When God Uses Our Brokenness to Mend Another

heartrending wedges

Recently I sat in a conference packed with thirty-somethings, humbled by their meaningful lives. These beautiful women were allowing God to shape their hearts, pure, and intentional. It was a juncture I’d missed, my life much different–my thirties a haze of dysfunction.

It’s hard for me to fathom I turn fifty in a couple months. {The birthday month is April, and I love chocolate and Amazon gift cards if anyone asks.} I used to think fifty was old {so very old!}. But there’s this funny thing happening, the closer my birthday draws, oh how much younger I realize fifty really is.

Over the years I have at least learned this, how it’s never too late to make a difference.

Courting five decades does something to a girl. As the years pass, I’m feeling a little more philosophical and introspective, a little more willing to look at the person I’ve been, the person I am, and the person I’m becoming. I now know I’ve been too hard on that person I was. If not for her, I would have no story. She taught me so much about life—hard things, yes, but some great things, too. And one of the most valuable things she taught me was that God wants to use me.

Read When A Woman Finds Her VoiceChapter Nine, The Silent Many.
Read 2 Corinthians 1.

God wants to use me. 

The God of no beginning, whose existence will never end, the One who established the world with his wisdom, the God who could, with a flick of his finger, cast off demons—he chooses to use me to fulfill a unique purpose in this world.

To think God could somehow take this crazy chaos-driven, mixed up mess of mine and weave it into his perfect plan still leaves me shaking my head most days.

He wants to do the same with you, you know.

I’m learning this, how there’s no limit to what God can do with a surrendered heart, how he plants this seed of hope that grows bigger and bigger and bigger, until it becomes bigger than any circumstance we face.

There is a divine Hope that lies within our hurts.
God uses the broken heart of one
to mend the brokenness of another,
uses me to help you, uses you to help me.
This God-centered pain changes the world,
one woman at a time.

There’s a reason I’m so open about my story, why I share this heart wide, pouring out my past vulnerable and red. I do it with the pure hopes that something about my life will offer a validity that connects me with you. It’s my resume of sorts. When I share the hurts of life I’ve walked through, you know that I’ve seen and understand much pain but I’ve made it through. You also learn how I want you free from these hurts of life—emotionally whole and living a life of joy. And when I challenge you to a different way of living, you understand it’s not some Pollyanna-esque response for something I really don’t understand. I really do get it.

And more than any of that, hopefully you understand how I hold heart-close this genuine desire to see your life changed, to see hope bloom fresh in your dry places.

This is how God designed us, our story of healing with the potential to unlock hopeless hearts, our own experiences serving as a compass for others. As others witness God’s hand in our lives, they want to know more about him.

This is the power of sharing our stories, this hope that leaks from the pain of our past.

How about you? What tends to block you from letting go of the past and pressing into the future God has for you? What life experiences could be “resume-builders” that would help you advocate for others who have gone through similar hurts? Please share with us in the comments section below.

{Find more encouragement with Jo Ann’s recently released book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Using Your Story to Make a Difference.}

60 thoughts on “When God Uses Our Brokenness to Mend Another

  1. I resisted telling my story. It is ugly and unflattering. But God. Psalm 107:43 says it well. Those who are wise will take all this to heart: they will see in our history the faithful love of The Lord. In recent weeks God showed me He would bring the women who needed to hear my story to me. My part is to write my story. Be ready to tell my story. There are women drowning in pain thinking they are alone and that there is no way out of the pain. We are the hope. We have walked through the pain and come out on the other side. Psalm 107:2 Has The Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.

    • I agree Karen, there are ugly parts to all of our stories. I too believe that God will bring the women to me who need to hear those ugly raw places. Then the ripple effect occurs and we start healing together. I love seeing you here Karen!

    • Karen, you reminded me of 1 Pet 3:15 in the Message version:

      Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.

      Oh that we would stand ready! So glad you are using your story to make a difference. <3

    • We are never TOO anything for God! Your story. Your scars. They witness to someone who needs it. They witnessed to me in your comment today. Bless you!

      • Because it really isn’t about us. It’s about others. About God getting all the glory and never wasting anything in our lives that we walked through.

    • Karen,
      I agree it is one in the same spirit who speaks these truths to us be ready to share where I the Lord have walked with you!

  2. I know for me when I am in the middle of a trial I tend to look back and see how much my past hurt. I think the same thing will happen now and I get so scared. But then I remember God got me through those dark places and he’ll get me through again. There are different people in my life and so the circumstances are not the same and I am not who I used to be. Sharing is hard and therapeutic for me too.

  3. I feel like I’ve been busy pulling teeth from paper tigers – the words, lessons and false messages of my past ambush me in the strangest ways. Less than before for which I am so thankful to Jesus. But still when that acid hits my stomach and the FIGHT defense comes up so fast I hardly know what to do.

    And I instantly regret it. The outburst. The frustration. The hard face and harsh voice. It seems all my life I have failed in those areas, like God gave me a short fuse and said, “Okay have fun with that!” knowing it would take me 30 some years to figure out I need to stay away from people with matches. And lighters. And other open flames. Even if they are family. Even if they are friends. Even if they say they mean well or they are doing God’s work. And I need to stop lighting them when I feel frustrated and want to blow it all up. BOOM.

    Sharing my story, well honestly parts of my story, has been done to share my healing journey not because I did anything special but because God did. To share my beliefs that we need to speak up. To advocate for those with no voice. And encourage them in finding their voice. And then listening when they do. Giving them ownership of it. Building them up like the walls in Nehemiah and guarding them.

    I’m a much better encourager than a sharer. There are two kinds of unhealthy responses to sharing our hurts: the drama lovers. They want the details, every blood smear and tear drop. They don’t want to hear the healing but have you relive the hurt. For their entertainment. The others are the ‘get over its’ when they hear you have a story their response is: It’s in the past, let it go. Move on. Leave that ____ behind. They don’t care to get messy. Or involved. They want you as is comfortable for them. Not you.

    God brought me through. I’m on the healing path. I’m an encourager and advocate. I’m a reforming (daily? minute by minute more likely) ogress. I love passionately and lean on my Lord, unworthy and yet completely redeemed and loved. Yeah it makes me cry. And yeah I fear moving forward with story, sharing and *gasp* community where all the vulnerabilities come out. But God moves me and I’m learning to go. Sometimes dragging my feet, sometimes making excuses but I go.

    I am thankful for this community, for these women. We laugh together, create and pray. It is a huge blessing to me. A life changer.

    • Girl . . . THIS is a post itself. What an encouragement. Real and raw, but so right now! LOVE it. Love you. It’s been awesome, this traveling together.

    • Wow Shanyn, you speak the truth that is part of my life too. I am loud, passionate, and speak my mind without beating around the bush. It is not out of meanness but because I use to believe in being honest. I would try and guard my tongue until it burst forward in anger, causing even more trouble. The harsh voice is causing problems in my marriage as well.

      I know well, the two kinds of people you talk about, I have been the brunt of their nasty tongues heard directly and through gossip of others. When my own husband starting joining them is when I really shut down. He said he was being honest too and was he suppose to lie (to me), if he felt the same as them.

      I’m glad, I am a part of this study group as it has lead me back to the God, I left behind. The God who knows my heart and is leading me to my true path. And yes it is easier to be an encourager than a sharer, because we have been there and know the pain.

      • Hugs you Debie. I know that answer, “I’m just being honest, what you want me to lie to you?” and it often accompanies a version of their truth told not for our benefit but to fulfill their need to ‘be right’ or ‘be honest’. It hurts. And it often isn’t needed.

        This study group, this community, is such a blessing. You are a blessing my dear friend. God never leaves us, we draw apart but He stays constant. I love that.

      • Oh yes, people with matches no matter who they are! I have been studying limits and boundaries lately and this is such a great way to put that knee jerk reaction of self protection sometimes needed and sometimes not. I have a reinforcement that rose up today when watching Amanda Crabb share her testimony of abuse and healing. I can’t control it. The angry stands up and says, “No way. Don’t you tell! And what would people think about that! I know its time to share my story through writing, and speaking, but its like when I think about this place I’m currently in I am shutting down emotionally. I am so very glad to have these precious women to journey through life with too. Recently God placed me on the Not Marked launch team. I’m so grateful for the women who have journeyed with Jesus and spur me on to use my voice. Ive written the intro to my book. Please pray this wall comes tumbling down.

        • I agree It is time bring down the walls, move the mountains.
          Lord give us the confidence & strength & the support we need to move forward & use Your voice within us to claim the Victories You O’Lord have won for us!
          Great post srvnGod, Thank You!

    • You Shanyn,
      Are a very wise woman to discern where your strong in Christ!
      I wish I could not relate drama lovers & the leave that be-hinders.

      Unfortunately I have encountered both in my parish I find both groups rather synthetic.
      So I do understand.
      Prayers & Blessings to you as you walk in His perfect Love!

        • You are welcome Shanyn,
          Christ sends His spirit to tell us what we need to hear when we are in His Presence. In this place where I am safe. Sometimes through another believer.
          You are wise when you are focused on His perfect Love as He is guiding you & telling you (I am probably older than you so I am relating to what I see in your post has been my strength. Took me years to discover): THE JOY OF THE LORD is MY STRENGTH!!!

  4. In the last few weeks I’ve been working on why I feel stuck in my healing. My psychiatrist started seeing me twice a week because we were dealing with the last sexual abuse that I got with a former psychiatrist. I had to understand that it wasn’t my fault. That she is the sick person here not me. NO ONE knows how this abuse has change me. With all the abuse that I suffered in the past…it was understanding that people are sick and abuse others… but I went for help to a dr whom I thought was going to help me deal with the abuse and took advantage of me after a few months and got to really play with my feelings and beliefs. Because of all my past abuse, I always had problems being intimate with my husband. My body would freeze up and I never let myself feel his love…even before he abuse me years ago. When I shared this with my dr she told me that she had studied in sex therapy and she would be able to help me. SHE’S the dr… SHE was supposed to help me…NOT hurt me. I believed in her. I trusted her. I was so happy because I was going to show myself that I could feel..that my marriage would be a happy one. At the end she was threatening me. She told me that if I wasn’t going to do what she asked that she would put me in the hospital with no visitation. She had wrote in my file that I wasn’t stable. She wrote like if I was crazy and needed to be put away. So she was blackmailing me with her notes. She got caught eventually but the damage that she did to me was unreal. She was a professional… then I had to turn around and TRUST another dr that I didn’t know. My old dr came back from studying just before Christmas and now I’m seeing her. I feel stuck because hurt is all I have known since 5 yrs old. I’m working on why I am stuck in my healing..what is stopping me. Recently I have learned that I am scared of being happy. All I have known all my life was pain and hurt and being put down with words. This has been my whole life. Part of me is scared to loose the wonderful friends that I have met through the last 5 yrs of working to get better. I have lost many friends because a lot of them just wanted to control me and tell me what to do…when I wouldn’t do it..they would simply leave. Tell me that our friendship is over, or not healthy anymore.
    I never knew what love was until 5 yrs ago. This stranger came into my life and have been there and supported me since then. She never gave up on me when so many times I did on myself. I do feel that I’m not letting go of my past because I’m scared to be happy. If I want to be happy…it means I have to forgive so many and MYSELF. All I have known is pain and so many tells me that being free and happy is so wonderful. I sometime get a glimpse of that happiness but never last because I’m not letting it. I guess my middle name could be “Carole Scary M”. I’m so struggling with God. Most of all the post have verses of the Bible… or say…God is so good…God has healed me… I trust God…etc. I guess I’m stuck on the believing in God. So all of this to say… I believe that I am stuck in my past because I’m afraid to be happy. I so want to be happy but it means letting go of the one thing I’ve always known…and that is pain. Now the question is… Where do I go from here…..What do I want?

    • I am sorry for what happened to you. Being manipulated by someone in a position of power over us and being abused by them can certainly make us fearful. It can give us a ‘new normal’ of living in fear. In survival mode. My friend Dr. Temple Grandin says something wise about a ‘new normal’ that is in response to bad things – it is still bad. It is not a healing place to be in survival mode. I know that all too well.

      You are afraid of letting go. Of getting to know God. Of getting close. He is already there. He hears your heart, and your hurts, and your fear and pain. You are closer now than you ever were before! You put it in words, and I’m so proud of you for that!

      Letting go of the pain is a process, but you are not alone. Praying for you Carole! You need a new ‘middle’ name, Scary won’t fit. Glad you are here.

      • What’s frustrating is that I have all the tools…or I should by now to letting go of the pain. I know I have to some degree let go of it but I want to have let go of ALL the pain and move forward. In the last 5 yrs I have worked so hard since I tried to end my life. I know pain and I’m comfortable in it… I’m safe in my pain…I know it sounds crazy but I am. I want to be happy too but I know if I want to be happy I need to let go of the pain. People ask me when I was young I must of had dreams for my future. Since I can remember I would dream of the day I would have the nerves to end my life. I was too chicken to do it myself and I would pray for something to happen to me… so I would leave this earth. I have bad negative tapes in my head and it’s very hard to delete those and replace them with positive stuff. In 5 yrs I did make some changes but I would of wish to have it all changed by now. Some days are better than others. I think that I’m ok with something and I’m not…like this past Saturday…I went to the mall and saw that dr for the first time since the abuse. I had a really bad weekend…I let her win again. I’m still having a hard time with it. I just got flashbacks of what she did to me. The hurt seems to never go away completely. I’m letting it control me. I hate it…I hate myself for it.

        • Sweetie why are you hating yourself for having a very normal reaction to the abuse you experienced? It’s called PTSD. Would you hate someone else for feeling the same way? I’m assuming the answer is no. You would have compassion and understanding for something that is a very normal reaction in a person. I’m not say any of this is easy. It’s very hard at times. Like training to run a marathon or doing any kind of exercise that’s difficult, you have to train and work out. Your difficulty, and I share this with you, is exercising your mind. Training your thoughts to ALWAYS counter the negative ones that creep in. Write encouraging scripture or positive statements on post-it notes and put them so you can see them. I made a sign that a friend encouraged me to make that says “What Does Kimberly Need”. I put cute stickers on it and placed it in a place that I would see it everyday. Pretty soon when I started to feel overwhelmed by people asking me to do things for them (It’s hard for me to say no sometimes), my mind would think about this very basic statement “What Does Kimberly Need”. It has helped me to set boundaries and learn how to take better care of myself. To some people this might sound very basic but for me growing up learning that I didn’t matter, it was a very important life lesson for me that has helped me. Change that word hate to love! I love myself and God loves me too!

          Carol Courageous you have a story to tell that will help others. You are important and are here for a reason! Keep on pressing on! God is behind you cheering you on and I’m cheering you on too!

          • Kimberly… I’ve always hated myself. No, I would never hate someone else for feeling the same way. When I got older and saw what my dad was doing wasn’t rigtht…. I started to hate myself more and more with what he was telling me. For so long I haven’t been able to look into my own eyes in the mirror. I always hated the way I looked. I tried to change my hair…loose weight etc..but never could succeed. I am a lot better today then I was a few years ago but still can’t look into the mirror. I don’t wear makeup so it’s easy… when I do my hair I just look at the hair and not the face… I can see myself a little bit and I have to really concentrate on what I’m doing with my hair to not feel sick to my stomach…that is how bad it is. So for me I don’t understand WHY so many different situation of being sexually abused happened to me. I do understand the gang rape… but the other individuals are hard to process on the “why”. I know what you mean that it’s like training to run a marathon or doing any kind of exercises that’s difficult… I was there when I tried to end my life 5 yrs ago…I had to learn to walk and talk all over again. But physical stuff is so much easier for me to do than emotional things. I know I have to retrain my brain and it will take time and repetition of thinking positive stuff. But it’s easier said than done. Many people tell me that it will come easier and I will be able to deal with my past… the memory will always be there but the hurt will not be so strong and I will be able to handle it better. Right now…like for example… Last Sat I saw my dr who abused me for the first time since it happened. Anxiety hit so hard I was so out of it for a couple of days… the memories of the abuse… what she did…what she said… it felt like it was yesterday… I could feel the pain…I could feel everything like if it was just yesterday. I just don’t know how to manage those feelings…those thoughts…I don’t know how people can say that it will get easier to deal with… Yes..if I don’t think about it it’s ok…but if something happens or I see an abuser… the pain is so strong and I don’t know how to make it go away. So I know I still have a lot of work to do… just wish that I could get that fear in control

            • Carole,
              my heart aches for you and what you have gone through in your life. The truth is…it is not just thinking ‘positive stuff’ that will retrain your mind. You need to take every thought captive… those lies you tell yourself…that self-loathing is the enemy of your soul trying to keep you down and keep you in your past pain and anguish. Satan hates you(he hates us all) and wants to destroy your soul.

              God, on the other hand through His son, Jesus Christ, has provided forgiveness, healing, and restoration for you. It’s there but you have to access it through His word and through His Spirit. The retraining of your thought life begins to take shape when you are replacing the lies with the truth of God’s word about who you are. You are loved by the creator of the Universe!! No one and nothing can ever take that away from you. You are beautiful…God’s word says that you were fearfully and wonderfully made. He tell us that He has loved us with an everlasting love…that love never ends. He meets you where you are but He does not want to leave you there. He wants to help you move through this to a place of peace and joy. Happiness is an emotion that is dependent upon circumstances…it comes and it goes. But joy, that can only be found in Christ. He can give this joy…this deep peace in knowing that He wants to deliver you from your hell on earth. He wants to walk with you from victory to victory no matter how long it takes, until you are whole and healed and unafraid. That is your name…Carole Unafraid! Choose it today…the feelings follow the actions…not the reverse.
              Please know, sweet beloved daughter of God, that I will be keeping you in my prayers!
              “We demolish arguments and every pretension(lie) that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5(NIV).

            • Your feelings of hate come from the horrible abuse that you experienced. None of this was your fault. You were a victim, remember that, it might help you to stop hating yourself. You never learned boundaries as a child. It’s common for people that are abused to end up in abusive situations over and over again. Trying to understand why these people abused you is a waste of time. There is evil in this world and people do bad things and bad things were done to you. It had nothing to do with you or if you were a good person. The shame is on the people that abused you. There is nothing wrong with you. Still I do understand how you feel and it’s very normal.

              After my first divorce I hated looking in the mirror too. I thought I needed to lose weight and I thought I was ugly. What I would do when I got ready for work everyday was look in the mirror and tell myself “your clean, your clothes are ironed and look neat and that’s all that matters”. I did this EVERYDAY! It got my focus off looking at my face or hair and judging how I looked. The most important thing to me was that I had showered and was clean and my clothes weren’t wrinkled. It’s amazing how great that made me feel everyday. We woman are so hard on our physical appearance sometimes more so than our inner appearance. As for the outer appearance sometimes you have to focus on one thing like my eyes look nice or I have great legs.

              Your reaction to seeing your therapist sounds like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to me. I have this and understand it. It can be debilitating. I’ve had some traumatic things happen to me and I get it. It is a completely normal reaction to feel fear and to feel the pain as if it happened yesterday. It also can affect you for days afterwards. You can tell yourself “it’s okay I’m safe now” but your brain is processing the situation as if it just happened. There is a therapy called EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). You can read more about it here http://www.emdria.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=2. It’s like the emotional side of your brain is stuck in the trauma still. EMDR gets the left brain (the logical side) involved in the process and it helps to balance out the emotional side of the brain so that you can process the trauma. It is very interesting how it works. When I first tried it I thought this is dumb, how can this possibly work but to my surprise it really helped. It doesn’t make the memories go away but helps you to process them when you feel stuck. This is what is so frustrating trying to heal from horrible trauma and abuse, you feel stuck then guilt creeps in that you “should” be better and are not. The EMDR process continues to work after each session. Its kind of like sitting on a train and watching the scenery pass by. You see the scenery but you don’t emotionally react to it in the same way as before. Same as the abuse, you remember that it happened but it doesn’t feel like it just happened and you don’t feel like you’re in that fight or flight mode. I encourage you to check it out.

              Remember God always meets us where we’re at. If you are hurt or broken HE is there with you to help you through. Your past and the things that were done to you DO NOT define you! You are a beautiful child of the living God and HE wants the very best for you!

              Hugs!

    • Carol, all you’ve known in your life is pain and not being able to trust people. Could it be that you’re afraid to be happy because happiness is the unknown for you and you have a fear of the unknown? I use to get really nervous when I was happy and everything was going well because I was sure something bad was about to happen; such a terrible way to live. I lived this way because I experienced horrific abuse from the time I was a child into my adult years. I experienced a lot of crazy crazy things with the adults that were around me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it becomes a learned behavior to fear happiness. God wants you to be happy. Part of happiness is something that is in our own control.

      It’s horrible that a therapist manipulated you and traumatized you all over again! As for the friends that wanted to control you and tell you what to do, they were not your friends. Friends accept and love you for the beautiful wonderful person that you are and don’t try to control you. Take the experience as a learning lesson in setting boundaries with others. Your middle name should be Courage because it takes courage to face your painful past. Good for you Carol for being a courageous woman who wants to heal your past so that you can press on toward a joyful future! It took tremendous courage to go back to therapy after what you experienced.

      God loves you and wants you to take good care of yourself. Others may have said horrible things to you but you can say awesome things to yourself, like ” Carol Courageous M you are a beautiful courageous woman on a journey with God to a joyful happy life”! Start with small steps, Ask yourself “what does Carol need”, maybe its a healthy meal, or a walk outside, maybe reading a book will bring a smile to your face or watching a funny movie. Slowly you will get to know yourself better and find out what God already knows about you which is your a pretty terrific person. My prayers are with you my friend. What you are going through is not easy. I have been through a lot of abuse in my lifetime and countering negative things that people of importance such as parents and a spouse tell you about yourself is VERY hard to overcome. It is easy to fall back into believing the lies that were said to you. The reality is that the people that abused you are the ones with the problem and the things they said to you are most likely how they really feel about themselves. It’s called projection, they project on to you how they really feel about themselves. It might not feel like it but God is there for you. HE is walking right beside you helping to direct your path to a place of healing.

      • Kimberly…I know that is fear of the unknown. Fear of being happy because I always felt negative about myself. I was abused by my dad from age 3 or 4 up to 12 yrs old then other sexual abuse occurred in my adult life also. I had over 10 people in all my life time who sexually abused me so being happy has never really been one of my first thing to feel. I know that I’m stronger than what I was even last year but I also know that it’s constant work to get better. I know I am very hard on myself too. I blame myself for so many things that happens around me. There’s one thing that you said that really hit me… “It is easy to fall back into believing the lies that were said to you” It is so very hard to fight those lies sometimes but I just can’t give up…that’s NOT an option for me anymore. I can’t let my abusers win.
        Thank you for your understanding and support. I get scared to share sometimes because I’m afraid to get judge by others and I really can’t handle being judge when I’m trying to heal and learn to be happy. So when someone seems to understand me I really appreciate it. So thank you 🙂

        • My Courageous Carol, I do understand as I was sexually abused too. I know the shame that comes along with that type of abuse and the false feelings of guilt. None of what happened to you is your fault, NONE OF IT! Put the blame, shame and guilt back where it belongs which is on the people who abused you. They are the ones that should feel ashamed. Don’t carry their shame, you didn’t do anything wrong. Forgive yourself and most importantly love yourself. I too understand what it’s like to be hard on yourself. It’s hard to feel happy when you have lived so many of your younger years in survival mode. Lies were said to you at a time when you were developing as a child, I believe this is why it is so hard to counter those negative thoughts about yourself as an adult. Your formative years of development are from the time you’re born until you’re five years of age. The foundation of love, validation and who you are as an individual are formed during this time. If you didn’t receive this it is very hard as an adult to learn these things but I believe strongly that God can heal you and HE can teach you that you are valuable and loved. You matter to HIM and are so so loved and important! I’m going to reiterate what Maria said to me ” take time like you were going to a luxurious spa & just spend time resting in His Love for you”. You are in a time of restoration. Let God restore your heart and soul. Give yourself a break.

          You and I have both mastered living in survival mode so learning how to be happy will be a cakewalk : ) I like this scripture ” This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, In the LORD, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid” Psalm 56:10-11

          I grew up always feeling like I was different. I had this horrible secret of what was happening to me at home but I couldn’t let anyone else know about it. I worked very very hard to make sure that everyone around me thought I was “normal” just like them. It took up a lot of energy. Today if I told all that went on in my life as a child to people that knew me while I was growing up, most would be shocked because I never let it show that anything was wrong. I fall into this at times still as an adult and I think this is why if I’m in a room with a lot of women I sometimes feel inadequate. Something I always knew as a very young child was that God was there for me. I survived because of HIM. I knew he was my advocate and that HE loved me. God has such a special way of communicating with children and I love God so much for being there for me through some very difficult years. Just as God was there for me as a child HE is here with me today and HE is with you right now.

          I will never judge you and you will always have my support and prayers. Once again Carol you showed your courage by sharing something I know was very hard to share. Today do something special for yourself because you deserve it my courageous friend!

          Hugs and Love to you!

  5. Looking back I shudder to think of all the dark lonely places I have survived.
    ~A failed marriage
    ~Numerous Ex fiance’s with children I fell in love with an was forced to leave behind
    ~Risked my entire retirement to venture into a new profession only to have the market crash before I could get up & running
    ~assisting aging parents that are resentful for what they have not accomplished in their own lives

    ~No children of my own (being barren, last week’s chapter hit me right in the gut)
    ~Physical reasons developed & I was never able to have children

    ~speaking of being hit there. No sisters only two brothers who are not in healthy relationships with significant others, so it greatly affects what lies between us (meaning I never receive a call anymore that is about me; only what I am available to accomplish to improve their days.)
    ~This makes me have a lot of heart to heart conversations with Jesus about healthy boundaries.
    ~oh my list goes on

    So Dear Lord how could You use me to speak to others?
    I am a wreak, besides they only want the clean pretty fixed up me not the one who has never shed a tear because she is afraid to.

    • Wow Marie! Spilling it all out is certainly a way to encourage other women. What you just wrote is simply breathtaking. You were vulnerable, exposed and honest. So many of us need to hear your words because we’ve been there too. There is such power in listening to other people and see our own lives in a different way. Sometimes when we are a wreck is when God uses us the most.

    • No Maria, they want to hear the real you straight from the heart. The “clean pretty fixed up” version isn’t always the truth of what is in your heart. It makes you human and makes people like me not feel like I need to be perfect or that there is something wrong with me because I’m not showing the “clean pretty fixed up” version of myself. Some how there is a quiet strength in speaking from a place of brokenness. Let the tears flow my friend, you will feel better. When I cry, which is very very hard for me to do, I feel weak but when I’m weak HE is strong. It sounds odd to say I feel strong when I also feel weak but it’s the truth.

      I understand the feelings of not being able to have children too. This was the most important plan I had for my life but I had a medical condition that prevented it. So much for the Brady Bunch plan I had for my life…. I was older when I found out I had this condition so it was too late to try and do anything about it, not that medical intervention would have made it 100% possible to conceive. By that time I was going through my second divorce. It’s hard not to wonder if God thought I wouldn’t be a good mother and that’s why I wasn’t able to have children. I use to think if I was a heroin addict I’d pop out multiple kids, but all kidding aside, this is a difficult situation to stomach for sure.

      • Thank You Kimberly,
        I feel a need to cry I am sure is long overdue, when I find a safe place. I had such plans as you did that is why I married so young, after all we should be able to accomplish more if we start early.
        It is so kind of you to bear your soul as I know I must, but in the past other women have been so cruel especially sister-in-laws. When I was 7 an mother was expecting I begged God every night for a sister (for which I was in trouble when my mother heard me). Now I know He was waiting to give me Sisters in Christ,Thank You Kimberly!

        • Bless you Marie! I am happy to be your Sister : ) I have two brothers as well.

          So go light some candles, get some tissue and have a nice healing cry, you will feel better. Imagine me wrapping my arms around you giving you a big hug and telling you “enough already you big crybaby, stop it already…” hahahaha. I’m so kidding you! Sisters can be bratty sometimes ; ) I know how very hard it is to cry. I have to read a story or watch a video of an animal or child suffering or stab myself in the leg (again joking) and then I’ll finally cry which then leads to me crying for myself. Weird how easy it is for some people to cry and harder for others.

          Lots of Love & Hugs to you Sis!

          • Kimberly,
            I just love your sense of humor, & I need a sister who can fill that role & has journeyed some of my same path (also the only brothers, I find I relate differently sometimes).

            I know the Lord is @ work here as for too many years I took myself oh so serious, so I fill Blessed to have a shoulder when the tears begin & you will be sure to tell me when to stop (smiling as I am typing this).
            Love & Hugs Sis

            • Thank you Marie! Happy to be there for you & I feel blessed that you’re there for me too : ) Have a blessed day!

              Love & Hugs to you Sis

    • Marie,
      I am so sorry they don’t see you. You have walked through so much. Each of us here see your wounded heart and lift you up in prayer to the Father who sees you, not only as you are today but also who you will be. A woman walking in freedom. A sweet daughter of the King!

  6. The lingering effects of the past have left me often times feeling quite inadequate. Yet I know that the past has helped to mold me into a stronger person. At other times I feel like a complete failure that I’m not doing more for God. Living in a survival mode, God kept me strong and pressing forward, I didn’t have time to feel the emotional pain of what was happening. I used up a lot of energy making sure that to the rest of the world I looked “normal”. My feelings of failure come from completely falling apart post past crises. I can encourage and have empathy for other women going through any type of crisis but I don’t feel that I’m much of an example since I don’t feel victorious. While I say I don’t feel victorious what I do feel is an everlasting gratefulness and love for God for seeing me through such difficult times from my very young years as a child through my adult years. I can say with certainty that GOD will see you through even when you don’t feel like he is there, HE is. There is a longing in my spirit that there is something more that I should be doing but I don’t know what it is. The best I can describe the feeling is like running a race, you press through the pain to the finish but at the finish is when you stop to finally catch your breath. I’ve survived through a lot in my lifetime and I can speak to GOD’s unfailing love and strength to carry one through difficult times but I cannot stand up and say because of GOD I am living a victorious joyful life. This is where the feelings of failure come in, especially when I see so many other women who have been through much worse then me come out on the other side living a happy fulfilled life serving HIM. Somewhere I tripped myself up and fell flat on my face and can’t seem to pick myself up. Is it a lack of discipline, lack of faith or depression, I don’t have the answer. Somewhere along the way I lost the desire to care not about others but about myself, surely this is not what God wants for me nor do I think HE can use me in this state of mind. I do have a story and people are often shocked by the matter of fact way I tell it. I try to find some kind of humor in my story it’s what has helped me to stay sane. I don’t feel sorry for myself and I don’t have a woe is me attitude. Things happen for a reason and while I do have pain, hurt and sadness about how some things in my life didn’t turn out they way I had plan, I do know that GOD has a better plan. I’m just waiting for GOD to send me an email or write the plan in the sky because something has blocked me from hearing what it is that HE wants me to do…

    • I hear you. I really do. Your words resonated deep with me. I know those feelings. I don’t have an answer for you, but I know my own story. And I don’t feel ‘victorious’ but I feel loved, and redeemed and I feel more and more everyday that being with this community of women is a victory. We honour the scars. They honour, and love and pray. Dark humor is one of my fall backs, and is usually a sign that I need to look at something more closely for what God wants me to see – besides the gallows humor! Praying for you. So glad you are here.

      • Geez Shanyn I was really hoping you’d have the answer for me…lol : ) Maybe victorious means something else. Maybe it’s accepting the freedom to be me and being happy about it. Sharing and caring are so so important. I feel blessed to have found you beautiful women! I have a hard time in a large crowd of people especially women at church that it is hard for me to share. Thank you for the prayers! My prayers are with you as well!

        • I guess, to me, victorious was a claim to finally winning and getting to the end. I’m not there. I have small victories. I have great failures. Defeats. Bigger moments of joy. But I’m still scarred. Still, like you, not good with crowds and big ‘gal’ groups of women. I think our victories won daily are so important because they can encourage others to keep going. Just one more day. Jesus asks us to walk with Him. Some days it feels like we do miles and others a few steps, and a few we rest. Love that you are here!

          • I feel like if I’m victorious then I would always be living a joyful life. My life doesn’t always reflect that I’m living joyfully. I have great battles with major depression and PTSD at times that I let get the best of me. I understand myself in the sense that the depression and ptsd are results of dealing with some life battles that God saw me through at the time but the feelings caught up with me much later in life. I can speak to others about God’s unfailing love for us and that HE is Always there for us but I feel guilty and ashamed that I can’t stand up and say God saw me through and look at how wonderfully happy my life is today. That element is missing in my life. I, like you, have small victories at times and I am for the most part a pretty happy person but when I struggle I really get down. Those are the times that I feel like what woman would want to look at me and say “Wow I really want to get to know Christ so I can live life like her”. I suppose a big part for me is coming to terms with the fact that my life didn’t turn out the way I had hoped it would. So now I say okay so that plan didn’t work out now what am I suppose to do? Perhaps part of God’s plan to help to help me live a victorious life is to first lead me to all of you beautiful women! I feel blessed to have found you all and it feels safe to share my not so perfect life with those who won’t judge me or tell me it’s my fault that I’m not living victoriously. I’m glad that I’m here too! Thank you for making me feel welcome! Blessing and love to you all!

    • Rest in His Loving Embrace Dear Kimberly,
      He will restore you so you are certain you are fulfilling the reason He created you. And when He has restored & revived you He will put you on the journey as only He can. So take a time like you were going to a luxurious spa & just spend time resting in His Love for you Kimberly!!!

      Love & Prayers
      Your Sister-in-Christ
      hugs

      • Thank you Marie! I love the luxurious spa idea : ) I’m feeling motivated to light some candles and turn on some praise music. A season of restoration, I never thought about it like that. Bless you Sister!

  7. I am thankful that in my brokenness I can encourage others and to grow from my brokenness and that God can heal my brokenness that I face and that God cares and loves me no matter where I am in my life . I am thankful that I have a voice to help others as they have their own Journey with God and that I have friends supporting me and loving me along the way .

  8. First, I want to say how much I like the new site. It loads so much faster than the old one, which helps my old computer. 🙂 I also love the new look and feel.

    Now, I just finished reading the chapter last night and I have to say Wow. Often I don’t think of my story in terms of helping others. In fact in many ways I shy back from telling my story because I don’t see the importance or I don’t want to hinder my mom’s Christian walk. But to think that my story is so powerful to others, even when I don’t see it is amazing!!

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