I’m a 25 year old single female. I’m energetic, outgoing, adventurous, and have high hopes for the future. I probably seem like a normal young adult at first glance to most people, but my life has been much different than most 25 year old women. I’ve gone through things and seen things that a lot of people haven’t. Ten years ago, I would’ve never imagined my life to turn out the way it did. Sometimes I wish it would’ve been different, but when I remember all the good, beauty, and redemption that has come from all the pain I’ve been through, then I remember that it was all worth it. I wouldn’t change any of it even if I could.
I want to share a part of my story with you. Particularly, the part about what the Lord has walked me through this past year of my life. But I need to give you some context first.
Five years ago, I was deeply hurt by a man that I loved very much, and who I thought loved me too. I know what its like to have my heart broken, and I’ve experienced deep pain. The kind of pain that hurts so bad it pierces into the depths of your heart and soul. The kind you can’t escape because it’s inside of you and nothing can remove it or make it go away. The kind that shouldn’t be numbed, ignored, or avoided because true healing only comes when you go through it. I was hurt, rejected, used, and abandoned by him, and I’ve been walking through the healing process for the past 5 years of my life.
It’s been a messy, hard, and beautiful journey. About a year ago, I realized that my heart had become hardened and bitter towards men. I developed a negative and degrading attitude towards them and wanted nothing to do with dating anyone ever again. My heart was hurt so bad that I thought I could never be with a man again.
And then I went on this thing called the World Race. An 11 month journey to 11 countries around the world with a bunch of other Jesus-loving young adults. We lived in community 24/7 throughout the trip and I was placed on a co-ed team for 6 months.
God works in funny ways sometimes.
As I lived in community with men, I observed them carefully and watched the way they treated others. It was during that time that God began to soften my heart towards them again. I began to see them as humans who struggle just like everyone else in this world, and I finally started having grace for them.
At the end of the day, we are all human. Whether you’re a man, woman, transgender, gay, straight, religious, or non-religious. It doesn’t matter because we are all human and we have all been deeply hurt at some point in our lives.
God helped me see that it’s not men who hurt women, it’s people who hurt people.
As I began to really get to know the men I lived in community with, I began to see how deeply they had been hurt also. I saw how genuine and caring they were. I saw their love for God and realized that there really are men out there who truly and wholeheartedly love the Lord.
Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle a lot. There are certain things that will trigger things from my past to come back and it’s really hard. It’s a constant battle for me to have grace. But it’s a daily choice for me to fight against lies with the truth of God’s word.
In this life, we will always go through hard and painful things, but that doesn’t mean we should ever stop fighting or give up, because it is so, so worth it when we get through it. When I look back at my life the past five years, I see God’s faithfulness, redemption, and goodness. He has healed my heart so deeply and intimately. He has strengthened me spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. He has been with me every step of the way and made me whole again.
The depth of pain we allow ourselves to walk through is directly connected to the depth of joy we experience. If we try to avoid going through pain, we are depriving ourselves of the depth of joy and freedom the Lord desires to give us. I have come out on the other side and I can tell you wholeheartedly that the deep joy and freedom I’ve experienced is so worth all the pain I went through.
So whether you’re a man, woman, transgender, gay, straight, religious, or nonreligious, remember that we are all people and we have all been hurt. Remember to have grace and fight for the truth. Don’t ever stop fighting, dear friend, and don’t be afraid to go through the hard part because that’s the only way to get to the beautiful part.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11