My story starts out on December 7, 1977. I arrived 9 minutes after my sister. Apparently, while pulling out the placenta, the doctor realized I was in there and pulled me out. I came out weighing less than 4 pounds and was in and out of the hospital for various things the first year of my life.
My parents were divorced by the time my sister and I were 2. My birth mom walked away from us. When we were 4, my dad remarried the woman I call my mom. From this point on, I would say that I grew up in a Christian home. I can remember sitting with my mom and asking Jesus into my heart at a young age. My parents taught us about Jesus and encouraged us in our walks. I loved going to church, youth events and mission trips during my Jr. and Sr. high years.
During my teenage years, I had little contact with my birth mother. There was a period of almost 7 years where we didn’t talk and 13 years between seeing each other. Because of this, I started to think that I was unlovable and it started to distort my view of how God saw me. I questioned how God could love me if my own birth mom couldn’t.
I was excited, but nervous about going to college. Once there, I struggled academically and was dismissed half way through my junior year. Nothing says failure like getting kicked out of college and blowing thousands of dollars.
Getting kicked out of school only seemed to confirm my belief that I wasn’t good enough for anyone or anything and it was the start of my downward spiral. It was hard to watch my friends graduate, get jobs and start to make decent money. I tried to keep up with them thinking it would make me happy. Realizing my life wasn’t going to my plan, I moved to Arizona to get away from my problems and to get a new start. I learned the hard way that your problems follow you wherever you go. God never really figured into the equation unless I needed him to fix something I screwed up. On occasion, I told God that if he wanted to let me die in a car accident, that was okay. Finally I was confronted with all my lying and self-destructive behavior. I freaked out and took off for a week.
At the end of that week, with the urging of my parents, I decided to get help. I was diagnosed with situational depression. I had gone through so much of my life thinking that I wasn’t good enough-for my parents, for my birth mom, for God and I felt like I had a lot of experiences that affirmed those thoughts.
I knew that I couldn’t keep living life the way I had been living: for myself. I decided to start reading my Bible and discovered how God sees me: as cherished, loved, worthy, redeemed and reconciled. I like what Colossians 1:13-14 says, “God has rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.” (The Message)
Seeing myself as God sees me seemed to be the first step in REALLY accepting Christ’s death on the cross and forgiveness for who I was and what I had done. I knew that in order to move forward in my life, I would need to ask for forgiveness from people I had hurt and I would also need to forgive others who hurt me, especially my birth mom. I have reconciled with my birth mother and we have started to build a relationship over the last five years. I now see God as the great restorer.
I still struggle from time to time with feeling I’m not good enough. Only now those thoughts creep into my mind regarding work. It is hard because I’m in a job where I’m not challenged and I don’t feel like I’m making a difference with what I’m doing and I want to be making a difference. But sometime I question am I good enough to take a step of faith and do something different.
I don’t know what the future holds. But I was challenged recently while on my trip to Kenya with NW. The theme for the Somali retreat was John 15 and staying connected to the vine (Jesus). I’ve read that chapter numerous times, but it really hit me this time. God was telling me not to worry so much about my past and not to be fretting over the future. It is about staying connected and abiding in Christ, each moment of every day and living in the peace that only Christ can give.
I sense that God has used my past to prepare me for my future. I think God is telling me it is time to stop wadding in the shallows and get into the deep end and really trust him. I’m scared of what my life truly looks like if I do that. However, God has proved himself to be reliable, faithful and trustworthy. Whatever it is God has in store for me, I know one thing: He loves me, accepts me, and He thinks I’m good enough for him. He thinks we are all good enough for him.