The light dawns on a new day after the battle finishes. God’s mercies are new each morning, aren’t they?
The three major lessons:
- Community Encouragement: Strong community matters.
- Take Courage and Be Wise. Expert’s practical tips for protecting your online platforms and work.
- It’s In God’s Hands. Remembering who has the ultimate power behind our message.
1. The Blessings of Community Encouragement
After close to 3000 followers and 3+ years of work vanished and my shock subsided, three days later, my courage came back and I decided to rebuild from ground zero. Before that fateful Monday, I had signed on to be part of an IG mastermind pro group with my friend, Ruthie Gray, who mentors and teaches IG and helps people to grow their platforms. When she heard about what happened to me, she began to work her magic, calling and encouraging scores of IG believers to come to my aid by promoting and following my new account.
Posting on my personal FB account about what happened, outcries of surprise and disappointment bubbled up in comments and messages. Many knew about my publishing journey and most understood the gravity of losing my biggest platform. Local FB friends got the word out to follow me on my website (www.thechurchgirlwrites.com) and IG (@thechurchgirlwrites) once again. .
I have rarely never seen or been part of anything quite like this.
This is the church being the Church.
A friend, Heather M, sent me the following Scripture from Nehemiah 6:9. It’s about when the Israelites were rebuilding the wall around the Temple after the Exile and others were trying to scare them. Nehemiah recalls:
They were just trying to intimidate us,
imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work.
So I continued the work with even greater determination.
Deciding to start my new account Thursday (three days in the grave, Anyone?), there was something of indignance rising in my soul, a murmur of,
You can knock me down but I’m getting back up.
Can I get an AMEN!? If Nehemiah and the Israelites did it with swords in one hand and tools in another to protect the land, we can, too.
2. The Blessings of Taking Courage and Being Wise
Website security people, on learning I had the two-factor authentication in place, said it could have been a brute-force malicious attack. They had probably gotten through by guessing my password. Yeah. The simple one I created with symbols and caps and at least x-number of characters that I can’t remember and get confused each time I have to log in. But a hacker, working 24/7 on it, finally cracked it?
MAJOR LESSON TAKEAWAY: CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS REGULARLY.
They should be:
- Ridiculously complicated and impossible to remember on your own.
- Different on all platforms.
- Two-factor authenticated. (Google Authenticator is a free app code-generator.)
Christian accounts and organizations are exponentially more likely to be intentionally hacked than secular ones. Sometimes they’re hacked
- to take over the account, steal what has been built, and assume the identity.
- to discredit or maim the owner.
- to discourage and silence the messenger.
Religious accounts are also more likely to be deleted or shadowbanned from social media without warning. Is this the beginning of Christian persecution? Is it censorship? Either way, it’s heartbreaking.
The Blessings of Knowing It’s All In God’s Hands
While this initially felt like a massive free-fall that fateful Monday, what I have found is that—SHOCKER!— it’s not nearly as bad as it seems. God brought others to support me from places and in ways, I never dreamed possible or even considered before this happened. The blessing is considering it pure joy in the trial because God is growing my spiritual maturity, dependence, and trust. While this might feel like persecution or an attack, I haven’t suffered to the point of shedding blood.
This is all temporary.
Any ministry opportunity I’ve ever been offered or given is never my own–this I know fully. It belongs to someone else. Sometimes it belongs to a fellow blogger/writer, a magazine, a publisher, or the Church, but ultimately, it is the Lord’s and is a chance to point people to His Son. This is HIS ministry and my name is written on the palms of His hands.
The thought of losing my friends and ministry partners again because of a glitch in the system or some decision by someone to kill my account or be randomly deleted prompts me to become bolder. God’s message cannot be silenced.
The greatest thing I have learned from losing my account is gaining the blessing of finding I have so many others in the battle with me. It brings me to my knees. I can never repay their kindness. Humbled to tears by the love shown to me at what could have been one of my darkest hours, who knew the light could shine so brightly? Seeing the injustice and the enemy’s work, others came into the battle to help re-establish my account, one that’s grown to almost 400 followers in twelve days (as of this writing).
But that’s just what Jesus’ people do best when they follow Him. They help those in need and I know without a doubt
HE’S GOT THIS.
Final Note: Miraculously after twelve days, my account suddenly returned to the platform. God be praised! No explanation, emails, or warnings, nothing from Instagram. My email and phone number have been blocked so I can’t use them anymore (see the first part of the story below). However, the work has been returned.
In case you missed the first part of the story, please see How To Find Blessings After The Battle: Lessons Learned From Being Deleted On Instagram (Part One).
(An original, shorter post Blessings After The Battle: Finding Victory In The Unexpected was written for Heather Jaffrey at www.straightenyourcrown.net)