Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you,” Acts 18:9
One year ago, this is a portion of what I wrote when asked to contribute to a leadership blog:
It’s mid-April, sheltered alone in my home for four weeks now, my creativity has dwindled to the point of paralysis. Seated in front of my computer screen by seven a.m. each morning, I whisper a prayer and commence to write. Or rather, try to write. Why won’t the words flow? The message I’m passionate to share is eluding me now. More prayer, more research, back to the keyboard and… little progress, much agonizing.
Finally, a simple question from my book editor opened my eyes to the root of my problem. Since January, I have been circling the core point of my message, attempting to gently guide my audience into the arena of my argument. Why? My message centers on hidden emotional, psychological, and physical abuse, and the connection to addiction. A tough topic. For some time, I have been following the advice of experts in how to appeal to a broader audience for the purpose of education and building my author and speaker platforms, which has effectively diluted my message. Which has deflated my passion. Couple this fact with the effects of isolation and my lack of productivity if not excused, is at least explained.
My target audience are those women affected by hidden abuse and addiction. They are representative of every faith, race, ethnicity, and age, their lives impacted by the evil of oppression in significant ways. They carry invisible wounds and are often dismissed, demeaned, or wrongly judged when they summon the courage to seek help. These reactions compound their sense of unworthiness. Many never seek help or decline to seek help a second time. Some don’t know they are enslaved to oppression, it’s their ‘normal’. Hidden abuse is a silent global epidemic. It is not my opinion, but a fact validated with research directed by the United States Department of Justice.
It is this community I am called to serve, because within this band of individually isolated sisters, I lived much of my life. I know them. I write for them. When I shift to a voice of broader appeal, a more ‘acceptable’ voice, it is betrayal. As I process this truth, my passion is rekindled, words are beginning to flow onto the page.
Though imperfect, the words are raw and real and paint the kind of picture my audience will recognize. They will know I ‘get them’. Perhaps, in time, they will learn to trust my voice. And if they don’t already know Him, I pray they’ll learn to trust the voice of Jesus most of all.
Bold words offered out of brokenness for the sake of those oppressed. This is my calling as a follower of the gentle Shepherd who will bind their wounds, lavish them with love, instill hope for the future, and set them free. He spent His life for them, for all of us who dare to invite Him into our lives. It is the Gospel Truth.
As a Christ follower, it is my passion to boldly speak out against the evils of oppression…
That was a year ago and words did not continue to flow, and I am grieved to say the needle in my writing life hasn’t moved much. Being isolated not for weeks but more than a year has taken a toll on my creativity and my ability to focus, but I am back on track! My passion to reach out to hurting women with practical teaching and a message of hope, healing and restoration has intensified. Sadly, I am aware that the past twelve to fourteen months have served to increase the levels of domestic and hidden abuse behind closed doors for women and children everywhere. Folks who work in law enforcement, social services, and women’s shelters will verify. It’s more than heartbreaking.
It is for this reason I share my personal challenges of the past year with you (those of you who pray for my work, and those of you I long to reach). I am hard at work on three projects that will be announced soon: a podcast, a private community, and an online coaching course for women whose lives are affected by hidden abuse. My first request is to ask you to pray that all the moving parts will come together for each of these projects in a way that will most effectively reach and serve hurting women. Secondly, please pray with me that any resistance thrown in my path will be conquered quickly so as not to cause further delay.
My inspiration comes from the words of Jesus who was sent by His Heavenly Father for this purpose: “The spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,” Luke 4:18
Recovery of sight for the blind includes those who are spiritually blind. Liberty for those who are oppressed includes those who are demeaned by and enslaved to a tyrannical relationship.
God does not sanction abuse in any form. He is not the author of oppression but of freedom. He loves you and longs for relationship with you. That is why He sent His Son to pay the price for our sins. To wash them away and give each of us a clean slate if we confess to being sinners and ask Him to enter our lives. God loves us and desires relationship with us. It’s what the Christian faith is about. It is not a religion but a love relationship with a living God. Possible because we have a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
As believers, it is Him we want to emulate. We must let our voices be heard. I believe we begin by listening.
“We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Because of His mercy and grace,
Personal Note: If you need a friend to talk to because you are in a toxic environment or abusive relationship, feel free to email or direct message me. Be assured our conversation will be kept in strictest confidence. You may also use the Contact page on this website.
P.S. While I am working to launch three projects, you will find me sending progress updates and advance announcements to subscribers to my email list, along with some information about two book manuscripts that are in process. If you aren’t yet on my email list, you may sign up on here on my website.
All success with your three projects Jilliann.
PS: you’ll notice a name change and a new email address.
I love your openness Jill. God Bless and protect and continue to guide your “journey
Thank you for your insight and your courage to speak up against oppression and evil. May God bless your journey!