It's hard enough having a painful secret that you are terrified of sharing. It's even harder when you find yourself in the international limelight as the advocate wife of a Christian hero imprisoned for his faith. The worst part is fearing that, if you did share this secret, it might devastate the lives of your family and close friends, alienate tens of thousands of active supporters, and cause persecuted people around the world to become even more vulnerable. Naghmeh Abedini Panahi lived in constant tension from the irreconcilable realities playing out in her own life, in her family life, in the conduct of others, and on the worldwide stage as she interacted with power brokers and well-known religious leaders. Tension involving:
- Steadfastly honoring God versus being carried away by the tide of circumstances
- Personal reality versus public persona
- Genuine faith versus hypocritical religion
- Truth and caring versus the end justifying the means
- Obedience to God versus loyalty to others
For Naghmeh, it all came to a breaking point, and the only way through it was to die. Not physically, but in experiencing a death and rebirth in her understanding of God, her faith, and her identity as a woman. "I can't tell you how I was able to make it through, because I didn't," she writes. "Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, the new me emerged from the catastrophe of my marriage." I Didn't Survive: Emerging Whole After Deception, Persecution, and Hidden Abuse
is Naghmeh's firsthand story, which takes you from war-torn Tehran to the quiet Midwestern U.S. to the halls of power in Washington D.C. It vividly describes the Islamic upbringing that shaped her, her unexpected conversion to Christianity, and the events that led to her marriage to Saeed Abedini, a magnetic pastor in the Iranian underground church. The book details Saeed's arrest and imprisonment for preaching the gospel, her fateful decision to share the truth about her husband, her betrayal and abandonment by former supporters, and the new life of advocacy for women that has arisen from the brokenness. Through the pain, abuse, and loss, Naghmeh clearly demonstrates what it means for us to find our true identity in God, discover the protective care God has for His children, and participate in sharing the love and healing He desires to bring to the world.