“He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
As many know, I write many posts on grace, relationships, Proverbs 31, purity, and so forth, but I need to be honest with myself and let go of my past. I have written this post four times, and have deleted them all, for this makes me uncomfortable, but I have a story of grace and redemption, and I keep hiding it due to hating the fact that it happened to begin with.
I am sharing this, for God has placed this on my heart for the past few months, and I have been hearing and watching many sermons about letting go in the past week, but it has taken me now to truly post this blog post. As my blog suggests, I want to get married, yet there is one thing that has plagued my mind that I have declined to write on, and today, I am finally going to be honest, and post this no matter how uncomfortable it makes me, for maybe, just maybe, someone out there needs to hear these words.
I have only told two people my story, which was a former domestic abuse counselor and my best friend, about my story, and I have never told another soul until today, and it has been almost two years. In the past, my biggest fear was that a Christian man would not want me as his wife when he found out the story of the time I was broken. Many times, I wonder how I am going to address the conversation or how I am going to begin the conversation. The more I contemplated, the more I kept silent.
To give a backstory, before going into any details, I was raised in an amazing Christian home. I was loved beyond belief, I was blessed with more than I could ask for, and I was loved by my mom and dad, but as an adult, that was when distant family began to come into the picture. Sadly, my dad passed away almost three years ago, and my mom had a horrid heart attack right after his death, and when she was recovering at hospitals, this is when the abuse of distant family members began, and I had not seen these family members for a long time until this point, and due to me being in a weak state of mind, I made an easy target.
Therefore, I was treated badly by these distant family members for about five months while I was healing from my father’s death and as my mom was at hospitals getting better. I was emotionally abused, I was verbally abused, I was thrown around, and in the end, I was physically battered and I truly thought I was going to die that day, and I do not wish that feeling on anyone.
However, the court trial began a month later, which I ended up letting a plea deal happen, for I wanted to show grace and mercy, for this was still my family, even though they were distant, so I wanted to forgive rather than allow my heart to become hardened. I believe in forgiveness even if it isn’t the easy option, and though some may say I have the “right” to be angry, I would rather choose mercy than harshness.
This is the story I have been hiding for a few years, and though I explained it in a “summary” type way, it is more heavier than that. The things I went through are things I wish on no one, the words and things I had thrown at me were very hurtful, and the bruises I had to cover with makeup to make sure no one knew was hard to do.
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”” Lamentations 3:22-24
However, I have been healed by the grace of God, but it was not easy. I am not going to sit here and say that healing was a “walk in the park,” for there were many nights where I fell to my knees crying out to God to take the nightmares away, to take away my sadness, and to take away the pain. There were many days where I stayed in the Word from sun up to sun down for I felt peace in His Word, which truly helped me. I read Lamentations a total of four times, and I truly believe Lamentations is a book on brokenness, and I will forever cherish it, for God has brought me through my healing through the broken wounds found in Lamentations.
My healing was filled with tears, pain, long night conversations with my mother, court dates, court papers, and having to see my distant family in the courtroom. I thank God for giving me such a loving mother, for she was through every stage of my healing by praying for me, being by my side, and would listen to me as I told her what happened during those five months. My healing was not easy, my healing was because of Jesus’ strength and not mine, and I have a story of survival, not victimization, which I refuse to be a victim, for Jesus did not die for me to be labeled as such.
Though I am not defined by the actions of my distant family, there was a time where I could not help but fear that a man will not be able to look past the ashes of the pain. I want a Christian husband, but there were times where I would fear that a Christian man would not be able to look past that dark time, for it isn’t the entirety of who I am as a Christian woman. In the past, I thought, “What if a man doesn’t want to love me due to my past of being broken,” or “What if I am not perfect enough?”
These thoughts have haunted me for quite some time, and I never told a soul about my story due to that very reason. I did not want rumors, I did not want to be labeled the “broken woman who was battered,” and I did not want Christian men to view me as less, for I want to get married, and I thought that my past of brokenness would eliminate my chances of finding a Christian man. I want a man to find me worthy in his eyes, I want a man to choose me, and I thought my story would make a man not want me, so I kept my mouth shut.
However, Jesus did not die for perfect people, He died for broken people.
Here I was trying to hide my story, hide the pain of the past, and I tried to make it seem as if I never had a struggle before, but Christ died for my struggles, He died for my pain, and He died so that His grace would be enough for me.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8
A year ago, I realized that I did not want a perfect husband. I realized I wanted a future husband who knows what shame feels like, who understands what getting on his knees and begging to God is like, and who will be able to hear my story and take my hand and show me grace rather than running away, for I want a man who isn’t perfect, for perfection doesn’t understand grace.
A year ago, I realized that the man I pray for is the imperfect man who could not take another step, but has been justified through Jesus.
I want the man who knows what shame and loneliness are like, the man who felt like he was sinking, the man who felt as if he was unworthy, and the man that faked a smile while hiding the pain underneath. That is the man who understands grace like no other person. He is the one who understands the love of Christ more than ever, for he knows what running towards Jesus is like, he understands that it is by only Jesus that He is strong, and he believes that he is nothing without Jesus, so he clings to Him.
“being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Romans 3:24
I realized that the man I wanted as a husband is the man who will pick up his cross and follow Christ, who has scars, battle wounds, and who has laid out his entire heart for Jesus. That is the man I realized I wanted, for he understands what it means for Christ to love him at his darkest, and this kind of man has been through the redeeming power of grace, and I want a man who is redeemed, not perfect.
Though I have a story, I am a stronger woman through Christ. My faith is not defined by what has happened in my past, my faith is not defined by the actions of others, but my faith is defined by the grace and redemption that is found in Christ Jesus, and through Jesus, I was healed.
Through His stripes, I have been made whole.
Through His blood, I have been redeemed.
Though His mercy, I am loved.
Through His grace, He is sufficient.
He thought I was worth dying for, He forgave me of my sin even though I did not deserve an ounce of forgiveness, and He died even though my sin placed Him on the cross, so why should I be defined by the actions of others when Christ says I am redeemed? Why should I allow my past to rule my future when Jesus says that my future is filled with hope and not of disaster? Why should I allow my past to dictate whether a Christian man should love me or not?
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
I want the mission statement of marriage to be “In your darkest, I still loved you.” I want to love my future husband through the pain, through the storm, through the battle, through the good, and through any trial that may come our way. I want to build a foundation on Christ, and I will not allow any past shame to mess with the foundation, for if Christ can love us in our darkest, then I can love my future husband in his darkest too, so no shame will be allowed to reign, for Jesus died for that shame.
I am not a victim, and though society may tell me to sulk in my brokenness or “victimization,” I do not want it as my defining factor, for my worth is in Jesus, and He has shown me the road of healing, He has shown me the joy that is in His presence, and He has healed me as I placed my brokenness in His hands. The shame of what I went through is not who I am, for when Jesus said, “It is finished,” my shame was defeated and death lost its sting, and when I gave my life to Jesus eight years ago, He became my salvation and hope.
So no, I do not want a perfect man, and when I see other single Christian women describe how they want the “perfect husband,” I tell them that they are missing the point, for grace is not about us being perfect, but it is about us being redeemed through Christ, it is about us being washed in His blood, and it is about our need for Him. Anyways, marriage will have battles and struggles, so marriage isn’t perfect, and there are many godly men who have stories of grace, and the men with stories of grace understand how much of a healer God is.
The Christian man with scars, is the man who understands the love of Jesus.
The Christian man with tear-stains, is the man who understands that God’s grace is sufficient.
The Christian man with a story, is the man who is redeemed and who has been crucified with Christ; therefore, this man is worth marrying rather than the perfect man.
So this is my story, and I am not perfect. I am laying my heart out for the entire internet; however, the “me” I want a man to fall in love with, is the “me” who is lavished in grace, not the facade of perfection, for I have been saved by grace, and I have found my everlasting joy and hope in Jesus; therefore, I am not identified by what happened, but I am worth more than rubies in Jesus, and He says I was worth dying for.
I thrive in the joy of Christ, for Jesus is the cup that does not run dry. I live in the presence of His freedom, and my life motto will forever be, “grace, not perfection,” so though I share my past with you, it has no hold on me, for I am, as my blog title states, Justified and Redeemed.
Therefore, as I pray to God for marriage and as I finally stop hiding the story of grace that I have, I pray for a man who is saved by grace and who isn’t perfect. I pray for the man with a story and a testimony, and the man that walks the narrow path even though he faces obstacles, for as a Christian woman who is walking the narrow path, I want a man who will take my hand and walk with me towards our end goal regardless of how treacherous the narrow path might be.
I was broken once, but through the grace of Jesus, I am healed and in utter love for Jesus, and this is the full picture of the woman I am; the woman not defined by perfection or brokenness, but defined by grace and mercy, and the sweet grace of Jesus will forever be greater than the wounds that this world shall give me, for my treasure is found in Heaven, for we are just passing through earth to get to our final destination.