If you are reading this, it means you are a survivor. You have survived some really hard things in your life. We all have.
As we near 2021, survival is on many people's minds. Government leaders and health officials are forecasting a “long dark winter.” Unfortunately, we are already seeing evidence of this. In many states, new mandates and tightener restrictions have been issued in response to a dramatic rise in Covid cases and deaths. Even if people escape the virus, they may face financial hardship, or depression. Recent studies indicate the suicide rate is climbing, as is domestic violence and other forms of abuse.
I realize this is not news to you. Maybe today you're just hanging on, hoping to survive the days ahead. I can understand that. Surviving is good. But listen to what Jesus said: "The thief comes to steel, kill and destroy, but I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly." God wants more for us than mere survival. He wants us to experience life to the fullest!
Recently I was reminded of another dark time in my life when God taught me this. About five years ago, I lost my mom. Two years before that, my dad passed. My relationship with him had been strained my whole life. My father struggled with rage and my mom didn’t know how to protect us kids. I was abused in multiple ways. It was so bad, I didn’t even remember the worst of it until I was in my early 40s when I developed PTSD. The panic attacks, depression, and flashbacks were so painful, at times I just wanted to go away and never return.
Thankfully, I had a lot of support, both personal and professional. Others were there and walked with me as Jesus did what I was unable to do on my own. He healed my emotional wounds, helped me forgive, and I emerged from that season transformed from the inside out. The PTSD, and other emotional problems resolved. It was miraculous.
My healing came with a steep price tag. I lost relationship with my mom the last 7 years of her life. I adored her and prayed for healing and reconciliation. But this didn’t happen in the way I hoped. After she passed, I grieved the loss of “what could have been.” It was a very disappointing and painful ending.
Friends, as my story illustrates, we will not win every battle. Through no fault of our own, sometimes other people succumb to Satan’s evil plans. Maybe you've experienced this. You longed for a happy ending and it didn’t happen. How do we move forward?
One day at a time. That's what I did. I moved on, and much to my surprise, victory was just around the corner. It came as a result of obedience. After my father’s death, God began to move in my heart to share my story publicly. It was a big ask. However, when the opportunity arose I did it. Several years later I wrote and published a book about my story. Not long after, I was asked to help launch a nonprofit, SAVAnon (Sexual Abuse Victims Anonymous). My story is in the curriculum we use in our free online eight-week healing groups.
It's pretty crazy. What I kept a secret for so many years is now the very thing that gives me so much joy. Who knew that my painful story is valuable and able to bring God's light to those living in darkness? God did! God knew.
Revelation 12:11 says,“They won the victory over him (Satan) because of the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.” (GWT) Our stories are a powerful weapon.
Friend, do you want to get the devil back for what he stole from you? Lay down your pride. Be transparent. Share your brokenness and how Jesus rescued you. Tell your story. This is one way to experience the victory and abundant life Jesus died to give you.
These are dark days and you know what that means. Opportunity. People are hurting, hopeless and lost. They need help, help that only Jesus can give them. Will you make a decision to share the light you have with others living in darkness despite what it costs you?
Maybe you have never shared your story before and it sounds intimidating. Here are some simple things I believe any of us can do and be successful.
1. Write Your Story.
Take the time to write out your story. Writing it down will help you prepare, even though you won’t read it when the opportunity arises.
When you draft your story, think: before, how, and after.
Before. What was your situation before you met Jesus? What needs did you have?
How. Describe the circumstances, events, and details of your encounter with Jesus.
After. State how your life has been different since meeting Jesus.
2. Pray Dangerous Prayers
Ask God for opportunities. He will give them to you!!
3. Meet Needs
Love people in practical ways. Sometimes we need to “be good news” before we “share the good news."
4. Ask Questions
People like to talk about themselves. Be inquisitive:
What’s life like for you right now? How is the pandemic impacting your family?
Are you from here? I’d love to hear your story.
Don't be surprised if they respond by asking about your story!
5. Social Media
Be Bold! Include Jesus is some of your posts. Do a live video, acknowledge the current crisis, and offer help to your friends. I saw an example of this a week ago and so many people responded with appreciation.
Friends, let's do what we can. Wouldn't it be great to emerge from this long dark winter, as victorious survivors! Let's get out of our comfort zones and into the trenches. Let's fight the good fight, and overcome evil with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
FRIENDS HELPING FRIENDS KNOW JESUS
This Facebook Group is designed to inspire, equip, and encourage a consistent personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Group participants receive spiritual mentoring and coaching from a team of hosts. Dont miss out on this opportunity! Just look me up on Facebook, leave an Instant Message, and I'lll send you an invite! Or check out our YouTube Channel.
SAVAnon and our sister organization AbAnon (Abortion Anonymous) provide hope and healing to those who have suffered trauma related to sexual abuse, sexual assault, or an abortion. Our eight week healing groups for men and women are free, and available online. You can participate in the privacy of your own home. Interested? Go to savanon.org or abanon.org and submit your name and contact information under the tab: Find a Chapter. Someone will contact you within 24-48 hours.
The book Love Gone Wrong is available at most book retail stores like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Aunties Book Store, and for a reduced price at laurelbahr.com/shop My two friends and I wrote this book and believe our stories can help anyone in an abusive, unhealthy relationship