Last week I shared how God met me in my deepest pit and intervened when I tried to take my own life. He not only sent someone to break down my door, He showed up Himself to sing His love over me. I am still amazed by the thought.
You might think that at this point I surrendered my life to the Lord. Nope.
Instead I thought I deserved to be punished, not just for trying to take my own life, but for all the bad choices I had made, for all the times I had turned from God and went my own way. I was so ashamed! Surely God could not—would not—want me. Surely He could never forgive me. How could He love me after everything I had done?
And so I ran, right into the arms of an abusive man.
This man was not my husband. I chose to live in sin even though I knew in my heart it was wrong. When he hit me the first time, I knew I deserved it. I deserved every beating, every broken bone, every humiliation. I had been searching for love for so long, I was willing to accept any love I could get, even love that hurt.
I suffered beatings and torture every day, and I would think, maybe today he’ll kill me, because I knew I deserved that too. I died inside a little more with every beating, every humiliation, every broken bone. Each blow confirmed what I already knew in my heart of hearts: No one could ever really love me. No One would ever want me; I was too broken and too damaged.
Satan worked his magic through the fists and words of an abusive man, but God still had other plans for me. Even though I had turned from Him yet again, He continued to pursue me.
This time He sent me a precious gift, a life saving gift. He sent me a child.
I was so excited when I found out I was pregnant. I would love my child in all the ways I had not been loved. I would somehow make it all right. I just knew that this child would satisfy my thirsty soul.
Finally, my son was born. In my whole life I had never felt what I felt for this child! It was a love I could not understand. I loved him with everything that was in me. And I thought I had finally satisfied that longing, finally quenched my thirst.
But when I brought my son home from the hospital, I was still waist deep in my pit. I remained in a very dangerous, very abusive relationship with my son’s father. I was afraid for my life and for my son’s life, but I was too scared and too weak to do anything about it. And, I was still living in sin with a man who was not my husband. So I prayed that God would change my abuser so we could be a family. That’s one prayer I am thankful God answered with a no. Instead God began to change me.
First I had to learn to love myself, and I had to come to grips with who I really was and what was motivating the decisions I made. I learned that my need to feel loved had consumed me, and had so twisted my thinking that I was willing to allow a man to hit me and torture me, as long as he told me he loved me. And I learned that I needed to take ownership for my part in this relationship. You see, I allowed it to happen. I stayed. I covered up the bruises and broken bones and lied about them. I made excuses for his behavior. All because I believed I was unloved, believed I was not worthy, believed I deserved it.
Then God began to change the way I saw my abuser. Eventually I got to the point that I loathed the man I once loved, hating every minute I spent with him. I even cringed at the sound of his voice. I no longer saw him through the tainted view of desperate love. Instead I saw the reality of who he was. I believe God was working in me to prepare me to leave. He had to change my heart and my thinking about myself and about this man to give me the strength to go. He needed to get me to a place that when I came face to face with my Lord there would be no looking back, no going back!
During this time, my love for my son only grew. I took many beatings to protect him. I cried out to God to save him from my fate. And one day the revelation came: someday, this man would hit my son. I could not let that happen. I would do anything for this child, and he deserved a better life than this. I loved him so much I’d die to save him, and that’s when God changed my life forever. He spoke right into my heart, “Don’t you see? That’s how much I love you. I gave up MY son for you!”
I thought of John 3:16,
For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son…
I realized that God so loved Juliet, He was willing to sacrifice His son for me! I could not understand how He could love me after what I had done. I had turned my back on Him so many times, and I chose to run the other way even when He met me as I lay dying.
But the sins of my past didn’t matter. That day God reminded me how much He loved me. He reminded me how He had sung over me as I tried to take my own life, reminded me that He had offered me the gift of grace through my son. And He reminded me that He would always love me, no matter how far away I ran, or how many times I turned my back on Him or how many bad choices I made. He showed me how He had pursued me and met me time and time again in my moments of greatest need.
No matter what I look like, or what I’ve done, He loves me as I am! He loved me first. And this time when my God met me in my circumstance, I turned to Him. I received what He was offering me, the water of life. I had no regrets, no thoughts of running. Just an overwhelming sense of relief, that all the searching and all the pain was finally over. And the void I had been trying to fill for so many years was finally filled.
My encounter with God saved my life in more ways than one. I finally found the strength to leave my abuser. And I found the love I had been searching for since the day He knit me together in my mother’s womb, in the arms of my heavenly Father.
Our God works in ways beyond our comprehension. He sees our whole life laid out before Him, and He knows what you and I thirst for. He knows what it will take to get us to turn to Him, and He knows precisely when we finally will. And so He has written it in the stars, for each and every one of us, a clandestine date when He meets us face to face in the midst of our pit to offer us the water of life.
You can be sure He will go out of His way to be there. The question is, will you receive what He is offering you? Or will you go away thirsty and continue your futile search to fill the emptiness inside?
Please know today that NOTHING in this world will quench your thirst. Nothing else will satisfy. Only Christ can give you what you are searching for. Only He can refresh your weary soul and breathe life back into your hopeless world.
And when you allow Him to do that you will be able to come full circle and step into what He has planned for you! I am excited to get to give back to victims of Domestic Violence. God has taken my mess and made it my message!
For the last 3 years we have been working alongside the staff of our local women’s shelter, partnering with them to provide help with rent, utilities, clothing & food—basically whatever is needed to help other victims survive. And now that we are officially a non-profit ministry, we are proud to announce our new outreach program.
Love LIVES: Living In Victory & Empowering Survivors
We aim to meet the needs of victims by providing financial, physical, emotional and spiritual support through our mentoring program.
In the coming weeks we will be sharing more information about our vision and how you can partner with us to make a difference in the lives of these families! In the meantime, would you join us in prayer for the many hurting victims in our communities? Those who are parched, thirsty and searching. Those who need to know the Love of God, so they will never thirst again!