“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light.” - Peter 2:9 CEB
There I was, arms open, tears streaming down my face, broken. The brutal honesty of what was happening hit me like a brick, my engagement was over. I’d posted proposal pictures on social media, brunched with my bridesmaids, and bragged to my friends about our wedding venue. Then one day, I couldn’t deny what I had been trying to avoid, this was not God’s plan for me. I felt hurt, embarrassed and ashamed. How was I ever going to move past this moment?
Hopefully, you don’t have the same story that I do, but if you’ve lived long enough, you have a story of your own. We all have moments in our lives where pain, guilt and shame feel so overwhelming that we almost feel paralyzed. How could I ever move forward? I decided in that moment to let God choose me.
No, I didn’t choose myself as we hear so many times. Apparently my “chooser” wasn’t working properly (Remember, I was just lying on the floor crying y’all. Let’s just be honest). I let God choose my next steps and I had to admit some hard truths. 1) Trauma from my past was stopping me from making the right choices, 2) I was going to have to humble myself in order to move forward, and 3) I wanted things to change but I had no idea how to change them.
As obvious as it may sound, the first step in moving forward, is being ready to move forward. I mentioned earlier that I let God choose me because I wasn’t strong enough to truly choose myself. I had loved ones kind enough to take me in for a few months while I saved for my own place and began to heal and although I had hard moments, the peace their home provided and love they gave me began to restore me in places that I didn’t even know were damaged. The shame that once seemed so permanent, began to fade as I leaned into my relationship with God and I learned what true wholeness felt like.
The next step was to take advice from Elsa and LET IT GO. The weight of the past can really hold us back and distract us from our purpose. Finding a good therapist to help sort through traumatic events is an amazing tool of empowerment. For the record, therapy doesn’t replace a relationship with God and church doesn’t replace therapy. Also, finding the right therapist can be a little like dating, sometimes it takes visiting different therapists before finding the right fit for you. However, be encouraged, when we allow ourselves to really examine our pasts and current situations, we create space for a beautiful, healthy future.
Romans 8:28 states, “We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.” That all things part? No one tells you that the “all things” that God works together look a lot like breakups, losing jobs, failing classes and betrayal of friends. The work does not look pretty! Most of the time it feels even uglier but our Father loves us so much that He will take what feels like our lowest moment to not only change our lives for the better but to bless others with our testimonies of His love, grace and mercy.
Only a couple years later, my life looks so different. What I thought was going to break me, God used to heal me. What I thought was going to be a permanent source of guilt and shame, God used to teach me about being honest with myself and authentic with others by sharing my testimony. There is no guilt in healing. There is no shame in freedom. Move forward. God is waiting. Let Him choose you.