Let me start by stating that this post isn’t intended to be an eloquently written, bible-thumping sermon. It is a personal experience that I want to share with you because it has changed my life COMPLETELY.
I hope that by you reading it, no matter what season of your life you may find yourself in, it may be an encouragement & a positive message, as well as a challenge.
With love, Karmilia
Have you watched the Harry Potter movies? Or have you read all the books?
I just finished watching ALL the Harry Potter movies, and as exhausting as it was staying up late hours of the night to finish watching movie after movie, I felt a sense of satisfaction knowing how the story was unfolding.
Much to my surprise, I teared up when certain characters, Aragog excluded, died.
I also found myself feeling angry when other characters emerged as traitors.
I had not counted on getting sucked into the story, but this is exactly what happened… and pretty soon I realized that characters whom I originally thought I would admire only received a certain percentage of my favor.
Now, I’m not sure what character (or, if you’re like me, multiple characters) you identified with, but the one I never thought to identify with the most happened to be, not Harry Potter, but Neville Longbottom.
Quiet, misunderstood, timid, clumsy, kind of an outcast, consistently laughed at, and a lonely character at times, Neville Longbottom had little hopes of thriving, it seemed, at anything, compared to his other classmates… even Ron. If anything, I thought he would be one of the characters to end up dead before the end of the story.
He starts off as a useless, annoying character in the very beginning but, much to my surprise, goes on to prove himself in a heroic fashion, saving Ron, Hermione, & Harry’s life.
By the end of the HP story, I’m convinced that it is Neville who proved himself to be more of a hero. And in a way, this character reminded me of my own story…
You see, once upon a time I knew I had no chance of succeeding at much, unlike other children.
I did poorly in school and was often, and I mean QUITE often, misunderstood.
Like Neville, I felt rather lonely & misunderstood, in spite of having a good handful of friends.
I didn’t feel like I could quite fit in.
I was nowhere near as intelligent, talented, and spiritual as many of the other kids I knew in church or at school.
Whenever I tried fitting in with the cool kids, I sacrificed self-respect and moral values to get approval.
There were reasons, however, for why I belittled myself so much.
Neglect, abuse, and lack of proper tools to help me survive the real world outside (and even inside) my own home tainted my view of people, myself, and one other person- Jesus.
I grew up hearing all about Jesus.
I went to church on Saturday’s, studied my bible lessons (when I would remember to),
& learned all about the Do’s and Don’ts of Christianity, last day events of earth’s history, and the wrath of God to come.
I also grew up being taught that only certain “qualified” individuals had the right to do a special type of work for God.
Chances were that if you came from a low class, divorced family with a lack of honorable reputation, you could, without being told, be cut out of the “inner circle.”
It took me years to finally realize that many in the church were chasing a false version of the gospel and Jesus.
I basically grew up being equipped with a lot of knowledge.
But knowledge alone didn’t help me with my low self esteem. Knowledge didn’t heal the emotional nor psychological trauma from the sexual abuse I endured. Knowledge couldn’t heal my broken heart when my own mother neglected and turned the other cheek on me following the discovery of the sexual abuse inflicted by her own husband.
Eventually I came to see Jesus as nothing more but a feel good fairy tale, and God as an angry tyrant who didn’t care about anything rather than unquestioned devotion to him.
I sang at church out of fear and obligation. I prayed because I was told to pray. I listened to endless sermons to try to be in good standing with those who expected so much out of me, including God. And I did all of this under a mask of pretense.
I felt anger even though I couldn’t explain my emotions. I felt broken even though I denied it. I felt scared and hurt even though I pretended to look strong and courageous.
I soon allowed my pain and bitterness to provoke me to hurt and use others. And eventually I allowed others to use and hurt me as they pleased.
Slowly, but surely, I started leaving the church and became less and less involved with church activities or anything that involved God.
I got involved in the wrong relationships and friendships. I blinded myself thinking that one night stands or the poor company I revolved myself with would come with no consequences.
I told myself I could change people; That I could love their pain away & that I could be strong for them.
Worse, I was a young woman filled with guilt, shame, and anger.
Guilt: because I thought it was my own fault that I had been sexually abused, and tormented verbally & mentally by my family. It was my own fault that I couldn’t amount to anything. It was my own fault why I wasn’t as pretty, as intelligent, and as talented as many of the girls my mother admired and wished I was like.
Shame: because my innocence was robbed from me, taken without consideration, and my trust taken advantage of. Thus, I would be incapable of being loved. I was a filthy animal in my own eyes. I was tainted by another man’s sin. My shame lead me to believe I deserved the worse.
Anger: because grace was given when justice was needed, and judgement was given when it was grace that was needed. My anger gave way to poor actions. Actions that would come to hurt others, and in turn… myself.
All i was left with were addictions, broken relationships, and a broken spirit.
In a moment of heat, after finally coming to the end of myself- being financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally broke- I turned my attention to God and let loose.
I accused him of my tragedies- I angrily said to him that it was his fault that I was experiencing the pain I felt because I knew he could have saved me from the torment of my childhood years.
I must have been awfully brave to come at God the way that I did. It was something I had NEVER done in my life. And the sad part was that I believed He wasn’t listening.
Because I was sure that He was only focusing his gaze on his “favorite” people- the ones who went to Church every Saturday (or Sunday), the ones who looked the most talented, the most intelligent, and the most worthy of His love and favor.
The God of the Universe, the creator of all things, and my Heavenly Father… He had no time for a weak and miserable girl like me. He had no time for a miserable creature who most likely was a mistake He had allowed to live.
He had probably kept count of the times I didn’t go to church, how many men I had known in a physical way, and the many times I had made promises to him that I never bothered to keep. No doubt He felt I deserved every miserable, heart breaking relationship I’d ever been involved in. After all, weren’t a lot of them, and the decisions I had made in them my very own fault?
I doubted that He had kept a record of the times I cried myself to sleep, sometimes wishing I had never even existed. I doubted that He counted how many tears rolled down my cheeks when I believed I was incapable of being loved or noticed by anyone.
I doubted that He had equipped me with gifts and talents of my own that I could make great use of. And I doubted that He had a beautiful plan for my life.
All the things I THOUGHT I knew about him didn’t prepare for what I was about to experience.
Because after I let Him have a piece of my mind… well, He showed up.
It all started with weird dreams, and a terrible sense of dread.
Soon, I began to experience a terrible depression I had never felt before.
I got scared.
I began to ask myself what kind of a life was I really living.
I wondered what my future would look like and if it was going to be a future with or without God.
I thought about my past and present choices and then I realized I needed to make a choice.
You see… I had been playing a game.
I had been telling myself that since I simply BELIEVED in God, I was all good, but the reality was that I was living a double life.
I knew I needed to make a choice regarding God- I needed either to tell Him I didn’t want to have ANYTHING to do with Him, or give Him at least just one chance to show me who He really is. I couldn’t have it both ways, and since I had experienced first hand the pain of someone toying with my heart, using it and then throwing it away as they pleased, I knew there were no exceptions with God either.
I was worn out.
I was depressed.
I mustered all the courage and energy I had, crawled to the bathroom, locked the door and prayed,”Please, help me. I’ll give up my addictions if you simply help me.”
The words were simple.
But the meaning behind them was deeper than I could explain. Only God alone could understand what my words truly meant.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
He knew I meant those words.
And within seconds, God showed up.
A peace I had never known before came upon me.
The dread, the fear, the weariness, and the depression left me within moments.
My tears faded.
I felt indescribable joy; joy I had never felt before.
God showed up. In the bathroom of all places.
To me- A young woman who neither had her life figured out, nor had anything to prove or offer.
Nothing more but an ordinary girl.
This one act of love, kindness, mercy, and acceptance that I had never really known changed me.
Let me just say this though, my life didn’t get better over night. I didn’t become this perfect, sinless person in that one night, & I still am no perfect, sinless person. I didn’t have perfect days (and I still don’t) even when I chose Jesus… but all it took was that ONE night and that ONE person [Jesus] to set me on an adventure of a lifetime.
I had and still have multiple ups and downs, but I know I don’t have to face them alone anymore. I make mistakes more than I wish I do, but Jesus is always there to guide me to the answer I need. And time and time again, I have to remind myself that above all the wonderful things in the world, and things yet to come in the new world, Jesus is the one I truly need above all else.
My relationship with Jesus has helped me believe that I am valuable, that I am loved, and that I am someone… In spite of my upbringing, my background, & my past mistakes. I can still live the best life possible here until I see Jesus face to face. His faith in me has given me the confidence to be who I was always meant to be, and not who others wanted me to be.
What about the tragedies I’ve faced? What about the questions I have concerning my past and traumatic experiences? I have yet to hear God’s answer, but for now all I can have is faith that one day he will explain everything to me.
I’ve learned that while I cannot undo the past nor the actions of other people, I can create a better future through my actions today & be a voice to those who have experienced similar traumas. I can become a better person every day and live to love and inspire others.
I choose an adventure with Jesus because it was Jesus who saw something worth dying for in me in spite of what others may have thought or said.
What about you? What’s your story?
How have you experienced the Love of God in your personal life?
Have you ever given Jesus a chance? If you could, what’s stopping you?
He is waiting with open arms.