WHO WERE YOU BEFORE HURT? Have you ever wondered who you were before whatever happened, happened that hurt you enough to change who you were?
She grew up in an ordinary family environment and did ordinary family things including going to church regularly; Wednesday evenings and twice on Sunday. She heard all about heaven and hell, the wrath of God and the constant reminder that the wages of sin are death. She tried to be a good girl for fear of hellfire and brimstone. Although she worked very hard at always being good, she never felt good enough or worthy enough. How could this ordinary girl be worthy of salvation and heaven’s rewards when she knew deep in her heart she could never escape the fear of hell or being left behind in order to freely choose life. She hoped that if she said the sinner’s prayer often enough, it might eventually save her from hell’s fire. This was the inescapable heavy burden for this ordinary girl. This very ordinary girl was me until I was 16 years old and survived a violent, not so ordinary assault.
When I was 16 years old, something terrible happened to me. I was held captive and sexually assaulted for 5 days in a swampy area of Tampa Florida. My captors were a family who schemed to lure me into their control. My imprisonment was guaranteed by the threat of being shot and/or being fed to the gators in the swamp. Ironically, this horrific not so ordinary act of violence opened my heart to the unconditional love of God. Even though this was a strangely unimaginable and traumatic event, I never felt betrayed or abandoned by God. In fact, for the first time in my very ordinary church going life I felt God’s presence. I felt the peace and security that only God can provide. Instead of fear, I felt a supernatural faith that God was with me and would protect me. Although I comprehended the grave danger, my heart and spirit assured me that my life was only God’s to give and only God’s to take and He was not finished with me yet!
At some point in the aftermath of survival, I realized that I was not an unworthy and very ordinary girl. I was chosen. I was a princess; the daughter of the most high King. I was not only physically saved, but spiritually saved and redeemed. God’s word tells us that we are saved by His grace; that it is a gift from God and that salvation is not a reward for our good works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) This concept of grace began to slowly take root in my heart and I began to understand that I could never be worthy on my own, but by the grace of God, I was redeemed! At a time when I logically should have felt fear, I felt unconditional love. I could now freely choose life because I had experienced the love of a loving father God rather than the fear of consequences from a punishing ruler God. Through surviving injury and trauma at the hands of another, I was able to finally receive the love God had so longed to give me.
God’s love saw me safely home. Most importantly, God has kept safe my faith in him and my belief in the goodness of people. He has protected my heart, my mind and my spirit. Even in tragedy, God is a good father who watches over his children. Who was that girl before the hurt; just a very ordinary girl living a very ordinary life. But today, by the grace of God, I am the woman who survived the hurt meant to destroy me; the woman who knows with unassailable faith that God is a good father who can redeem even our deepest hurts if we trust in him. With a sincere heart fully trusting Him, our guilty consciences have been made clean by the blood of Christ. Hebrews 10:22 We are all blessed to be daughters of the most high King who loves us dearly! For there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 Let’s receive His unconditional love and allow Him to redeem the princess daughter in each of us! ~ Tracey
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Your Turn: There is a princess still inside. Whatever happened that hurt so deeply was not God’s plan for your life. He longs to bring healing. There are confidential small groups at our church that can help. The next semester begins January 31st. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org We would love to pray for you.