“Why do bad things happen to good people?”
If you’ve never heard this question before, then I believe you have been living on a completely different planet from the rest of us. Anytime there is an accident or disaster that causes pain in one form or the other, that question is thrown about like pebbles in a pond. Many have blamed God for allowing evil thrive, others have blamed themselves or blamed others, but some have taken the lemons that life has thrown their way and made a yummy lemon drizzle cake to share with the world around them.
A while ago, the Lord laid this topic on my heart. I know I have written about scars several times, but this one is different. Many people have been through things that should crush them to powder so the wind of life could blow them away. But by the grace that only God gives, they have used the stones that were thrown their way to build a solid fortress of safety for others going through similar or varying storms.
Meet Audrey . . . TGWTRH (The Girl With The Red Hair)
“A little over 5 years ago, my life changed forever. I felt completely lost and though I didn’t consciously intend to end it, I just wished I could fall into a deep sleep and not wake up until balance was restored. At a point, I begged God to strike me with some illness that would require an extended stay in the hospital just so I could escape my reality at the time.” – Audrey
Finding out that her marriage was close to the rocks just after 3 years of its inception, Audrey confronted what at that time was the toughest point of her life, but nothing prepared her for the years that followed, as the one who she committed her life to didn’t seem ready to honour that commitment.
Embarrassed and traumatized, she sought the help of those she trusted would be able to address the dilemma, but unfortunately, there appeared to be no light at the end of that tunnel. “You’re not the first or last woman to deal with this”, “God hates divorce and you will go to hell if you leave”, and many other shocking statements were the responses of those who were supposed to be a pillar of support.
With a threat to her second pregnancy, she realised it was time to walk away from all that had come to define her life, but only after much damage had been done – an unsuccessful final examination for a degree, a missed opportunity for a promotion at her job and the shattered pieces that were her mental wellbeing. After several panic attacks, severe depression and erratic hormonal inbalance, Audrey decided it was time to speak out.
“I saw a therapist. A Christian one. She spoke to both of us and advised us to go our separate ways because my husband told her he wasn’t ready to make any changes.” – Audrey
Speaking to her therapist, her dad and the few friends who offered a listening ear, Audrey began to pick up the pieces of her life, admitting that suppressing the pain caused more harm than good.
Her healing process birthed anSpoken which stands for Anonymously Spoken. anSpoken is a ‘listening’ channel available to anyone who needs to pour out their hearts to a genuine listening ear without the fear of being judged or being exposed. People are encouraged to call and send in messages while the coordinators and volunteers listen and recommend professional help where necessary.
A problem shared is a problem halved.
“For 3 years, we’ve had many conversations and as part of World Mental Health Day this year, we partnered with Lipton and Breakfast to Breakfast to run a 2-day call centre and a free hug event respectively. The response was amazing, and in the last three days, we have had over 200 people reaching out.” – Audrey
“My heart is full and it’s awesome to know that my team and I are making an impact; one conversation at a time.” – Audrey
In one of my older posts, The Stories in Our Scars, I wrote: “Don’t hide your scars because the story might not be pleasant. Don’t hide your scars because you think it’ll expose your shame. Don’t hide your scars because you want to be accepted. Don’t hide your scars because you just want to blend in. Celebrate your scars because they didn’t stay as open wounds. Let your scars tell their stories, and one day your world would be better for it.”
Audrey is an embodiment of those words – the world around her is a much better place because she chose to allow her scars to speak words of hope, courage and grace.
Through anSpoken, many have been given another chance at living. In a culture where certain stories are buried under the rugs of shame and disgrace, anSpoken has given many an outlet to speak out, even though anonymously, and experience the healing effects of having a listening ear – and this is what I celebrate by this post.
Well done, Team anSpoken!
anSpoken is available on the following platforms: