From an early age, somewhere around the age of 7, I knew what it felt like to be let down by the people closest to me in my life. My dad left us and my mother was left to raise me and my older brother- who later became abusive towards us. When my mom was angry and frustrated, she resorted to emotionally abandoning behavior. Her bitterness and emptiness was a benchmark for me…I believed I was destined to live a life exactly like hers, filled with disappointment, grief, loneliness and isolation. No one ever came to my rescue. I would sit for hours staring at the sky- particularly the moon; wondering if I followed it far away, would my life ever be different.
I fell into a life filled with numbing substances. Alcohol and drugs, allowed me to be the person I wanted to be. The popularity, the friendships and the good times that came from its usage became an entire addiction within itself!
Feelings of inferiority, insecurity, guilt, condemnation and inadequacy were the ingredients in this walking recipe for disaster! During the beginning of my second year of college I became pregnant with my son. All the drugs, the alcohol, the parties had to come to an abrupt end! Little did I know even at the time, God was with me.
By my late 20’s I was divorced from my son’s father, dabbling in the world’s advice to help me seek direction and guidance. At age 29, I married my second husband, a good friend but the relationship was more of a convenience than a God-filled, ordained marriage. He was a man of faith and I began attending church. I professed my sins to Christ and became ‘saved’…at least I thought I was…I thought that I knew of God’s love, but there was still something desperately lacking. By November of 2000, alcohol, adultery and rage replaced my marriage. After two failed marriages and a longstanding appointment with emptiness and a need to escape, I moved across the state.
On April 7th, 2001, a devastating auto accident changed my life forever. Among broken bones, my soul was just as broken.. I cried out to God, Why did He place me here? Why did He force this fiercely strong and financially secure woman to a place of utter helplessness and disability? He revealed to me that I needed to stop relying on my ways of the past and trust in Him. ..But I still didn’t connect…instead I prayed and prayed for God to make me disappear and replace me with one of those “perfect” Christian women that I saw years prior….all the prayer in the world didn’t make that happen…
I buried myself for the next five years in the quest for perfection, the perfect job, the perfect home, the perfect man and the perfect lifestyle.
By the fall of 2006, my world crashed again, I lost my job. I was losing my home. A three and a half year relationship ended as well. ...I was devastated, but I remembered this feeling very well. I looked up into the 3am sky, staring at the moon again. I remembered what I used to wonder when I was younger. Here I was, far away from home and still, no one was there to rescue me, no one there to protect me and no one there to comfort me…or was there? I was facing the desert of my life and all the things I used to fill my void were not working!! I fell to my knees and cried out to God asking Him again that same familiar question, "Why?"
I also asked God to guide me…..and most importantly, I asked Him to forgive me…
It took almost an entire year of useless pride and repeated backsliding to bring me into the doors of the Crossing! I knew that what I searched for was Truth.
From there I ran after the Lord! I attend service every week. I immediately joined a Life Group-just in time as they were beginning the Truth Project. I began serving. I joined The Journey class. I attended Celebrate Recovery….and most importantly; I began devoting my time to the Bible. I embraced the fact that God pulled me through the darkness of my past, amid the hostility, the abuse, the distance, the failures, the condemnation, the judgment, the betrayal, the self-indulgence, the shame..all the times of isolation and emptiness. God was always there! He was refining me through the flames of the worldly desires …leading me to here…to today..
I remember when I was jaded over the thought of ever finding a man that would not betray me, lie to me, abuse me, belittle me or make me feel like I was a mistake. I would joke and say that I would be heap of bones before I would find the perfect man! Well, guess what? I did find the perfect man-Jesus! And I am not a heap of bones at all! He was betrayed, lied to, abused, belittled and ridiculed, just like me. Finally, a man that understands my suffering!
I remember when I used to shudder at the site of a loving couple or hear of someone saying that they were newly engaged. I remember saying that it was a waste of time to marry, relinquishing my freedom to someone else….exposing myself to someone else…..why allow someone to get that close again? Not until I heard God’s truth about the sanctity of marriage, the holy order of marriage-allowing God to be the center of it, did I regain any hope! I learned that God’s deliverance from all the ties that bind me give me the freedom no matter what man is in my life- that through the blood of the Lamb did I regain my right to be free! That as long as I trusted Him to protect me, I will press into Him for guidance! I did not move into a state of envy when it came to hearing of love, I was already renewed in hope!
In Romans 12:2, part of it states, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind….”
I embraced my singlehood, rededicating the renewal of my heart as well as my mind with patience! I pampered my soul by fervent and sincere prayer. I pampered my body with simple comforts like bubble baths, eating right, and rest! I pampered my mind with Bible study, positive, open and loving talk with trusted and Godly friends. I also revamped my reading material. I no longer read secular books that give bad advice based on self-indulgent and sinful behavior. I no longer entertain movies that magnify violence or things of darkness- absent of morality or goodness. I listen to music that focuses on expressions of love and praise! Lastly, I pampered my emotions by engaging the Holy Spirit when I respond to the trials of the world. I seek peace and understanding through Him. In all these things, I still seek God.
My needs have been fulfilled and transformed into my attributes. Because I was broken, God healed me. Because I was lonely, God has me living in fellowship with other believers and stands by my side! Because I was shamed and judged, God has given me acceptance and unconditional love. Because I was so wrong, God has made me right-standing in His eyes- righteous and holy! Because I was lonely and afraid, God has given me safety and security in His arms! Because I felt invisible and a ‘mistake”, God made me significant to Him and to His Kingdom!
I have spent a great deal of my life wondering who and what I am. Much of my stress and frustration could have been avoided by understanding that my identity can only be found in a personal relationship with God and as it is defined by Christ alone. Knowing whose I am has brought me peace, strength, clarity, power of conviction, acceptance and mostly the comfort I have been searching for during the past 35 years! I know that I am a righteous saint in His eyes, a forgiven co-heir with Christ, a sanctified and freed captive- no longer bound by oppressive lies of the enemy or memories and shame of my past! I am whole and I am redeemed in Him!
Doc. No. 1130467