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Finding Her Worth in the Path of Trauma

Finding Her Worth in the Path of Trauma

Sarah’s* father planned to give her away in marriage to any man who would take her. He was eager to be rid of his daughter, and in the meantime this young Middle Eastern woman was suffocating under the pressure she felt in her own home.

The abuse she’d experienced had eroded her self-worth and left her inwardly paralyzed. "I lived in emotional deprivation, and I was deprived of my most basic rights,” Sarah recalls. “I lived the oppression and humiliation to the point that I thought that my most basic rights were not my right at all.”

But amid her devastation, Sarah encountered a social media campaign on honor and shame run by Arab Woman Today (AWT), a Christar project that ministers to women throughout the Arab world; and she soon began to receive counseling through this ministry. In a region where millions of women are scarred by war, discrimination and personal violence, AWT seeks to help those who have experienced trauma heal by providing them with free sessions with licensed counselors. AWT staff also come alongside each woman, seeking to empower her to be healthy in soul, spirit and body and to embrace her God-given worth.

Through the counseling sessions, Sarah began to envision the type of life she would like to lead. With the help of AWT staff, she convinced her parents to allow her to work and found a job. And she started to see herself as a person with value.

However, as the war in her homeland intensified, Sarah faced a new level of struggle. Amid the unrest and fear that’s enveloped her community, she lost the job she’d fought for and struggled to cope with the conflict that had surrounded her. She shared with the AWT staff, “We are dying, and there is no safe place. I am terrified and can’t even sleep for an hour.” Her intense nightmares, coupled with constant fear, left her depressed and exhausted.

The AWT staff stuck with her and arranged for her to participate in trauma counseling sessions to help her process all that she’d experienced and continue to move forward in her life. They also encouraged her to take practical steps to protect her own rights such as creating a financial plan that allows her to save for the future and prevent future exploitation.

As a result, Sarah has become an advocate within her own family and beyond, supporting her mother and raising other women’s awareness of their own rights. As she’s applied what she’s learned from AWT workshops on confrontation, boundaries and self-worth, her confidence has soared, and she had the courage to refuse a marriage proposal—one that would have provided an escape from her circumstances at home—after discovering certain aspects of the man’s life.

Now, Sarah’s nightmares are gone. Her fear has been replaced with an openness to life and her relationships within her immediate family have improved significantly. Sarah has even able to offer forgiveness, and the AWT staff is excited to see the spiritual change that is taking place within her as she embraces Christian values.

As AWT staff members have shared biblical truth with her, Sarah has recognized that there is something unique about the gospel message. Ela, a local believer serving at the AWT office, shares, “Sarah realized the considerable difference between religiosity and doing works from the outside and genuine faith that bears the fruit of good deeds and true love.” Sarah has been struck by what she has heard about God's love for her and has promised to pray that God would transform her religious works into true faith.

In a recent letter to AWT, Sarah reflected on the transformation that has taken place in her life:

"I have reached this maturity and awareness level from the depths of pain, and many life situations and experiences. Thank you for being with me and by my side encouraging me. That is why I learned and persevered. I changed all the misconceptions that I learned, knew what was right for me and came to distinguish right from wrong. I read and researched according to your advice and guidance. I don't know what changed in my heart, but I easily became forgiving and caring about those around me. I am relieved of tension and discomfort, and I feel proud that I made an important decision for my life and my marriage and refused to enter into an unhealthy marriage.

“I appreciate your support and that you stood by me. … Despite all my challenges, I hope to be an ambassador for this new mindset for Arab women today.”

As Sarah seeks to help other young Arab women discover their true worth, Ela and her teammates at AWT are praying that Sarah will be eternally transformed by the gospel. “Sarah now has new hope for the future and has confidence in God; and she is confident that the future will be better,” Ela says. “We pray that the Lord will reveal Himself and His love to her.”

Participate by Praying:

  • Praise God for using the counseling provided by AWT to give women who’ve experienced trauma hope for the future.
  • Pray that Sarah and other women like her will be transformed by God’s love for them and fully embrace the good news.
  • Ask the Lord to provide the funds needed for AWT to continue to offer counseling sessions to women free of charge.

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