Claire Wren's Testimony

Claire Wren's Testimony
Claire Wren's Testimony

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Crimson: From Shame to Victory

By Claire Wren

Claire WrenIn this testimony, Claire Wren shares her story—how God turned the shame of her father’s sexual abuse against her into victory through Jesus Christ. Claire is the author of the book Crimson: A True Story of a Woman Stained by Sexual Abuse. She is also the publishing writer for Somebody Loves You, a ministry of Calvary Chapel Golden Springs, CA.

Lost

As a young English schoolgirl, I loved to run and feel the wind whip my long, curly hair––I felt so free. Competing in school cross-country races gave me the opportunity to run at leisure. Yet during one particular race, I became separated from the other runners, all because of a loose plimsoll (a rubber-soled, cloth gym shoe), and I meandered off track. Snowflakes gently brushed against my cold face, and a white-powdered layer of snow began to form on the frigid ground. I aimlessly wandered into the deep woods––lost. The sky began to darken. Realization of my plight set in, my stomach sank . . . and fear became my only companion. Tears welled within my eyes and ran down my cold, red cheeks, blurring my vision. As the icy winter day darkened, so did my hopes of being found.

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Found

Exhausted and oblivious to my surroundings, I suddenly stumbled out into a wide, open field. Still unable to focus, I saw, in the far distance, something deep red. Eventually, I recognized a person’s face; it was my P.E. teacher, Mrs. Hardcastle, holding a crimson cape. She raced towards me and hurriedly wrapped the cape around my shoulders. Genuine worry was written all over her face. Apparently, I had wandered in the freezing cold for two whole hours! A male teacher lifted me up in his arms; I went limp and relaxed. I was safe—protected. The red cape warmed my freezing, bare flesh.

Engraved in my mind was the striking contrast of the pure, white snow and the deep red cape. Later in life, this colored image would come to mean something of greater importance; but for now, I was a young girl lost in a world filled with uncertainty and a home filled with impending danger . . .

Scared Silent

Life at home had not been easy. Although I enjoyed a happy childhood, behind closed doors a dark secret remained hidden. Father was sexually abusing me. Fear became the main factor in my unhealthy relationship with him. He insisted his perverted actions remain secret. Words are powerful, and his words kept me scared silent.

Suicide Attempt

At the tender age of 14, my father assaulted me again, a terrifying attack that almost ended in rape. Father caused such emotional trauma that, once released from his sordid grip, I immediately ran downstairs, opened the kitchen cupboard, and grabbed for my mother’s medications. I stood motionless, contemplating suicide. I had reached a massive peak—a breaking point. All the years of sexual abuse came crushing to the forefront of my mind. I just wanted the torment to stop: Death would stop everything, I believed. Suddenly my thoughts were interrupted as I heard movement upstairs. Frightened at the thought of another attack, I ran to escape! I safely reached the home of my best friend and schoolmate. I immediately found comfort in her friendship and readily told her what had happened. I felt so relieved—finally, I had told someone.

What Man is This?

Years passed, and as a newlywed, I nestled down in a new home in Chiswick, London. During Easter, I watched an old movie, Jesus of Nazareth. The actor Robert Powell, who portrayed Christ, captured my attention with his large, clear, pool-like eyes that seemed to look right through me.

A dramatic scene began—an adulterous woman in open shame was thrown down publicly in front of Jesus for judgment … her accusers, stones in hand, stood ready to hurl them at her until she was dead. Jesus stood between her and the stones (John 8:1-11). I noticed the writing in the sand, the wisdom of His words, and His commanding authority, as one by one the stones of judgment were dropped, along with their railing accusations. I was somehow drawn to this Man, and, within myself, I wondered, What Man is this?

When Jesus had raised himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11

A New Journey

In God’s divine providence, my ordinary life would soon change. It had been 20 years since Alfred Engeron, my father-in-law, had contacted his son. We made a decision to leave England. Alfred met us at the Los Angeles International Airport. His was the first to welcome us into his country, his home, and his heart.

Unbeknownst to us, Alfred had become a Christian in 1979. Being nosey, I opened the doors of his cabinet after he had gone to work. On the shelves were piles of Christian tracts. Each tract had a straightforward, hard-hitting message—turn or burn! Just what this common English girl needed!

I reflected back to the movie, Jesus of Nazareth, and the question I had contemplated, “What Man is this?” Without doubt, I knew Jesus was the only One who could save me. On my knees, I made a sincere decision to accept Jesus as my Savior. At this time, I began to attend Calvary Chapel West Covina, CA, with Pastor Raul Ries, as I lived just across the street.

White as Snow

God spoke clearly to me through His Word. It is as if He whispered to me in the inner depths of my human soul: “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

I had an instantaneous flood of childhood memories … back to the little lost schoolgirl, numbed by cold in the snowy woods, yet covered by a red cape. I reasoned the meaning of the white snow—purity. What could take away years of shame, guilt, and impurity placed on me by my father? Can God remove such deep irremovable stains that mark a sinner’s life and make them white as snow?

A vividly colored mystery was revealed to me. Scarlet and crimson represented the irremovable stains of sin, now washed white as snow by the cleansing blood of Jesus! For years I had lived with the shameful stain of my father’s sinful lust—an irremovable stain that so drenched my soul in disgrace. I felt impure, dirty, and used––sordidly marked.

Christ’s passion stemmed from a redemptive love so deep that His red blood ran freely from His broken and bruised body. Jesus willingly became crushed by cruel crucifixion. His bloodshed on the cross proved to me His pure, holy passion—His love was freely given. I believed and received this sacrifice for the forgiveness of my own sins. The deepest stain of sin was removed—only by the cleansing blood of Jesus am I made white as snow! I had never felt pure, yet God’s love made me pure and innocent, as white snow.

Amazing Grace

I will always remember the rich comparison of being spiritually lost and found. I was sinful as crimson and, by God’s amazing grace, made white as snow—utterly lost and joyfully found by my Savior––protected by His precious blood. The vibrant, blood-red cape will always represent for me the shed blood of Christ. He has become my strong-armed Deliverer who lifted me out of spiritual darkness. I am wrapped in His love, and one day I will be safe with Him in heaven––His promised place in eternity.

Forgiveness

To know Christ is to know forgiveness. Having a clear understanding of my own wretchedness and receiving forgiveness for my own sins prepared me, on those holy grounds, I chose to forgive my father.

Claire’s book, Crimson: A True Story of a Woman Stained by Sexual Abuse, is available at somebodylovesyou.com.

 

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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