I was asked to write my testimony for a women’s group I’m a part of. After writing, I thought I’d go ahead and make it public here.
There are so many things I’d love to tell you in my her-story, but today I want to mention two pivotal times in my life. First, here’s a little background as I set the stage, because you know I love a good story!
I am blessed beyond measure. I had a loving family, I was well-provided for—even though we were “poor”, and I knew about God’s love from the moment I broke forth into this world. I accepted Jesus as savior at age nine, because I loved Him so much, and I wanted to follow Him.
However, being the middle daughter of strict Baptist pastor/teacher parents who loved God with all their hearts (but were inhibited in their emotional expression of it) had its challenges. God created me as a highly emotional being. Of course, I didn’t know it was from God then, and I suffered greatly because I felt things so deeply. I now call it passion (and a gift from God), but for most of my life it’s felt like a curse. And I’m sure my mom felt like it was too!
We moved six times between 1st grade (in Texas) to our final place in Michigan (11th grade) as my daddy was “planting”, or starting, churches up here in the “north”. And every time my place of belonging and the friends I’d made were jerked away from me I suffered greatly. Almost every fall I had to make my way at a new school, with unknown teachers, classmates who already had their own friends, AND a new church for daddy to pastor. Feeling left out was common for me and I quite often felt like a “fish out of water” not fitting in and not knowing the game plan—while living in the “fishbowl” that a pastor’s family does.
Add to all this that I was very shy, had low self-esteem (a result, in part, of the molestation that had taken place as a young child), a horrible body image, felt like I was not enough, and yet too much of some things.
And, I was “set up” before I was even born. I have no proof that the enemy of our soul attacks us in the womb, but I do know that we are aware of what is going on around us outside the womb, and he sometimes uses this. There have been studies that prove it, and also, John and Paula Sanford have done a lot of spiritual healing work with people and their pre-natal experiences (see “Healing the Wounded Spirit” ), and it made sense to me. Because, even though I knew my parents loved me, for as long as I could remember I had felt like I was a “problem”.
God orchestrated a way to show me that I did, indeed, have pre-natal experience that “programmed” me to feel like this. Several years after my mom’s death I was given a letter she’d written to my grandmother while she was pregnant with me, 11 days before delivery. In the letter she was stressing over the timing of having “it”, the baby, that they really didn’t have time to have it (mama needed to start teaching school), and maybe the doctor could induce her early. They “should have thought about this more.” Hmmm, sounds like I was a problem, causing stress to my already stressed-out mom.
Lest you think I’m making mountains out of molehills, I know God showed this as a very early reason that led me to feel like I shouldn’t cause problems, make waves, had to be the good girl, and absolutely had to please in order to earn love. Added to this was the molestation that robbed me and made me feel broken, and my parents’ extreme busyness with other people which often felt like abandonment and that I wasn’t worth their attention.
In other words, the perfect storm. And Satan had a heyday! He was well on his way of lying and stealing toward the goal of destroying. However, he couldn’t compete with my parents’ love and their prayers for me, OR the unconditional, all-consuming love of my Abba Daddy.
For you see, God had designed me, that little hyper-active, loud, bubbly, couldn’t-sit-still girl for a purpose. He gifted me with such love for Him, such joy in life, that it couldn’t be stifled. Oh yes, there were times of sadness when I couldn’t measure up, there have been times of great depression, of promiscuity while I sought love in the wrong places, of deep grief and loss—there has been so much loss (all my family, my marriage, my home and credit, friendships I held dear)—but through it all God has been faithful. He has held me. He has strengthened me, taught me, and loved me. Oh how He has loved me!
In my late forties, when I’d discovered God’s “inner healing” and was going through the painful process of allowing Him to strip off the layers, while regarding an extremely unhappy period of time in my twenties, I’d asked God why he’d allowed me to do the things I’d done. And you know what He said to me?
“Because I wanted you to know that I love you unconditionally. You don’t have to be good enough to earn it. You are my child.”
So that was a huge turning point. I already knew that God loved me. He has given me the gift of deeply knowing that. But that experience tattooed it forever on my heart.
And then, about 13 years ago, after I’d become a single mom, was no longer a teacher, wife, worship leader, daughter, sister, home owner—everything had been stripped away—I sat in silence. And pondered. And got fed up. And said, “ENOUGH!”I gathered all my resolve, all my God-knowledge, all my healing, all my strength, all the love of God, and told the lies (and Satan) to SHUT UP! I was done. I decided then and there to stop listening to lies.
And I had believed that I was a mess, not good enough, broken, a problem, and not worthy of love. So changing my belief system was monumental in my life! I’ve never been the same.
You may think this was no big deal. But, remember that our behavior is determined by what we believe.
I began to speak truth about myself, according to what I felt the Bible had told me and how I felt God regarded me. I’m sure He gave me the words that day…I am loved, I am perfect as He made me, amazing and wonderful and intelligent. I do not have to be ashamed, nor do I have to suffer at the hands of anyone who makes me feel less than the precious one in whom God delights.
And though I am by myself, walking an unusual and sometimes very difficult journey, He fills me with a joy that is unquenchable—though Satan has tried. I know how faithful God is, I know of His overwhelming love for me, and I know without a doubt how valuable I am to Him. When those ugly lies try to find a place in my mind again? I start thanking God for His love, and remember that He loves, and delights in, every part of me, just the way that I am! And that, my dear friends, has set me free.
I truly hope you are able to find the freedom in Jesus that I have. I’m here for you.
Love and big hugs, Mimi