I write this post out of the deepest sincerity of my heart.
I had a very difficult encounter with a family member about a week ago over a subject that has left a deep scar in my life and that took many years of healing.
Two years ago I served on my first mission trip to the Big Island, Hawaii and I learned about the importance of talking story.
This is similar to what many of us would just call sharing our testimony in the church, or even just our life story.
I was extremely blessed to grow up in a home with both of my parents married, a roof over my head, and always having food on the table.
However, I did not live an easy childhood, but it was during this time of my life when I was able learn first hand what faith really meant.
I used to be so afraid to tell my story until about two years ago because although I was able to learn and grow from my past I knew that the scars were still there and there was not complete healing yet.
So here’s my story,
It all started when I was at a young age.
A family member in my life that should have been an impactful figure became my biggest nightmare.
This person became extremely abusive to my health physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually from about the age six until eighteen.
This person tormented my mind of what a certain type of role model in my life should have looked like and made me question daily my worth, my value, and even my life.
I would ask myself everyday what did I do wrong, why do I deserve this, and if God really loved me to place such a person in my life.
At an elementary age I remember kneeling by my bed at night crying and begging God to make it all stop and to take the situation away because I couldn’t handle it anymore.
I told Him if He really loved me He would make it all stop.
This person would manipulate my mind and make me think that everything that I would do was wrong.
Time passed along and I was finally going into high school.
I did whatever I could to fill this void in my life with other people to replace that feeling with whatever temporary satisfaction that I could even if they were not the healthiest of ways.
During this time I tried my very best to be the best me that I could because you can only do so much as a teenager, and at sixteen you’re also still a kid. There’s only so much that you can do.
I learned to grow up pretty fast and how to not depend on others as much as I could because I didn’t really know any other way. This person made me feel that because I couldn’t depend on them I had to become independent and only worry about myself for myself.
The worst part of it all I knew that I was suppose to love this person regardless because they were put in my life for a reason but they were not fulfilling such a crucial role that they were given to play in my life.
It was hard and it hurt.
I was extremely involved in school. I remember going to my tennis matches, my show choir competitions, school dances- the list keeps going- and thinking… where are you?
I would wear a “mask” at school through a smile and get distracted through busyness to not think about reality after the last bell would ring.
I would look at my friends and see their families cheering them on and I would get so jealous but more so hurt because I didn’t have that. I didn’t have that type of support in my life and it was missing in my life for so long.
I fought through pain and the tears throughout many years and told myself that it would only make myself a stronger and more independent person and will help me with who I want to become one day, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t hurting.
I was longing to be loved and cared for by someone who I was supposed to call my father for the longest time and I wasn’t given that. I was given someone who was constantly angry, confused, anxious, and degrading.
I never felt like I was good enough and that I couldn’t satisfy his expectations of a child.
Throughout the years he was not found at a single athletic event, choir concert, prom court crowning, or even my high school graduation. That hurt.
I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t even their attitude, persona, or hurtful words that hurt me the most.
It was having the void of missing someone so vital during one of the highest peaks on my life and not being able to do anything about it because nothing was ever enough.
It a lot of time going to church camps, going away to a Christian university in another state, and learning about the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation to even understand a piece of why God wrote me the story that He wanted for me to have.
I had to surround myself around the right people that reminded me of my truth and worth and that lifted me up rather than adding fuel to the problem.
It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually I learned how to forgive my dad and how to love again.
I learned that no matter who comes my way, what situation I am given, or where I am found that I have a Heavenly Father that loves me SO much that He continued to pursue me, love me, and wait for me even when I was hurt and wanting nothing to do with Him.
I learned that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for me so I didn’t have to hurt anymore or try to perfect because He is more than enough for me because He loves me that much,
Today, I firmly believe that I was given the childhood that I was given and the situations that I have experienced to be able to show others also how to experience God’s love.
I believe that I experienced the hurt and the past that I did learn how to love like Christ towards everyone, and no matter what a person does to me, or just in their life in general I am able to look at them through the eyes of Jesus and tell them
Because there’s hope for them too.
God writes the stories that He gives us not to question our life purpose, but for His name to be made known through us and to give us a greater purpose than we can ever give ourselves.
God has amazing plans for each of our lives but we need to know how to follow them.
I didn’t want to share my story to request sympathy from anyone or to gossip about a past event but to encourage others not to be afraid to share their stories and what God has taught them through their hardships and battles.
If anything, I have learned that God has made me into a pretty strong person from what I have endured.
About a week ago another family member of mine specifically told me that I should be ashamed how feeling the way that I did because this past event sharing my story.
The worst part- they claimed to be from the Church.
Don’t you ever let someone make you feel ashamed for telling your story because God wrote you that story to reach others going through similar situations, and to give them hope through Him.
My story is why I am who I am today and God wrote it for me including every tear shed and every scar left behind.
I can’t change my past, but I can decide how I let it impact my future.
All I wanted was for my dad to be proud of me and to love me for being his daughter hoping that I would be enough.
Today, my relationship with my biological father is stronger than it has ever been. I may not have the best or any good childhood memories, but I have something worth so much more.
I have a relationship restored because of grace and freedom that God brought me through His Son.
I am able to believe that I have a good relationship with my dad and believe it.
He has a completely transformed heart.
He tells me that he loves me, that he’s proud of me, and he prays for me.
And I couldn’t thank God anymore because this was the biggest answered prayer that I could ever ask for.
Sure, I still have my scars.
But behind every scar is a story worth telling and a reminder of the strength that I had to endure it.
Sometimes the biggest smiles and most open arms are hiding the biggest pains internally. I know this because I struggled with this for over a decade. Don’t ever be afraid of sharing what God has done for you in your life including the trials and the turning points.
I hope this encourages you to not be afraid of telling your story to anyone including the hardest details that you want to forget because you never know who you could be helping going through the same thing.
My heart has a huge space for teens and specifically high school girls who are battling finding their self worth because of similar situations, and my hope is to be a light into their darkness relating to their stories. And being able to tell them that it gets better and that God has a plan.
Be slow to speak and quick to listen.
Listen to understand and not to speak.
We all have a story that is meant to be told and can reach others.
Tell your story, use your voice, and be that difference in some else’s life.