Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Tag: abuse

Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor~Part 4

Hello lovely readers and followers! Welcome to part 4 of my series, Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor. Please don’t forget to check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. This series will be focusing on all 6 attributes of the armor of God listed in Ephesians 6:10-18. I hope you enjoy! 


Luke tightened his grip on the steering wheel, squinting his eyes to see the road through the shadowy, snow-filled night. It was just a month after Christmas, in other words, the loneliest time of the year.

“Do you know the difference between a truth and a lie?”

Those were the words that haunted Luke–words from the dream he had last night. That wasn’t the first time he had heard them. The dream was a replay of his childhood, when the social worker came to his school.

She said her goal was to keep him safe. That was a lie. At least, that’s what his parents had told him. She asked him so many questions in that little stuffy office.

Eventually, the truth came out. Though it wasn’t what Luke had been taught. He never thought his parents were hurting him. Yeah, his mom drank a lot and got mad sometimes. Maybe she’d hit him or forget dinner. But his father loved him. At least, that’s what he said behind closed doors.

Luke felt his knuckles grow hot, but he knew it wasn’t because of the car heater. He had been wrong. His mother was a drunk and his father violated him in ways that no child should experience.

It had been a lie. Everything. His whole childhood. But what about his entire life? Was everything a lie—pointless?

When Luke found the house, he put on his blinker and turned into the driveway. Everything looked so dark and desolate tonight. Delivering groceries to the elderly and disabled wasn’t a job he thought he’d ever do. It was actually his second job, the money he needed so he could afford college.

Luke worked hard, and he was proud of that. He’d made a vow to himself that once he got out of the foster care system, he would make his own life. Find his own path. So that’s what he was doing. The only problem is that he wasn’t a good student.

The elderly woman—Shirley—smiled and handed him a wad of cash. She gave him a few quarters, her standard tip. Luke felt guilty every time he took money from that woman because he knew she didn’t have much. She was a forgotten widow. And as an orphan, he knew what that felt like.

“Have a good night Luke,” she called out in a throaty voice as he walked away. “Stay out of trouble.”

He grinned as he turned to wave at her. “I’ll try.”

When Luke got back in the car, he leaned over to buckle the seat belt, only to pause when he saw the small box laying on the passenger seat. He frowned, knowing he always kept his car locked. He’d been a victim of theft too many times before.

There was also a piece of paper on top of the box. Luke carefully unfolded it, his dark eyes widening as he read.

My Dear Luke,

You have no idea the joy it brings Me to watch you as you grow. You have been through a lot, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like I care, but I do. I am always with you, my son. You keep searching for truth and meaning, not realizing that the only way you can find it is through Me. Wear a piece of My armor, the belt of truth. It will give you the strength you need to go on.

Love, Jesus.

Jesus? Luke shook his head. He wasn’t a Christian. Sure, he believed in God. He was a spiritual man who dabbled in parts of different religions or rituals. He had to have something to ground him morally, after all. But was this message really for him?

Luke grabbed the box, opening it in the now chilly car. It really was a belt, plain black leather. Curious, Luke took off his old worn belt and slid this new one around his skinny waist. He clasped it shut. Nothing happened.

“This is some armor, God,” he chuckled as he started the car engine.

Luke drove down the road, speeding so he wouldn’t be late for his last delivery of the night. Suddenly, his dream came flooding back in full force.

Lies. His parents were wrong. Lies. He wasn’t safe.

Truth. He had been safe, all along. Luke slammed on his breaks, almost causing an accident as he felt the warmth grow up his torso. He looked down at his waist—at the glowing belt that was around him.

 I am always with you, my son.

Was that the truth? Luke’s heart started racing when he saw what was up ahead. A dance of shadows and light, coming from an empty parking lot.

Luke bolted from the car, the belt still shining radiantly from his waist. He realized that if there really was truth–and if he wasn’t alone–then this Jesus must be the answer.

Luke ran to the lot, only stopping when he saw three figures standing, like candles, against the dense shadowy horizon. One woman stepped forward, a golden pendant blazing around her neck.

And suddenly, Luke knew the truth. These people were good. They were from God. He could trust them.

The darkness that surrounded them, on the other hand, was evil. Of that he was certain.

Looking for something?

The voice echoed across the lot like a soft wind.

And Luke smiled, because he knew he had already found it.


Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist… (Ephesians 6:14 NIV)

Thanks for reading and supporting! What do you think of the series so far? Click here for Part 5 of Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor!

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Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor is written by Emily Susanne at fearfullywonderfullyme.com, 2017 © No part of this content may be copied or shared unless given permission by the author and linked back to this web address. However, you are encouraged to share the link to this post as well as all other posts! 

Walk the Line–A Story of Redemption

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(Image from Polyvore)

In Monday’s first post, I wrote about the movie Walk the Line (2005), while focusing on the love story between Johnny Cash and June Carter. This was an important element of the film. The unwavering commitment and grace Johnny and June had for each other can be seen as a metaphor for the love and loyalty God has toward His children.

Another major theme to this movie and the life of Johnny Cash is redemption. Although Johnny rose to fame and helped revolutionize music, he struggled deeply with drug addiction and a haunting past.

Like a lot of us, Johnny Cash had a troubled childhood. His family was poor and lived during the Great Depression. His older brother Jack died while he was young from a tragic accident at a sawmill. Johnny felt tremendous guilt and shame, which led him on a quest for music fame, and ultimately addiction.

I think we can all identify with Johnny Cash’s struggles. I can’t tell you how many Christians struggle with guilt and shame, but I bet it’s a lot more than half of us. I know I do–I am guilty of being guilty. Some of it is for past mistakes and sins, which I know is silly because the Bible says if I repent then I know I am forgiven (1 John 1:19).

I can also identify with Johnny Cash because I often feel guilty for things that are beyond my control. I suffered from verbal and physical abuse in my childhood by my father, and it took a toll. I love him, but he chose his feelings over my own. To this day he still puts some of the blame on me for not “letting it all go” and moving forward.

I did forgive him, and sometimes I find myself needing to forgive him more than once. However, I must put boundaries between us for my well-being and safety. I have told him this. I have also told him how to make me feel more safe. Here’s the thing that I am slowly learning: you can’t change people. You cannot make someone get help for his/her problems or take responsibility.

And you know what? We are not called to do that. We are only called to love them. I love my father very much. He is not a monster, but he has issues that prevent me from having much of a relationship with him. I pray for him everyday and have tried giving him encouragement.

Of course all situations are different. I am in no way telling you what to do if you have been a victim of abuse (and if you are, please get help from a trusted professional or counselor). In fact, this post really isn’t about my issues with my father.

This post is about redemption. I know that God can redeem my hurts and use them for good. In fact, the struggles and pain that I have faced have made me a better writer. And you know what? If I hadn’t gone through everything that I had gone through in my youth, then maybe I wouldn’t have found my way to Jesus.

We all go through things and struggle with sins, but we can still be forgiven! God can still take our situation and redeem us from our old broken lives. Redemption isn’t always a one time thing either. The more I read about Johnny Cash, the more I see how he had to go to rehab many times in his life for his addiction. He chose to let God work in him.

I’m also choosing to let God work in my life. I’m choosing to surrender my sin, my guilt, and my shame to Him. I’m choosing to give up all that I can’t control to the one who created the universe. I am choosing life, and I will keep choosing it everyday I’m allowed to walk on this planet. This is only the beginning of my story of redemption.

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful (Revelation 21:5 KJV).

 

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment and share 🙂

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