|My Senior Picture|
I grew up knowing that God existed and created the earth and there was a heaven. That's where my knowledge ended and the lies began. Lies of who I was. As I made my way through junior high and high school, I was rejected repeatedly by friends and enemies. I was bullied and picked on by boys and girls a like. I was told that I was going to get my butt kicked more than once - never knowing what the reasons were. I was a good girl, a pretty girl, and a talented girl - which most likely added fuel to the fire. I was also painfully shy. I was scared to talk to the popular kids for fear of more rejection. Every time I was called a name or something was said about me, I put it on like a piece of clothing. Soon I had layers and layers and layers on me. I allowed those comments to define me. I did have some sweet friends and a loving family - so life wasn't awful by any means, but those comments are what I allowed myself to focus on.
As a 15 year old girl who more than anything wanted to be accepted, I was thrilled to begin dating a boy a year older than I. The following four years I believed him as he told me I was not thin enough, not in shape enough, not smart enough, and not pretty enough. He never actually hit me, but it hurt like it sometimes. He said no one else would ever have me. I believed him. I wanted to marry him...I begged him to marry me.
I was always searching for something to make the pain less/to fill that gaping hole inside of me. Whether it be 'love' from others, succeeding in whatever I was doing, or doing whatever everyone else was doing in order to just fit in and be accepted. I was miserable a lot and wanted to die more than a few times. I had developed a fear of rejection and a pretty ugly addiction to approval.
My boyfriend of four years left me with no self-confidence, damaged, and used, God sent me a friend to help me through the pain. Jeff loved me and accepted me in a way I had not experienced yet. Before long we were in love and starting our premarital counseling at his church. During that time a question was asked:
If you died today, would you go to heaven? Yes No MaybeWell, I believed in God, but was that enough? I was a pretty nice person. I really didn't know the answer, so I circled maybe. Over the next few days I was introduced to Jesus - who was a substitute for the sins I had committed - past and future. I gave my life to Him, asked Him for forgiveness, knowing I needed a Savior - someone to direct my path.
|A New Creation|
This is just a bit of what God says about me. You know what? He says it about you, too! Check out this list of truth - it's one that I love reading over and instilling in myself and my kids whenever I get a chance. Who I Am In Christ. <---Click on it.
As I was tucking Emily into bed last week, she asked me if I had ever been bullied when I was her age. I shared my entire story with her. I also was able to tell her that what those kids at school say about her is not who she is. She is defined by her Maker and He says wonderful things about who she is. I was so in awe of God's timing. I had to prepare and share 'my story' to a group of ladies at church for a leadership group. Just a few days later I had the opportunity to share with Emily and pray for those who are treating her meanly. Then I shared again during a women's Bible study last week how I had developed a fear of rejection and how God helped me overcome it. He is giving me some opportunities to practice. "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:15) He asked me to prepare and He will guide me in the rest.
No matter what junk is in your past, God can use it to grow you and shape you and to help others. He can turn the pain into joy and the tears into laughter. "Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning." (Psalm 30:5). I've seen it first hand and I want you to experience it too! You can be created anew, too!
I encourage you to check out this video on youtube that a sweet sister in Christ sent after I shared in my Bible study last week: Video about God's Love