January 27, 2014
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)
Have you ever believed the injustices of the world were too big for you to make a difference? I have felt that way. So 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 by 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 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 need a small place to start, I want to introduce you to a friend named Becky who was rescued and gave her life to Jesus just a few weeks ago. (For more on Becky's story, read the related resources portion below.)
If you want to be part of the miracles happening in Becky's life and the lives of other women being helped right now, here are three ways:
* Be aware there are women needing help.
* Pray for these women and the organizations seeking to rescue them.
* Buy a bracelet made by Becky or one of the other women being helped by a ministry we've partnered with called Fashion & Compassion. When you buy a bracelet, you get the name of the "rescued" woman who made it. You can pray for her specifically as you wear this beautiful reminder that small gifts matched with your prayers make a big difference.
And if you have a story of hope like me, share it. Love. 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. Please show me how I can help them specifically. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Becky is nearly two months free of a 15-year addiction to crack cocaine that led her into the horrors of human trafficking. She recently accepted Jesus into her heart and is seeking a relationship with Him. Her involvement in hand-making jewelry with Fashion & Compassion has changed her life!
Help us partner with Fashion & Compassion in equipping women like Becky to break free from the enemy's strongholds. Click here to purchase your bracelet!
Reflect and Respond:
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.
Psalm 62:7, "My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge." (NIV)
© 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Originally published Monday, 27 January 2014.