Finding Myself...Finding my Father God

I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1

I had a chance to spend some much needed gal pal time with a friend this week, and we found ourselves at a certain point talking about the things that seem to be most pervasive in our hometown community. Things that are genuinely concerning in terms of family dynamics, the high percentage of domestic violence and particularly women who have been in incredibly abusive situations. When you see the high numbers for our area in terms of women in shelters, children in foster care, man, it’s incredibly heartbreaking! We talked about situations we have both been in personally that were abusive, whether it was verbal and/or physical, it was entirely unhealthy and dysfunctional. Thankfully, we both have testimony today of how we chose to remove ourselves from that, and God provided healing and restoration. We chose to stop the cycle, and now we can both encourage other women who may be in an abusive relationship.

I can think of several amazing women I know personally and others whose story I came to know through another connection, who have experienced something terrible and somehow God made a way for them to get out. I look back at my own personal experience with a young man my junior/senior year of high school-I don’t know how I got so fooled into thinking he was good for me. He charmed his way into my life, had a way with words and moves, and before long I was giving him more of myself than he deserved. Months into the relationship and after he got what he wanted from me, he began to tear away at what mattered most to me. I began to isolate myself from friends at church, at school, people who were mentors and teachers to me began to notice how far I had fallen. Before long, I was putting on this act of happiness but behind it I was breaking inside. At one point, I began to question if I’d ever deserve any kind of love from anyone. I had distanced myself so much from what truly filled me and grounded me, I neglected my relationship with my Father God and let a boy have too much of my heart. God’s timing is perfect, He didn’t rescue me from this situation I had found myself in but His hand was yet upon me. Our youth group went on a retreat, and that boyfriend came along. I remember being in an extremely raw, fragile state that weekend. I remember feeling like this was just what I needed and it was a last chance for this boy I had given so much to, to perhaps change and find Christ for himself. I was 17, and I thought I had it all figured out but deep down inside I was screaming for somebody to yank me up and slap some sense into me! Everything came to a peak for me that weekend, I found myself at a breaking point when this boy said something verbally abusive to me right in the van on our group’s day excursion in the middle of that retreat. I kind of snapped, and the tears just absolutely poured out of me. I am certain my youth pastor did not intend for the next hour or so after we returned to camp to be an intervention session. I remember being surrounded in that cabin by my friends in my youth group including my brother, and experiencing something incredibly truth filled and encouraging for my soul. I was showered by words from my youth pastor, and from several friends in that room, to know I was never alone and they were all genuinely concerned for my well-being. And I was shown love, abundant and unconditional, and reminded in a very tangible and powerful way that my God was with me through every moment. The rest of that weekend I spent in a state of licking my wounds, and leaning on God, and staying very close to my brother, and just letting others support me as I tried to find my way back to myself.

My recovery after we came home was not quick. It would be 3-4 years later and after several other relationships that I would finally step into therapy and find long term healing and restoration. When I finally came into a place of fully releasing all I had been and all I had done, completely forgiving myself and accepting God’s forgiveness, and seeing how truly whole and content I could be in Christ-that’s when I found myself crossing paths with the man I would come to know as my amazing husband, Ryan. A lot can happen in 4 years-from the age of 17 to 21, I discovered the absolute pit of myself, the worst I could be. When I chose to draw the line finally and declare I had enough, when I chose to listen to those who cared deeply enough to hold me accountable, when I chose to trust in my Father God to make a way when it didn’t seem there was a way, that’s when I discovered anew who I was and had always been: a child of God, fully and wholly purposed for good!

This is my story, and in no way is intended to be compared to yours. My intent in sharing it is to hopefully point you in the direction of the God who knows you, loves you, and has purposed you for good!

If you are in an abusive situation today, I urge you to call The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), and if you are in my local community of Springfield, MO, please call Harmony House 417-864-SAFE (7233).

There is hope, healing, restoration for you beyond what you know today. I am praying for you to find it, and I believe God’s good purpose will come about for you.

my Ebenezer...

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