Your Broken Past Is Not the End of Your Story

I remember sitting in the back row of church--just my second visit--as tears fell down my cheeks. I heard God's voice for the very first time. It wasn't audible or startling. It was a quiet, calm voice that echoed in my heart: You don't need to move away. You can have a new life here.

I felt peace for the very first time.

Up until that point, my most common emotions were anxiety, despair, anger, guilt, shame, bitterness, resentment, and hopelessness. There were times of manufactured happiness and excitement, but very little was truly joyful.

The rise of divorce, abuse, bullying, and harassment have weighed heavy on our culture. Kids are not afforded the luxury of happy childhoods. Boys and girls face pressure, abandonment, and bullying. These same kids grow up feeling unloved, unwanted, and unworthy.

It's no wonder we have adolescents and adults who are depressed, addicted, and suicidal. I know what it's like to question whether life will ever get better or if I will ever be worthy of that better life.

The problem is, nothing on this earth can provide the kind of hope that overcomes a past filled with pain and suffering. The only true hope we have is in God, and in His son, Jesus Christ.

Christians know that. On a head level, we've been taught that Christ is our only hope. And on a heart level, many women have experienced that moment I did--the feeling that God is real and He loves me.

So if we know that God is our only hope, that nothing on this earth can truly satisfy our need for love and purpose, then why do so many of us still feel so hopeless, even as Christians?

As a side note: I'm not talking about clinical depression here, although that can be a part of it. You can have faith and still be depressed and still need to seek medical help. It does not make you any less of a Christian. But for many people, the constant feelings of hopelessness and anxiety and despair can be a symptom of a spiritual issue that must also be resolved.

One of the problems in our Christian culture today is that we're willing to accept the gift of eternal life in heaven, but we're not willing to accept the gift of redemption on earth.

We hope, not for tomorrow, but for the distant future when we are in heaven with God, free from pain and suffering. We don't truly believe that we can have hope, joy, peace, and purpose on this earth.

 

Maybe it's because you've suffered greatly.

Maybe it's because you feel unworthy.

Maybe it's because the guilt of what you've done is eating you up inside.

Maybe it's because no matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to feel like a good person.

 

You can't bring yourself to believe that the promises of God could possibly be true for you. Your past is too broken. You've been hurt too much. The things you've done are unforgivable. You're willing to punish yourself for the rest of your life because you don't feel like you can ever measure up.

 

You believe that God's mercy is for her, not you.

You believe that God's redemption is for her, not you.

You believe that God can change her life, not yours.

 

You are believing lies. Every voice in your ear that whispers: "You're not good enough. You're not loved. You're not worthy. You're broken-beyond-repair." is a liar.

You are God's masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for his good works (Ephesians 2:10).

You are never too broken to be used by God. He takes every one of your broken pieces and sculpts them together to create His masterpiece--the YOU that he created you to be.

There is nothing that can separate you from God's love (Romans 8:38-39) and there is no brokenness that cannot be restored by Jesus' death and resurrection (Ephesians 1:7; Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 9:15)

It's time to take a good, hard look at your painful past. See it for what it is. Weep and mourn.

Cry for the 5-year-old girl who lost her dad. Cry for the 12-year-old girl who was bullied relentlessly. Cry for the 17-year-old girl who was raped and always blamed herself. Cry for the 20-year-old college student who had an abortion because she didn't know what else to do.

Each of those traumas is a part of your story--not the whole story. Allow yourself to feel deep sadness for the pages of your story that you wish weren't there. Then let them go. Turn the page.

Accepting God's forgiveness doesn't make your past go away and it doesn't mean you ignore it. It means that you accept it for what it is and choose to believe that new pages of your story will be written.

God promises that you will never be overcome or destroyed. Pain and suffering and hardship will come, yet God is our shelter and our protection. Life won't be easy but it can be good.

 

God is our shelter and strength,
    always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken
    and mountains fall into the ocean depths;
even if the seas roar and rage,
    and the hills are shaken by the violence.
There is a river that brings joy to the city of God,
    to the sacred house of the Most High.
God is in that city, and it will never be destroyed;
    at early dawn he will come to its aid.
Nations are terrified, kingdoms are shaken;
    God thunders, and the earth dissolves.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come and see what the Lord has done.
    See what amazing things he has done on earth.
He stops wars all over the world;
    he breaks bows, destroys spears,
    and sets shields on fire.
“Stop fighting,” he says, “and know that I am God,
    supreme among the nations,
    supreme over the world.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our refuge.
- Psalm 46 (The Good News Translation)

 

Believe that God's promises are true for you because they are. You are loved unconditionally by a God who is great and good. He knows what you've done and what's been done to you, yet he loves you just the same.

There is nothing you can do to make God love you any more or any less. It's time to rest in that promise.