at that time, it must have seemed so real for you. How did it feel to, to live in that fear constantly to know that when you came home from school, that it might happen all over again? How was it living in that tension constantly?

 

Mark Sowersby 

You know, that's a great question you asked me because it became a part of my reality, it became a part of my world, I don't think there was a divide between Oh, today, I'm thinking this way, tomorrow, think another way, it just became a part of how I live my life. So I had to figure out a way to deal with it maybe an unhealthy way, maybe an immature way. But I think that we just had to deal with it. I did not realize there was any other way. I thought this was my plot of life. This was my situation, this is how I had to deal with it. So I think as a child, you reason like a child, I guess you put it in your mind, in places you kind of place all by home life is like this, in my school life is like that, am I but again, I think as a child, you just have to deal with it. And you build situations, to protect yourself. You live in an imagination you live in the what ifs you live in the day that you hope that this will all end, you look for somebody you could share with you look for a protector, if you would, a hero, somebody that would come beside you, and help this all end.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And at this time you're you're living through what to you is normal. When did it occur to you that this was not normal, that this wasn't the way that things should be?

 

Mark Sowersby 

Well, yeah, I always knew it wasn't right. I just, I just knew that this was just a part of who I was. And obviously it wasn't right for my body to be ravished. It wasn't right for my abuser to do these things to me to sell me and to prostitute me to other men who abused me and I just knew that this was incorrect, it was wrong, but again, at 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 years old, there was no voice. I wasn't strong enough, I was already beaten down. I already was held back. But I always knew that someday this had to stop. I did reach out periodically to people. I remember reaching out to my mom at one time, and I think the shock of the story, she just could not comprehend her own self. She brought me in the abuser into the room. And she asked the abuser not to do that to me anymore. And he promised he wouldn't. And of course, next day, I got a severe beating for sharing and I got more threatened. So again, that just enhanced the rejection or enhance that no one will ever truly believe me, no one would ever be there for me. Until a time where I was about 14, 13, 14 years old. I was with my cousins. And we were building forts and playing games. And I remember sharing with my cousins who were about the same age as me. And we were, we were outside and they shared everything that went on. And they told me I should go tell their dad was my mother's youngest brother, my uncle. I went into the home and I'll never forget. I looked at my uncle that was after a long day of work. And I went to him and I shared details and experiences that a young person shouldn't be able to explain or share. And he looked at me and he said Marquis, because that's what he called me. Said Mark. Yeah, you telling the truth? I said, I shure am. He picked me up. He wrapped his arms around me told me he loved me. And next thing I know I ended up spending the next year and a half living with him. He became my he became my hero. He became a protector. That afternoon, my abuser came to pick me up at my uncle's house. My uncle looked at me and by this time, he already told my aunt and my aunt was comforting me and we were in the home and my abuser came to pick me up my uncle with the calmest face in the world. walked over to the closet and took out a bat and Let's say he chased that abuser away that day. My uncle served in Vietnam, never saw that kind of side of him. He was always a gentle giant. But he definitely defended me that day and never, never laid a hand on the abuser. But definitely let the user know that he was not welcome. And after that day, the physical abuse stopped, and it never took place anymore. And for the next year and a half, I lived with my aunt and my uncle,

 

Rodney Olsen 

I'm wondering how long it took you to actually trust your uncle, because obviously, your trust has been broken. But was there that instant connection, knowing here is a good man, here's someone who will protect me or did it still take you a while to feel Yes, I can fully trust this man. He's not like this, this other man that I've known.

 

Mark Sowersby 

My uncle was somebody that I can always trust. Again, his children were just about the same age as me. So the three of us kind of grew up together, I would say, I grew up closer to a brother, to my cousins that I did just a cousin. My uncle was younger. So you know, my cousins were right, they're the same age bracket. So when he would take them, he would just take me and the three of us would go out hot to holiday together, we'd go camping together, we'd share time together, because we were all about the same age doing the same thing. So I did spend time with my uncle. So there's already a trust in Him. Probably in my younger years, not knowing my own birth father, my uncle's relationship, in a lot of ways was like a father's relationship in a healthy way, he comforted us, he supported us. And I knew that he loved us.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And were there other males in your life at that time or around that time that that you could put trust into to start to understand what a real male role model should be.

 

Mark Sowersby 

At that particular time, the probably the strongest male model I had was my uncle. So not so much outside our family. By that time, my grandfather has already passed my brother who is a good man, but he was a young man, and he was already out on his own away from the family. So really, my uncle at that time, was the only male figure that I had in my life that I could trust. That was an adult that I could look to for wisdom, support and guidance. Not until I became a Christian, not until I asked Christ to be my Lord and Savior, did I find other men in the church, other men that would come beside me and guide me through life with a big hug and a swift kick?

 

Rodney Olsen 

I do want to explore that, that coming to faith moment for you. But before that, I'm interested to know what's going on with your mom, at this time, you're saying that this predator has been chased away. You're spending about a year and a half with your uncle and with that family. So what's happening in this intervening period with your mom?

 

Mark Sowersby 

Well, at that time again, my mom's life was so broken. My mom was already just a shell of herself. I think you could see the hurt my mom's face. The rejection, that she felt her whole life was always about her. And it was always evident in her. So even though that we my my uncle took me in, even though she knew why there was just this denial, if you would, this didn't happen. It's not as bad as maybe it could be. And maybe it's my mother's own reasoning by letting me live with my uncle. She was protecting me. But she'd never truly ended the relationship with that abuser. And I think because she was abused by him in her own way. Again, I don't think what they had was a love story. I think what they had was an enabling story. I think my mom was so afraid of being alone in her life. She was so afraid of being rejected, like she was when she was the young bride, living her three years by herself that her whole family would walk away from her that she was do anything to keep some form of acceptance, no matter how dysfunctional it was. So my mom was still lost in our own pain. And this past year, we lost my mom. I remember sitting at her bedside, and she confessed some things to me, telling me how she asked me to forgive her, which I already did, because of the grace of God. She asked me to pray for her, which I did. But she told me that she only had one light, one love in her life. And that was her first husband. And when he broke her heart, that pain, lived with her forever. It's not an excuse. It's definitely not an excuse, but it is a reason. And I just hope I can understand that reason. Even though I was the blunt of The pain in the poor choices. I choose not to hate my mom, the world psychiatrists in the world, the world counselors tell me I have a right to be angry, I have a right to hate, I have a right to, to cast my mom aside. And maybe that's true. But you know, I only had one mother, I did not know my father, again, born from an affair. My father rejected me before I was even born. So I only had one mother, I only had one person that was my relative if you would, other than my brother and sister. So I wanted to know, I wanted to know where I came from, I wanted to know who I was. So what's their healthy boundaries, of course, was their decisions I made about my relationship with my mom to keep it safe and healthy for the rest of my life. Yes, I did. But I wanted to know her. So I had to come to a place to learn how to forgive her. And I could only learn how to forgive my mom, my growing growing close to Christ.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And I imagine it's understanding that brokenness and understanding that your mother was in brokenness, this wasn't done out of a sense of wanting to hurt, but it was done out of brokenness that you can forgive and, and offer that forgiveness to her.

 

Mark Sowersby 

That's right. I, you know, I think if my mom's brokenness, in her Oh, by be rejected, in her own life, by being afraid in her own life, she I think she didn't have the foresight to see down the road, she saw what was immediately in front of her. And immediately in front of her was this abuser, that was lying to her, telling her that he's the only one who cared about her that he was the only one that was going to be there, that all her children would reject her, all her children would leave her. And she could not have the sense to look beyond that, because of fear and hurt. Again, it's not an excuse my mom, she even admitted that or at her elder years of what she did was wrong, and how she did not stand up for me or her children. But I think I'm glad even though it's not an excuse, even though it's not a healthy reason, at least I understand. There's a reason why my mom was caught in her own pain, and an abuse victim in her own way.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And it was in those mid to late teen years that you came to faith. Tell us a bit about that story.

 

Mark Sowersby 

A lot of things float around my life, not only was my abuser, somebody who abused my body, but he brought much dysfunction into our home. He used alcohol, he used drugs. And he kind of brought in that that side of society around our family. So as a young man, I already knew the pitfalls if you would have drug use of abuse. And as many of my peers were going out testing, trying new things, drinking and smoking and doing all kinds of things. I already kind of knew where that life lead I already is a part of that life. I wanted nothing to do with it. But my Achilles heel was girls, I guess it was important for me to have a girlfriend and important for me to have a girl by my side, being abused by a male. In my own understanding. I needed to have a girl by my side to prove to myself in a certain way that I I was normal, if you would. So I remember, we were living in an apartment complex at the time. And of course, the lifeguard at the pool was a beautiful girl, at least to my 15 year old eyes. She was beautiful. And I would go to the pool every day. And one day she said to me, do you want to go to the church with me? Boy, I didn't take me two seconds to say yes, I ran home. I got dressed for church and I came back and her her boyfriend picked me up to take me to church that day. It was a midweek service. I was a youth group service. I walked into the youth group and I saw people who look like me. It was the late 80s. They had long hair and Jean jackets. The youth pastor had long hair, and they talk like me, and they listen to music with rock guitars and drums. And, you know, I felt like, like there's people that I could understand. They asked that service if people wanted to make Jesus Christ and Lord and Savior. I didn't really understand that people wanted to hug me. And I wasn't really into that. So I remember saying, I'm not going to go back now because I didn't like them. Because I just didn't understand it. Well come to find out that youth pastor lived in the apartment complex that I lived in, and him and his wife would see me and they'd invite me. They invite me all the time to go back to church. And one day I went back with them. And that that day a young man asked me if I wanted to ask Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior. We sat in a car, and he led me in what I would come to know as a sinners prayer. He led me into asking Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior and I did it The next day it was a Saturday morning. And I woke up with a bunch of cars, beeping at my house, and we are all out front of our apartment complex. And I remember there's four or 5, 6, 7 cars beeping the horns, calling me to come climb a mountain, we have a mountain in our area called Mount monadnock. It's in New Hampshire. In United States, it's a mountain that the tourists climb. It's a fun climb, and they're all beckoning to me. Come Come climb this mountain with us. They had to be 30, 40 kids. And boy, not only did I find Jesus, but I found acceptance. And I ran into that youth group. And I ran into that church, and it truly became my life for the next 10 years.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Some people say that when they have that moment of understanding who God is through Jesus, and they accept Jesus as being the Lord, that they just know that there has been something change. And I understand that, but they don't feel a whole lot different. And yet other people say that there's this real sense that something has changed for young men like you, who was carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders with all that it can be for. What was that experience like for you?

 

Mark Sowersby 

Well, I think when I accepted Jesus Christ, there was definitely a shift, I could tell something was changing. I could tell that I had a friend at that point that you now I look back, and I understand I have a friend that sticks closer than a brother, I have a friend that would never leave me nor forsake me. I didn't understand that scripturally back then. I didn't have the words to express it but I just had a sense that I was no longer alone, that I had somebody that was going to be with me always. Again, my young brokenness, found hope in Jesus Christ. Not only the Lord find me, not only did his grace pour out to me, not only was his love made aware to me that day that I said, Jesus come into my life. But instantly, there was support instantly, there was just people coming beside me to walk with me in this journey of life. So I think those two things happened all at once. There was a spiritual awakening and there was a social or a, an emotional awakening that I was, I had people on my side. So again, I was only about a year away from the abuse, if you would about a year and a half away from the abuse, always coming together. Now, I'd say that was the beginning of my story, is that I had to learn to die to self I had to learn to repent, I had to learn to trust God, I had to learn to pray, I had to learn to seek. But those things, all were coming as I got to know the Lord, but that first moment, there was this transformation, I at this moment where God just filled my heart filled my life, with hope, with love with grace. I didn't know the words, then I know them now. But there was this transformation, if you would, internally, internally, and then the journey of transformation, externally.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And that journey continues. And we'll fast forward. I mentioned in the introduction, that you've been married for quite a number of years now you have four children, you've been a pastor for many years. And so it would seem that the past is behind you. You're moving on. But then a couple of years ago, you had to go through a process of healing. What brought that on? You know, you're

 

Mark Sowersby 

Right. You know, I have been able to put many things under the blood, if that's what we say, in our circles, sometimes you put it at the foot of the cross laying at the altar. These are things of my past. I will say this for you, brother, that a lot of people would they walk through a journey like I've walked through, if we want God to take it away so bad. We pray, we ask, we seek we confess we stand on, we claim scriptures. We say, Lord, take this pain away, Lord, take this sorrow away, or take this hurt away. And I'm here to tell you, brother, that God has never taken that sorrow away from me. And I know it's kind of sounds funny. How can you tell me that you're forgiven? How can you tell me you're delivered when the sorrow has not been taken away? That sorrow is about me often. And it's always beckoning me. It's like a comfort to me, come back, come back. Live in this dysfunction. Live in this brokenness, live in these lies. what God did for me, even though he did not remove the sorrow of the past, His Word and His Spirit became bigger. So let me explain that I didn't have it removed. But God became bigger than the lies of my past bigger than the hurts of my past. Bigger than the rejections of my past. God's word, God's Spirit, God's love, God's grace, became larger. It's kind of like the gods the bigger about and Gods the bigger hope Gods the stronger, stronger place than what happens. To me in my past, but there are times in my life where on certain days and certain moments and certain situations where it'd be so easy just to slip back into those old ways to slip back into that old thinking slip back into those old practices. It's so comforting, because I know my parameters there. It's been such a part of my life for so long. But at that moment, God shows up and says, I'm bigger, I'm stronger, I'm mightier, I'm more loving, I'm more merciful, I and he's in those things become strangely dim, those things become strangely dim in the light of God and the promise of Jesus, and the hope of the Spirit. So, that journey started for me. When I was in Bible school, I accepted Jesus Christ, I was about 16 years old, I accepted Jesus Christ. And I felt, just a few weeks later, at a youth group meeting, I felt like the Holy Spirit just came upon me and called me to go to Bible school. I remember laughing because one of the casualties of my life growing up was my education. I'm dyslexic. And of course, I tell people, I survived my childhood. I wasn't raised. I didn't have the skills to get through high school. I didn't have the supporters. But I did. I graduated, they put me in remedial classes and, and I was able to graduate, but I never thought college was for me. I ended up going to college and a great testimony there of how God opened up doors and set people beside me, so I could finish my college in one day while I was speaking in college, the Lord put in my heart that I would share this testimony called forgiving the nightmare. And I remember laughing, saying, Lord, I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to get through this. And the Lord has brought me on a journey since then, in how to how to step out and walk in this promise that he's given me called forgiving the nightmare. So again, I said earlier, my nightmare was my abuser. My nightmare was the child molestation that I had to deal with. But we all have nightmares. And what the unforgiveness and hurts of my childhood was doing was shackling me to my abuser was shackling me, to my past was shackling me, to my hurt, it was identifying me, as a broken person, it was identifying me as a victim. And I remember one day at an altar, as the Lord came to me, and through His Word through His Spirit, and he spoke to me and in my heart, and I remember the Lord said to me, Mark, you're not a victim. And I remember saying to the Lord, if I'm not a victim, what am I, all I know how to do is be a victim. I know the life of a victim. I know the language of a victim. I know the manipulation of a victim. This is what I know, this is who I am. This is always one for me. It's got me, it's, it's gotten me gain in life, it's protected me. And the Lord said, I'm just going to strip that away from you. You're no longer a victim. And I was afraid, because that's the only life I knew. And I said to the Lord, if I'm not a victim, what am I? What will I be, and don't listen to me, you'll be victorious, you'll be victorious in me. I wish I could tell you it happened instantly. And I walked away, it was all done. That began the charity, the journey of forgiving the nightmare where I had to learn to forgive my abuser, I forgive my mother, forgive my family, forgive the ones who rejected me, I learned how I had to learn, truly learn how to accept God's forgiveness for me. I know it was there. I know I was receiving it. But I had to learn to live in that forgiveness. And let those poor habits of my life My poor habits of of manipulation, or habits of the brokenness that guided me for so long, I had to allow those things to become gone, let those things become small, let those things become empty, and stand on the promises of God. But again, those things still back in those things still call they're so easy to go back to. But Jesus has bigger, God is bigger. Amen.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And I know that as humans, we always compare. So I can imagine that there are people who are listening at the moment who think, Well, I haven't been through even half of what market is. So therefore, I really shouldn't complain. I've got nothing to deal with. And then there are people on the other side saying, you know what, that sounds horrific, what he's been through, I've been through worse and, and surely God can bring healing to that. So I guess for people on either side who are trying to compare and saying, no, that kind of healing isn't there for me? What would you say to them?

 

Mark Sowersby 

I say that healing is there for all of us. That healing is promised in God's word. The journey could be difficult. You know, I think of Jacob and the Old Testament. Y'know, Jacob means, deceiver, liar cheat. And that was his name. It's because he deceived, he lied. And one day he knew that he was going to go see his brother. But he had to meet an angel first. And he met that Angel. And when he met that Angel, the Bible tells us that he wrestled with that Angel. He wrestled all night long, so much that the angel even touched the socket of his hip. And as they were wrestling, the angel said to him, let me go, let me go. And he said, I'm not gonna let you go until you bless me. The angel then would say to him, you're getting a new name. You no longer Jacob. But now you're Israel, in Israel means promise. His email means hope. So he went from Jacob, the deceiver, to Israel, the promise. And I think sometimes for those of us that have been hurt in life, and have this situation, regardless of how it came in, maybe it was much more dramatic than my situation, maybe it wasn't as dramatic. But however pain came into your life, however it manifested before you, maybe you lost somebody, and you're mad at God, maybe you had went through a divorce, and you're upset, you weren't supposed to go through that divorce. Maybe it was a bankruptcy or, or some kind of disappointment, but it has shackled you to this understanding of your life being broken. But I want to let you know that God is still in the business of making people Israel, taking people to the promise changing our past and not letting it be be our identity anymore. So yes, is there a lot of tears involved? Of course, is there a lot of Is there a lot of wrestling a oneself wrestling with God? Yes, of course, do you have to learn to die every day, crucify yourself, as, as Peter Paul would say, crucify your flesh this year is because the old ways are constantly calling. And it's so easy when we get when we get hurt to allow those old ways, those old patterns of thinking to rise up within us. But when we get a hold of God, and let Him truly be the transformer of our heart and our mind, and we stand on the promises of God, and confess them, even in the midst of the battle, but when we do, by the grace of God, we can walk into the promises. So forgiveness is there. For all no matter what we've been through. And we were set free when the Lord has set us free. We are free indeed.

 

Rodney Olsen 

I'm sure that there are people thinking that they've been through their own nightmare. They've been able to leave that in the past and walk forward and and experience this forgiveness that you're talking about. But they're still continuing to carry a heaviness. They're still continuing to carry a weight on their shoulders. And yet, in forgiving the nightmare, you're talking about not just forgiving abuse or forgiving people that have done you wrong, but actually walking in that forgiveness and, and walking in joy. And I'm sure some people will be wondering, is it really possible, even though we've walked beyond this, that it could be replaced with joy?

 

Mark Sowersby 

I believe it is because it's the joy of the Lord. The joy of the Lord is my strength. Today I put on the garment of praise, the Bible tells us I put on the garment of praise. So the spirit of heaviness will be lifted off. It's not an immature joy. It's not a joy, of, of rejection of one's past. It's not a joy of of dysfunction. It's not a joy to say all those things, did it really happen? Because they did. It's a joy in Christ. It's a joy in hope. It's a joy that those things no longer have to be a part of me. It's a joy to know when they rise up. God has made a way for me to find a place of hope in Him. So the joy I have is not one that I have forgotten what happened to me. It's not one that I have not truly understood what happened to I know how bad I was broken. I know how bad I was hurt. I know those who meet. And those are real present issues. But my joy comes from God. My joy comes from knowing the Word of God, knowing the Spirit of God, knowing the hope of God, and knowing that God is the one who can get us through. God is the one who has made a way. God is the one who gave us his son Jesus Christ. So my joy is found in him. So it's not a joy of immaturity. It's a joy of Christ.

 

Rodney Olsen 

I think it's very telling that your ministry is not called the nightmare forgiven as if it's over and done with but it's forgiving the nightmare. It's an ongoing process. And I'm sure that you're still continuing to walk through it knowing that you're way ahead of where things were before you started this journey. And for some it it's an understanding Meaning that this journey may go on for some time. But there is joy in it. As people continue to walk in that forgiveness as they continue to understand what that means and go through that process. What's the hope that you would hold out to them?

 

Mark Sowersby 

The hope I hold up to is the same hope that I have found. Jesus, Jesus Christ is the only way to find true, true hope, true forgiveness. True. True blessings is only found in Jesus. And that's the hope that I have. That's the hope that I hold on to. That is my new identity. That's the victory that I have. I am no longer a victim. I'm victorious, but it's not my victory. It's Jesus Christ victory that he gave me that he died for me and made a way for me. So the hope I have the joy I have the peace I have is not because I did something right. Not because I'm better than anybody that because I have figured it out. The joy and peace I have is found in the promise and the hope of Jesus Christ, that when I am week, he is strong, that he has transformed me and made me a new man. He's taken me from Jacob and made me in Israel. And when the pastor raises up, I remember he's made a way for me to hold on, when the old ways try to show up. God has made a hope for me to go forward. So my promise, my hope, my trust is in Jesus Christ.

 

Rodney Olsen 

If people are wanting to be in touch with you, of course, I'll put some links in the show notes at pleading daylight dotnet. But where's the easiest place to find you and to learn more about how they can forgive their own nightmare?

 

Mark Sowersby 

forgivingthenightmare.com is the best way to connect with us. We're also on Facebook, @forgivingthenightmare. You can check us out there by forgivingthenightmare.com or you can go there there's a website there. There's an email there, mark@forgivingthenightmare.com you can email me at mark@forgivingthenightmare.com that's the best way to check us out either by forgivingthenightmare.com or on Facebook at forgiving the nightmare.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Mark. I want to thank you for your honesty for your bravery in telling your story. And I know that it is going to make a difference in many people's lives. So thank you for your time. Thank you for the integrity that you've shown throughout. And I look forward to sharing this story with many people. Thank you.

 

Mark Sowersby 

God bless you. Thank you.

 

Emily Olsen 

Thank you for listening to Bleeding Daylight. Please help us to shine more light into the darkness by sharing this episode with others. For further details and more episodes, please visit bleedingdaylight.net

 

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