I was a slave… a slave to my past. You see, I was still a Christian. I was saved and walked in God’s gift of salvation. But I wasn’t walking in His freedom. There are a lot of Christians who have accepted God’s gift of salvation but have yet to receive His gift of freedom. I was challenged and inspired by a recent teaching on living out our purpose. The speaker said, “GOD is calling us to live by mission and not by wounds”. Wow.
I was “living by wounds”- wounds that included the suicide of my biological father when I was 16. I was so angry that he never really wanted me. He has played no role in my upbringing. Kids need to feel wanted. Grown ups do too. I remember it like it was yesterday. My dad had reached out to me for the first time ever- two months before his death. I remember telling my Mom that it was too late. So when he took his life, I was ashamed and angry at myself for not reaching back and never having the opportunity to have an authentic, real relationship with him. Ever have regrets about something you didn’t do or something you did and wished you hadn’t?
Then there was my step-dad who regularly abused my Mom. This went on for 16 years until she finally got the courage to leave him. I remember the last time I saw him. He pushed his way into our apartment and threatened to kill me and my brother if we tried to stop him from taking my mother into the bedroom. I had never been so afraid in my life. And I know now that it was GOD who gave me the courage that day to run to our next door neighbor’s apartment and call the police to stop him from assaulting her. He was arrested and imprisoned. But beyond even his 5 year sentence, I held on to so much hatred and unforgiveness for this man.
It was no wonder why I couldn’t trust or respect my husband. Early in our marriage, I was waiting for Alex to turn into my abusive step-dad or my neglectful biological father. When my step-dad died in a motorcycle accident in the year 2000, I didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t know what to do with all these negative emotions I had felt for him for years. While I didn’t know how to respond, I knew something had to change. If my marriage was going to survive, I had to get free of my past. If you are going to survive (better yet, overcome and thrive), you have to get free as well. Whether your story is as dramatic as mine or not, God loves you so much He sent Jesus to save you AND free you. I had gotten so used to only living saved that I didn’t know I could also live free. So can you!
Galatians 5:1 tells us that, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
So what did I do to overcome my past and the hurt, pain and unforgiveness in my heart? How did I go from my past controlling me to living liberated from it all?
With the help of my church community, some pretty amazing people in my world and, most importantly, my GOD never leaving or forsaking me on the long journey to walking in freedom, I can confidently say I have learned to live free. Today I am living out my purpose, I have a healthy marriage, having just celebrated 18 years (YAY!!) and a beautiful family. I found safe, trustworthy people to confide in. I was real honest about my feelings, I even sought out counseling, but the most important thing I did was to SURRENDER it all to GOD. I allowed Jesus to heal the hurts at His speed and to lead me through the process. Healing is a process. But I am glad I surrendered it all. I was able to get to a place where all my focus was no longer on myself and my issues. It’s hard to shine and live our lives for others when we are focused on our wounds. We have to focus on who GOD says we really are.
1 Peter 2:9 says, "We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
GOD wants to free you today so you can live liberated and liberate others. He wants us to declare who He is to the rest of the world. It takes one step after another, after another towards freedom and away from the hurt, pain, anger and fear. Don’t allow Satan to convince you that you are alone. You Are NOT Alone… Don’t do ministry alone. One of the reasons ProjectWOW exists is to encourage and inspire you in your journey. We want to help you find freedom. Let us know how we can be praying for you and how we can come alongside you as you walk in God’s freedom, peace and grace.
We are in this with you!