In my latest "Let's Talk" blog I invited those of you who were willing to engage to respond to three questions. They were: What changes has God made in you? How have those changes helped you better fulfill the great and first commandment—love God; love others? How has God helped you love Him completely, yourself unselfishly, and your neighbor, the least, and your enemy the way He loves them?
Below is the second response I received in answer to my questions. Thank you to the author for your willingness to share your story. To the reader, I hope this testimony of God's grace blesses you as much as it has blessed me.
A Story of God's Grace
That dark past, that rough childhood, that skeleton in the closet—many of us have them. They are experiences we wish we'd never been through. They are experiences that produced pain, rejection, hurt, and loss. Those moments that interrupted what might have been the good life created who we are today. They influenced thought patterns, habits, lifestyle choices, self-perception, etc.
I can tell you, there are a multitude of moments in my past that I wish never happened. Sexual and emotional abuse affected me as a child and influenced choices I made through my teen years and caused wounds, scars, and a great deal of emotional stress.
At the age of 17 I moved out of my house, met the wrong guy, and started experimenting with drugs. It was the perfect storm. Within months I found myself pregnant, alone, and extremely confused about my life path. I thought I had everything under control, but the circumstances proved otherwise. I remember many nights when I prayed for God to have mercy, to make some of the painful experiences stop, and to help me escape situations where I was being harmed.
Somehow, God, in all his goodness, was merciful enough to place the right people in my life at the right times to move me forward, to steer my thinking, and to give me spiritual guidance. Not everyone is afforded that. And if they are, not everyone is willing to recognize those opportunities of grace.
My desire is to help others find that same grace. I want to bring glimpses of hope, peace, and laughter to people who are suffering from past pain and/or current struggles.
As for my children, I want to do all I can to protect their innocence. I want to give them a healthy, stable environment to grow in. I want to love them through those times when life is rough and when things don't seem fair. And I want to teach them to do the same for others.
If you have a painful past, don't let others repeat those same experiences through you. The adage is true: hurt people hurt people. If you are still hurting, seek God, seek guidance, and find a healthy way to heal. And know that He brings hope to the hurting; He heals the broken hearted; He brings peace to the unsettled spirit; His grace is sufficient. As you heal you will find that forgiveness is possible, loving yourself is easier, and loving others has great reward.
"Cast all your cares on him, for he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7). "Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken" (Psalm 55:22).