God and Sexual Assault

Finding Encouragement during Recovery

The Jar

It is difficult to feel encouraged on this journey of healing. Trauma is different for everyone. Very different. Your experiences are not mine and vice versa. I cannot understand how you deal with yours just as you cannot understand how I deal with mine. Yet we all have common ground.

Dealing with trauma leads to isolation. I know I am not the only trauma survivor to struggle with social relationships because of my history. There is research which suggests why this is so. I won’t go into that today, but it is there.

I am finding people, even those who have experienced trauma, do not understand when we need encouragement. In our society of social media, email, and texting, voice inflection is lost.

No one can hear the longing in my voice when I am writing a post, email, or text. It is why I despise Facebook, though it is a necessary evil to help with my writing, it brings me down.

People post quotes to discourage you and condemn you. “I bet not one person will repost this!” threats line my account many days. I delete them along with the ones bragging about “My child is the best at this, and my family is the happiest in the world on our most fabulous family vacation!”

No one leads a perfect life, but on social media it appears they do and on days when I am isolated and down their “perfect” lives intrude on my emotions and bring me further down.

So I stop reading it. We cannot allow ourselves to be brought down by one moment selections on a page. They never post the crying baby, or the sleepless nights, or the “D” papers. Yet they are all there. Everyone faces discouragement.

Yet, finding people to encourage us is rare. Holding my breath for someone to “like” a post or respond to my text and getting nothing leaves me hollow. It shouldn’t. I long for real encouragement.

However, I try not to take it personally, nor should you. Our worth is in God. Which is hard because God cannot wrap His arms around us in a tight hug or call us on the phone.

He has however sent us the greatest love letter of all time. The Bible. His Word.

So, I decided to turn to God to encourage me. Use what He gave us to live my life each day.

I created an “Encouragement Jar”. I found an empty jar I had and I found verses I had written down over the past year on encouragement and God’s love and wrote each one on colored slips of paper. I cut each verse out and folded it up. I placed them into the jar.


The jar sits on the ottoman in my family room. Each day, whenever I start to feel discouraged I go to the jar and pull out one of the pieces of paper. Read it. Hold it close to my heart. Embrace the hug God is giving to me, and place the verse where I can see it the rest of the day.

Though I still long to have encouragement from others, I continue to pray God will fill up the places in me which need filled. He is beginning to do this with the verses and even began to do this through a couple people too.

Today’s verse fits this post perfectly. “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

You just never know what God has in store. If you open the door, or the jar, be aware, He will show up just for you.


Directions and verses to start your own jar:

  1. Find a container, jar, or even a bowl which will fit about 15 folded up pieces of paper.
  2. Write or copy and paste these verses or your own verses onto paper or a Word document.
  3. Cut each verse out.
  4. Fold each verse up several times.
  5. Put each verse into your container.
  6. Each day choose one verse.
  7. As you read your Bible and devotionals write down more encouraging verses and keep adding them to your jar so it doesn’t run out.



“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16::33


“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13


“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10


“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:18


“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deut. 31:8


“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39


“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8


“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,” Galatians 3:26


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28


“ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11


“to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,” Isaiah 61:3a


“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b


“Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7


“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28


“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:4


If you want to search for more verses Bible Gateway is a great online resource.


© 2018 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.





3 comments on “Finding Encouragement during Recovery

  1. great post- encouragement jar!

  2. Love your Encouragement Jar idea. I have an encouragement file – same idea, different medium.

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