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The 700 Club

Woman Set on Fire Says She's a New Creation

Melissa Verwey - 700 Club Producer

Katie, a woman living in Oudtshoorn, South Africa, explained, “For a long time, I tried to hide what happened to me. The scars were far deeper than my skin and started long before the flames wrapped around me. Long before he set me on fire.”

She said, “When I was a child, I dreamt of having my own home, a husband and kids. When all these dreams came true, I couldn’t be happier, but then everything changed.  My husband became violent.  The first two years, I was very happy. I loved my husband very much, but one morning he got very angry and he hit me in front of my children and I got a blue eye, but I let it past. For my marriage sake, I forgave him. I was scared of him, but I loved him very much. There were times that I wanted to leave. I stayed, because he provided for us. There was so many moments that he got angry and hit me.”

Katie recalled, “Early one morning, he came home after being out all night. He wanted to sleep with me. When I refused, he dragged me out of the bed, opened the front door and pushed me out. I fled to a friend's house, but before I got there, he came after me with a knife and stabbed me.  My friend took me to the hospital and the doctor asked me if I was going to make a case. I said, ‘No, I will be okay.’ And he pleaded for forgiveness. He was so sincere, so I believed him that he wouldn’t do it again.”

But the abuse didn’t stop.  Katie said, “One day, me and my husband had an argument and he almost hit me with a hammer. There and then I decided it's time to leave.  He started to threaten me and call me. I got a restraining order, but that didn't stop him. There was a knock on the door. My eldest opened the door. She didn’t come back in she ran away. He came in, opened the drawers and he was looking for a knife.  I ran out to a mini-van to get away. Just before the driver took off, he threw a paraffin heater through the window. It fell on me and set me on fire. The driver got out and wrapped me in a blanket to stop the flames, but the damage had already been done.”

Katie was rushed to a hospital.  She said, “I was in a coma for more than 2 weeks.  I remember a voice saying to me that, ‘’You are not going to die until you have to die.’’ I woke up in hospital.  The doctors say that I fought for my life and because of that they did everything to save my life.
I had second to third degree burns. The more my skin healed, the more it hurt. I got burns on my head, my face, my hands, my stomach and my thighs. The pain was unbearable.  After 3 months, my daughters see me for the first time. They were crying.”

With a tear running down her face, Katie continued, “Every morning, when I woke up and I see myself in the mirror, I cried.  I cried I was angry with my husband for doing such a terrible thing to me. I lost so much weight. I was anorexic. I didn’t have ears. I didn’t feel like a woman. It’s like everything was taken away from me. I felt like no one would ever love me. When I spoke to God, I was always asking questions, “Why Lord me?” I felt really lost at that time.  I didn’t want to see any one or I didn’t want them to see me.”

“My turning point was when I gave everything to God,” said Katie. “It was at a women's conference. At that moment, I said, ‘Lord, here I am.’ I realized that God is the reason I am alive today. So, He was not the Person I was supposed to be angry with.  In that moment, God gave me the joy and that love that I always longed for. I could see myself through God’s eyes.  The feeling was overwhelming.  I felt like a new person. I didn’t even expect to feel like that.”

She knew that she wasn’t the only one who needed to be healed.  Katie said, “I asked my daughters for forgiveness for what I put them through, because I didn’t stand up for myself. I was supposed to protect them, and I didn’t. I‘ve learned not to be quiet.”

She also thought about her husband.  “After what happened, he was sent to prison. I made a decision to visit him at prison. When I sat in front of him, I said, ‘I want peace and I forgive you.’ I felt like a burden was lifted off my shoulders.”

Reflecting on what she went through, she said, “It’s been almost 14 years since it happened. My family stood by me all the time. There was times that I was down and they will always give me word out of the Bible, especially my aunt. I remember she told me that one day I will be okay, and I can see it now.  In Genesis 50, verse 20, Joseph told his brothers, ‘You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to save many people.’  Now, I love myself for who I am. My worth is rooted in Christ. I am a living testimony that His love never fails.  I almost lost my life, because I didn’t love myself enough to say, ‘No.’ I was ashamed and worried about what people would say.”

Addressing her viewers, she said, “If you are in an abusive relationship, my prayer is that you will realize you deserve better. So many women have lived through similar struggles. Today, I stand with you. We all stand with you.  Do not isolate yourself. There is always a way out.   Reach out for help. I pray that God will give you the courage to do so. Allow Him to show you what love looks like, His name is Jesus, and He already paid the price for your freedom. His arms are open, ready to receive you."

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