I Once Was a Shell of a Girl - Encouragement for Today - March 16, 2017

Lysa TerKeurst

March 16, 2017
I Once Was a Shell of a Girl

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

[Editor’s Note: Today’s devotion might be a trigger for anyone who has survived childhood trauma. If that’s you, check out the Connect section today. We pray this story encourages you and brings you hope.]

Have you ever believed the wrongs of the world were too big for you to make a difference? I have. And instead of doing something, even something small, I did nothing.

I thought big, world-sized problems required big, powerful people.

But then a friend told me about spending time with rescued victims of sex trafficking. I knew that conversation was meant for more than just two friends connecting. I couldn’t just say, “Wow, how awful,” and go about my normal life. I had to do something. Even if it was something very small.

My small act didn’t solve the evils of the world, but it did help combat the evil being done against one. And that small gift tendered my heart to do more.

A few years later, I spent almost a week living and serving in a shelter for girls rescued from sex trafficking. Coming face to face with those affected by evil was starkly different than just hearing about it. I listened to their stories, saw their tears and held their hands.

What I heard and saw horrified me on deep, deep levels. I kept thinking: How can this be going on in America? How was I so unaware?

And yet the reality is, I personally know the horrors of being taken advantage of and feeling powerless. As a young girl I was caught in a vicious cycle of sexual abuse by a family “friend” for years.

His threats kept me silent. Over time, that silence turned into overwhelming shame. Hatred cloaked my soul in darkness. And that bitterness seeped into the deepest crevices of my heart, changing how I saw myself. A girl can get completely lost inside the caverns of hate and lose every bit of what used to make her feel alive.

I once was a shell of a girl, ravaged by evils done to me.

But now I’m a girl who has hope bigger than the hurt. Light brighter than the darkness. And a life full of truth as God set me free from those death chains of hatred.

How did I find that pathway to healing? Someone told me about Jesus.

Jesus promised me a new life through following Him. As I did, He saved me by His love, comforted me by His grace and freed me by His truth. Christian counseling helped me understand how to forgive and challenged me to share the hope I’d found. Every time I shared my story, it miraculously deepened my own healing. Every time I comforted another hurting woman, my own soul found deeper comfort.

The Bible reminds us that God has comforted us “so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:4b-5, NASB).

Your story and circumstances may be different, but we all need personal healing and comfort of some kind. Seek that comfort from God today. But don’t stop there.

God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable. He comforts us to make us comfort-ABLE … able to help others.

Seek out someone to help today. And if you have a story of hope like I do, share it. Love others. Share comfort. And believe small gifts aren’t small at all.

Dear Lord, thank You for being our Comforter. Wrap Your loving arms around each woman struggling with hurt and pain in the world right now, Father. And please show me how I can be an instrument of Your hope and healing in very real and specific ways today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Psalm 62:7, “My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.” (NIV)

Matthew 18:10, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (NIV)

Jesus tells us in Scripture that He is the Light of the world. Not only does He bring light, but He also brings deliverance from the darkness. If you want to experience the Light of the world in a fresh way, Lysa TerKeurst has a new Bible study focusing on the seven “I Am” statements of Jesus. This study will help you stop living like a slave to your circumstances by training your heart to embrace the life-giving freedom God wants for you. You can order your copy of Finding I AM here today.

If you’ve experienced abuse or trauma recently or in your past, you might benefit from professional counseling. For a one-time consultation, or a referral to a Christian counselor in your area, click here.

You can connect with Lysa on a daily basis, see pictures of her family and follow her speaking schedule at her blog and on Instagram.

What small thing could you do today to help those who are hurting in the community around you? Pray for them and then take action however you can.

© 2017 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105

Originally published Thursday, 16 March 2017.