When a piece of your past comes back around it can be an opportunity to either shrink back from that pain or stand tall remembering the growth that has occurred. Things like bumping into an ex, hearing a certain song or seeing an old picture are moments that measure that growth, just to name a few. Or in my case, like having to get a police report from a past offense so you can move forward in the foster/adoption process.
When Past Choices Shape Future Chances
I grew up attending church. I really enjoyed going– I got to see my friends and get some sweet stickers on my church progress chart. My dad wasn’t a believer but grew up in church and had placed a high value on the family aspect of going together. My mom was pretty devout and found her relationship with God at about nineteen years of age. He was ex-military. She was traditional Asian born and raised. We had a nice, close family that enjoyed one another and loved each other well but didn’t really know how to talk about the tough things in life, or express feelings and emotions in a healthy way. All that mixed with a small Baptist church of about fifty people who navigated their lives and relationships in a similar way had set the stage for me to hide my sins and struggles in fear– to hide my secret lifestyle outside what people saw on a Sunday. That got me to the point where as a nineteen year old I found myself in a small interrogation room on a Saturday. I had been sexually involved with a girl that was two years younger than me and under the age of eighteen. All my secrets were out. In that moment, all the fears I had became a reality. I was at at turning point many people face in life: do I stay hurt and shut down in my pain or do I use this moment as an opportunity to change my life?
Betting On God
Daily I’m thankful that God didn’t give up on me. Thankful that I was given enough grace and time to get my “ish” together and make better choices that would change my life. Thankful that my path was crossed with an incredible church that values, preaches and lives the vision of being real. I needed a place to be real with myself and my issues. I still need that place where I can let God come in to mend brokenness and heal wounds. Because he did that. And he still does that.
I am not the man I once was and it is all because of the work God has done in my life. As we move forward in the foster process I can do so without shame– knowing I am not perfect, but God has accepted me, forgiven me, and loves me. I’m still working at being the best version of me humanly possible. I look at the past with humility while looking to the future with hope. Being real was just the first step.
Take a few minutes and think about these questions:
Is there something in your life you’re afraid to be real about?
Is there something in your life that moves you to a place of hurt instead of healing? Weighed down instead of free? Is it a barrier instead of a stepping stone?
What would it look like for you to share that with a trusted and godly friend this week?