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Holding on to faith when life doesn't make sense | with Naomi Zacharias

Faith in the desert

Season 10, episode 184
1 hr 6 min / Published

Naomi Zacharias joins Stephanie again on Gospel Spice to provide insights on the global fight against human trafficking and towards the restoration of dignity—one life at a time. She also shares how her faith has allowed her to make it through the last couple of years.

Make sure to watch the live recording of this conversation and to subscribe to our YouTube channel here: 


Naomi starts by sharing the stories of her ministry, Third Ladder, to serve the abandoned, the unloved, the forgotten of this world. In her incomparably gentle way, Naomi also draws our attention to the importance of little acts of kindness as we share the light of Christ with a world in need, one person at a time, one next-door neighbor at a time. Gospel Spice is proud to partner with Third Ladder financially.

In the second half of the conversation, Naomi transparently shares how her family is doing after a couple of years of unparalleled struggles. She shares her perspective on living in the deserted valley, remembering what really matters. She shares how hard this has been, and how the Lord has been holding on to her. Naomi says, “I believe He is real, and He is who He says He is. I do believe He is faithful and good and true. When you are in the middle of the valley, you have to come back to what you know to be true.

Naomi says, “it is not faith if it all makes sense. Real is not always smooth and easy, but it’s deep and it’s got roots.” This deeply inspiring, raw conversation will draw you in, to give you hope in darkness, hopelessness, and loneliness. Naomi reminds us that the things that flatten us, break us, shred us are the perfect setting for God to use us. “This life will break us, and we will not have all the answers we long for. But He actually told us that, He gave us that foresight. He is faithful, and He doesn’t leave. He will sit with us through it, and this is not the end of the story.” Naomi reminds us that our stories matter especially when they are not (yet) tied up with a pretty bow and ending. We live most of our lives in the middle of the unresolved stories. And the places that don’t make sense force us to believe that faith matters in the middle of the darkness, the desert, the valley. Naomi reminds us of the importance of the body of Christ, and also that church hurt is real. We need community, and we have a deep desire to right the wrongs of this world. We also have so much at our fingertips to bring healing to the ones right around us.


Naomi Zacharias received a BA in Business/Economics from Wheaton College. Her first job out of college was in Brand Development for Chick Fil A and she soon transitioned to Sales for The Coca-Cola Company to accept what was her perceived dream job. It was fantastic training under a superb manager, but a restlessness remained. She moved into the non-profit sector, seeking to apply herself to a cause she believed in. Following an internship in the Office of Public Liaison at the White House where she helped to organize presidential briefings for constituency groups, Naomi considered staying in Washington DC to focus on international justice issues. Instead, in a decision that surprised herself, she declined an opportunity at the US Department of Justice to return to Atlanta in 2004 to develop and launch a humanitarian initiative with a robust application process to evaluate international grant requests and distribute approximately 16M USD in grant funding over 16 years for rehabilitation for victims of human trafficking, healthcare, education, poverty-related issues, war-related issues, support for victims of domestic violence and gender-based violence, refugee aid and issues related to child welfare and orphan care in approximately 17 countries. This work led her into refugee and displacement camps in Africa and the Middle East, brothels in Southeast Asia and Europe, women’s prisons in Africa, medical clinics for HIV care, hospitals for patients with leprosy in Asia, and children’s homes around the world to witness significant realities of human tragedy as well as resources, programs, and people affecting redemptive and restorative change. In 2021, together with her team, Naomi launched a new grant making entity, Third Ladder, where she now serves as Executive Director.

Naomi has loved seeing parts of the world, savoring cultures, foods, and human connection. She is an introvert who loves being with her family and small circle of close friends. Her primary purpose is to love her children and niece fiercely with a desire to help them uncover beauty in a complicated world and discover who they were intended to be. Through her company, The Anonymous Society Fine Storytellers, she provides editing services for authors looking to find their voice and tell their stories, loves eating out, watching movies, listening to music, a beautiful view, and creating a safe haven at home with her four children.



Third Ladder provides a modern approach to charitable giving. Grounded in the belief that every life holds intrinsic value and that responsible investment can change the world around us, we facilitate a process that enables donors to be involved and intentional in their giving to create maximum impact for a wide reach of human need. At full operational capacity, we intend to provide optional online portfolio access to help donors reach their personalized goals.

With inspired donors, we equip our network of vetted grassroots humanitarian efforts with financial grants. Support services enable programs to reach the standard of excellence they have for their mission by implementing processes and reporting that serve to provide measurable impact for donors and assist each program in achieving their goals.

“It is an equalizer among us that each one of us can be a ladder as much as each one of us needs one at times to lift us out of the broken into the beautiful.”

Traditionally, a repetition of three invites one into something significant.

It is used for emphasis to describe the intensity of something. It symbolizes harmony, new life, and completeness.

Third Ladder invites you into practical and purposeful opportunity to participate in a community that actively restores – infrastructure, opportunity, justice, and living. What it means to be human is to know pain. But it also offers the opportunity to be a part of a redemptive call to action. It is an equalizer among us that each one of us can be a ladder as much as each one of us needs one at times to lift us out of the broken into the beautiful.

We are here to serve you with an experienced team dedicated to help you maximize positive impact and inspiring legacy.

Simply make your donations or choose to develop a personalized plan for your charitable contributions with our team committed to helping you maximize your giving to the causes you choose. Inspired by basic principles commonly applied to financial investment, our mission empowers you to direct the impact of your investments in humanity. We are available to serve you today with planning and reporting even as we continue to grow our website with interactive client tools for your convenience and an enhanced donor experience.

Find out more at https://thirdladder.org/

We invite you to check out the first episode of each of our series, and decide which one you will want to start with.

Go to gospelspice.com for more, and go especially to gospelspice.com/podcast to enjoy our guests! Interested in our blog? Click here: gospelspice.com/blog

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Shades of Red | Against human oppression

God's glory, our delight 


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