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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.
|Dimensions||8.9 × 5.9 × .7 in|
|Date Published||Oct 10 2023|
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About Naghmeh Abedini Panahi
Born in Tehran in 1977, Naghmeh Abedini Panahi immigrated to the United States at the age of nine and soon converted from Islam to Christianity. In late 2001, after graduating from college, she returned to Iran to work as a businesswoman and missionary. There, she witnessed—and experienced—the oppression and violence women are subjected to every day in the Middle East. It was there that she also met her future husband, Saeed Abedini, with whom she led one of the largest house church movements in Iran. In 2005, due to persecution, she and Saeed moved to the United States, where their two children were born. When Saeed visited Iran in 2012 to work with the underground church, he was arrested. Naghmeh unceasingly advocated for Saeed’s release, publicly appealing to President Barak Obama, Donald Trump, the U. S. Congress, the United Nations, and nearly every major news outlet over the three and a half years that Saeed was in prison. Yet underneath the surface of her leadership in the Iranian house church, her family life in America, and the spotlight of her advocacy, Naghmeh had been an abused wife, and Saeed’s imprisonment had further intensified his abuse and paranoia. It took the crisis and aftermath of Saeed’s arrest for Naghmeh to finally recognize what had been happening to her and begin to find healing. Naghmeh’s personal experience with domestic violence and the misuse of religion to reinforce abuse has given her a passion to advocate for women who are vulnerable to abuse and oppression because of religion. She is the cofounder and executive director of Tahir Alnisa (“Setting Women Free”) Foundation, which serves women and children around the world impacted by domestic abuse and religious-motivated violence. Naghmeh’s autobiography, I Didn’t Survive: Emerging Whole After Deception, Persecution, and Hidden Abuse (Whitaker House), will be released in September 2023.Show Less
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