By Mike Ennis, Faith Community Fellowship Springville Campus Pastor
Sometimes life is filled with a lot of hurt and darkness. There are so many who hide their pain. They are people that you see every day. You pass them in the grocery store, your office and even your church. It is a good reminder that we all have the opportunity, if we’ll watch, to be hope and healing to others.
Sue’s story, though overwhelming, shows how God can redeem any situation. Here it is…. I am a middle child and moved a lot the first 10 years of my life. That might sound glamorous, but it was everything but that. My most formative years were difficult because my father was an abusive alcoholic. As I look back, it is no wonder that I was often found hiding—at home, at school, with relatives. My mom just told everyone I was shy. Things got so bad that my dad had to be placed in a mental hospital for a while. To make things worse, we lived in poverty in government housing, known as the “projects”. I always made sure I was never alone at home with my dad, even if it meant being outside for hours in the dark the dark was safer. When I was 11, I attended a church with a relative and after an event my teacher took me home with all the other girls that lived in nice homes. I was so ashamed and embarrassed when they found out where I lived that I never returned.
My mom divorced my dad and remarried. My stepdad was a much better financial provider but we soon learned he had issues too…physical abuse. Again, I remember many nights when my sister and I ran out of the house to hide until his fits of rage passed. At best, life was dysfunctional.
In my high school years, I got involved in a relationship with a 19-year-old (I was 15). I made many mistakes during this time, including a teen pregnancy that ended with an abortion. I was tormented by that choice for another 15 years…convinced that even God would never want anything to do with me for destroying the life of my child.
I met a wonderful man in my 20’s and we married soon after. We had two children within the first five years. Being a Mom & Dad was life changing for both of us. Though I was still buried in guilt and shame, my wonderful husband knew we needed God in our life. It took years for me to see and experience God’s grace but today I am free. My life Bible verse became Romans 8:28 – “And we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
I wish I had more space to tell you all the stories of how God has healed so many relationships in my life. God took the mess in my life and has turned it into something beautiful. In fact, I have frequent opportunities to share my story and help many more young women. I am so grateful that in my brokenness, I found forgiveness and healing. So can you!
If you need help, there are some great churches in this community who will love and help you or you can feel free to reach out to me.
We do not and cannot always know what is going on in the lives of other people. What we CAN do is be sensitive to those around us and chose to be one God can use to help others find hope and healing in their situation. Find someone today for whom you can show kindness. It might just change their life!