I am a child of God, made in His image, made for His purpose. Julie had placed the little signs everywhere. On her dresser mirror, her bathroom mirror, the steering wheel of her car, on her checkbook cover, by the stove in the kitchen, just about anywhere that she looked, she saw this reminder.
It all started two years ago when she was ready to end it all. She was ready to quit her job, walk away from her beautiful daughter, and possibly even end her own life. But why? What had happened to bring her to this point?
Having grown up in an abusive home, she never knew that she was pretty. When she looked in a mirror, she saw only the ugly deeds and hurtful words that had been fed to her all throughout her life. Deep inside, she knew that she was just trash. When John came along in high school and started showing an interest in her, she didn’t know what to do. She simply did whatever he told her to do knowing that with the other males in her life, this was always the safest way to act. The scars on her back proved that when you don’t do what dad says, pain will follow. She had learned one lesson in life very well…men are hurtful when they don’t get their way.
Here was this handsome boy in her class that wanted to spend time with her. Julie wasn’t so sure that she had any interest in him but she also didn’t want to be physically harmed again. So when he asked her out, she obliged. At first their dates were ‘normal’ dates for high school kids. They went to football games, movies, dinner, or mini golf and then he took her home. Nothing hurtful in that.
After about three months of dating, John picked up Julie for a day at the pool and ‘informed’ her he had made other plans. She started to ask for details but thought better of it. When she asked her father questions, she would usually wind up smacked across the face. So far, John had never harmed her. She did not want to push him.
John drove to the edge of town then turned down a single lane path with overgrown bushes on either side. His compact SUV barely made it through. They came to an open patch of land. John strode to the back of the vehicle and pulled out what looked like a picnic basket and a blanket.
That’s all she can remember. Her mind is blank from that moment until she found herself on the side of the road where the overgrown path started. What had happened to her clothes? Why was she crying? Why was she standing there wrapped up in the blanket that John had carried from the SUV? Where was the SUV? Where was John?
Three months later she realized that she was pregnant. She was in the eleventh grade, living in an abusive home, and pregnant. There was only one thing to do. She left. Julie packed her most precious possessions and slipped out in the middle of the night.
She went into the city and found a women’s shelter. Here everything was strictly confidential. She met a woman from a Christian right to life group who agreed to help her and her unborn baby get a fresh start. By the time her daughter was born, she had a clerical job with benefits and a studio apartment.
Then one day at work, two years ago, all the bad memories started coming back. A young man asked her out.
“You don’t want to go out with me. I’m damaged goods. I’ve been abused in more ways than you can count.” Julie just wanted it all to stop. She never wanted a man to hurt her again. The only way she knew to keep from being hurt was to end her life.
The young man was shocked that someone could feel that way about themselves. He looked her in the eyes and said “But you are a child of God, made in His image, made for His purpose.” No one had ever, ever said anything like that to her before. “Really? I am? Do you really believe that?”
The young man stepped in slightly and spoke tenderly “You are! Of this one thing, I’m confident! You can find your confidence in Christ.”
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