When I was in college, I struggled with an eating disorder for 8 months. My junior year had some rough patches and without realizing it, my harmless attempt to lose a little bit of weight warped into an unhealthy habit.
I put myself through intense workouts every morning at 5am and kept a list of every single piece of food I ate throughout the day. I was hungry all the time. I would binge eat and then starve myself for the next day out of guilt for letting myself consume more than 1,500 calories.
Deep down, part of me knew what I was doing was unhealthy, but the way people commented on how good I looked kept me from reaching out for help.
How much water do you use in one day?
Think about it for a minute.
On average in the United States, one person uses upwards of 80 gallons of water per day.* Water that can be accessed simply by walking to the sink. For most of us, we don't have to worry about gathering, collecting, or storing the water we need for each day of the year.
But for Reza and his family, water had to be collected by carrying as many plastic jugs as they could carry down a hill to the river, fill them, and make the trek back up the hill.
Survivors need love and support, and to feel physically and emotionally safe before change can begin. This safety extends to their spiritual well-being. Abusers convince survivors that they are worthless, and that God doesn’t love them. They need to be encouraged by the truth of God’s love—that He died to redeem them because of that love.
As witnesses, recognizing abuse or knowing how to help a survivor is challenging; it makes us uncomfortable. But being able to push past the discomfort and reach out can save lives.
Lisa, a retired engineer turned library director, sat looking at her phone as she sipped her morning coffee. It had been a year since she had retired and she was looking for something, some new way to connect with and love those around her. Not knowing what path to follow, Lisa prayed.
Elsewhere, Tricia and her husband John also prayed as they held the hands of their little foster son, five-year-old Sam. They had been to several hospital visits, sat in a number of waiting rooms, and watched Sam go through one painful round of medication after another. They weren’t sure how they would make it through to the next day.
Sarah was just 17 years old when everything she knew was taken from her. Whispers of war coming to her home country of Sudan slowly turned into metal bullets and bodies tossed into mass graves.
Her mother’s voice, once strong, now caught with fear each time she said, “All would be ok.” As the darkness of the Second Sudanese Civil War descended across the country, it robbed, shattered, and uprooted the lives of millions—including Sarah's.
On one fateful day in 1992, war tore Sarah away from her family. Sarah's mother had secretly arranged for her to travel with relatives to a refugee camp. In her mother's eyes, Sarah was old enough to take care of herself and leaving was the only chance Sarah had to secure a good education. When the relatives arrived, Sarah remembers, “I didn't want to leave my mom and go, but she said, ‘God is great and will bring you back some day.’” Those were the last words Sarah clung to...