I’m thankful I have the privilege of knowing some people who are actively involved in seeking to protect others and helping others who have been unprotected in the past.
So today, this Thanksgiving week, I’m thankful for . . .
. . . the former work supervisor who was “always kind,” who was a safe person for a struggling abuse survivor to reach out to.
. . . the woman who wants to help protect her friend from her friend’s abusive and destructive family.
. . . the woman who opens her home for the ones escaping oppression, to offer them a safe place to stay for a few days or weeks.
. . . the kind and patient husband who loves his wife who survived childhood abuse and wants to do what he can to help her.
. . . the woman who found evidence one of her children was being abused, who took the very hard step of getting all her children to a safe place to begin a completely new life.
. . . the older sister who escaped an abusive home but is continuing to extend her hand to the younger siblings who still live in fear and isolation.
. . . the woman who fears speaking even in a small group but knows God has called her to speak publicly to help others coming out of abuse, and is willing.
. . . the pastor who has boldly preached sermons on abuse that have opened the eyes of many.
. . . others who are unafraid to speak publicly about what actually goes on behind the closed doors of many “Christian” homes.
. . . the woman who is strugging with significant physical issues caused by abuse but who has overcome much and is continuing to overcome and reach out to others who are struggling.
. . . the mother whose daughter married a cruel man, who is simply “there” for her daughter in any way she can be, ready to help her daughter when her daughter is ready to get out.
. . . the grandmother who sees the oppressive circumstances her grandchildren are living in and wants to help in any way she can.
. . . the woman at church who is known as a “safe person,” who listens and loves and advocates for others.
. . . the marriage counselor who followed the Lord’s leading to focus on abuse even though it wasn’t a happy subject.
. . . the woman who in the midst of her own recovery, got training so that she could be a wise and helpful support to others going through pain similar to hers.
. . . the pastor who believed the person who spoke to him and proceeded to report a crime to the police and then carry through with excommunication of an offender who offered fake repentance.
. . . the woman who has used the trauma of her past as a springboard from which to show the love of God to others.
. . . the woman who showed kindness and made hot muffins for a confused and lonely girl.
. . . the woman who is boldly speaking about her childhood-trauma-induced dissociation and its ramifications in her life, to help bring that “ah ha” moment into the lives of others.
. . . the woman who found a friend in trouble and wanted to help and didn’t know how but was there for her anyway.
Almost all of these are people I’ve been able to correspond with or even meet personally. (None of them are me, in case you were wondering, lol!) Most of them do their work quietly, much of it unseen and unknown by others. All of them are believing in hope and trusting in God to bring beauty out of ashes and the oil of joy out of mourning.
My life is enriched and blessed by talking with these people and getting to know some of them in a deeper way. They love Jesus and want to see Him glorified in the lives of the people God has brought into their lives. They know He offers ultimate hope and ultimate recovery. They want to turn hearts to Him.
When I look discouragement in the face (because the evil is so great and so many church leaders are so hard hearted), I’m spurred to thanksgiving by many things. One of them is the wonderful people God has brought into my life. There are many, many amazing and incredible people I’ve had the privilege of meeting. I have been deepened and enriched by their overcoming. I have stood in awe of what God has accomplished in their lives.
But this one . . . this one is for the Protectors. Thank you for standing there with your arms outstretched to the oppressed, holding your shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, willing to face off with wolves.
You are a blessing and an inspiration to me.