i wrote this over a year ago but am compelled to post it today…
this is the hardest, most glorious thing i have ever put on paper. there is so much to tell and i’m not sure where or how to begin to tell about the life i had before i accepted Christ. how i lived without grace. how amazed i am that i am even alive.
i always believed in God – did some church going and prayed the Lord’s Prayer, but had never accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. being saved seemed an unattainable dream for me, even as a child.
i grew up needing to keep secrets in order to survive. as a child i dealt with sexual abuse by more than one person and threats to my life if i told anyone. being a child, i believed what the adults told me. i watched every move i made, every step i took, and i kept my mouth shut. from my perspective, i was the only one responsible for saving my skin. i was not safe. i was lonely. i was dirty. i was scared.
this laid the groundwork for my need to be the one in control of my life. i suffered under the pressure of making sure no one knew what i let happen to me. i walked the line between having to do everything exactly as i should and living in fear that i could, quite possibly, make a misstep and end up dead in the street. i became anxious and physically ill by age 11, cutting myselft by age 15, anorexic at age 18, married at 20 and humiliated and divorced at 21.
i hated myself but wanted to be loved so much i found myself giving myself to anyone who wanted me all the while hoping they would love me forever. i had little thought of the consequences of my behavior for myself or anyone else. i put myself in harms way more times that you can imagine on this ill guided quest for love and acceptance. emotional and physical abuses were added to the mix and with that the belief that i would ever be made right was non-existent.
motherhood gave me the courage to finally speak up about my past. the cries of my baby were an echo of my painful childhood and i knew i needed her life to be different than mine. i was 33 when i finally told my story out loud. it was then i was able to reach out and ask for help. but still i did not trust my heart to God. i truly believed God turned his eyes away from me because of how i had lived. i sought the help of trained professionals – but it was a long and arduous journey as i was still reluctant to utter the whole truth out loud – still carrying the residual fear of my youth and having developed a huge dose of mistrust along the way. it was a one step forward, two steps back process.
motherhood and my marriage to mark helped to stop the all out downward spiral, but i was just coasting, teetering really, along the same old road. along the way i met women of faith and wondered how they got there. would i EVER know it is to have THAT in my life?
i know now there were times when the presence of God was active in my life during my darkest times, my worst behaviors. how else did i not slip over the edge of that cliff upon whose brink i was poised? yet it wasn’t until i was diagnosed with cancer that i realized this, that throughout my life, i had been pushed, prodded, and poked by God trying get my attention, trying to get me to look His way.
my cancer diagnosis felt immediately like something other than a disease. it was my call to improve my relationship with God. i hadn’t a clue how that was going to be accomplished, but i found myselft praying more, asking for help in making my decisions, asking for directions and guidance. i spoke to my Christian friends – asking them what they believe faith is, but coming away, once again, feeing more inadequate. it seemed that in order to GET faith you had to HAVE faith. i was doomed. but God was watching and God was listening. God was working on me like nobody’s business. God is good and God is patient beyond belief. i started searching and seeking Him out. i did not find God – for he is not the one who was lost. i just finally opened the door when He called for me. what i found was the absolute truth for my life in His word and in doing so found peace and joy and hope. Jesus was crucified to cover my sins. i have been forgiven. I HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN. the magnitude of this is still sinking into my bones, but i am humbled by His love and thankful for His grace and mercy everyday.
i accepted Jesus Christ into my heart and into my life as my Savior on october 25, 2009
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fires, you will not be burned, the flame will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God. The Holy One of Israel, you Savior (Isaiah 43: 1b-3a)
today i am doing my best everyday to be a joy to Him. i don’t always succeed. i still hate the term “good Christian” but do my best to not be the example of why other people hate that term. my imperfections bother me less, though i still fight my body-image dragon. i found the truth about how to live my life and from where i’m sitting it’s a far cry from where i was sitting twenty years ago. thankful.