this past weekend, our minister went to the beach with her family. she asked mama if she would give the sermon. by the end of the service, she had many of us in tears. I thought I’d share it with y’all:
Lamentations chapter 3
In Lamentations Jeremiah bemoans the punishment from God..but then praises God for his forgiveness
Just as Jeremiah felt hopeless and helpless I am sure that many people feel the same way at times. Jeremiah had faith that God would save him eventually. Even after all he had been through he still praised God. Jeremiah made me think about how much it is the same..even today. Most everyone goes through horrible things at one time or another. Things that make us feel hopeless.
There is a story I would like to share with you. About someone I have know for as long as I can remember.
As a child she was shy at times and like most children, boisterous at others. She seemed like any other child.
As she aged she began to speak about the experiences of her life. From her childhood into her journey to find God. She spoke of the abuse and molestation she went through which started at a young age and continued into her teen years. She felt hopeless. She spoke of the fear that would grip her STILL at certain times because of an action or a word. It especially takes her a long time to warm up to men. Trusting is still not always easy for her either.
She talks of some of the extraordinary life experiences she has lived. The pain others brought her and the pain she brought on herself. How her first husband cheated on her within just a few months of their mariage when she had thought she had finally found THE ONE. She had let down her guard and actually trusted someone.
After 8 years of marriage he left her for another. She was pregnant at the time. She felt hopeless
She talks of her second husband who was her best friend’s brother in law and how he had befriended her as she went through those difficult times. How she fell in love with him after she assumed he had turned himself around from breaking the law and going to prison. But when he returned to his illegal ways and she refused to lie for him he threatened to kill both her and her children. So she had to flee to be safe. But he always would find her eventually no matter how many times she moved. How the Secret Service found her as well and came to question her about him. She knew nothing but was still afraid. She felt hopeless
So many life experiences that most people could NEVER understand. Some more than she can bare to speak about.
She talked of how she eventually turned to alcohol to keep those memories at bay, therefore neglecting her children. She had shoved those horrible emotions and memories so far down that when they did creep to the surface she would shut down inside. She still does that once in awhile.
She has spoken of losing two friends by murder. One a very special classy lady who had been married to a politician in New York state but got divorced and moved back to her old stomping ground and renewed her relationship with her highschool boyfriend. After many years of troubles he eventually shot her to death. The other person she knew who was killed was one of her old boyfriends whose present girlfriends son beat him to death with a baseball bat. And she know he probably had done something that led to his own demise.
She dabbled in the occult. She read tarot cards. She did that until she became fearful. Not fearful because she thought they were evil as many do but because she was way too good at it to be comfortable. She would see death and there would be a death. The things she would see frightened her.
There are just way too many things to tell about her. It would take hours to tell all her stories.
She talks about her children who have stood by her through thick and thin no matter what had happened or is happening. And how much she loves them. In more ways than one, they are what saved her life.
She also talks about her present husband who is a kind and loving partner and father.
Then she speaks of the day she stepped foot in the door of her church. The friendly welcome she received from strangers. She was careful for a long time to not get close to anyone there. She knew what it was like to lose people she loved and cared about.
Slowly she became acquainted with a few, but she wasn’t ready to let down her guard and trust. As time went on she joined in on more and more activities and found that all of the people of the church were good people. Some more accepting of an her than others. But for the most part it felt comfortable. She began to find some hope in her life.
Maybe, just maybe God had led her to this place. Over a period of time she realized all she had been through from childhood on was probably meant to be. God in his wisdom had given her the tools she needed. She had a love and understanding of those who were different. Her life experiences gave her some degree of knowing what others are feeling. Knowing that some life experiences can change a person forever. Although it was her family that saved her life She felt that God’s mercy had saved her heart and her soul.
God is all about Hope and Love. He is an equal opportunity employer. He doesn’t discriminate. Some lives may be dreary, some wonderful, some awful. You just never know what he may have in store for your life. But I do know the ending of this story. If you allow Him to..he will guide you to where you need to be. Take my word for that.
If you haven’t guessed already who the lady is in my story. It’s me. I could stand up here all day and recite pages out of my life, but I won’t. I really wanted to tell you that God is the miracle working in my life. Nobody that knew me back when..would ever guess I would be where I am today. Let alone standing in front of you all..giving a sermon. Over the last couple of years God has led me to talk about some of my experiences to try and help others. I was encouraged to write about molestation. So I did. I can only hope it has helped those who have read it. God has changed my hopelessness into hope. Just as he did for Jeremiah. I opened my heart even though it was hard for me to do. I have found that bad experineces and secrets can carrode a soul.
I also learned to no longer be a very judgemental person. I gave that over to God as well. I try hard to take people as they are because it is what God would want me to do. I have a love in my heart for all of you even if I don’t agree with you about everything. Just as he had judged Jeremiah. God is the supreme judge in our Christian lives. I realize now that he never failed me. He wanted me to be who I am and where I am today, although I am not perfect. I will always be eternally grateful for his love, his guidance and his support.
There are 365 pages in your life story every year. God did not promise us they would all be good ones, but he did promise he would be there for us.
Let us pray
Heavenly Father as we try and live our lives in the way you want us to, please forgive us when we falter and fail. The blessings you give us every day are worth more than anything else that is worldly. Give us the courage to not judge those who are different from ourselves. Let us show your love to each other. In Jesus’s name Amen
**the cheating first husband, and the kind third husband are one in the same. that would be my daddy. during their divorce, he married satan and had another child. he learned many lessons during those years, and he was a different man when they remarried**