As I prepare for some major transitions in my life, I can't help but quietly reflect on my past, the good, the bad and the ugly. How God has been with me through it all, and the hope I have in Him. While my family’s money problems, health problems, and relationship problems worsen, God continues to bless me.
There are days I feel like I don't deserve this life I have. The loving husband I have or even the beautiful daughter God has blessed us with. I still can't comprehend that my home is a place of security and love (a far cry from the hostile and fragile one of my upbringing), and I don't live in fear of where the money will come from in order to pay the bills or put food on the table.
These days my dad is wasting away, as his addiction is killing him, and he is perfectly content in doing so, while my mom is dealing with the loss of her marriage and as many codependents do (myself included) busy busying herself with other people's problems in an effort to avoid facing her own. My younger brother is trying to process the end of his marriage and figure out how to move forward. Meanwhile, I'm over here able to stay home and take care of our daughter and preparing my family to move across the country to a beautiful location in the next few months.
It seems as though God has smiled on me, but I can't help but wonder, "Why me?" "Why do I get this life, while my loved ones struggle so much?" I certainly wasn't the picture-perfect daughter or sister growing up so why is it that my life is significantly more stable than it was growing up?
It shocks me to know that at one time I was capable of doing the things I did and being so reckless with my life. I drank. I swore. I engaged in promiscuous sexual activities. I was physically violent. I was emotionally abusive. I wasn't who I wanted to be or even who I was capable of being until God captured my heart and transformed me from the inside out.
During that time, I was so desperate to be loved, I mistook the wrong kind of attention for the right kind of affection. As I hit an all-time low in my life, God brought me out of the pit, because He never stopped pursuing me. During a Christian concert where Chris Tomlin was performing one night (that my coworker, a "good Christian boy" took me to) I surrendered myself to Christ. I had made such a mess of my own life, I wasn't sure if God could redeem all of the mistakes I had made, but I was willing to give it a try.
Oh, how I wish that was the end of the story, and I never went back to my "former ways" again. But after my relationship with the "good Christian boy" ended, I needed comfort and love, and once again I looked for it in all of the wrong places. I was stuck in a pattern and a vicious cycle and it wasn't until God introduced me to my now husband that my thoughts about myself slowly started to change.
The process of change and transformation is never easy (nor is it meant to be). Unlike before, there was no major AHA moment, no turning point at a Christian concert where things changed forever. This time I feel God refine me little by little, slowly sharpening me and whittling me to the person He created me to be.
As God chips away at the fear and pain of my past, I am reminded I am a new creation in Him.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!
I am also reminded that I am a not prisoner of my past or destined to repeat it.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be rendered powerless so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him,
Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19
Finally, God shows me the ultimate reward for being a new creation in Him in living in His will.
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
The key to feeling like I deserve the many blessings I have is rooted in feeling worthy in Christ. The key to you feeling like you deserve the many blessings you have is rooted in you feeling worthy in Christ. There is nothing we've done to earn His love. We are worthy in Him because he chose us. Seek Him first.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
Sometimes this is referenced in terms of material possessions or earthly gains, but I challenge you to think of it as the following:
Love. Hope. Peace. Worth.
I pray this encourages you in whatever you are going through, it is when we seek Him that those problems suddenly seem so small. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story, blessings sweet friends!
Stephanie is Personal and Spiritual Growth coach seeking to help women experience true freedom in Christ by living transformed lives in His image!