Bitter to Better
HOPE. “We don’t have HOPE just because-
Jesus was a good teacher,
A miracle worker,
The ONE and only reason we have HOPE is because he was resurrected from the dead. He came back to life to prove his love for us.”
~ Paraphrased from Pastor Levi at Easter Service this morning.
1 Peter 3:15 in the Bible says,
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that you have.”
Because I fully believe with 100% of my whole entire being that He saved me from my past & from an abusive relationship that would have eventually lead to my death.
I truly and honestly believe if I didn’t get out the day that I left, the day I literally fled the state while my abuser was at work, drove half way across the country to my family, I guarantee you I wouldn’t be here today. I know thats hard for some of you to hear. But it’s the honest truth.
I didn’t even know if I believed in God at that time. Well, I believed there was a God, but I don’t think I believed that He could do anything for me, or maybe I thought I had messed up too much for Him to take the time to help me. I didn’t think I deserved help because of the choices I had made.
But- He gave me enough strength to ASK for help. I didn’t even know what type of help I needed. I don’t even know what I said when I called for help. But God sent me 2 special friends who came to my rescue, they knew the type of help I needed. They got me out quickly & safely. I believe He rescued me so I could share my personal story of HOPE.
God guided me home safely & provided a smooth easy path. I drove a U-haul towing my car all by myself over 1,200 miles home to my mom- who had no idea I was coming.
If you know me, you might know that I have an eye condition that prevents me from seeing depth properly. I have no depth perception in my right eye, my eyes do not work together as a team & have a tendency to cross so, I see double a lot- especially when I’m tired and stressed.
For me to safely judge turns (like those around Chicago) with a huge truck towing a car was legit a modern day miracle in itself.
I remember being so scared driving all alone. I repeatedly said out loud to God & to myself, “Please, please I beg you just get me home safely, don’t let me hit anything or hurt anyone. Please just get me home safe.”
And guess what? He got me home safely.
Once I arrived to my moms house, I didn’t have a job, no money, no place to live but their spare bedroom. I didn’t have anything to my name- but I was SAFE.
I lived on auto pilot trying to get things squared away, accounts closed, passwords changed, address forwarded, my name taken joint accounts & bills and I tried to figure out my new life, what my new normal would look like. I honestly can’t remember that first month or two home. I was in shock.
I eventually moved to my hometown of Sioux Falls and in with my cousins. They so graciously offered to let me stay in their spare bedroom in the basement. They took me in as one of their own, treating me like I belonged, like I was instantly a part of their family, asking nothing in return. They wanted to help me get back on my feet & help me thrive.
My cousin invited me to Church, repeatedly. I turned her down a few times-
Then one day I decided to go, mostly to get her off my back- haha, But I really was genuinely curious as to why she liked it so much. Growing up I wasn’t ever really excited to go to church. I also felt like I owed it to God since He got me home safely.
The sermon that day was on being held hostage by bitterness.
Link to listen to sermon here:
I felt like it was directed right at me,
I felt like I was the only person in the auditorium that day.
Like there was literally a spotlight shining on me, the Pastor knew EXACTLY what I needed to hear that day.
I was a very bitter person.
Bitter at the abuse.
Bitter at my choices that lead me to that relationship & others.
Bitter at my abusers- yes there were several.
Bitter at myself. Just bitter.
And that bitterness was killing me.
From then on I worked hard,
Learning more about Jesus & His teachings,
More about the Bible,
More about what it really meant to have a relationship with Jesus.
More about Forgiveness.
I started listening to sermons and pod casts online.
I tuned in to the Christian radio station instead of my normal station.
I surrounded my self with POSITIVE people.
People who wanted nothing from me but for me to be the best version of myself.
This was the first time in my life that I felt like no one was out to get me, no one was trying to take advantage of me, make fun of me, or lower my self esteem.
They really wanted to help me succeed.
I went from BITTER
I’m not perfect.
Im far from it, but that’s why I need Jesus.
I have moments where I have flashbacks and I let the past get the best of me. I get angry and mad.
But FAITH is a journey not a destination.
I’m always growing & changing.
Always willing to learn.
I am confident in knowing where I can turn for hope & for help.
So this Easter Sunday I ask you,
Do you have hope?
What is the reason for your hope?