Lately God has been teaching me, that hard things we walk through will be used for His glory. & I think this is beautiful. & also takes care of tons of worry. EVERYTHING I go through, is for His good. Today I want to share a testimony, a valley experience, a time where it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel to encourage you to know you are not alone, & your struggle will be turned into a testimony. This is my testimony.
Our hearts yearn for a place of security. Belonging. Fulfillment. Approval.
Growing up, I always thought this came in being accepted by people. I was oh so wrong. Only when I find my place of refuge + security in Jesus, am I content & secure. I have learned I can be surrounded by people, but feel so empty inside. Yet I can be completely alone, and content in God’s presence.
For most of my life, I have been excluded. Forgotten. Bullied. Talked about. Laughed at. Ignored. When I was six years old, I didn’t sit at the girls table at lunch. I sat with the boys. The girls were too whiny…. & even though I wore a big bow in my hair & long dress, that didn’t stop me from wanting to play with the boys. But… here comes the age when things change. A WHOLE lot changes. Girls start “liking” guys & it’s not necessarily “normal” for a girl to hang out with only guys. So here I was, 12 years old & NO friends that were girls. & all my guy friends had moved on to hang around other girls. This was the first of many times I was alone. I became accustomed to sitting alone. It was normal for no one to smile at me or glance my way. I wasn’t surprised if the lady at the check in desk didn’t know my name. What was hard, became normal for me. But it didn’t erase the pain & heartbreak of being excluded. It wasn’t that I didn’t try to make friends, oh I tried! I would sit down, introduce myself, ask them about themselves… and “it” happened. Over & over & over again. “It” was… I was ignored…. or they simply got up & moved away. Ugh. Rejection. It was like a friend (more like a back stabbing friend) to me. It had become a part of me. And insecurity had become a part of me too. Which made it ten times harder to make friends, because an insecure person becomes offended or hurt very quickly by nothing & reacts in the hurt he/she feels.
I loved Jesus yet… I hated the familiar feeling of loneliness. I hated being excluded. I had a ministry & wrote blog posts to encourage people… yet I felt so hurt by past wrongs down to me. I felt so chained by insecurity. Fear overcame me as I walked into places filled with people, because I knew I would be hurt & excluded by someone in the room. Fear, insecure, pain, shame. It had become a part of me. A part I never thought would be useful in my story. Little did I know… this chapter was about to reveal something beautiful.
Here I was fifteen & in High school. I sat on the front row of youth service. In a desperate moment at the alter call I said, “God!! Why do I feel so alone? Why does NO one like me?!? Why do I sit alone? Why don’t people care about me?” His gentle whisper caught me by surprise. “You ignore the one who does care & love you. You are never alone.” Here I was doing the very thing to God, that people did to me. Shutting him out. Excluding Him from my life. I “loved” Jesus, but not enough to let Him become my everything.
Other than that night & His gentle whisper, I can’t really recall “when” it happened. When I found freedom…or healing… but I know I did. & that is what truly matters. As my ministry grew… as my time with Jesus became more & more… as my prayer life grew… as I became more involved in church ministries.. as I found my purpose… the hurt I once felt began to fade. The hard spots of my heart began to soften. The shame & fear I once felt, was completely covered in His perfect love. Everything I went through, made sense. Everything changed when I learned who Jesus said I truly was…. I learned my true identity. & the more & more I fell in love with Jesus… the more & more He became my all in all.. the more I didn’t need people. Even when I was rejected, even when I smiled and the person didn’t smile back, even when people talked about me behind my back.. EVEN WHEN these things happened… I wasn’t shaken. I wasn’t moved. I was steady & secure… because Jesus was my safe place. He was my anchor.
My testimony is simply this: people & what they do, doesn’t define who I am or who I will be. I am still loved beyond conditions, chosen for a purpose & created for a reason. God still has purposeful plans for my life exceeding my imagination…. & this has made all the difference. I no longer walk into a room, afraid & unashamed. I walk in BOLDLY knowing my Jesus has ordained every step before me, and no matter what I go through, He is leading me & He is my secure place. I no longer sit alone, but choose to sit with those who are hurting themselves – the broken, betrayed, lost, sinful people who are like ME. I no longer let rejection, disappointment, betrayal define who I am… I am secure in the truth that I am NOT alone. I no longer become insecure when I have no friends, but choose to know the truth that Jesus is ALL I ever need to be satisfied. I no longer look to people to make me feel loved, but choose to let Jesus’ love flow through me to love every person.
Are you the one who is excluded? Alone? Ignored? Bullied? Hurt? Ashamed? Fearful? Worried? Broken?
You aren’t set aside & forgotten… no!! You are set apart for a purpose!
Make the most of every opportunity. You’ll realize soon that the moments you felt unloved – taught you to love. The moments you felt insecure – taught you to be secure in Jesus. & the moments you felt alone – were simply teaching you… you never are.
You are MORE than a conqueror. Romans 8:37