I am on a mission trip in Guatemala this week. I have had the privilege of sharing my testimony with two different women groups. If you don’t know my story, it’s filled with a lot of loss and times of hopelessness.
In a quick summary, my parents split and I lost two grandparents all within two months time. I was with my mom when I found her dad dead. Five years later, (I was 17) my mom died and I also found her. I moved six times in one year after that happened. I was hurting and lonely and even after all these years I still tear up from time to time.
I know that many people might run to drugs of any kind or sexual sin after experiencing the pain I’ve been through. Many people have had a much harder life than me and have run to those things. Many people have had an easier life and have run to those things.
In places like Guatemala and India and other 3rd world countries there is a lot of loss. Women lose their husbands to other women. Girls lose their fathers as their fathers force their daughters to be sexual slaves. Children lose trust and peace in homes where they are beat daily or sold (rented) for sex. Death happens and leaves families starving for food. Children are abandoned on streets or left with other family who don’t care for them properly if at all. There are drugs and there is alcohol and there is drugging babies to shut them up or to be able to leave them at home alone “quietly”. There is no love and no hope, so it would seem. It’s heart breaking. All of it.
I’ve experienced a broken home and a lot of death has surrounded me. To cope, I went through a time when I made myself sick to lose and control my weight thinking that a better self image would make me feel better. There were times that for a split second I thought “what if I were gone? nobody would care”. I didn’t finish college because I had an anxiety attack and had to take medical leave. Every time I tried to go back I would hyperventilate on campus. It was a dark time in my life. I tried to bury myself in the church in volunteer positions, 17 credit hours in college, and 30 to 40 hours of work waiting on tables. No wander I broke down! I Thank God for never leaving me through those dark and crazy moments. I thank God for his sweet Holy Spirit who convicted and convinced me to trust Him and to not give up on life.
Where was my hope? My hope was in the Lord.
I ran to Jesus. Over and over and over again, I ran to Jesus.
There were many nights that I would just drive. I didn’t care where I drove as long as I could find my way back home and as long as I could get away for a little bit. I would cry and pray and God would listen. I love Psalm 56:8…
“You keep track of all my sorrows.
Oh how huge that bottle of tears must be. How many pages are in His book? He heard me cry and he has kept every tear. He loves me. He is my hope.
I reminded the ladies that I shared with these truths. Hope is not found in drugs. Hope is not found in alcohol. Hope is not found in sexual sin or any other sin. Never. Hope can only be found in the one who loves you and who longs to know you and for you to know Him.
Psalm 33:20-22 says “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”
That scripture is so beautiful to me. I could read that over and over again.
My prayer today is that lives of these beautiful women would be changed for the Glory of God through the word my testimony and those on our team. I also pray that this touches your heart and it reminds you to put your hope in Jesus because He is your only hope.
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.”
Father, I trust in you. I thank you that you are bigger than any circumstance I may face. Your love is deeper than my pain. Your hope is stronger than my fears. I thank you Lord that you hear me and you love me. I take refuge in you now. You are my strength. You are my help and my shield. I thank you Lord that your unfailing love rests upon me as I put my hope only in you. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.