I have spent some time recently with some hurting people. In some cases they are being made anxious by their past. In others, people in their life have hurt them in such a way that they battle with negativity and trust regularly. Without minimizing the fact that some wounds are extremely deep and can take years to heal, I feel moved to share some of my wounds and how going to God with them has helped me, because I believe that He is the ultimate healer.
I was bullied off and on from the time I was in elementary school all the way through to Junior High School. The boys in my neighbor hood were particularly mean. They would play with me and the two other girls who lived nearby but when the other girls would leave to go home, the boys would bully me. They did things like push me into a pond and in the winter time one of them pushed me down a hill on my sled strategically aiming me at a large tree at a high speed. I was unable to stop, you can use your imagination for how well that one turned out! It was shortly after that when I stopped playing with the neighbors!
These circumstances caused me to go to God at a very young age and pour my heart out to Him. I would spend hours in my room playing alone with my toys all the while talking to God about my hurts. He became my constant friend. I always felt better after being with Him. I believe that being able to spend this time with Him helped me make it through Junior High and helped me to be compassionate toward others who were picked on.
In Junior High I was mostly bullied about my relationship with God. In eighth grade someone spread a rumor that I was gay. I didn't know, somehow the rumor hadn't gotten to me yet, until I sat down at the lunch table and everyone else moved to another table. This went on for a week and a half. It was as if I had some disease and no one wanted to be near me. I got so upset that I stopped eating lunch. My parents began to notice something was wrong and when they found out what it was they called the school. The guidance counselor's advice was "Tell your daughter to toughen up, it's a cruel world!" And so I have. I learned that there will always be someone who doesn't like you and will talk behind your back. So I decided that what mattered most to me was what God thought because I already knew from experience that He loved me no matter what and He would always be there for me.
This experience also moved me to befriend others who were being bullied and to stand up for them when they were being picked on. Sometimes standing up for others caused me to receive threats of physical harm. But God protected me. By the time High school came around I was no longer bullied. In fact I had friends from all different circumstances. I had friends who were foster kids, friends who did drugs, friends who were still being bullied, friends from vo-tech, friends from marching band, super smart friends from scholastic scrimmage, cheerleaders, and even three football players who used to bully me! God used those years of hurt to enable me to witness to these people during study hall and lunch time. Because He loved me so well I was able to love them.
I share all this because I am convinced that what we do with our hurts can determine what character we turn out to be. We can either let them shape us into skeptical, critical, bitter, and afraid people... or we can take them to God. When we spend the time pouring out our hearts before Him until they are empty of the hurt, it leaves room for Him to heal us. The time spent with Him produces a deeper love in us for Him and for the people around us.
On a final note... I actually wrote this blog yesterday but didn't post it. It wasn't something I wanted to write. It was something I felt God moving on my heart to write but I didn't want to do it because of the content of what he was asking me to share. So I wrote it and saved it. Then I reread it this morning and said, "Are you sure God? There are other things I could write about." After further discussion with Him about my hesitations, I flipped the page on a calendar at my desk and found this quote on today's date, " We are shaped and fashioned by what we love." The quote is from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Then I understood. I have been shaped and fashioned by WHO I love. God has taken my hurts and made me who I am and it's because of His love that it's important to encourage others who read this so they can know that He can do the same with your hurts because He loves you so incredibly much!