A lot is awakened when we take a peek into our past ,starting from the sweet memories to the hurtful experiences that we don’t want to re-live. There are things we would rather forget right? Especially those that carry along a whirlwind of emotions. We might cry, not because of the wounds that still exist, but because of the amazement that arises when we see how God has always been faithful even when all we had to show for it was tears and sadness. Is it easy opening up? No. Necessary? Sometimes Yes. The fear of opening up arises from the anticipated perception of how people will react to your story and the lurking judgement but these are the barriers we hope to bring down by sharing stories.
PASTOR PAM’S STORY.
“I was born into a beautiful family ; can’t trade my family for anything. My family is huge especially when the extended family is included. When I was born, it brought everyone so much joy. I could tell from the photos and how everyone treated me ; I was loved by the entire family and truth be told, I relished those moments. But in my adolescent years, I started picking up on what people would say about me. I was regarded as a weakling and a slow person. People I loved and adored, especially my relatives would call me that. During weddings, when flower girls were needed, I was never a considered “candidate” ; every role would pass me by and it looked like the people around me believed I couldn’t deliver.
Receiving that treatment from people who had shown me love and were part of my family just intensified the turmoil within me. As a shield, I kept to myself, my self-esteem kept dwindling. I believed nothing good would come out of me. I was a very bright girl in my formative years but being subjected to this treatment affected my class work and what’s worse, my dad could not stand the deterioration in my grades and so every time he was drunk, he used my situation as a scapegoat.
He would call me a fool and a good for nothing child. The breaking point was the times he paraded me in front of his drinking buddies and had me read my grades out loud while they laughed and mocked me. My relatives were not making it easier either and they picked on everything, including my dressing. Coming from a place where we were living from hand to mouth; some of our relatives even looked down on us. I was caught in between a double tragedy, if I may call it that; harshness coming from the extended family and from my immediate family .Seclusion became my solace.
I gave my life to Christ in those same years. Thankfully, I was close to my grandparents. They were born again and I ended up attending their fellowship . Yes. I hang out with old people and I loved it.ha ha. You’re probably wondering where my mum fits in this entire story right? Well, she was around and she was a safe space for me other than my grandparents of course. Her love was like an embrace offering never ending comfort. She even taught me to how to pray and read the bible at a tender age. She tried to shield me from the yelling and the beatings from my dad and sometimes she would succeed but there is a part she couldn’t shield me from: emotional part. I was born again but I was still emotionally wrecked.
I must state that being born again gave me strength. Reading my Bible especially the Psalms encouraged me and gave me hope. Not to mention l would also listen to sad gospel music which ended up depressing me ha-ha but at least I was staying in God’s presence right? My grades didn’t get any better and we can say that I got what my dad always prophesied to lol. By this time, my grandparents had passed on but I’m glad the prayers my grandfather prayed over me still kept me. Prayers don’t die. God had marked me and no matter what was happening, His eyes were watching over me.
When I cleared High school,I changed churches and joined a Pentecostal church. That was another season all together that I wasn’t ready for. My dad and family couldn’t stand the thought that I had changed churches since we had always been from a main stream church. I joined two ministries in my new church and for the first time I had people who would pray with me without judging, people who loved me unconditionally; this was my paradigm shift. In the process, God gave me favor with the pastor’s wife who took care of me as her own. At no point did she call me weak. I was able to do what was termed as weak on the other end, and she appreciated all that I did. She taught me how to pray, read the Bible and she loved me with the love of Christ. She taught me to call things that are not as though they are.
God used her to help me find my identity in Christ. It wasn’t easy; there were days we cried and separated but at no point did she ever give up on me. She walked with me and mentored me in ministry. The best part is that before my dad passed on, she was with me and we led him to Christ. You’re wondering how did this story turn around from drinking to praying with him? Well, I forgave my dad and by the time he was going home to God, our Father, we had become best of friends.
Later on, I came to realize that I was the best candidate for what God called me to do. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 “For you see your calling brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called, But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen and the things which are not to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.
I have seen God fulfill this scripture. I have seen my family come to the Lord. The love that seemed to have been lost throughout the years? I experience it now. The distance? It is non existent. Did I mention that I was an A student in my college years and came out the top of my class ? But God. I now pastor A students and even those that God brings my way in the area of mentorship are A students. I can’t explain how but God has made it happen.
As we draw close to the Lord, He quiets the other voices that have lied to us and draws us closer to Himself. When someone starts to tell you that you are insignificant and you are worthless, you don’t act upon it because you know who you are in Christ. Because of our identity in Christ, our worth comes from a position of Christ and not our performance, we live to express who we are in Christ not prove who we are, and lastly we focus on building others and not tearing down.”
Who’s cutting onions today? My eyes can’t handle it any more. Makes you want to run and hug someone right? In this moment, we can stand tall together with her and declare with great confidence that God is present in every trouble and is a Master Chess Player orchestrating every piece of our story. We can say that in God alone do we find comfort. We can declare that God Himself restores relationships but most importantly, God will help us through the journey of forgiveness and through that He allows His light to shine on men and draws them to Himself.
Are there people whose affirmation you sought but never received? Are there people in your family who should have held your hand but didn’t? Are there people who wounded you that you are yet to forgive? Are there names you were called that you need to let go of?
I hope you are as encouraged as I am and that you will find strength in the Lord to confront your issues and use your story as a weapon and as a testimony and even if the scars are still fresh, be encouraged that God is with you and you will overcome ! Pastor Pam’s story is a testimony. All for the Glory of God!
If anything, remember:
You are light and you are so loved.
May His light shine on you, through you and in everything you do. Do not stay hidden. Let Him be glorified.