As I was working on this blog post, I typed and deleted and typed and deleted, trying to find ways to put things lightly. But I’ve come to realize that’s the issue; everything is handed to us sugar coated and fluffy as to hide the ugly truths that are invading our worlds, our minds, our hearts, and our lives. If I took the time to tell my story from beginning to end, I’d have a four-book series.
I have been through countless situations in my lifetime—situations that could have, and should have, left me for dead—all because I didn’t value myself. A victim of rape, abuse (in all forms), homelessness, and depression, I found myself not valuing any part of what and who God created me to be. I was in a constant battle within myself between knowing what I was taught, brought up the child of a pastor, versus the infatuation for the world that I hoped would ensure me love, security, family, and a future. I had lost all hope of a future healthy marriage, any future with my father, and any future of having a family and a career. I allowed someone to project their fears, inadequacies, and insecurities onto me, and I absorbed it all in the name of “love.” I never put myself first. I had the lowest self-esteem possible. While others would tell me I’m talented and beautiful, all I would see was an unattractive mess of a person. I never saw beauty, only flaws. I was searching for love and acceptance in more than all the wrong places. I wanted a husband and children so badly that I settled for the first man who stuck around and acted like he loved me. Eventually he showed his real identity as he abused and sexually assaulted me for more than five years. I took the abuse with shame, never telling a soul what I’d been enduring because I did not want to look like a fool. I lost touch with my father and didn’t speak to him for years. I also lost touch with my Heavenly Father for far too long. I stopped going to church. I stopped having devotions. I even stopped praying. Life was a living hell in the most literal sense I could imagine.
Fast forward about eight years. One morning I fell to my knees in tears and prayer, screaming at the top of my lungs to the Father, my face drenched. I begged God to forgive me and to heal me of all my ailments - mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I begged Him to allow me back into His fold and I promised to love Him and Him only and that I would only receive the love of another man if he was sent by God. I promised to bury so deep into the Father that a man would have to search for Him to get to me. This was my prayer, and God immediately showed me the way to go. He also showed me that I was never outside of His fold. He didn’t drift away from me, I drifted away from Him; He was always right there. He showed me that it was time to put myself first.
Without saying much of anything to anyone, I packed up my things in Huntsville, Alabama and loaded what all I could from my apartment, plus my two cats, left behind the rest, and drove 12 hours to the Midwest where I met my parents and moved back home. It was during this time of rebuilding that I truly saw where I had gone astray. Being back at home, with the opportunity to start fresh with my parents and my God, allowed me the time I needed to realize that no matter how wayward we become, our Heavenly Father will be there, standing with arms wide open, ready to welcome us back home. I guess you can say I was a bit of a prodigal. Looking back on all that was endured, and recalling the moments where my life should have been snatched from me, I know that it was only the hands of God that kept me. Because of that, I can never let go of Him again. For Him to hold so near and tight to me through almost a decade of sins and rebellion showed me that there truly is only one way to peace—and that is through God. I can promise you, with every part of me, that if you just let go, relinquish everything to Him, He can and will heal you – mind, body, and soul.
Never forget who you are and WHOSE you are. You are a child of the Most High, the King of Kings, so treat yourself accordingly. That makes you royalty. Learn to value your feelings. Value yourself. If you don’t, nobody else will. Love on God and He will pour out so much love back onto you, you won’t know how to handle it! I know this to be true. My life to this point is nothing short of miraculous. I’m a living, breathing, walking, talking testimony of His love, grace, and mercy. There is NOTHING too hard for our God. Nothing.