I was beginning to realize just how much fear and emotions had a hold on me. I was afraid—afraid of what man thought of me. I was ashamed of my choices apart from a holy God, disgraced by my past choices. I was humiliated, feeling the weight of my sin and the shame of my youth. I was a widow, who was worried. My spirit was heavy. As a young woman I had been rejected twice. These experiences were hard and had begun to shape me, define me and mold me. What I did not realize then, was that I could choose to believe differently, I could choose to rely fully on what God says about me (Proverbs 3:5-6).
I married young, at 17, to escape being sexually abused by my stepfather. I needed an escape, a way out of the pain I lived in and around. The first marriage was my way out and to survive. It only lasted three years. I was still seeking something. But at this point I was just not sure what it was that I needed.
I wanted to escape the pain.
A year later I met a man in a church group I was attending for singles. He was in a leadership role in the group. I was in church, but not living a Christian life. I had a basic knowledge of God’s Word; I had even memorized all the books of the Bible. Despite my knowledge of God’s word and the time I spent in church, I was not living an upstanding moral Christian life. Often when I would do things that would be contrary to Scripture, I would feel guilt and shame but, it did not stop me (1 John 1:8-10)
Still seeking Hope.
One day I accepted an invitation to lunch. That lunch meeting quickly led up to a time of intimacy outside of the covenant of Biblical marriage. Unfortunately, this was not a one-time occurrence nor was it only with one man. My life was filled with a trail of poor choices that continued to have an impact on me. Because of all my experiences and wounding I wanted to feel loved and appreciated. I wanted to know that I had worth and value. In my brokenness, I sought to fill my longings by seeking inappropriate attention from men.
Often our Pain feels bigger than our God…
Looking back, I realized that I didn’t know what love was about. I tried to find love in books and in men but resolved perhaps it would just “come softly”. My view of love had become so skewed during my life up to this point. All I knew was that I wanted to be loved and valued. I did not know how to get this type of a relationship. At times, I said, “I love you.” Although as I look back, I am not sure if I honestly knew what it really meant. I was trying to fill the brokenness of my heart, but it was not working.
God provides the ultimate Hope!
Once again, the sound of the door echoed back to that dark night. Knock, knock. It was, 25 years later, with my five children. My first born was with us again, this time carrying in her womb her first born. We went door to door in our own neighborhood, with my faithful husband, not selling popcorn to raise money, but giving gifts to spread the good news of the birth of Christ. This time we brought with us our voices singing His praises as we approached each door joyfully proclaiming, “Oh come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant.” How amazing it is to have God walk with us during our journey.
My experiences have given me great perspective. Both marriages had ended after three years. Both marriages ended due to infidelity. Love was still elusive. However, when I began to see love and life through the eyes of Christ my perspective began to change. God has always been faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9). People have not been faithful to me. As I learned to trust God my fears and anxiety became less (Psalm 9:10). When I put my trust and hope in a man my anxiety grew deeper. Throughout my life men have brought shame. My God bears my shame (Hebrews 4:16). The men who have been in my past life took advantage of me. God is my defender and strength (Psalm 28:7).