Welcome again to Triumphant Tuesdays: Women Triumphing Over the Everyday & the Extraordinary! Please be encouraged by Mea’s story today and visit the stories from past weeks. You can read more about Mea at the end of this piece and find where to follow her.
Writing is hard stuff. Especially when I’m sharing my personal story. Ask me to write about branding or rebranding your business and I’m all over it. Write something that encourages others? Absolutely! Write a devotional or Bible study? Sure, I’d love to give it a try!
Put my real-life, personal story out there for others to read? That makes me feel a bit like a fish in a bowl. My story is fraught with ups and downs, false starts, failure, and just outright hard times. My story truly is a story of the lowly.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. I came from an abusive, broken home and have been on my own since I was 16 years old. I was a single mom at the age of 17 and life was hard. Sometimes it was hard because of the choices I made. Sometimes it was hard because of the choices other people made.
I’ve been broken, abused, homeless, and desperate. Life was anything but joyous for me. Prior to marrying my husband, Steve, I just don’t have a treasure box of good memories to share. Life was just hard! Being a single mom was exhausting! Getting an education, so that I could find gainful employment was grueling! I spent many years tired, weary, and hopeless. I was alone and I felt like I was getting nowhere fast.
That all changed after I met Steve. I was pretty independent and trusted few people. But he won my heart. Steve and I settled into a pretty “good” life. We were working, raising our kiddos, traveling, acquiring stuff, and trying to be good, decent people.
One night, while Steve was working late he called me with, what to him was, great news. He said, “The Lord saved me!” Needless to say, I really didn’t get it. Honestly, my response was “Saved you from what?”. The very next Sunday we started attending church. For me, it was just one more thing to add to my ever-growing to-do list. I went – begrudgingly at first – but I went.
In time, I came to enjoy the sermons, the people, and attending church. Slowly, very slowly, I started reading the Bible. It was hard to understand (my experience with church and the Bible was pretty non-existent up to this point) but I kept at it. Eventually I found my way to the book of Mark. It was here that God began to show me that I wasn’t alone & I started craving fellowship with Him and His word. Through His word the Lord showed me that I was a sinner. He showed me that no matter how much good I did, it wasn’t enough. I learned of Christ and His work. I learned that faith in Him and His work was my only hope. I truly saw my sin for what it was. The Lord changed my heart forever that year.
I’d like to tell you that God broke that independent streak in me immediately after making me His. I’d also like to be able to tell you that He took away all of the pain I had from my past right away. I can’t. I’d be lying to you. It took me years to work through the layers and layers of pain and embarrassment in my life. The transformation that took place was a slow one.
One important area that the Lord transformed me in, was helping me to see my past through His eyes. I used to be ashamed of it. I wanted to hide it and pretend it wasn’t so. I never wanted to talk about it. I didn’t want anyone to know. Erma Bombeck said, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say, “I used everything that you gave me.”
My past, is part of the “Everything He gave me”. Today I can truly say that I am no longer embarrassed by it. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed either. The pain, the hurt, and the difficulties are all a part of who I am. I am a work in progress. God started that work in me and He is faithful to complete it.
In the meantime, I’m determined to use Everything He gave me for His glory and the good of others. Even if part of that everything, is sharing a bit about my past. Everyone has a story. Who knows, maybe my story will intersect with someone else’s. Maybe God will use the story of where I was and where I am to bring about hope and encouragement in their time of need.