When I was an innocent child dreaming about my future, I never imagined the incredibly dark days that lie ahead. As I’ve shared many times here, I became an addict at the frighteningly young age of 13. This led to places, people, and circumstances that I should have never been associated with.
I thought about the possibilities of God’s existence often throughout those dark years but never allowed myself to fully trust Him. Imagining there was a supreme being allowing me to struggle so desperately always became too much to bear. My decision that the Bible was nothing more than fiction also allowed me to live my messy, selfish life somewhat guilt free.
Almost 16 years ago, I broke free from drugs and alcohol. However, I found myself still trapped so far away from freedom. My new enslaver became the unbearable guilt from far too many mistakes and wasted years.
I learned about a different God around five years ago. One that loved me unconditionally. A God who forgave me for all of my transgressions and truly wanted me to forgive myself as well.
He introduced me to His Son and the most amazing gift they could offer me: Grace. I’m kind of obsessed with grace these days. So much so, I had it tattooed on my wrist recently as a constant reminder.
My mom, being a long-suffering perfectionist, never taught me about grace growing up. Unfortunately, I don’t think she really ever fully understood this free gift to lavish on herself or her children. My dad, an angry and often intolerable alcoholic, was certainly no assistance on this topic.
Grace didn’t come to me until far into my adult years, but when I finally opened my eyes to it, my life truly transformed. I couldn’t believe this man endured the immense pain of hanging on a cross for us to be completely forgiven.
But, He did…
We don’t need to be stuck in our pasts, no matter how dark they are. You may not have the mangled past I do, but we all remember moments and events we wish could be erased.
Here’s the thing… They are erased!
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
~2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
Sweet, victorious new life. We can accept this and let our present and future emit light instead of those shadowy pasts. The choice is ours.
“You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.
‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done,
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you to…”
~You Are More, Tenth Avenue North
My brokenness brought me to share my sinful and blissfully forgiven past through writing my testimony in this online space. God can and will use everything that’s happened to you if you just let Him. No matter what you’ve done, you are loved and worthy of a new start.
If you have a minute, check out this video from Tenth Avenue North quoted above. It’s my theme song…