The following post appeared as a guest post on Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud on April 25, 2019.
Years ago, I asked a life-changing question, “How could a woman who had an abortion, multiple marriages and a traumatic brain injury, have a relationship with Jesus?”
This forced me to face the hurts, habits, and pain hidden away and never dealt with. I wore a smile, but covered the heartbreak hidden in the darkest places.
My longing to be someone else reminds me of a song from the movie, Mulan. Like me, she struggled to find herself.
I was 23 with three children when I became pregnant again. My husband didn’t want another child, so I decided to have an abortion. The sun was out on the day of my procedure, but I felt scared and so alone.
Nine months later, an accident occurred and my son, Jason, died the day before his second birthday. I was certain that God had punished me for what I’d done nearly a year before. Depression and thoughts of suicide became my friends. When a child dies, the life you once led, no longer exists. Even though we had two daughters, this void became unbearable. My husband used alcohol and drugs to dull his pain. After two more children, we were broken beyond repair.
This led to our divorce.
Five years later I married again and within a year I faced another divorce. I wanted to commit suicide.
My brokenness was like an iceberg. Others see the top but ninety percent of my pain lay below the surface–abandonment, isolation, fear, trauma, loss, disappointments, depression and co-dependency. This was what I felt from the time I was a child that carried into my adulthood. I was searching for love in the wrong places.
My life was one of sin, lies, deception and isolation.
I knew Jesus existed, but didn’t realize who He really was nor how to experience and live in the grace He offered.
I met and married my third husband, and he brought me to his church. When the pastor asked if anyone wanted to accept Jesus, I raised my hand. I didn’t understand all that happened, but I knew Jesus made me feel loved and accepted, and I wanted more of Him.
A few years later, I was involved in a car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury, (TBI). I lost the ability to read, drive, function as a wife and mother; my vision was affected and my thinking felt foggy. My husband told me every morning I’d say, “Just one more day, Jesus,” but I don’t remember this.
One day while I listened to the audio Bible, words from Scripture gripped me:
“When the woman heard about Jesus, she came up through the crowd behind Him and touched his cloak. For she kept saying, ‘If I could only touch His clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped, and she sensed in her body that she was healed of her affliction” (Mark 5:27-29, NIV).
I realized that if Jesus healed this woman, He could heal me. Believing this with all my heart, I began to pray. Over the years, God has healed me and today my life is full of God’s grace and peace and praise for all God has done. God created me with a plan and purpose and stayed with me throughout my pain and heartache. I walk today in love and with a husband of 26 years.
My deeply rooted relationship with Jesus reminds me of two beautiful rivers located in Manaus, Brazil. Each are unique as in the deep darkness (blackwater) of the Rio Negro and the pale sandy (whitewater) of the Rio Solimoes.
These bodies of water run side by side for six miles before they become one. In those six miles, the light of the Rio Solimoes slowly begins to engulf the darkness of the Rio Negro. Darkness now becomes light.
Similarly, Jesus works below the surface and brings light into deep, dark places as only he can. But it takes time after the two meet for change to occur.
In God’s loving hands, I was transformed and washed clean by the blood of the lamb .
This mirrors our walk with Jesus . When we accept Him as Savior, He takes the old and dirty parts of our lives and gently brings us into a new life with Him.
I’ve asked the Lord to draw deeper into my relationship with Him and conform me to His image. I know we say and hear this all the time, but I was determined to allow Jesus to do surgery on my heart and dissect that which was dead and lifeless and bring healing and wholeness in its place.
I’m grateful for the love and contentment I have in Jesus.
Let’s talk about this! How has God healed you or brought you to deeper freedom? What are some ways you’re living in that freedom?