This post is the story that was posted on www.makingmuchofhim365.com on Nov. 7th. I added one section toward the middle. I just wanted to post it on my blog as well. It is a story of God's redemption, restoration, and healing available to all. May God's love be felt like a blanket wrapped around you covering you in warmth and protection.
I remember the day I heard about the Lord. I remember what I was wearing, a red sweater and black pants. I remember where I was standing. It was March 11, 2001. I was 34. I began to read my bible like crazy. I learned scriptures, went to bible studies and retreats. I plugged in to the church and fellowshipped with other believers. I began to teach in children’s ministry. I taught the children all about the bible, told them how much God loved them, and made sure they knew how precious they were to God.
But all of the scriptures, all of the promises, all of the love…I believed they were meant for those children, my friends, my neighbors, but not for me---the one with secrets locked inside…the one who was ugly and dirty and bad.
I spent my life hiding. I spent my life searching for the “thing” that would save me…accept me. Even when I came to know the Lord, I still searched, because surely all of those beautiful words that I read in the leather bound book could not be meant for me. Not the one whose family I grew up in was broken and where fears and secrets were present. Not the one who was 15 and went to a party and was raped—the one who never told anyone and slapped on labels such as ugly, dirty, and guilty. Not the one who sought love through intimate relationships. Not the one who had a baby without being married. Not the one who had an abortion---and then another. Not the one who wore shame, guilt, fear, and disgust all over her body. Not the one who dated who ever asked her out. Not the one who was date-raped—who never told anyone. Not the one who would not eat for days on end just to create an outward appearance that looked in control even though her insides were falling apart. Not the one who took laxatives to get rid of all of the ugly inside of her and stuffed her face but purged it all out just to feel empty. Not the one who married someone because maybe that would make her life different, but ended up in divorce. Not the one who found God but still made an immoral decision that cost her relationships, trust and respect. Not the one who decided to punish herself and wanted to die, who ate nothing or almost nothing for days until she weighed so little she had to go away and leave her kids. Not the one who could only see the words ugly and hate and guilty and unforgiveable and disgusting written across her face when she looked in the mirror. Not the one who had to be in the hospital---the psych ward part of the hospital-- for 12 days and hated herself. None of those words could be meant for her…
But God sent me people who continually spoke truth in to me. One was a Christian counselor. I came to her office with secrets shoved in to the dark parts of my heart. One day my story---it all came out in this desperate need to be free. My story, the words, poured out so fast that they stumbled and tripped over one another. For years the memories, the sin, the hurt, the pain that captured the essence of how I saw myself pushed and fought against the prison wall of my heart. But I was able to open up and let it all pour out and the darkness was exposed to light. This person who heard all of my words…all of this darkness, she loved me anyway. She accepted me anyway just as Christ does.
(The following is an addition to the story posted earlier. It shares the entire assignment my counselor gave me).
My counselor gave me an assignment, one that would change my thinking forever.. The homework was to go home and draw pictures of how each event in my life make me feel. Simple. Draw. I am not an artist but I loved to draw simple pictures to symbolize things.
I had no idea what I would draw. I took a stack of white paper and a pencil. I sat in front of my gas fire place with a magazine on my lap for support. I thought for a minute about all of the things I revealed to this woman. I began to draw—fast and without much thought. It wasn’t until I was done that I even noticed what ended up on the paper. There was one page for each event that the enemy used to steal bits and pieces of my life.
I piled them up and put them in a folder. When I met with my counselor she asked me if I did the homework. I began to pull the picture out of the envelope. I think I really looked at them for the first time at that moment. I noticed what actually made its way to the paper.
They were images of me without a mouth, limbs in the wrong place, a square head, absent of eyes or ears. The outline of the images I drew were smudged and faded. These images, they represented who I saw myself as.
I had a distorted view of who I was.
She also asked me to draw a picture of myself as God saw me, not how I saw myself, but how the bible said God saw me. There was no way around it. He saw me clean. He saw me beautiful. He saw me forgiven. He saw me free. Little by little I began to believe those words in that leather bound book were meant for me too…that Christ died on the cross for me too. I began to believe that Christ stripped off all those labels and made me clean. I began to see myself not through the distorted view of my past, but through the clear image of Christ. I began to walk in the truth, memorize scripture and believe them for me.
Our past can choke us.
Our past can hold us in chains.
But I am living proof that there is freedom in Christ.
Now I know I am forgiven. I am of value. I am His Child made new through my faith. I am free.
John 12:46 “I have come as a light to shine in this dark world so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.”