Have you ever felt like your whole life was a waste?  Like why did God even bother making me anyway?

Can you relate to feeling like a failure?  Well then grab an oar, because we’re in the same boat.  I have been there, and I sincerely mean it when I tell you I know someone that has answers.

I would like to share with you something very powerful that the Lord did for me.  When I was going through my ‘mental’ issues that had plagued me for most of my life, I was not on any medication and I was not surrounded by people who would encourage me to do so.  All I had and all I clung to was the hope of Christ.  I figured if He made my brain then He could fix it.  During an evening service in worship, Jesus came to me and He said, “Go up to the altar.” 

Well, I hummed and hawed for a bit because no one else was up there and I was like: 'Did I just hear God?'  So He gently nudged me and up I went - feeling kind of weird as it was a large church, but only about ten percent of the members were in attendance.  As I approached the altar, everyone disappeared.  I was in the presence of God.  I just stood there looking up, and then I heard Him ask me, “Do you want to be healed?”

"YES!" 

“Then receive your healing,” He replied. 

I raised up my hands (this is hard to describe), and it felt like He reached into me and rearranged my DNA.  I just stood there bawling.  For how long, I do not know.  When I went to walk away, there were people face down on the steps of the altar and all over the floor praying and weeping. No one touched me during my time at the altar; only Jesus.

Emotional problems do not have to be a lifelong ‘thing’ you learn to just deal with. This stuff can be removed so completely that it’s as if it was never there.  The memories are still with you, but the yucky-gunky feelings attached to them are gone.  What I learned after going up there was that I had responsibilities in my situation.  I was literally rejecting my own self because I refused to acknowledge my past and the things that had happened to me.  Abuse and rejection, the shame, and feelings of hopelessness.  These were constants for me. 

What led up to this amazing encounter with God? Allow me to share with you the way Jesus came into my life and changed me forever, by healing my heart and showing me a love like I had never known before.

The need for a Saviour

I did not have a healthy outlook on life.  I was sick of being sick of everything.  I tried to be happy, and I tried to appreciate what I did have in my life, but I was doing what I could on my own power.  So life was like a roller coaster, and each day filled with struggles I couldn’t sort out.  You see, the Lord will only help you in as much as you are willing.  He never comes plowing through your life and forcing you to change.  I’ve learned that you have to ask -- to cry out.  True change comes with willingness in your heart.

God doesn’t want us to just be a little bit healed.  He wants us to be whole.  It takes Him to complete us.  I lived a lifetime with rejection and never realized that most of my actions were reactions to this emotion.

One day while reading the book of Matthew, I found myself on the living room floor sobbing.  Well sure I knew He died, but I had never read it for myself.  What He went through; how He was tortured and beaten, humiliated and rejected -- on and on they hurt Him, and it occurred to me that He would do it all over again just for me and just for you.

WOW.  No one has ever loved me that much.  Do you know what He whispered into my heart at that moment?  “I forgive you.  I have forgiven you.  Now you need to forgive yourself.” 

“No!,” my heart replied.  I can’t do that.  I have too much evidence that says I can’t ... that says I shouldn’t.  That proves I don’t deserve it.  You don’t know . . . but He does know.  Because He is above all.  I can tell you He is patient.  He was patient with me.  And He will be patient with you.

Now as I look back, I can see what the Lord wanted to do in my life, but I kept getting in the way.  My flesh, the flesh that is stubborn and reluctant to change - all the while wanting to be different.  Have you ever met anyone who changed and stayed the same? 

Most people start their story from the beginning and work up to the present.  My testimony did not unfold that way.  As I was ready, the Lord took me to the places I needed to go.  I was really on a journey of forgiveness, going back in time.

Jesus was at the door knocking, and fear kept me from opening the door.  How silly is that to be afraid of the Lord?

He was asking for something so terrifying to me that I nearly missed my blessing.  He wanted me to go with Him, back to my past; back to the memories so painful to me that I had actually on some level created different personalities.

These personalities were known to me and each had a name.  I would call upon certain ones when I was in distress.  Post traumatic distress is what I was suffering from. As for severity, I had a mild case.  Only very stressful situations would bring this on. I couldn’t run anymore.  I couldn’t hide from what had happened to me.  I couldn’t pretend I wasn’t me.

Jesus wanted me to stand and fight (having done all stand...), and He promised to take my hand and walk with me the whole way; right by my side. 

I said, “Yes.  Yes, Lord, whatever you want because I can’t keep on this way."  I was finally ready to completely surrender this area of my life.  It was amazing how fast things happened at this point.

The weeks I was in prayer ministry were some of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  You know Jesus wouldn’t ask you to do something He wouldn’t also enable you to accomplish.

Was I ready to forge myself?  No, I wasn’t.

Tearing down the Strongholds

I began by forgiving my first husband for committing suicide.  Killing himself and trying several times to kill me.  Had he succeeded in killing me, he would have also killed my five year old daughter who was in the bathtub at the time.  This would have left my 10 year old son an orphan.

God gave me the grace to forgive him for his adulterous behavior all of the ten years of marriage and the six years we were dating before that.  I was able to forgive him of the humiliation and the pain he caused me, and for the time he beat me and denied me medical treatment when I needed it.  All of it, I forgave him, because that is what my Jesus wanted me to do in order to grow closer to God.  My unforgiveness was a sin.

I was also able to let go of the guilt I felt, wondering if I could have done something to prevent his death, and why didn’t I see this coming?  After all, I lived with him.

One of my biggest regrets in life is that after my husband died, I turned away from God.  I had not been saved at this point; that came three years later.  I had been in a Catholic church for many years, but never came to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  That was because I had "religion", not relationship.

I was angry and alone.  Family turned their backs; friends disappeared and even the Godly people in church would not talk to me anymore.

I turned my anger towards God and myself.  I didn’t care anymore because so much of my life had been filled with pain and hatred.  I just couldn’t deal with anything at all.  So I ran from God.  I set out to destroy myself.

I tried to dull my feelings with drugs and alcohol and relationships that went no where.  Of course none of that filled the void.  Down I spiraled; all the while deluding myself that I was strong, that I would be okay, after all ... this wasn’t the first time I had to go it alone. 

I ended up pregnant.  The guy I was with wanted me to have an abortion.

Fear had at this point completely taken over my life.  I terminated my pregnancy. “Oh, what have I done?”  The torment was almost unbearable.  Life really felt like hell on earth.  Would I ever stop hearing the sound of the vacuum tearing the life from inside me?  The references made to my baby as nothing more than tissue?  There is no reversal to this procedure.  When I left the clinic, there were other men (cowardly men) sitting in their cars waiting for their girlfriends to come out.  I hated them too.

Surrounded by death and sadness, I had no hope.  I vowed to never forgive myself.  In my opinion, I didn’t even deserve to be part of society anymore.  I felt like the scum of all scum.

What I had been reading, and what God was showing me, I could easily apply to any other person; just not to myself. I remained in doubt.  My vow to never forgive myself was hindering my walk and keeping me from the very thing I wanted most, to be closer to God.  He is gracious, and continued to renew my mind as I read His Word.

Unraveling the past

There was hatred and murder still in my heart.  We had to go back further.  Deal with the issues.  Get to the root of all my anguish.  This caused a lot of fear to rise up and I was very anxious.

Teenage years were a nightmare day after day.  One new school to the next.  Foster homes and group homes and fighting to survive.  Running away (sleeping  in church doorways), hiding from people that wanted to put me back in my parents home.  I had so much unrest inside during these times.  Mostly what I felt was worthless, and confused, rejected and unwanted.

This was a time of anorexia and bulimia, and my only attempt to end my own life.  I had to forgive the foster parents, for the lack of love in the homes; they used us to further their own gain.  I was given drugs and allowed to drink.  Locked in basements and not always fed.

I used to think that if I cried hard enough I would just blip into space and disappear.  Like Job, I cursed the day I was born.

You could never at this point have convinced me there was any purpose for me to even be alive.  No one cared.  At the age of sixteen the courts let me go.  I was sent out on my own; alone again.

With God’s love working in me now, I forgave them.  All of the people in my life that I felt had let me down during those three years in foster care.  I spent hours in prayer to rend my heart.  I fasted.  I kept seeking, but I was still afraid; so afraid, all the time. 

“What is it?  What do you want me to do Lord?” 

He replied, “I want you to forgive your dad.” 

What?!  You can’t be serious.  He doesn’t deserve it! 

“I died for him too,” was the answer that came back to me.

The nightmares that had stopped for fourteen years began again, and I cried all the time.  Depression loomed over me and threatened to cover me in darkness.  A place I fought so hard to avoid.

By this time in my life, I was 38 years old and having nightmares of my childhood.  I felt like I was losing it.  There was a battle going on inside of me, one part saying just give up, this is too hard, and the other saying you have to finish it because you can’t stop here.  This is when it became evident that I had ‘compartmentalized’ years of my life.  The ‘mental issue’ I referred to at the beginning of my story.

Have you ever packed something away in a box and put it in the back of the attic and forgotten about it, except you have a vague idea what’s in there?  Jesus wanted to go in the attic and open the boxes. My vague idea gave me sheer terror.  We had already opened the boxes of “Patti” and the teenage years.  The boxes of “Trisha” and her dead husband and aborted baby.  But please Lord, I can’t open the boxes of “little Patti.”  I just can’t.

There is no sugar coating it.  I hated my dad. I lived in fear of this man.  By the age of 13, I found myself standing over him while he slept, and I planned to kill him.  That’s when I left home entering into foster care in the spring just before I turned 14.

Now any child that has been abused knows the pain and degradation, the shame that is placed on him or her.  My instance of this wasn’t any more painful than that of another young person having their innocence robbed from them.  What I think made it so much worse was the psychological warfare my dad engaged in day after day, year after year.

My parents made it known that they never wanted me.  I was the “oops” baby.  They had my sister and would have loved a boy.  Instead they got me who they decided to name Patricia, after my father’s mentally retarded sister that hung herself in a straight jacket at age 16.  Of course they referred to her as insane and made sure I knew that no one really liked her much either.

My paternal grandmother never had a kind word to say to me until I was in my twenties. She was a scary grandmother that would drag me out from under the table by my leg. So I grew up not fitting in. I was not protected from my father and I know my sister was not either.

As the memories flooded back, I had to forgive each one ... sometimes more than once ... because I wouldn’t let go.

To say my dad was mean or neglectful would not really describe the situation.  He was cruel.  I do not remember him ever saying that he loved me.

A dad shouldn’t take his daughter out of the home at night into the woods, and drive for hours to remote locations by the river. 

He shouldn’t pick her up by her throat to speak to her and then toss her down like a rag doll.  He shouldn’t call her names and refer to her as garbage.  He should not hunt her in the forest like an animal. Or dehumanize her by making her eat off the floor like a dog.  He shouldn’t put her in the middle of the living room floor with her sister in their underwear (at the ages of 5-12) to fight each other until one could not stand or had a concussion.  There are a lot of things a dad shouldn’t do.  I think my dad did nearly all of them.

This isn’t about how the enemy can hurt people.  We have all been hurt.  I am making a point to how difficult it was for me to deal with this area of my life, and why it was so crucial for me to do so. 

My mother was not blameless in all of this either.  Her mother, my favorite grandmother, used to tell me how she would nurse me back to health under a heat lamp because my mother wouldn’t change me and I would have dirty diapers all day long.  She would sneak me food and candy when I was locked in my room, and she was the one who gave me my little white Bible and helped me write what I called "The Our Father prayer" in it when I was seven years old.

This was all of the knowledge of God I had to get me through; it was my mustard seed of faith.  God bless my grandma for that.  I couldn’t understand what the Bible said but I liked the pictures, and I carried that book through all the foster homes an everywhere.  I still have it.

A transformation

How does a person get past a lifetime of rejection?  I wasn’t imagining these things that happened to me.  All of the drinking in our home, followed by violent outbursts of screaming and physical beatings, left me in a constant state of anxiety.  These things made me feel worthless and it filled me with despair.  I was confused; I had no self-esteem.  Not only was my body physically bruised, my soul was bruised as well. 

How could I believe that I was wanted by God when I just felt so unwanted?  Not to mention the guilt and the shame that were so heavy on me.  Sometimes I couldn’t even breath. I struggled with what I knew to be true.  In my opinion there was more evidence of evil than of good in the world that I grew up in.  I couldn’t even escape it in my adult life.

So many times we place our earthly dad in the same arena with our Heavenly Father.  That left me feeling unconnected to God.

I had to begin to TRUST the Lord, to realize that He knows where my life is going.  It isn’t hard to believe that I had issues of trusting.

When I started to look at who God says I am, then I could see a huge difference from my thinking.  I went a step further in my healing and I drew off of what Daniel did as he repented for the sins of Israel.  I asked God to forgive all my generations before me and the abuse that went on and was passed down.  This would stop with me. 

When I allowed the Lord access to my heart - no more games pretending I was all right - just complete submission ... He broke loose the walls of my anger and hatred and He flooded me with forgiveness and love. 

As I look back to when I was given this new life, I see how the need for drugs and alcohol were replaced with a deep longing to know Him.  That is a gift!

My self-hatred, grown and cultivated through the years of abuse and rejection, was a form of pride.  Proverbs says first comes pride, then shame.  By not acknowledging my past, I rejected my own self.  It is a vicious circle.

Choose not to listen to the enemy (Satan); he is a liar and the father of it.  God tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (See: Romans 8:1).  His people will never be put to shame.  It does not matter what mistakes you have made in your past.  There is a way back through Jesus.  God is calling you back to Him.

Letting go

What does the Bible say about forgiveness?  That if we want to be forgiven, we have to forgive others.  So I did.

God performed a miracle in my heart.  Forgiveness is nothing short of a miracle.  Each incident I took to the cross and Jesus covered it with His blood. 

Choose this day whom you will serve. 

I can choose to BELIEVE what my Heavenly Father says about me.  I can have the forgiveness that He is faithful to give me.  He took me back in my mind to before the foundations of the world were laid and He said, “I knew you then, and I wanted you.”  Then He began to show me that He had been with me all along, and He was enough.  Let Jesus Christ be enough in your life today.

I forgive my dad.  I know how to separate him from his sins.

It has been a 3 years since his death, as of this writing.  My mother died 17 years ago, and my first husband 8 years ago.  They will never hurt me again and I will never have to see them again, but I still need to forgive them.  I did it for me so that I could be free of the bondage they held me in.  My memories were bondage.

The guilt and shame were like idols in my life.  I used to always put them before me wherever I went.  I placed them between myself and my God.  No more.  I forgive them and I forgive myself.

You can destroy the power Satan has in your life by forgiving those who have hurt you.  Do not hold on to bitterness.  It is poison in your soul.  Give your heart to God and desire what He has for your life.  You won’t regret it. Your future generations will thank you.  Make a choice and believe that you have worth; you ARE valuable, so much that the creator of the Heavens, and the earth came to die for you. 

Remember - we do not fight for victory ... we fight from the victory.

Today I have a beautiful family that loves me, four great children and a husband that follows the Lord.  Where would I be if I had given up?

I encourage you to never stop seeking what it is God wants to do through your situation.  Believe in your healing, thank God everyday for it and continue to let Him work through you.  Speak positive into your life and do not believe the situation is not going to change.

One day you too will be a witness to the Goodness and Faithfulness of Jesus Christ. 

Those who SOW in tears will REAP with songs of joy!  Psalm 126:5 (NIV)

-- Patricia

REAL LIFE STORIES - Chapter 93

FORGIVENESS


 


Dear Reader - are you at peace with God?  If not, you can be.  Do you know what awaits you when you die?  You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain.  Either Jesus Christ died for yours sins, or He didn't (He did!).  Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God?  We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.

To get to know God; to be at peace with God; to have your sins forgiven; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God.  What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one.  Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life. 


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