I was once asked to answer the question “What has God done for you?” At the same time I was given a three to five minute time limit. What follows is my brief answer to a question to which volumes could have been written.
I have been able to overcome (and truly forgive those responsible for) a childhood that included:
- a father who abandoned me
- a step-father who made many attempts to rape me
- rootlessness caused by several moves between the ages of 4 and 10
- family members who teased me for the stand I took (I became a Christian at the age of seven)
All of which left me with no self-esteem, no self-confidence and a first suicide attempt at the age of seventeen.
I have also been able to overcome adulthood difficulties including:
- a husband who was verbally abusive and demanded my subservience in all matters
- a divorce that left me with little contact with my son from 1985 to 2001 (contact being limited to five or six phone calls in 16 years)
- continued rootlessness caused by another twenty-one moves between the ages of twenty and forty-five
- severe depression leading to many more suicide attempts
- addiction to alcohol
None of which improved my self-esteem or self-confidence. In overcoming all this there has been healing of the depression and alcoholism.
Through all of this I have found a peace that truly surpasses human understanding: a peace in the face of income that was much less than I needed to meet my budget; a peace that says all will be okay even when everything falls apart; a peace that says I am of infinite worth to God and loved by many and able “to do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” A peace that held even when I lost the home I had dreamed of owning since I was seventeen. This peace has also carried me through several recent difficult situations, situations that make everything that was a part of my life previously seem like a piece of cake in comparison. And though I don’t always feel that peace, it is there when I am finally able to see past the situation to the knowledge that even if the situation doesn’t make sense, God is still in control.