Have you ever felt as if you didn't deserve God's love? Have you ever felt that you lived in a garbage dump, a pit, or prison? I became a Christian over 30 years ago and would spend years not really feeling as if I deserved God's love. I knew what God's word said, but it seemed as if there was always this dark cloud over me. I would try and try to hold on to truth knowing what His word said, but still the cloud.
I loved God, wanted to grow closer, have an intimate walk with Him, but there was always something between us.I t was as if no matter what I did I would never have what others seemed to have. Christians would talk about their joy, and they would look all put together, but I didn't understand what joy really meant. I didn't feel it. My journals would be filled with prayers longing for the heart of God, longing to know His, to experience His love.
Please understand it wasn't that I wasn't a Christian, or that I didn't love God, or that I wasn't obedient, but there was no joy. Anytime something happened it seemed to propel me back to the dump. Where was this abundant life? What did it mean to live filled with the fullness of God's love?
Here is what I have learned...
It began years ago when I was given the name of "unlovable". That wasn't the only name, there were others, like stupid, ruined, trash, hopeless, shameful and many more.
When I was sixteen a friend introduced me to Christ. I remember her talking about sin and how Christ died for my sins. I knew I was sinful, I knew I was bad, but I wondered if that meant He died for me too? I wasn’t sure if I truly believed it was meant for someone like me-but I wanted to believe. I really wanted to believe Christ died for my sins too. I wanted to believe He could really love me.
I would spend years TRYING...to be good enough so that God would love someone like me. I would read His word and want to be feel loved by Him, to be filled up to overflowing. Oh I believed He loved me enough to die on the cross for my sins. He loved me in a general way – as He loves all his children. But love ME, Sharon, as his beloved daughter – no I don’t think so.
How was I supposed to think God loved me when he took my father when I was five? Then my mother went into to mental hospital for six weeks. Where was God then? I felt so alone. About a year after mom got out of the hospital she got married. Shortly after her marriage I would realize no one would ever love me. I would spend the next nine years being abused by a step-brother and step-father. I was almost seven when it started, it was then my life became a life of fear, darkness, pain, silence and shame. There was the fear of my abuser, and the fear that people would find out and if they found out I knew that would think I was bad, that it was my fault. I tried telling my mom, but nothing happened, she didn’t believe me. She even ask me what I had done to make them do it. What was I suppose to say? I didn’t know I didn’t have an answer. It was never spoken of again.
Amazingly shortly after I accepted Christ my step-father stopped coming into my room. So maybe God stopped him now that I was trying to be good? I didn’t know or care as long as it was over.
So I took all those memories, and feelings, and stuffed them down into a box. I stuffed them into the darkness somewhere. I had to be good now. I began to learn about God, but didn't didn’t understand and I made so many wrong choices. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried I would never be good enough for God. And what if people could see that I didn’t belong?
fast forward to a few years ago...
I spent years trying to be good enough for God, but deep inside never felt I would measure up. Everyone around me seemed to somehow know what they were suppose to do, how they were to behave, I seemed to always do the wrong thing. My children made more mistakes than theirs, so I must be a bad mom. My friends kept leaving so I must not be able to have friends. I would pull away from people for fear that they might find out about the real me or the person I thought was the real me. If they saw the ugliness of my heart they wouldn’t like me anymore.
I soon realized that trying to go by my emotions or feelings just didn’t work, because most of the time I either didn’t feel anything or felt all the negative emotions. I kept wondering about those emotions I was suppose to feel as a believer you know, joy, peace, love and compassion. My emotions had never gotten me anywhere before and I had learned long ago that if you didn’t feel you didn’t get hurt.
I remember praying God there has to be more to this life. I want to know more of you; I want a deeper understanding of who you are. Help me see who I am through your eyes. I want to be filled up to overflowing! If you read through my journals you will find this prayer through out, or something similar. It was and is my heart’s desire – to know God and be filled the fullness of His love.
But there was still a darkness in my heart. A place that seemed to lay untouched by God’s love. A place in my heart that was off limits. I was going to have to deal with the demon that continued to have control over so much of me.
I would try to sit in God’s love, to be comfortable there. But my stuff always got in the way....