How to Overcome Your Past. (And those dark thoughts.)

When I was little and before I was adopted, I saw things. And heard things. Things little people were never meant to see or hear. I saw my birth mom prostitute herself with men. She’d bring a different guy home, so many nights, and I really wanted to sleep next to her, so I would curl up down at the end of the bed just so I could be a little bit close.

Those things have a way of staying with you.

And my birth dad was addicted to pornography, I suppose, so he’d leave the magazines out and I’d look at them so curiously. My birth mom had some crazy sense that those images weren’t good for me, so she’d snatch them up. Then fuss at him. Now that I’m all grown up, I think about the irony of that.  Her bringing men home while I slept on a pallet on the floor or at the end of the bed but her yelling at my birth dad about the dirty magazines.

When I was in kindergarten and first grade, I wondered if I was worth anything. So, I’d lay in bed at night and review every incident where a boy paid attention to me. If I had lots of boys chasing me, (or more like running from me) or calling me fun names, or laughing with me on the playground, I figured I must be valuable. I must have something worth wanting. I must at least be funny. Or pretty enough to be desired.

It’s a fascinating thing, that when you’re four and five and six years old, your thoughts about yourself and your sexuality and your own value in the world are so intricately being formed.

Some people start out in life with the image of themselves and who God made them to be, so badly twisted and marred, that they’re hardly recognizable. And then the devil comes in and uses all those ways that people have disappointed us, or misused us, or confused us and he twists and mars and damages our souls even more.

It’s no wonder that we struggle so, with our sexuality and with our relationships. It’s no wonder we have trouble connecting in pure and meaningful ways with others. After all, our own innocence and sense of self was scarred and disfigured in those early formative years.

There are dark thoughts that can plague us for decades. Unhealthy ways of thinking that we never intended to get ingrained into us, but that etched deep ruts into our minds and our hearts because of all that we saw. Or heard. Or were made to believe due to the the dysfunction and brokenness of someone else.

We must remember that we don’t war merely with ourselves or with people. There’s an enemy, ancient as he is, that steps in to destroy all that’s good and right and beautiful and just and perfect and pure, in us. He despises the image of God that we reflect.

All would be lost…

But God.

God who first knit us together so carefully and thoughtfully in our momma’s tummy. He named us and calls us and sets us apart and He has this way of restoring the years the locusts have eaten.

So, we bring our past to Him.

Our memories. Our confusion. Our heartache. The ways others, either intentionally or unintentionally, stole from us. Mutilated our sense of safety and well-being. Warped our view of who we are and who we were created to be.

God Himself, with the spotless heart and the purest intentions and the fairest eyes, He cups our face in His hands and looks deep into our brimming eyes and He calls us out of all the darkness and into His remarkable light.

He washes over us with His Spirit and with His Word and exploits the evil that once exploited us. He says, “No more,” and stoops down to draw a line in the sand of our lives. He carves out a new path for our feet, showing us a different way. A way that doesn’t trick us. Or disorient us anymore.

If we would overcome, we must “lift up our eyes to the hills” so to speak, and look for our Helper who is close by. Our help comes from the Lord, the One who spoke into existence the heavens. And the earth.  (See Psalm 121)

We must reach out to take hold of God’s nail-scarred grasp. We must identify with Him, speaking the truth into our battered up souls. We are no longer slaves to fear and shame or to a perverted image of ourselves or the world around us. We are children of the Light.

As followers of Jesus, however wounded or put back together we may be, we don’t just look at the things that we can see. (This physical world. The memories. The things that happened to us, that were beyond our control.)  We don’t shuffle along anymore, eyes to the ground.

We can look up! And we choose to. Learning to walk daily in our resurrection life. It’s no joke. Grueling at times. The fight for joy and peace is no walk in the park. But, as our hearts remain determined and faithful, we begin to see things from Christ’s perspective. It comes blazing through the fields, sure as the morning sun.

We are redeemed.

Made whole.

New.

Growing.

Learning.

Becoming.

Overcomers!!!

Praise Jesus. With each new breath, our hand in His, trusting our life, our past, present and future to Him.

He walks us home.

Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above the heavenly things, not on things that are on the earth which have only temporal value. For you died to this world, and your new, real life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (from Colossians 3)

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