I have a past.
Everything I’ve written so far on my blog relates to my present and my future; the amazing things God has done in rebuilding a life. He has restored what he originally intended for me, and I dwell in joy and gratefulness.
But once, my life held fear, despair and brokenness.
Nightmares from being molested by neighbor children as a five year old and raped as a young woman plagued me. Panic clutched at me in the night. An unseen force kept me silent and terrified. Betrayal in my first marriage, and the devastation of a second marriage to a man driven by fantasy crushed my hopes and dreams. Exhaustion and suicide were my constant companions. I felt lost and alone until a woman whose past had been redeemed by the Lord, grabbed my hand and held me steady.
When I filed for a divorce the second time, it was my only option—a last ditch effort to save all our lives, but I felt ashamed. Friends told me I needed more hope and faith that God could do miracles. My maturity in Christ was questioned when I decided not to “rise above” the choices of my husband and stay with him. My choice was about faith and maturity, but not the way most people were thinking. I embarked on a journey in which I had to let go of the past and my dreams, and cling to an intimate relationship with Jesus instead. I learned to live a life of faith as I trusted God to do the impossible; heal me and my children and give us a new life, an abundant one.
At first, I trusted no one.
As a Christian woman, I felt ashamed to have anyone find out that I had been divorced—twice! But we found a safe place within our church family where few people questioned me. We were loved and accepted right where we were. No one pressed me for details. No one judged.
After several years, I began to realize that there must be others who were suffering like I had. Perhaps they were standing in line near me at the grocery store or sitting next to me in church. I wondered if they felt lonely and misunderstood like I had? Were they afraid as I was? Did they wonder what people thought of them when they listed the various last names of their children or admitted they were separated or divorced? Did they cringe inside when well-intentioned people inquired about their husband? Did they want to hide? Were they wishing they could explain their situation so someone, anyone would understand, while at the same time wanting someone to understand without having to explain?
As the years went by, I became bolder in telling people about my past.
It began to dawn on me that silence was deadly, and Satan wanted things to remain hidden. His goal is to make us feel ashamed so we don’t feel we can come to God. He wants us to fear others’ opinions of us.
My story is not much different than thousands of women all over the world. Some have suffered far worse than I, and others may not even realize they are suffering. For years I didn’t understand my own entrapment—the perspectives that kept me stuck in a place of death rather than life.
I long to offer hope where there is none.
Perhaps by sharing the redemption of my life as well as the shattered pieces of my past, a ray of light will break through someone’s darkness. Maybe a lifeline can be grasped. Regardless of how you feel, you are not alone.
Are you someone who is crushed by your past or even your present? Do you know someone who is feeling stuck in their life? Can I help you?