This is a guest post by Julie, who shares her struggles with low self-worth and seeking fulfillment in all the wrong places. A personal crisis that spun her life completely out of control led her to seek a deeper relationship with a God she once doubted even existed. In Him, she found the fulfillment she had been seeking, a hope she had lost, and a new beginning – one in which she was free from guilt, pain, and feelings of unworthiness. Her story shares how she was able to find peace, love, and acceptance through her relationship with God, who transformed her life From Burdened to Set Free and from Broken to Whole.
I grew up in a Christian home, had loving parents, went to church every week, and even went to a Christian high school. I had a knowledge of God – of what He expected from me and of the right and wrong ways I should behave, but I was lacking a personal relationship with God.
As I got older, I started to feel like no matter what I did, it would never be good enough to outweigh the sin I kept giving in to. I felt judged, condemned, and like I would never to be able to earn my salvation. When I became a teenager, I had feelings of low self-worth and searched for affirmation in all the wrong places. I was angry and rebellious. I abused drugs, was kicked out of private school, and even ran away from home. When I was 16, I found out I was pregnant. Although I didn’t recognize it at the time, God was at work in my life through this. The same God I felt condemnation from poured out His love for me through my church. They supported me, accepted me, and showered me with gifts during one of the loneliest times of my life.
By the grace of God and the help of my parents, I finished high school and threw myself into single motherhood and the work force. I wish I could say I experienced God’s salvation for me at that point, but I did not. Instead, I turned my back on God. I thought I didn’t need Him and could manage my own life just fine. I even claimed I didn’t believe in His existence. I was constantly searching for what I thought would fulfill this empty place inside me. I thought, if I just get married, I will feel complete. If I have more money, the right clothes, or a bigger house, I will feel accepted. If I can be the perfect wife or the perfect mother I will feel valued. The truth is, not one of these things brought the fulfillment I was seeking.
As I got married, and eventually became a stay at home mother, all the things I thought I wanted did not fulfill me. I did not feel peace inside.
In July of 2009, I suffered a personal crisis. The life I had put so much energy into perfecting spun completely out of my control. I felt alone, helpless, hopeless, and terrified of the future ahead of me. I had tried doing things my way for so long and it wasn’t working. My life was in chaos. I started to examine the way I had been living and found myself on my knees in front of the same God I had turned my back on. I began desperately reading through the Psalms, searching for a solution, and started to realize that I alone was powerless over my life. But with God on my side, I could have hope – His way could be better. I could have assurance in something so much more meaningful than I could ever find here on Earth – I could have assurance in eternal life. I started to understand that with God, things could be restored, but I had to give Him all of me in order for that to happen. I became reborn in Christ that August of 2009, sitting on a beach in South Carolina.
After I was saved, I struggled with guilt for all the things I had done over the years that took me away from God. I felt like I could have avoided so much pain for myself and that maybe my life would have turned out differently if I had been following Christ all along. I didn’t grasp how God could forgive me if I couldn’t forgive myself. A mentor of mine told me it was like if someone had given me a beautifully wrapped present that I accepted, but could never experience the joy of what was inside because I refused to open it. I had Christ as my savior, but had yet to fully accept His Grace. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I know now that all the things I went through were for a purpose – to bring me back to my Heavenly Father. I have finally filled that empty place inside me – with the JOY of salvation. I have found peace because I know God is with me and FOR me no matter what I go through. I have freedom from the burdens I was carrying because Christ has already taken them for me.
I AM a sinner…but I am forgiven.
I WILL sit in judgement…but I will not be condemned.
I AM unworthy…but I am loved anyway.
I AM broken…but I have been made whole through Christ Jesus.
If you would like to reach out to Julie, you can leave a comment below or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a story you would like to share, please email me with “Broken to Beautiful” in the subject line and I will follow up with you. Thank you.