There’s HOPE in that box!
What if? I’ve often wondered what my life would have been like if I was born into different circumstances. Would it look like it does today? I have pondered that for many hours and have come to the realization that I was born into the exact circumstances that God chose for me to be born into. Our Lord has planned everything in this world right down to the number of hairs on each of our heads! Think for a moment about that and the following verse from the Psalms…
For it was you who created my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13 CSB
I can’t argue with scripture. For me that means that God knew I would be born into the family I was. I haven’t shared with you much about my childhood yet. My parents loved me dearly and provided me with so much as I grew up. As a family we did have our fair share of challenges though. I grew up in an alcoholic home. My dad struggled with alcohol and drug addictions until I was in my mid teens. On a side note I’m thankful to say that this summer will mark 39 years of sobriety for my dad! We are so blessed as a family that he was able to overcome his addictions. Unfortunately though there is another side to that story. Addictions can leave a mark of destruction on a family, as it did on ours.
During those years I developed a number of coping mechanisms that helped to bring some stability into a very volatile time for me. I tried to be as good as I could and mostly kept to myself. Trying to be invisible was my attempt to not cause any more problems. In my young mind I felt that I was responsible for the chaos in the house. I tried so hard to fix things but ultimately felt like I was the root of the problem. I felt so unlovable. I felt like I was a mistake. I walked around hiding beneath a false facade. As with most families dealing with addiction, it was so important to keep up a normal appearance so others wouldn’t know what was really going on. It was a scary and very lonely time for me.
As I grew older the deep rooted feelings I developed about myself led me astray. A lot of the choices I made for myself were so hurtful to me and those close to me. Fortunately I was able to receive some professional help that allowed me to see the untruth in all those feelings. I don’t blame either of my parents for the circumstances of my early years. We were in the midst of a family disease that had such a strong grip on all of us. I’m so grateful for the years of therapy as they helped me find forgiveness and a start towards a new life.
Ultimately things really came together and started to make sense when I found a new life in Christ! It was really at that point that I felt I could put my past behind me. My sins had been forgiven and the old messages from my childhood didn’t seem to be driving my daily decisions any more. It was at that point that I unconsciously wrapped up the early years of my life in a box. All the years of healing neatly sealed it and I stored it deep in the recesses of my mind.
In my last post I shared how I found Freedom at the Cross. This Holy Week was such a release for me! As with other spiritual highs that I have experienced in the past, I knew I was vulnerable to a spiritual attack. I was not surprised at all that I proceeded to fall into a bit of a rut for the past two weeks. The enemy has been trying to get a grip on me. I’ve struggled to maintain my routine and have felt disconnected from God. I haven’t been connecting with scripture as easily and my prayer time has felt disjointed. My daughter reminded me though that God doesn’t pull away from us, we pull away from Him. It made me realize that even in this quieter time He has been there and working with me. I understand now that the quiet time is exactly what I needed as I continued to process all that Jesus had done for me.
It’s been a sombre couple of weeks in Canada as we grieve together over the tragedy in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. As I was finalizing this post I stopped to listen to a message that the team pastor delivered at the vigil for the families. He closed by referencing a passage in scripture that helps to assure us that Jesus is alive. We know this by the scars on His hands. The pastor gave hope to the families as he reminded them that over time they will develop scars. The scars will be there for ever but they represent something that has healed. His message of encouragement to those families just seemed to summarize what I had written about this week.
I have visible scars from my childhood. They are no longer open wounds but will be a part of me forever. I find every now and again that I am still triggered by my old labels. I typically work so hard to suppress those feelings. This week after hearing the pastor’s message it made me realize that the box I neatly stored away is actually meant to be left open. The contents are a part of me. The box not only represents a scar and all the healing from my past, but it also represents the person God created… me!
I need to remember that God chose that environment for me. He had a reason for that. I believe He wants me to use those experiences to shine light on this dark world. He doesn’t want those scars hidden. Jesus used those scars to prove that he was alive. They were evidence that all that He promised was true. My scars share that same hope for the future. I’m alive despite my past. I’m not only alive but I have also grown into the woman I am today as a result of those early circumstances I grew up in.
As I spent time searching in that box this week I found sorrow, but I also found joy!
- There were so many unmet promises when I was young. There was a lot of disappointment which led to a lack of trust. Today is different as I rest in the promises of God. Each morning I receive an email with a new promise found in scripture. It provides me with encouragement and hope for tomorrow. God follows through with His promises! Check out 365 Promises for a daily devotion on a promise found in scripture.
- The addiction took a toll on our family. My parents ended up in a divorce and we all went on the heal our past hurts in our own ways. For me as I shared before, I found new life and healing in Christ. My worship time restores my soul. I believe it has helped to restore and build a new foundation in my relationships with my family today.
- I still struggle with not feeling good enough and sometimes still look to others for their approval. I’m not feeling alone in that anymore though as I find encouragement through my faith in God.
I always thought that joy and sorrow couldn’t coexist at the same time. When I began to feel joy I thought in order to maintain that I needed to keep my past in the past. As old insecurities crept up I would try to suppress them. What I have discovered is that the insecurities are not the same as my sinful past. The circumstances of my past help develop my insecurities, but it was my sinful nature that chose to do the things I did. It’s those choices that I left at the foot of the cross. My insecurities are part of me, part of what God created! I don’t think God wants me to fight His creation. I think He want me to use it instead!
I chose you before I formed you in the womb;
I set you apart before you were born.
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
I relate to this verse. Jeremiah lacked confidence yet the Lord was calling him into leadership. God was encouraging him by reinforcing that He had given him the tools he needed to perform. God had chosen him for this task before he was even born. I look at the circumstances of my life and truly feel I am the most unfit representative for God, yet I feel He has appointed me to lead this ministry. I’m finding new strength in that box of insecurities that I opened up that I think just may be beneficial to this ministry!
You too may be thinking that you are not suited to represent God, but I beg to differ. God is our creator and has given each of us unique experiences in our lives. All that we have experienced has molded us into who we are today and can be used to serve the Lord. I am finding as I share my experiences with others that people can relate.
Without getting too personal is there something I have written that you can relate to? Or maybe you would like to share how God has used your experiences to get you to where you are today. You can write your thoughts in the comment box below. I would love to hear from you!