Do you have what it takes to be transparent? To see yourself as others see you and not the way you see yourself? Better still, can you step back and see yourself the way God sees you? If you are reading this it isn’t by chance we met here today.
One of the hardest things to do is to see yourself through the eyes of others much less seeing yourself through God’s eyes. It is often said that the eyes are the window to a man’s soul. As you look in the mirror the eyes staring back at you gives you a glimpse of the past, present and yes, possibly the future if you look closely enough. Not that we can see or even predict the future, but depending on how you view yourself will determine how you will live your life. Do you see hope? Joy? Fear? Anger? Confusion? Or maybe, you don’t see anything but the darkness.
There was a time in my life when I saw only darkness. I hated myself to the point I became destructive. I spiraled down into an abyss that quite frankly I didn’t expect to escape it. [I want to insert here that this is not the path I planned on taking with this post. But God is in control and He has put us on this path so here we are.]
In high school, I remember being invited to a party with a friend of mine and the only thing I remember is sitting in a Waffle House downing black coffee. Couldn’t tell you how I got there, couldn’t tell you who I was with. What I can tell you is that it would be the beginning of that downward spiral that would last for years. I began drinking to forget about life. I graduated high school and started working full time that summer.
That fall a friend of mine who was a senior in high school invited me to go with her to a football game. There we would meet a guy who would introduce me to the world of drugs and become my future husband. In the beginning I wasn’t interested in getting to know him but my friend was. She had her eye on him, he had his eye on me and I really didn’t care one bit about getting to know him. Eventually we would start dating and when he moved out of state to help his grandmother settle his grandfather’s affairs I followed. Dysfunctional as my family was they weren’t keen on my leaving home. I wasn’t keen on staying and it wouldn’t be long before my world would shift. Settling in to a new life we partied every weekend doing drugs and drinking and not having a care in the world. We got married and soon after he started controlling my life. I had no friends of my own. I had only his friends. I wasn’t allowed to contact my family unless it was to ask for money. Yeah, I could contact them when we needed money to pay for bills since the bill money had been spent on drugs.
One wintry morning on my way to work I opened a door you don’t ever want to open. I invited the enemy in and turned my back on God. I was angry at how my life was going and blaming God for my mistakes. For not rescuing me from a controlling marriage or from the drugs and alcohol. It would take me seven and a half years to work up the courage to leave him. During that time I became pregnant and his mother convinced him that we didn’t need to bring a child into this world and he listened to her. He told me I would have to abort our child. No discussion just stated the facts and had me make the appointment. It was horrible. [If you or someone you know has ever had an abortion, then you know what I am talking about. For those who would judge, you should remember that it’s not your place to judge. Matthew 7: 1 – Judge not, that you be not judged.] You may be wondering why I didn’t stand up to him. I was a mess and he had control over my life. By this time it was easy to believe the lies.
It says in Psalms 119: 176 “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.”
I was lost having gone astray. I knew God’s commandments, as a child I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Even in my hardened heart, I knew His commandments and what I was doing was wrong. Why would someone stay in a situation like that? Why does anyone stay in situations that aren’t healthy for them? Fear. Fear and the lies the enemy feeds us.
Tired of spending most of our money on drugs I finally got the courage to move on and divorced my husband. I met someone who would take me even deeper into the abyss I thought I was escaping. Older than me by several years, I should have heeded the warning signs but truthfully I was naive and didn’t understand them for what they were. We became a couple and our relationship was volatile and filled with extreme jealousy. The age difference and continued drug abuse played a part as did the darkness he was taking me down. It was here I would begin to find my way out.
One night while sitting around partying we started talking about God. Yeah, you read right, God. He was talking about the Bible and I remember telling him that I would never get to heaven and shared about opening the door to the enemy and turning my back on God. The next weekend we stayed home. No parties, no going out, no drinking, no drugs. We went to bed early and that Sunday, he was dragging me to church. Not only that, he chose the side of the sanctuary that was furthest from the doors, about midway down the aisle, and in the middle of the row so that I was literally surrounded by people. NO ESCAPE! That day, I nearly had a panic attack. I tried to leave and he held my hand so I couldn’t get up. I whispered I needed to go to the restroom and he just looked at me and smiled and said to hold it. Seriously? The guy partied like nobody’s business and he was telling me to chill in church? Who was this guy? So once a month we started attending church. Our relationship was still volatile, still filled with jealousy and distrust. Then I got pregnant. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t keep this baby because once again I was being controlled and he said we weren’t keeping the baby. But something was happening. I was beginning to thaw. God was speaking to me. Slowly I was opening up to really hear God speaking to me. Gradually I quit doing drugs and eventually I quit drinking. I found out I was pregnant again only this time I stood up to him and told him I was having this baby with or without him and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. I began attending church on a regular basis and rededicated my life to Christ.
During my pregnancy he told me if I tried to go through the courts to get child support he would quit his job and I would get nothing. As if I wanted his help. By this time our relationship deteriorated to the point we were living apart. It wasn’t until my third trimester that he began to get involved in helping me out. After the birth of our son he made it a point to be a part of his life. It would be a month after our son’s first birthday that he would pass away. I would go on to be a single mom until my son turned five when I would meet my future husband. Today, we celebrate 21 years of marriage. 😊💖
Ephesians 1:7 says “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace.”
When I first started this post I had no idea where it would lead. Originally I thought I would be talking about something else that would prepare me to eventually write this post but as I stated earlier, God is in control and He has put us on this path so here we are.
Today I look in the mirror and I see hope, joy, peace and love. The darkness has faded but the enemy still seeks ways to attack. Transparent. Do you have what it takes? I’m praying for you.