I often hear that our pasts make us who we are, but that just doesn't settle well with me. I understand that my life is influenced by my experience but my past did NOT make me who I am today. If I was a product of my past, I wouldn't be here today.
Many of us have pasts that we are not proud of--we all have those parts of our lives we would rather forget or keep hidden... Those secrets that we are so ashamed of or traumatized by that they become our undoing. And in honesty, I have to admit that there was a time that those struggles and tragedies burrowed so deeply in every part of my heart that I couldn't--I wouldn't--see anything beyond the circumstances that defined me. Raped--I'm ruined. Abused--I'm worthless. Guilty--I'm condemned. Rejected--I'm unwanted. Forgotten--I'm unneeded. There was a time that my past became my own undoing--dismantling my life piece by piece. I was so trapped in the pain and scars of my past and lost in the hurt that I withdrew from life itself and gave up everything, even the good. I wished my life away and prayed to a God I didn't really understand for the strength and the release to make that wish true.
There was a day when the decision had been made, the plan had been laid out, my goodbyes had been written with pleas for those I loved most to be stronger than I... I had tried before but this time I knew what I was doing--it would be the time that I was successful. One last pause to look behind me before I went out the door....and something happened.
God stood in my way and whispered, "I am here." And He began the process of undoing my past rather than letting my past undo me. If my past had "made" me, my life would have turned out very differently--not in a good way. If my past had "made" me, I would be someone else entirely, incapable of giving and receiving love or of even knowing love. But I am NOT a product of my past... I am a product of GRACE.
God stood in my way and GRACE happened. He began writing a brand new story. If not for GRACE, my past would have left me in shambles, incapable of repair. If not for GRACE, I would still be hiding in the shadows and memories of my past, shattered by them. If not for GRACE, I would be an empty, lonely shell, void of love and life. If not for GRACE, I would be drowning in guilt, consumed with bitterness and hatefulness, seeking vengeance that was not mine to gain. If not for GRACE, I would still be looking backward with regret rather than forward with hope. If not for GRACE, I would be dead by my own hand...
GRACE made me who I am today. My past left me completely "undone" but GRACE transformed me, re-created me, and made me brand new. GRACE took the broken pieces left by my past and made something good and beautiful from them. If not for God's AMAZING GRACE, I would never have discovered that life begins again each day I let my past go... GRACE ALONE is the "undoing" of my past.
I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and gall. I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have HOPE:
Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed
for His compassions never fail.
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for Him."
Lamentations 3:19-24 NIV