As a woman who has been sexually abused, I’m thankful for men like Sam Eaton. Men that proclaim the message that we are not forgotten, not damaged and loved more than we can comprehend.
If this post touched your heart, make sure to send him a Tweet or Facebook message and thank him for his guest post. JP Ministries loves you Sam!
I was a painfully stupid 19 year-old.
I was insecure and made a lot of stupid jokes. It was a cold Iowa winter’s night, the type of night where normal people hibernate indoors. Not us. We were young and invincible as we made our way back from the sketchiest of bars. All you could see in the 2am sky was the cloud of smoke rising from the warm breath of our huddled, slightly intoxicated pack.
The group went their separate ways as I hung in the hallway with a girl I was proud to call my friend. As we stood chatting, somehow as a drunk guy and girl passed us in the hallway, an inexcusable joke escaped from my lips; a joke about rape. (more…)
Pain is running rampant on college campuses across the globe. Still in college, I have seen and experienced the pain. Some women lack an understanding that they have a God in heaven who loves them and created them with a plan and a purpose. Not knowing about God, they turn to the things the world tells them will provide pleasure and satisfaction. For a college freshman, those things include: boys, sex, drinks, a perfect body, and cool friends.
Maybe you live in a bubble and don’t realize this is happening on our college campuses. Please, open your eyes and realize that pain is spreading like a disease. Women are hurting themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and Jesus is the only one who can provide healing.
I’m sorry for the language, but I want you to read the honesty and pain in her words. This is a poem written by a freshman who is living in the pain:
I love talking about how powerful our stories are, because when I realized this my life changed. I began to understand why I needed to share my story with other women. Through this, I experienced so much growth in my walk with God!
In the past two weeks I’ve blogged about how powerful our stories are. Here is why:
Finally, the third reason why our stories are powerful is because vulnerability leads to growth.
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
When we admit our weaknesses to others, God has an opportunity to be glorified. We are powerless. God is powerful.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Have you ever gone through a difficult time, reached the other end, and thought, “How in the world did I get through this?”
My freshman year of college I was in a ditch of loneliness, sadness, and anger. At that time, I never thought I could be where I am now. Now, every time I am vulnerable and I share my story with someone of how God healed me, I let my weaknesses show God’s strength. I get to give God all the glory.
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.” 2 Tim 1: 8
When Jesus was dying on the cross, everyone thought he was a complete failure, except God. They believed that all he had done was a lie and was now dying a useless death. They didn’t know God’s plan or look at the bigger picture because they focused on the now.
Three days later they saw things differently. God’s plan became clear.
Friends, we are just like this! In the midst of pain and struggling we question God. Then when we see the other side, we see how God used that situation to glorify himself. We begin to think differently.
I love journaling. When I go back and re-read old journals I can truly see that God has used my story to bring him glory. Here is one prayer I wrote in November of my freshman year of college, “God, I know someday I will see how you’ve made a beautiful thing out of this.”
God has answered my prayers. He has fixed my broken heart. And he can fix yours too. He can and will make a beautiful thing out of all your pain and suffering.
Ladies, be vulnerable with the other women in your life. You don’t know what they are going through. Maybe you have similar stories, and God wants to use you both to help each other.
Last week, I blogged about how powerful our stories are. (Click here to see it!)
Our stories have as much power as Jesus’ death on the cross. If you are a believer in Christ and have a personal relationship with him, God can and will use your story to bring him glory. Your story is an extension of God’s power!
The second reason why your story is powerful is because our God has an eternal perspective. God knows how each event in our lives will be used to impact eternity!
Isaiah 55:8-11: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
We have to understand that God is SO much bigger than our tiny little brains.
Our thoughts are smaller than his thoughts. Our plans are smaller than his plans. Think of eternity as a line. It is a line that goes on and on and on forever. We are just one dot on that line, so we only see our dot and a little before and after. But God, the Creator of the line, sees the whole line! He knows how one dot will impact the next.
Before going on project, I prayed that God would bring one other women who had been sexually abused. I desired to use my story to help someone else heal. One day in Miami, I went on a walk with one of my friends. She was upset and said that she didn’t know why she was telling me this, but wanted to tell me her story. She had been raped her freshman year of college. I was the first person she had told.
God planned that both her and I would be in Miami that summer. She felt weird inside because the Holy Spirit was telling her to share her deepest pain with me. We cried and talked together, and I began to understand that God would use my story to glorify himself. That summer I got to help my friend begin a journey of healing, and I continued healing by viewing my life through God’s eternal perspective.
Later that week, I found out that 5 other girls on project had been sexually abused.
I prayed for 1 girl, God gave me 6. Before project, we each focused on our dot and our hurt, but God was focused on how our hurt could help others.
Here is my favorite part of the story! After project, one of the women felt called to share her story with other ladies, specifically the Greek women on her campus. She went to each chapter meeting and shared her story. She shared what she had gone through, how God redeemed her, saved her, and how now is experiencing real love in a relationship with God.
Later that semester, Cru at her college hosted an event called Girls’ Night Out by Marian Jordan. At the event, they witnessed 98 girls pray to give their life to Christ, most of them were women from sororities that my friend shared her story to.
Dear reader, my friend realized that God could take her story and use it to change women’s eternities! He can do the same with yours! Your story is powerful! I challenge you to stop focusing on your dot and focus on the line. Let God use your story to impact others eternities! Love, Joy
In the past three years, God has continued to show me over and over again how he can take my story and use it for his plan and his purpose. For the longest time I struggled believing this. I thought there was no way that God could use my broken life in any positive way. My freshman year of college, I was sexually abused. Immediately, the feeling of shame entered my heart.
I thought my story was filled with too much pain to bring God glory. Have you ever thought your story was too shameful to share or help anyone?
We all have a story, and we all have parts of our story we don’t think will bring the world any good. We all have been through challenges in life. We all have faced heart ache, anger, sadness, struggles, but if you are a believer in Christ and have a personal relationship with him, God can and will use your story to bring him glory.
Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
God has a purpose and a plan for your story. He knows that it will be used to further his kingdom, impact eternity, and bring him glory.
Why, you ask?
Because our stories are powerful.
Revelation 12:10-11 says, “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
These verses take place in the middle of a battle between God and Satan. “They” refers to Christians, and the verses explain the two ways that Christians can triumph over Satan.
The two reasons are:
By the blood of the Lamb – Jesus’s death on the cross and his resurrection.
By the word of our testimonies – our stories.
Our stories have so much power that they are in the same sentence as the power of Jesus’s death!
Why do our stories have this power? Because if you are a Christian, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is inside of you. The power of the Holy Spirit is inside you.
Your story is an extension of God’s power.
God has shown me how my story is powerful. He has used it to bring him glory. He has brought many women to me who have similar stories and used my story to help these women find power in their stories. He has used my story to impact others eternities. He can and will make a beautiful thing out of all your pain and suffering.
Never let Satan convince you that your story has no purpose. Never let him convince you that your story is too shameful to share with others.