“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
There are times when we all reminisce over our pasts. Usually, it’s when everything is quiet, and we want to do anything at all, but think. I have noticed that when I am trying to block out my past, I will fill my life with noise. This noise can be literal, or it can come in the form of overbooked schedules, ridiculous amounts of social media time, or basically anything to stay distracted. It hurts to remember, it hurts to think about the things I have done, or the things people have done to me.
I have been through a lot. Seriously, my life has been one struggle after another for almost 2 decades now. When I was 15, I was involved in self-harm, I was depressed, and I struggled with an eating disorder. When I was 18, I moved 3,000 miles from home to the city, and I ended up on heroin by 19. Before I was 21, I was pregnant and basically homeless. I ended up getting pregnant 2 more times and was on and off opiates for the next several years. By the time I was 24, I was homeless, strung out and on the verge of losing my children to the state. That is when I finally reached out for help. I had hit rock bottom. I sobered up and started going back to church with my family.
It didn’t end there. I ended up in an abusive marriage that actually made me consider suicide. Mental damage from a relationship and divorce like that really takes a long time to heal from. Since then, I have developed a brain tumor, and an immune disorder that have basically put me in a bubble. With the stress of my health, and raising a special needs child too, I am still in a current state of struggle. However, I am not stating all of this for pity. I am stating all of this to point out one common denominator to all of this pain …. ME.
Every single thing I have gone through in my life, was the accumulation of MY OWN horrible choices. I put myself through all of that suffering because I was stubborn and rebellious. I made the choices that left me in this state, and learning to forgive myself is going to be a difficult process.
I have also been left by someone I loved, I have been betrayed by my closest friends, and I have cried myself to sleep more times than I can count. Regardless, hiding that hurt won’t make it go away. It has to be dealt with it. We have to accept that those situations have shaped us in to the people we are today. We are survivors, and we cannot learn to succeed without our struggles. Its impossible.
Reflecting on the things I have gone through still brings a little tinge of pain. But these things have also shaped me in to an unbelievably strong, single mother who has a deep love for all things living. I even managed to get my Bachelor’s degree, while working full time, and raising three kids (who were all in diapers at the time). When people reach out to tell me I have inspired them through one of my struggles, it gives purpose to my pain. I don’t know why God had to make me so incredibly stubborn, but we have had a few talks about that and I think this wild horse has finally been broke. For the first time in my life, I am going to try everything God’s way. One very important thing I learned is, The Bible isn’t just a set of rules. The way Scripture outlines a specific way to live, is for our protection.
We tell our kids not to run in the road because they might get hurt, the same way God tells us not to be anxious about anything (Phil. 4:6). I started viewing the guidelines written out for us, as a parent trying to keep their child from sticking a fork in a light socket, not laws being implemented by a dictator.
This is when I realized, I wanted to listen. Since then, I have been in a state of peace for the first time in my adult life. I am not missing out on anything. I don’t need to fill a void or to chase a high to be happy. I am completely content, right here.