Use My Ugly Past And Turn It Into Something Beautiful, Lord

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I think we all (hopefully) have a tender side with a sense of empathy and compassion. Our hearts break for others when we see them in unfortunate circumstances, like the Las vegas shooting or the hurricanes.  Seeing a friend lose a child or other family member too soon, and you can’t help but feel compassion and empathy for that person. You send notes, make phone calls, send flowers, send money, you do anything in your power to help.

The question is, what about when it happens to those you don’t know? So many times, our passion is fierce and burns deeply when someone who is close to you struggles even slightly, but we can often find it easy to turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to those in desperation on the other side of the world.

The Lord has a very interesting way of revealing our calling in life. I had no idea that when I started writing my blog that a national coalition on assisting victims of rape/sexual assault and domestic abuse, would reach out to me and ask me to help with their cause.  This would also, be my biggest heartbreak to date. My counseling, support groups and writing was reaching many people and I started receiving a lot of  emails from women hurting, struggling and feeling hopeless. I was shocked at how many women were touched by domestic abuse in particular.

My prayer:

Dear Lord, please break my heart for what break yours.

I started saying this prayer shortly after my divorce. I was looking for His direction in my life.  I was searching for a purpose. It was a year in the wilderness with lots of  questions and confusion and lots of prayer.

I started to ask the Lord what was my calling in life?  What direction do you want me to go?  Should I focus on helping others?  I had one thing going for me; my passion was clear. I wanted to help people find hope through their abuse, sexual assault and rape. Since I am a survivor of all of these, I thought What the Enemy Intends for Evil, God Will Use for Good.  I did not want my life of suffering to be in vain, I wanted to be able to come along side women and be able to cry with them.  I wanted to help usher in their healing through Jesus Christ.  I wanted to be someone to break the stigma and help end the shame of rape/sexual assault and domestic abuse.  To raise awareness in the church and anywhere else I am needed.

I wanted people to see what real healing looks like. I wanted people to realize healing and hope is possible. The question was “how?” I needed direction. Should I go back to school to get my counseling degree. Should I get a job in a treatment facility? Should I write a book? These questions were never-ending.

He is Faithful and the Lord’s purpose for my life continues to be unveiled. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Each person, whether it’s rape/sexual assault, child abuse or domestic violence is searching for answers, when they reach out to me.  It is a part of my road map directing me in an exciting purpose driven direction.

I didn’t set out to become an advocate. It found me, the Lord used this pain in my life as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, stalker-rape, and domestic abuse/violence.  To help change people lives.  To be His hands and His voice, and be an instrument of His glory.  To do His will in all that I say and do.

Of course, being an advocate has been shaped by the fact that I am a survivor. I am here, not by accident, but because I am a fighter. From a young age, I’ve always had a sense of justice and felt that there was something larger, and greater than me, out there for me to discover and it was Jesus Christ.  My purpose in this world, is coming along side women in crisis as victims of sexual assault and abuse. Through out my life I have always kept going, through all the heartache and pain, because of this very calling.  I felt it deep in my soul. My hope is other victims will become activists and advocates. Because I know how it has changed my life and sometimes, it can even save it.  Every-time, I counsel someone or speak to an audience about my past, I heal a little more each time.  My scars are now a badge of honor not of shame.

So, as you can see this was a powerful prayer for me that completely changed the direction of my life. If you earnestly pray this prayer, be prepared it will change your life maybe through a series of heart breaks. It’s heartbreaking in the most beautiful way. The good news is, that your purpose to help others will become very clear.   The Lord will give you a lot of divine appointments as he trains you up. My heart broke not once, not twice, but hundreds of times over the past few years.

My sincere hope is that my heart will never stop breaking for those that are still suffering. My hope is that my heart opens a little more with each heartbreak and opportunity He gives me, and He will continue to use all of my heartbreaks to guide me. My hope is that compassion fills every crack that each heartbreak leaves. My hope is that your heart will break too and your purpose to help others will become clear.

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it,when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21

So here is my challenge to you: Allow your heart to soften, allow it to truly and honestly break, and act on those feelings. That soft voice within you that wants to help is the Holy Spirit working within you. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and take a leap of faith.

Break my heart for what breaks Yours, I surrender everything I am for your kingdom – it’s a scary sort of prayer but we must pray it – our brothers and sisters need us to pray it! Don’t let the security of your world shelter you from the ugliness outside. Pull your head out from under the the rock, look around, and as your heart breaks be changed, be moved, be empowered!   Thank You Jesus for saving a sinner like me and using all my ugly past and turning it into something beautiful and precious in your sight.

If you find yourself in a difficult season right now, find encouragement through this reminder: God will turn it around for good. Somehow. He is faithful to His Word, and He Loves you. He will see you through, don’t ever doubt it. You will step out to the other side of the darkness. And who knows, but that many lives may be affected for the kingdom’s sake, because of your difficult season of struggle.

 

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Author: Cheryl Downum

My name is Cheryl Downum, 2015 was a difficult year for me. I chose to separate from my husband because of his unrepentant abusive behavior and a year later we divorced. I moved from Atascadero ca to the Temecula Valley in Socal. As I’ve walked this journey, I’ve found myself growing closer to Jesus. My heart is now infused with empathy for others that find themselves in this place. And, God has given me a story, a message of hope to share. A message birthed in my brokenness that brought forth a sweet-surrendered dependence on God’s unconditional acceptance and love. The reason I am writing this blog is; I have found in my life that the Lord often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad to our deepest calling. My desire is to encourage His children to seek a deeper relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope that as you read my blog, you will feel inspired and encouraged. Thank you for visiting! God Bless! The Lord has opened a door for me in ministry with women who have been raped/sexually assault or abused by their spouse.  I have become a fulltime Advocate for women with a national organization.  For more information on this exciting chapter in my life, please visit my Healing Heart Blog https://thehealingheartblog.wordpress.com/ I am a Survivor and an Advocate, I am passionate about raising awareness about Rape/Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Visit my The healing heart facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/thehealingheart77/

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