When I first met Christine Caine, slack-jawed might be the only word? When you witness someone astonishingly gifted for such a time as this, there are no words. I’ve listened to her speak countless times, talked Jesus with her over dinners, late through the night and over early breakfasts and this woman is called like no other, and she is an unstoppable global igniter of a whole generation. Christine jokingly says, when people ask her what she does, that she makes laps around the globe. As a global speaker, the founder of A21, an international anti-human trafficking organization, and Propel, a woman’s organization dedicated to helping women realize their purpose, passion and potential, she definitely makes laps around the globe overseeing the rescue and restoration of human-trafficking victims—and inspiring women to be all that God created them to be. With offices in 13 countries, her work takes her from churches to refugee camps, from teaching on television to conferences where she builds up the local church to win the lost. It’s a crazy grace to welcome Christine to the farm’s front porch today…
I once had a dear friend whom I loved wholeheartedly and with whom I shared so many fun times.
We had endless heart-to-heart talks about God, ministry, life, family, fashion, movies, books, food, and of course, coffee.
We shared an incredibly strong bond. We could talk about the most serious issues on earth one moment and then be laughing hysterically the next.
She was one of those people with whom I didn’t have to second-guess my words or filter my responses. There was simply an ease between us. And we had just enough differences to keep our friendship interesting, engaging, and evolving.
She was one of the people I could call for anything, a true BFF.
Until the day she just wasn’t.
She cut me off. No warning. No conversation. No explanation.
I felt so lost about what to do, what to say, and how to respond—just like a middle school girl. I felt as though I had been knocked off my feet, dumped on the floor, and left gasping for air, and I needed God to help me catch my next breath.
I needed Him to help me process the hurt and wrap my mind around what seemed incomprehensible.
How could she do this? She was my friend. I loved her and had shared so much of my life with her. We both loved Jesus and wanted to see His kingdom flourish. How was this possible?
Rejection was the last thing I expected from someone I had trusted the most.
I felt like King David when he penned gut-wrenching words about his own dear friend: “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers” Psalm 55:12–14.
I knew I needed to start with forgiving.
After all, that is what I spend my life teaching others to do. But it is never as easy as it sounds, especially when our heart is broken.
I knew I couldn’t let what happened to me become what I believed about myself.
Just because someone hurt me didn’t mean I was unworthy, unlovable, or unkind. It didn’t mean I was worth less or worthless. It didn’t mean I was not a good friend or capable of being a good friend.
But that’s how I felt—no matter how many times I tried to refute all the lies bombarding my mind…
None of us starts out in life planning to be hurt—or to hurt others—but it happens.People fail us—and we fail people—repeatedly.
It happens in our childhood and continues all the way through our adulthood.
Our lives are intertwined with everyone around us—just as God designed—but we are all a part of a flawed humanity.
None of us ever arrives, so it stands to reason that every time we open our hearts to one another, every time we’re thrown together into each other’s worlds, we will, quite possibly, hurt one another.
Whether it occurs in our dating, marriage, work, or friendships, it is going to happen.
I’ve heard so many stories from women who started out their careers full of enthusiasm and talent only to be devastated by life-altering criticism that postponed or derailed their success.
They didn’t know how not to believe everything someone in a position of authority said and how not to let it define who they were. So they minimized their talent and settled for a less fulfilling position.
They believed the lies that they were not smart enough, not gifted enough, not savvy enough.
I’ve listened to stories from women who married the love of their life only to have the marriage eventually crumble. Because of all the hurtful words thrown at them, they believed they were a failure and that they were unworthy of a loving relationship.
Just because we experience failure, it doesn’t make us a failure—but that’s hard to process when we don’t know how.
My own aunt was married for twenty-five years when she learned her best friend had been having an affair with her husband for eighteen of those years.
She was devastated, and it was so hard watching her internalize lies about herself because of their deceitful actions.
She agonized over not understanding how she never knew.
She questioned everything she’d ever done or said that might have made both of them betray her.
She obsessed over what she could have done differently, believing she was the one who had failed.
We have all been through deeply painful situations where words or actions significantly wounded us and threatened to derail us—whether it was from a friend, a spouse, a colleague, or a mentor.
When we were…
■ Blindsided by a divorce
■ Upstaged by a coworker
■ Shamed publicly by a leader
■ Financially ruined by a business partner
■ Judged by a family member
■ Rejected by a lifelong friend
■ Betrayed by a ministry partner
We’ve never forgotten those times when we lost our peace, joy, and hope and sometimes our vision, passion, and purpose.
Unexpected emotional wounding is so deeply painful because it is…unexpected.
It hits when our defenses are down and our trust levels are up.
How critical then to understand that even when people leave us and hurt us, God never leaves us nor forsakes us.
He understands what it feels like to be kicked in the gut, to have the wind knocked out of us—and He cares.
He promises to be there for us and to help us.
“If your heart is broken,” writes the psalmist, “you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, He’ll help you catch your breath” (Psalm 34:18 MSG).
Even when people are unfaithful, God is always faithful.
WARNING: THIS BOOK WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
I could not love this woman more — the way she has poured into me has changed my life. Christine Caine is the founder of A21, an international anti-human trafficking organization, and Propel, a women’s organization dedicated to helping women realize their purpose, passion and potential. She is the author of seven books, including her most recent, Unexpected: Leave Fear Behind, Move Forward in Faith, Embrace the Adventure.
In Unexpected, Christine helps us walk into the life God has for us—unknowns and all. Using dramatic examples from her own journey, she offers real-life strategies and biblical inspiration to help us move from fear and worry about ourselves to hope and trust in God. As we learn new ways to manage disappointment, strengthen our hearts, and build our faith, we can enjoy a new adventure with God that is more fulfilling than any day we spend trying to anticipate what will happen next.
[Our humble thanks to Zondervan for their partnership in today’s devotion ]