I would not be who I am today if it weren’t for my past. I write and speak quite a bit about my past, leaving my heart on the floor as I do. I have found that holding back stunts my growth.
As a child, I was ashamed of where I came from. My parents were hippies and we lived accordingly. I don’t have too many memories of living in an actual house, but I do recall living in a 20 x 20 shed, a camper, a converted school bus and a teepee. Bear in mind, this lifestyle was a choice. I feel compelled to point out they never asked my preference!
I mean who could resist no running water, no telephone, and no indoor plumbing. That last one makes me laugh. I mean I’m a girl who really likes my indoor plumbing!
Of course I have some wonderful memories of my childhood, but I have many more that are etched with the knife of addiction, domestic violence, family secrets, guilt and shame.
Elementary school was no picnic either. Imagine a gawky, plain, and terribly shy young girl with thick glasses and a hand me down wardrobe. A perfect target for the bully. I just wanted someone to like me, to accept me, to love me.
If only I were pretty, I thought…
The summer before high school, I blossomed. I shed the awkward skin of my adolescence, and got noticed. The attention I was so desperate for came in unexpected waves. I clung to my appearance, believing all the while that my looks were my only ticket to happiness and joy.
I learned the art of pretending. I pretended to be happy. I pretended to be normal. I pretended to be me.
This took me far; all the way to Hollywood. All the way to an eating disorder. All the way to sin.
I used to live behind the mask of perfection. My bondage to my past was choking me. I felt like I was rotting from the inside.
About three years ago, I found my freedom in Jesus Christ. He radically threw my chains off and set me free!
Where there once was dark, I see light flooding in. My memories are turning into friends, instead of foes. I use the lamp of the Lord to guide my path, and am encouraged by one of my favorite scriptures.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105
I’ve always had a heart for the underdog, I think I can relate to them.
God doesn’t waste a hurt, and I am beginning to see how He is using my past to reach out to others who are lost. He has given me a heart to serve those that most people cast aside. It could be the homeless woman, the wayward teen, the woman lost in addiction, the hungry child, or the man who thinks he is too far gone for God.
Isn’t this what all Christians are called to do? Aren’t we all supposed to feed his sheep? It’s easy to think to yourself, “Oh, look what a good Christian I am. I am helping the needy.” I think that’s dangerously close to pride. The first time I felt the nudge of that emotion, God reminded me that we are all broken before Him, and only through Him are we made whole.
Who am I to judge another’s brokenness?
From one broken person to another, let’s do this together. Let’s feed His sheep!
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