Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)
TITLE: Doubt Turned to Belief
By Pamela Kliewer
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I had never had joy dance across my days. I saw people I knew from church enjoying life, seemingly embraced by God’s love. Their faces radiated warmth and genuine knowing. So why was it elusive to me?
My childhood had been less than stellar. Drunken rages. Beatings. Yelling and screaming constantly. I often hid under my covers with as many pillows as I could get, over my ears. I remember cowering in the corner terrified, waiting for that next smack across my face. Sometimes it came, other times my daddy would fall down in a stupor. All during my childhood I thought this behavior was normal. When asked about my bruises I told the truth to my friends only to have them react with shock. I felt shamed. I started telling lies. Pretty soon the kids stopped asking and even my teachers turned the other way. No one wanted to face my humiliation. I became a loner. Dejected. Afraid.
I heard about Jesus when I was in high school and I did go forward at the youth meeting where I heard about Him, but still something seemed to be missing. His love had never became real to me. I went into adulthood wondering what was wrong with me; why I didn’t know God’s love like other people seemed to know it?
One day a woman came to speak to our Women’s Bible study who was the most genuine person I had ever met. She shared her story of abuse and tragedy with us. I sat there, astounded. She was telling my story. The only difference was, she shared that in the midst of her pain-filled days God was there, loving her. No. That was not possible. He certainly didn’t love me when I was in that same state.
While listening to her, I thought, It’s too late for God to love me. I’m too wounded, too much of a loner. It’s impossible for Him to love someone like me. I was one who did things by rote… with no real substance to my relationship with Jesus. I felt I was only on this path to keep me from hell and had never had any real growth in my life since accepting Christ. I wanted more, but didn’t know how to go about having it… I jerked back to attention to hear the speaker saying, “God loves you. When He sent His Son, Jesus to earth to grow up and die for your sins, Jesus became New Covenant on that cross, meaning that you no longer have to live under the law, but you now live under grace. His love for you is unconditional. You don’t have to do anything to earn His love. No performance is going to win you His love. He loves you because He made you. He has loved you from the moment you were conceived in your mother’s womb. His love for you has never stopped, nor will it ever stop. He is faithful. Will you trust Him today?”
Tears streamed down my cheeks. He loved me? Me, who carried a weight of shame and guilt so heavy that my shoulders seemed constantly stooped, so much did it seem like a physical burden? For the first time in my life I felt a glimmer of hope. If He was really there during my childhood and saw all of that, yet still loved me, then He really did love me now and I could let go of all this anguish I’d been carrying for so many years. A spark of joy ignited in my heart and made its way to my face, breaking forth in a true smile. The first one I ever remember adorning my face. I felt the weight roll off my heart and pictured it falling to the floor, breaking into a million pieces, never to be put back together again. I was loved. Despite my decrepit past… I was loved… completely… and that made me a whole person… Finally, I was free. I was on my way to recovery.
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