Have you ever felt the sting of, “I really messed up!” followed by the blessing of experiencing God’s immense love and grace towards you?
Every one of us is a recipient of God’s sufficient grace – even when we don’t recognize it. And one of the most amazing privileges of being a part of Refuge for Women is when a resident is overwhelmed by His grace towards her.
This testimony is about “Jennifer’s” powerful grace encounter with the One who adores her.
Jennifer spent a successful year at Refuge for Women. During that season, she received faith-based, trauma-informed care that supported her physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
She committed to all the sacrifices required to pursue a year of restorative healing with Refuge for Women. And she gave 100% to the process. We celebrated her with a graduation party and recounted all her victories. What a joy it is to witness God rescue a woman from sex trafficking and gently usher her into all the love and freedom Christ offers her!
After graduation, Jennifer made a wise choice to move into our Transitional Living Home so she would have continued support to practice the skills she learned during her first year with us.
She moved forward confidently, feeling assured that she had conquered any risk of relapsing into decisions that would enslave her to the monstrous addictions beast again. But one decision made in false confidence led to another and another.
Jennifer’s unhealthy choices are not unique to women who are recovering from the victimization of sex trafficking. We all have the propensity to sin after convincing ourselves, “I’ve got this!” It can look like this:
- Gossip disguised as prayer
- Endless social media scrolling to avoid something else
- Turning to food, the internet, or something else for comfort
But God offers hope! 1 John 1:9 reminds us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” But, unfortunately, when people are consumed with shame, sin is difficult to confess.
But here’s the beauty: At Refuge for Women, we’re committed to providing the safety that helps empower our residents to break free from the shame that shackles them. Our residents experience safety as they learn about God’s nature, His unfailing love for them, and His offer of salvation, free will, and freedom. They also encounter His love through our staff and dedicated volunteers.
So how did Jennifer respond when, in her words, she “messed up” after relapsing? Thankfully, she recognized that she needed specialized support, and she voluntarily requested a month at a rehabilitation facility.
After rehab, she returned to the Transitional Living Home and has been steadily continuing to grow in responsibility and maturity ever since. Best of all, her faith in God is more securely rooted and established in His love.
Jennifer started volunteering at a thrift store. The organization’s managers recognized her character and work ethic, and within two weeks, they hired her! They even created a position just for her! Quickly, Jennifer became a key employee with the added responsibility of training new volunteers.
Jennifer testifies about God’s goodness as she acknowledges that the favor she is experiencing is a gift from God.
The healing care she’s received at Refuge for Women allowed Jennifer to grow in her identity in Christ and release shame, which allowed her to feel safe enough to confess to God and have the humility to ask her Transitional Living Director for help.
As Jennifer looks back upon this challenging experience, she says, “I needed this to happen because I believed I could handle it on my own.” She sees now that she needs the Lord to stay sober, and she’s grateful that her relapse occurred in the safety of a supportive community at Refuge’s Transitional Living Home.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” And now, when Jennifer reads these words, she believes them to a greater degree because she has now experienced His grace profoundly.
Her faith in the good and loving nature of God has grown by leaps and bounds because she knows that He has wonderful plans for her, even if she “messes up big time.” God’s sufficient grace and redemptive power are amazing!”