“Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” Psalms 10:1

This was my life: I was alone. I felt forsaken. I was disillusioned. I couldn’t understand why a good God would allow this to happen to me. But He did.

In the early years of high school, I made one decision. It didn’t really seem like a big deal at the time, but then the unimaginable took place, something priceless was taken from me, and I was never the same.  I didn’t seek help because I was afraid of what people would think. Would they blame me? Would they say I should have listened? Would they tell me this was all just a consequence to my sin? In those moments I decided this must just be how God works. I thought back to the story of Adam and Eve, how they lost their perfect life, and were kicked out of the garden because of their sin. I figured this verdict was the same for me and I felt the heaviness. From then on, I just knew my life would no longer work out the way I had hoped- the way others expected.

The years of high school and college proved to be very painful. I felt like I was not good enough for good things and because of this, I found myself in abusive relationships as early as my junior year of high school. I hung out with friends that were not the church type, would lie to my parents, and go out to parties.  I acted as if God’s best was off the table for me and chose to pursue the best of the world.

This ideology spilled over to my adult life and I set out to be the best nurse, the best wife, and the best mother I could be. I worked tirelessly to advance my career, to make more money, to have the big house, the nice car, and all the right clothes. I had convinced myself that if I managed things well that no one else could hurt me or take something from me.  Over the years, I moved into better jobs, had money and things, but none of it was filled with God. After experiencing a failed marriage and divorce, I met another man who is now my husband. We had money, businesses, a house, and cars; to the outside, we had it all. But when we lost it all, we were left with a lot of baggage and a dysfunctional marriage. At this point I felt broken; everything had been taken from me and I didn’t know how I could possibly move forward. But this was really when God began to change me.

In my desperate brokenness, I cried out, “God this is not the life I want. I need you!” God began to soften my heart and show me the ways I needed to surrender. The road was not without bumps, but my husband and I were both looking for God to change us, so life began to be better than it had ever been. Through a Bible study with my sister, I began to realize God just didn’t want to restore my marriage, He wanted to restore me. Ironically our study started with the story of Adam and Eve and for the first time I saw the grace in the story. I saw that God didn’t just throw them from the garden because of their sin, but protected them from an eternal life without God. He was allowing for their restoration.  He is such a good God!

My life’s journey has been hard. But because of God, I know beauty can come from ashes. I feel like my life has equipped me to be an advocate: to stand up for the victim, to show compassion to the hurting, and to lead others to the beautiful restoration God offers.