Mark Darling – Story 97
My name is Andrea. I am a 28 year old woman in Northern Colorado. I graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies at Colorado State University. I have worked in the social services field with people in crisis for over 6 years.
I can’t remember when I first met Mark Darling. But I do remember the first time I allowed him to take a huge role in my life. When I was in my 3rd year of college, Mark Darling taught at our annual college retreat in Estes Park. He told us to read Psalm 119 two times – once by ourselves, and once out loud with friends, highlighting every word pertaining to God’s law, commandments, statutes, etc. It was an incredible way to meditate on God’s character. Now, at least two times a week, I listen to Psalm 119 while getting ready for work. Mark also encouraged us to listen to at least one sermon every day of the week for a year. So I chose a few sermons from the Rock Church in Utah, and of course a few sermons from Mark Darling. That year, I listened to “The Awesome Love of God” over 52 times. I can still hear Mark’s voice when I quote it. Mark has no idea how much he changed my life with that sermon.
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, repeated sexual assault, and a survivor of an alcoholic, narcissistic dad – please listen to me.
This is not a post about my dad so I will leave out the incriminating details. I received counsel from two of my pastors in 2015 that I should no longer be in contact with my dad due to the emotional and verbal abuse he put me through. I set up strong boundaries with him, and unfortunately he was not willing to respect those boundaries. In December of 2016 through the spring of 2017, he harassed me. I spoke with the police who advised me to get a restraining order, but I had never done something like that before and wasn’t even sure I should do so as a Christian. When I asked my pastors about it I did not get a clear, supportive response from them. Through lots of prayer and reading the bible, I decided to get a restraining order the next time my dad reached out to me, but by God’s grace that never happened again.
This whole circumstance crushed my spirit to a greater depth than humanly recoverable. A dear brother in Christ encouraged me to reach out to Mark Darling when he was visiting Colorado in the summer of 2017 because he knew how much Mark’s teachings impacted my life. I sat down with Mark in a room full of people and began to share a little of my story. Mark cried with me and desperately wanted me to know God’s heart. He offered to check in with me via email or phone, as he knew I didn’t have strength to hold on to God by myself. I was surprised at how faithful Mark was to email me and send me encouraging verses and sermons. In the most gentle, caring way he did not let me walk away from God. He never gave up on me.
During a phone call at 7:30am in the morning (I had to work at 8am, so he was willing to work around my schedule) Mark told me I should have obtained a restraining order against my dad years ago. I’ll always remember the strong tone of voice Mark had as he defended me, my mom, and my sisters against the abuse we all experienced at the hand and mouth of my dad. Out of all of the people I reached out to for counsel, the person who held the absolute highest standards of what appropriate behavior looked like for men, was Mark Darling. Not to put down any of my pastors in Colorado – I think Mark just knew what type of person my dad was because Mark had devoted his life to standing up against men like my dad.
As a survivor, I am hyper-aware of men who make me feel uncomfortable. I am very intuitive and get triggered easily. I have never ever thought of Mark to be a threatening, grooming man. EVER. He has been the most gentle, loving, SAFE, caring father-figure this fatherless child has EVER had. With such a powerful testimony, Mark has stood up for victims and spoken truth against this culture’s disgusting consumption of objectifying women. Unfortunately, I believe Satan has been trying to destroy Mark Darling for years; it’s the only way I can make sense of these horrific accusations, which directly attack everything Mark has ever stood for. Please don’t forget our enemy. Please don’t forget we are at war, and our enemy will do whatever it takes to destroy us.
Shared by Andrea