Read His Words Before Ours!
“Why don’t they love me?”
I questioned myself when I was growing up.
Something was wrong that I couldn’t grasp.
As the oldest of five, I was like a mother to my younger siblings as we struggled to grow up in a home with abusive parents. It was a home without love. I felt like a real-life Cinderella. Only much, much later did I come to realize I am a deeply-loved child of God!
When I was nine, my grandfather took me to a little Baptist church. There, I found families who showed such love to each other! I wanted to be just like my Sunday school teachers, a missionary couple, who told me how God loved me and about His Son, Jesus. I accepted Jesus into my heart. However, when my grandfather passed away, I was never taken there again.
At fourteen, when I learned my father was really my stepfather, I felt rejected and betrayed. I longed to simply be loved and accepted, as I had been at church.
When I was 15-years-old, I was raped and became pregnant. My mother learned what happened, and she made arrangements for me to go to a home for unwed mothers. I had a baby boy on January 8, 1961. I cared for him for two weeks before I left the maternity facility and moved back home.
I gave him up for adoption because I wanted him to have a loving home. My home was anything but loving. Feeling “used” and “unworthy”, I was sure my life was ruined, and I’d never find someone who would love and cherish me.
In late 1961, I “fell in love.” When I had intimate relations and became pregnant again, my boyfriend abandoned me. The idea of giving another baby up for adoption, as well as feeling unwanted and unloved, pushed me to the edge.
I wanted to die. I gathered, and took, all the pills in our medicine cabinet.
I hadn’t thought about the baby dying. I just knew I didn’t want to live any longer. As I sat there, crying and waiting to die, I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard a comforting voice, “You know you’ve done wrong. No one has the right to take your life but me.”
I knew it was God or His Holy Spirit.
Two lives were saved when I then told my mother what I had done. She helped me seek medical treatment, and months later, I had another son, born October 19, 1962. After I signed the adoption papers, I wished I would get run over by a truck. Once again, I struggled with feelings of shame, guilt, being unloved and unworthy.
I married when I was 19 and thought my life would be perfect. I started attending and serving at an Episcopal Church in Kansas City. Though my husband didn’t attend with me, I wanted and needed to worship, learn, and fellowship with others. Eventually, my husband gave his life to the Lord and was also baptized, an amazing answer to prayer.
Learning God’s Word, and leaning on its truth, has helped me through many more trials throughout my life, including a miscarriage, battle with cancer, and a devastating divorce. For three years after the divorce, I faced more hardship than I could have imagined. I felt like I was in a battle to remain close to the Lord while Satan tried pulling me away.
But these struggles were different from those I’d faced in my earlier life, because I knew God, who loved me, accepted me, and forgave me, was with me.
His Word became my lifespring.
I found comfort and hope in the promise of Romans 8:28,
“And we know that in all things,
God works for the good of those who love Him,
who have been called according to His purpose.”
I have learned through the years that God has called me.
I experience joy in serving in many areas I have felt His calling, including preschool instruction, Stephen Ministry, missions, and Hospital Ministry.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 exhorts us, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” This verse especially helps me to have compassion and empathy for others in each area of ministry in which I’ve served because I have experienced God’s comfort for myself.
Another valuable lesson I’ve learned is the importance of forgiveness.
Jesus died on the cross to forgive us.
How could I not forgive?!
My parents asked for forgiveness and I could honestly forgive them and others, even including my ex-husband.
Romans 8:1 says “Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
I want to encourage those who are depressed and feel shame or unworthiness to reach out. I, too, suffered shame for what happened in my teen years; I have walked in your darkness.
Take courage, dear sisters!
We serve a God who sees our past, yet loves us boundlessly.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
I thank God for His unending love!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!