Can any good come out of the abuse you’ve suffered? I believe God can bring good out of any situation, if we let him, (Romans 8:28). But in those dark days of pain, this is often hard to envision.
One of the best ways God brings good from our pain is to allow us to comfort others with the same comfort He gave us.Tweet This
In 2 coronations 1:3-7 says, Paul explains how this worked in his life:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
When I was with my abusive first husband, I met each week with a mentor from my church. She had also experienced emotional abuse earlier in her life. God had given her comfort, and had grown her faith during those years. She was very wise, and had learned much about God and His ways. I felt like a baby Christian next to her. She was so patient and kind to meet with me every week for several years. She prayed for me and with me, and comforted me with God’s love through a very dark, painful time in my life.
Fast forward 15 years. I have left my abuser, become a domestic violence advocate, and have spent many years healing from the abuse I experienced. By God’s grace, I have had the joy of sharing God’s love while I have comforted many, many women who are currently experiencing, or have in the past experienced domestic violence. I didn’t have to wait for 15 years; God gave me the opportunity to comfort others almost immediately.
The following story was taken from my book A Journey to Healing After Emotional Abuse, pages 212 – 214:*
Shortly after I separated from my husband, the Lord gave me several opportunities to minister to other abused women. I was surprised how many of these women were people I had known for years, but never knew they were being abused. In one case, a friend of mine asked for prayer for her marriage in a small group meeting. Though she made no mention of abuse, the Lord gave me intuition she might be an abused woman. I invited her to my home and began telling her about the abuse I had experienced. She quickly opened up and told me her husband was emotionally abusing her. I gave her books to read about domestic violence as well as phone numbers for the National Domestic Hotline and shelters nearby. Another friend (I will call her Jane) had been praying for a year that someone would step in and help her. One day, I saw her four-year-old child punch his baby sister in the face. When I invited her to lunch, she told me her husband had been emotionally abusive toward her and using harsh physical punishment with their children for quite a while. She wasn’t frightened of him at that time, however. I gave her the same books on domestic violence and the same phone numbers I had given my other friend.
Things seemed to improve for a few months in Jane’s home, which was probably a honeymoon stage in the abuse cycle. I hadn’t talked to her for several weeks when I received a phone call from her. Jane told me her husband had tried to strangle her while she was holding their one-year-old baby. Because I had been willing to open up and share with her, Jane had the courage to call the police and have him arrested, then removed from their home. I thank the Lord I was able to help her in this way. I cannot imagine how I would have felt if I hadn’t spoken to her.
Each time I spoke with an abused woman, I asked her not to mention my name to her husband. Because abuse goes in cycles, a woman may not leave her husband for many years, if ever. When her husband is in a honeymoon stage, she might tell him she had talked with someone, which could put that someone—me, in this case—in danger. I had to rely on the Lord to protect me, as He had during my marriage.
After recovering from your own abuse, you may find you will be able to help other women suffering from domestic violence. Your experiences could give you a strong intuition when another woman is in pain and may increase your compassion for her and her children. Many crisis centers offer free training for those who wish to become domestic violence advocates. You might find a rewarding career in this way, or you might want to volunteer for a domestic violence hotline or in a women’s shelter. I encourage you to reach out and help other victims in any way you can. You will be blessed, and this work will help you bring beauty out of the ashes of your painful experience (Isaiah 61:3).
Right now, you may not feel qualified to comfort anyone else. That’s ok. Sometime in the future, God will give you this opportunity. Tweet This
Question: Have you ever been able to comfort someone else with the comfort God has given you? If so, please share how He did this in the comments of this blog.
I pray each of you will be able to feel God’s comfort.
Blessings dear friends,
* Abbott, Caroline A Journey to Healing After Emotional Abuse (Franklin, TN: Clovercroft Publishing, 2015) 212-214.