the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”
My childhood was colorful at best. As a child, I was not able to control the choices of the adults around me. Such as my parents divorcing by the time I was age two, my mom marrying her third husband by the time I was 9, and moving during every school year.
I could not control the addiction to drugs and alcohol or the physical and mental abuse that were prevalent in my childhood surroundings. All these factors were my normal.
I became a child of Christ as a teenager. Though drawn to God and his love, I didn’t emerge from teen-dom unscathed or leading a godly lifestyle.
By the time I was 19 I couldn’t look in the mirror and see anything I liked, let alone think that God could love me. Until one day …
I was at a ladies retreat where the altar had been opened up for prayer, inviting us to come spend time before God. Kneeling at the altar, I remembered the Bible story about the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48).
As I was praying, I realized that I was leaning forward on my knees with my hand outstretched, as if reaching for something. But what?
I was reaching for Christ, knowing that if I could somehow just touch the hem of His garment, I too could be healed.
That day I touched God, or rather He touched me and brought healing. My struggles were not over. In fact new troubles began as I was no longer willing or able to accept that I was worthless or damaged goods.
Genesis 50:19-21 tells us what man meant for evil God meant for good. I could no longer live as a victim of life’s circumstance. All of my “baggage” from the past had to be viewed through the filter of God.
That life-changing moment was the beginning of a painful process and journey that I am still trekking. I must continually examine my life, confronting offenses of the past, both mine and others. But oh, the healing that God has brought about as a result.
I’ve experienced things in my childhood that no child should. But I’ve also experienced miraculous healing. I am a survivor of my past, of abuse, of evil.
I had another life-changing moment at age 23 when I began looking at the harm caused by my life’s experiences. I acknowledged these events and experiences had first passed through God’s hand before impacting me. Since I had to endure them, I asked God if he would use my wounds for His glory in a way that I might be able to offer Hope to those who are broken and to speak of His love and redemption.
We who have childhood wounds can sometimes have an edge. Those of us who feel that we’ve already dealt with these pains can be the edgiest; it’s as if we’re trying to convince ourselves and others that we are “okay”. These interactions can often feel void of true forgiveness. Some of the things I encountered as a child are not okay. But because I was willing for God to bring healing to the wounds, my wounds no longer hold me as a victim.
A few years ago, while sitting at my abuser’s deathbed, I felt God’s presence.
As I prayed, I sensed this person was struggling with condemnation regarding actions towards me. God brought to mind the scripture,
“Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.”. (Romans 8:1 Amplified)
This person had become a child of Christ. Though what I experienced was not godly, who was I to stand in judgment and condemn? In those last moments, I shared the scripture from Romans 8:1 adding,
“He does not condemn you, neither do I. I love you. Go in peace.”
I will never know which of us God intended to comfort using my words. And it really doesn’t matter.
Because of the great healing I have received, I am able to walk in wholeness.
Yes, I was abused, a fact I will share as I feel led by God. However, I am not a victim.
I don’t excuse the actions done to me, but I do realize that “Hurting people, hurt people.” No doubt I’ve done my share of damage too.
I don’t believe God intended my healing to only benefit me. It continues to be my desire that God uses me to offer experience, strength and hope to those who are in the midst of their own battles. My prayer is that as I offer my support to you, God will continue to bring others to support me as I persevere in my battles.
Meet my Friend and Guest Blogger:
Suzanne Kuhn has more than 20 years of book retailing experience and event sales, including traveling as part of Karen Kingsbury’s team. In 2010 Suzanne launched SuzyQ, a full-service author promotion and retail development firm that works with authors, publishers and retailers, helping to coordinate events, train staff and authors in reader engagement, and develop promotions for increased sales and reader/customer loyalty. Suzanne’s experience and knowledge in the book retailing venue gives her an edge when consulting with retailers for niche and business plan development, facilitating book tours, and ensuring more successful and profitable events. Suzanne truly believes in the power of Christian literature to impact and change lives.
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