Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Safe Place

Leslie Basham: While living in a foster home, Dorie Van Stone suffered terrible abuse. Listen as she explains why she used to hide in the dumpster.

Dorie Van Stone: Because, in the garbage nobody looks for you. It was my safe place and the Lord was there.

Leslie Basham: Today is Friday, July 11 and you are listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Here's Nancy to introduce the story we'll hear today.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I heard a statistic the other day that one out of two women or perhaps as many as two out of three woman have been significantly wounded. Now, we've all been wounded in different ways, but this person was referring to deep, emotional and traumatic wounds that woman have experienced throughout their childhood or in their married life. And if that's the case, then I'm confident that the story we've been listening to this week--the story of Dorie Van Stone--is touching some real sensitive, tender and maybe even raw nerves in the hearts and the emotions of many of our listeners.

Dorie was abandoned as a little girl by her mother. She was sent to an orphanage where she was abused severely and then sent to a foster home. You would have hoped that she would have been safe in that foster home. But to the contrary she was put into a situation where she continued to experience unfathomable physical and sexual abuse. Men were allowed to come into the home, as we heard yesterday, the house she called the house of meanness and were allowed to violate her sexually.

Now Dorie as a 13-year old child had trusted Christ. She had heard about the love of God and the Word of God, which really were her only light and hope in this insane, crazy world that she was living in.

As Dorie continues her story today, she grapples with the issues that many of you have had to grapple with, and that is--where was God on those nights when those men would come into that home and use this young girl?

How could God let this happen to a little girl? Why does He allow these kinds of things to happen? Now Dorie hasn't found yet all the answers to those questions. And you and I won't either this side of eternity. But it's important that in our grappling with those issues, we come to know the God who is just and wise and loving and good; and to realize that He is our safe place.

Even if you may be living in what for you is a house of meanness, God still wants to be your refuge and your hiding place. Let's listen as Dorie continues her story.

Dorie Van Stone: Let me tell you some other things that happened in that house that I call the house of meanness. Sometimes I would hear them say, "Go get her!" I think, I'm gonna run out. I'm gonna run away.

Now, if you've ever been to San Francisco, and other big cities like this; San Francisco with all those wonderful hills. And the houses are real close together. You'll see the doorway to the apartment and by the side of all those apartments, were little doors. And you'll see now, sometimes those little doors have locks on them as you ride the streets of San Francisco now and look. But those little doors go right against the building or they go down three or four steps and go under the buildings so you can walk underneath it without having to go all around the hill.

Our apartment had such a tunnel. And there were times when I would run off in the night and I would hide down on the bottom step. I remember one night when I heard them say, "Go on, she's in the room, get her." I thought, "I'm getting out of here!" And I ran out. And I ran into the tunnel, but it was dark. It's musty; it had a stench to it. And I fell down a few times and I got up and I'm feeling along and I got to the other end. I went all the way through the end of the tunnel that night. And I laid down on that bottom step and I was crying my heart out. And I just screamed, "Oh, God. God, if I only had a mother this wouldn't have happened. Oh Lord, please let me know You're here, please!"

I never apologized for this because I told it for years and I'm gonna say it to you tonight because it happened. In that darkness where I was crying out, "If I only had a mother, if I could just know you were here." I rubbed my eyes and just for a moment I opened them and for one split second, it seemed like that whole tunnel was illuminated with light and I closed my eyes and I can't explain it. But I knew, I knew He was there.

When we talk about He gives us peace that passes all understanding; people, it's true! You can be in situations where you can't explain it. And a peace and a comfort comes. And I'm thinking, "Thank you, Lord; thank you." And I looked and I could see the lights. And they were cursing and saying, "Where is she, where is she?" And then they went off.

You know, sometimes I'd run through that tunnel and I'd get into an alleyway and I was still crying and felt so filthy and dirty and degraded. I'd climb up into a garbage dumpster, a great big garbage box that they use to have and fall in.

You'd say, Dorie, no. I fell in the garbage and I'd lay there and I'd say, "Lord, don't leave me, don't leave me." Sometimes they'd pour more garbage on Dorie. Yes, they did. And I'd shake it off and get out after they were gone. Oh, I stunk. You could smell me coming. But He never left me. I didn't have hold of the Lord; He had hold of me. And He'd say, "I'm not gonna let you go, daughter. I'm here; I'm here."

When we were doing the second book, No Place to Cry, and we were working on it, someone said to me, "Dorie, why did you hide in the garbage?" I said, "Why did I hide in the garbage? Because in the garbage nobody looks for you." It was my safe place and the Lord was there. I'll never leave you; I'll never forsake you. And He never did.

Sometimes people say, "Well, Dorie, He protected you that night, how come He didn't protect you the other nights? How could God do that to a little girl?" Oh, people, God didn't do it, the sinfulness and lustfulness in the hearts of men did it. God didn't do it, but now, remember I told you I was learning about His sovereignty. That means He's over the good and bad, He's in charge. Would you permit me to say this to you tonight, I do in seminars where it's not quite as many. God allowed it, God allowed it.

I found a picture of me when I was a little girl. It's the only picture I have. There's no year on it; just on the back it's written, "Doris." I don't know how old I was--a fat little girl, baby girl sitting on some steps that are dirty and you could see the garbage behind it. Somebody saw it and my friend said, "Oh, Dorie, I can see the Lord at the top of those steps with His head back and a big smile saying, 'Oh, little girl, I have a plan for you.'"

Jeremiah 29:11: "I know the plans I have for you, plans not for evil, but for good to give to you a future and hope." Even in the hard, difficult things, even in the darkness and blackness of a smelly putrid tunnel, even amidst the tears where you're crying for help and vindication, even in the midst of the shame and all of the awfulness that took place. "Yes, because through them, daughter, through them one day you will be able to help others."

Let me read that scripture to you. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, listen to this: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. Who comforts us in all of our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with a comfort where with, we ourselves have been comforted of the Lord."

He saw that little girl and He knew the plans. That one day He'd take a dirty, filthy, ugly little girl that was a reject and a throw away in the eyes of so many and set her on platforms all around the world to talk about the abuse and the shame and the wounds and be able to say to them, "It doesn't have to ruin your life, it doesn't have to." I met a man; His name was Jesus.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And I know that many of you can identify personally with what we have been listening to from Dorie Van Stone. And you would say that even as perhaps that you have lived in a house of meanness, that you've met a man whose name is Jesus. And that He has made all the difference in the world to you.

Now as we have heard illustrated from Dorie's life, the fact that we know Jesus doesn't wrap us up in this protective little cocoon and keep us from experiencing further hurt or damage. And at a time like that it's easy to ask the question as Gideon did in the book of Judges, "If the Lord is with us, then why is all this happening to us?"

And yet, as Dorie has done, you and I have to come to the place where we rest our questions in the sovereignty of God. The fact that God doesn't make mistakes, that He does love us, that He does know what is best for us, that He is fulfilling His purposes even in this twisted, perverted, fallen world.

I love that example in the Old Testament of Joseph who experienced indescribable abuse and rejection from his family. He was the victim of lies and abuse once he got to Egypt as a slave. But when he came out of it all, he looked back and he said, "Men meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." God allowed this to happen because God wanted to accomplish some things in my life and because God had purposes to bring the salvation of others about and God used this unspeakable evil. He redeemed it and He caused it to bring about a result that brought glory to Him and good to me.

And so, as Dorie reflects on her past now, she realizes that God has given her a platform on which she can say, "Your past doesn't have to ruin your life." What a message of hope that is; a message of hope for you today.

Whatever you have experienced in your past and whatever you're experiencing in your present, it doesn't have to ruin your life.

One thing that will help you in that process--wherever you are in that process--is a book written by my friend Kay Arthur. It's a book called, Lord, I Want to Know You. It's a study of the different names and the character qualities of God. And whether you're walking through a process of healing from sexual or physical or emotional abuse. Or you may just want to be an instrument of help and healing in the lives of others that you know are experiencing some of these things. This book will help you to get to know God and help you then become an instrument of making Him known to others in their desperate circumstances.

Leslie Basham: Thanks, Nancy. To get a copy of Lord, I Want to Know You, the study by Kay Arthur, you can contact us at 1-800-569-5959 or go online. Our web address is

We've collected some good information on healing from sexual abuse and we posted it on our website. Again, it's

If this week's programs have brought up some painful memories, we hope that you will take advantage of these resources. We also hope you'll write and let us pray for you. We have a team of people who meet and pray for our listeners. And you can send your request to: Revive Our Hearts.

On Monday, we'll continue to hear from Dorie. So far, we haven't heard anything about her father. But we'll find out how he entered her life on the next Revive Our Hearts.

Revive our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.