Active Faith

It’s Me Reborn

He created us all to be beautiful, and that’s how we are to see ourselves—the way He intended us to be before the foundations of the world that He spoke into existence. by Gloria Allen

WE ALL HAVE STORIES. Often, we relive part of the story, wishing we could change something about it. It’s up to us to learn what the memory can teach us. I grew up in a Christian home, with two wonderful parents who taught me all about Jesus. They took me to church every Sunday—whether I wanted to go or not. But as I grew older, the world put its tug on me.

My parents sheltered me from harmful things they knew would have a bad influence and now I understand they did it out of love. I had praying parents. My dad would spend hours praying for me—praying that one day I would surrender my heart to the Lord.

On my sixteenth birthday, I had my first beer and smoked my first joint. My parents weren’t aware that I had walked up the street with so-called friends. I remember very clearly that night and the things that took place—things no sixteen- year-old should have to go through. Let’s be honest, good decision-making flies out the window when people are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

My mother was called after the incident, and I remember her telling me that she already knew in her spirit what had taken place, because the Lord had revealed it to her.

That event started a downward spiral for me. My self-worth was gone. I began using drugs and alcohol more frequently—anything to numb the pain of how I felt about myself. I saw myself as dirty and I thought, “Well this is who I am.” The partying continued and I allowed men to abuse me.

The Lord lays out the map in His Word—His perfect will—but He won’t force us to follow Him. It would go against God’s very nature, which is love. Forced love is not love at all. True love is a choice; we choose to love or hate.

I often think of how God has chosen someone as spotted and tainted as I am. I was using drugs when I learned I was pregnant, but I quickly quit when the doctor told me I was with child. I had enough sense to not harm my baby, but something inside me still wanted to use.

I would still go to church sometimes and I remember the ladies of the church would give me looks as if I was the worst person. What they didn’t know is that there was a greater seed inside me. My parents had planted the love of Christ. I just didn’t know it yet.

I was by no means prepared to be a mom. I was selfish and being a mom didn’t click the way it should have. As I look back, I wouldn’t change a thing. God doesn’t get glory from perfect lives. He takes the messed-up ones who see their mistakes and say yes to Him.

I tried to take care of my daughter for a while, but I couldn’t hold out, because the world still had its pull on me. I asked my mother to take care of my daughter, because I knew in my heart that I couldn’t be what my child needed at that moment. I was scared that Social Services

would take my baby, so out of deep love, I asked my mother to be what I couldn’t be —a mom to my baby.

Sold-Out Soul

I hit the streets—drug addiction in full force. I couldn’t hold a job down because using was all I wanted to do. When money became a problem, I started selling my body. It was more like selling my soul, piece by piece, until nothing was left but a shell of existence in desperate need.

I became so depressed and suicidal that I ended up in a psych ward. I was readmitted on numerous occasions. Eventually, I was on so many medications that it made things even worse.

I stayed on that merry-go-round of drugs and wrong diagnoses for years, still trying to numb the pain with street drugs on top of it all.

One of my sisters, moved by compassion, came looking for me. She knew I was using. She brought my thirteen-year-old daughter with her. I tried hiding the crack pipe quickly, but really, what good would that have done?

When I saw my daughter, my heart broke, but hers broke even more. I wish I had a delete button for this and so many other moments in my life, but we can learn from the times we wish we could forget and break free of the vicious cycle, or we will just continue to live in vain.

So, I knew I needed to look at events differently and try to see them through God’s eyes. If we let God use our mistakes to touch someone’s life in a positive way, we might help another to not make the same mistakes. We might help pull someone out of the same pit.

In 2003, I was arrested for solicitation. As soon as I was released, I went right back to the streets. It wasn’t long before I was arrested again, and this time, I had to go before the judge. I took a long, hard look at myself and wished I could make things right.

Behind (Self-Made) Bars

I remember praying to the Lord to please help me get clean. The thought of jail scared me to death, although I knew that I was already imprisoned within the bars that I had built over time. My prayer was heard, and the sentence was reduced from eleven months to seven weeks.

In 2005, I went to a church service I will never forget. There was an altar call after the message for healing and deliverance. I wanted that healing desperately and the deliverance from drugs, so I went up. 

The Lord heard my petition that day and it wasn’t long after that I was clean of all drugs. I made a choice for a new life to begin, but the road was still rocky. 

Doubt still tore at my soul. It was my own pity party that only I attended—the place where I would go inside and feel comfortable reliving my past mistakes. Those walls I built had to be torn down, or I would never be where am I today. 

As I sat and prayed one day, I sincerely asked the Lord to show me my heart—and not only mine, but the hearts of those around me. I prayed that I could see through the eyes of the life-giving Spirit of the living God. 

He answered that prayer, because I meant it, and God can’t be fooled. He knows when we are serious, so my advice is to not ever pray a prayer that goes against His will, as it’s made clear in His word to be definite in what you pray. 

Learning to not care about what other people think of me has been a long process. People will always have their own opinions. 

You must believe in yourself. You can’t change people; only God can do that. God’s opinion of us is the only one that matters. God sees the secret places of the heart no one else can see. If we want to live a life pleasing to Him, our will has to be broken and realigned with His. 

How could I live a life in total surrender to God when I cared too much about what people thought about me? How can we do what the Lord tells us and go where He leads us if we are trapped by other people’s opinions?

We can’t. It’s that simple. We have the choice to stop focusing on what others think of us and put God’s Word above everything. We can choose to believe what He says about us. We can focus on life, not death and start each day by thinking positive things about our lives and the people connected to us. 

Putting our Lord above everyone, not letting anything occupy our hearts more than He does and following His Word aligns us with His truth. That’s where His peace resides, and from there, the love of God can be shown to others. 

He could have let me die out there when I was on the streets rejecting Him, but He didn’t. He kept me alive, because He loves me, and His love is perfect. I want that kind of love to rule my heart, so I can be a light in a dark place, never forgetting where His mercy and grace brought me from. 

Ask the Lord to light up every shadow from childhood that has tainted your heart and tempted it to go in any direction not according to His Word. And mean what you pray. He’s got your back and all He wants is your heart. He wants it whole and complete. 

The Way Forward

Today, I am working on rebuilding my relationship with my family, especially my daughter. I must let the Lord lead me, convict and cleanse me, just like everyone else who allows Him to rule their lives. 

My advice is to slow down and let go. Letting go simply means this, “I give up, Lord, my expectations of the way I think things should be. Instead, I will kneel and pray that Your perfect will shall be done. Most of all, I pray that You will teach my heart to fly according to Your plans for me and for others. Let me be a light amid it all. Let me not be moved by emotions of yesterday but instead be renewed by Your spirit every day You give me. And let me be especially thankful about Your mercy and grace, that I may extend it to others in the way You have to me, all for Your glory to be revealed.”

He created us all to be beautiful, and that’s how we are to see ourselves—the way He intended us to be before the foundations of the world that He spoke into existence. 

I have not arrived. But I am getting there one moment at a time. I am nothing without the blood that Jesus shed on the cross that day, but I am someone to whom He continually shows grace and mercy. So are you. We just must open our eyes and see with our hearts who He is to find out who we are in Him. Bless your name Lord God Almighty. All glory to the King.  

This article was originally published in the October 2019 issue of The War Cry.

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