Monty Weatherall, senior pastor at Deliverance Mission Christian Church, sometimes gets very personal during Sunday sermons.
“He said ‘I know the devil tried to take you out with childhood sexual abuse,’” Weatherall recently shouted to his congregation. “’But I’m going to use what he tried to do to kill you to change the whole world around.’”
It’s a personal story that takes Pastor Weatherall back to when he was three years old.
“My first moment of awareness was being sexually assaulted by a male relative,” Pastor Weatherall said. “And that whole ordeal dictated the actions that I took in my life. I was totally enslaved to it. I totally hated who I was.”
Pastor Weatherall’s 2017 book “Taking My Life Back: Thriving After the Trauma of Sexual Abuse” details years of his own childhood sexual abuse and the long road to recovery.
“I knew that I had been given a tool that could help a lot of people heal way beyond sexual abuse,” Pastor Weatherall said. “What was amazing to me are the number of people saying to me ‘I was never sexually abused but it helped me get through the pain of my divorce. It helped me get through the pain of parental abandonment. It helped me get through my boss who I felt fired me unjustly and I couldn’t forgive.”
Forgiveness is one of the keys to healing in his book. Pastor Weatherall says before he could heal from the abuse, he had to forgive his abusers who happened to be relatives.
“When you’re struggling with forgiveness, what you don’t realize is that you’re the main prisoner,” he said. “One of the things I try to tell the congregation that I’m teaching you have to forgive. I had to make a decision. Am I going to allow all of these horrible things happening to me to continue to hold me prisoner and hold me hostage to my emotions, to my self-hatred, or am I going to make a decision that I’m going to live and not just survive, but thrive?”
Pastor Weatherall said a conversation with his wife started him on the road to healing. When looking at childhood photos of her husband, she observed that he never smiled in the photographs.
“The level of anger that I felt, there was nothing to smile about when you have been sexually abused by two male relatives,” Pastor Weatherall said. “I even contemplated suicide and my wife and I began to talk about it and she says ‘honey, I really believe that everything stems from the sexual abuse you told me about that you suffered and I think once you really begin to deal with that, you’re going to feel better about yourself.
“For the first time in my life, in 44 years of living, I am really happy.”
For more information about “Taking My Life Back,” visit www.montyweatherall.me.