Friday, November 1, 2013

Looking for God's Blessing - by @Lori_Kennedy

Photo by Amelia Grace Photography

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.
(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

I recently went to the poorest county in West Virginia on a mission trip with my church.  We were planning to work in the clothes closet and the food pantry.  We were also planning to have a women’s retreat, including dinner, while we were there.  Several of us were also scheduled to do some neighborhood visits with a local missionary.  There were fifteen of us, and most of the women were between ten and twenty years older than I am. 

Four of us headed out with the local missionary to the mountain hollers to visit some of the poorest families in the county.  As we drove the curvy roads up into the mountains, the surroundings looked familiar, and my stomach began to turn as old feelings of pain and shame invaded my heart.  My dad’s second wife was from the mountain hollers of Virginia.  We would visit her parents often and had spent many a holiday during my childhood years driving roads that looked eerily similar to these.  Memories of molestation by a step-uncle during the Christmas that I was eleven assaulted my brain and threw me into a melancholy mood. 

We arrived back at the camp, and I went to the dorm and just let the tears flow.  I truly didn’t realize I would be affected this way, but I also recognized that I needed to get this poison out.  I trusted God’s character and acknowledged that this was another layer of healing and that I would have to peel this layer back in order to reveal a new tender layer and move forward in my healing and relationship with God. 

Now here’s the amazing part.  Since I lived with my dad and more than one stepmother from the age of seven, and since my biological mother was not very present in my upbringing, I have always struggled with an empty “mommy love” place in my heart.  These precious women came around me.  They prayed with me; they loved me; they hugged on me; they treasured me; they celebrated me.  They allowed me the opportunity to heal in their safe and soothing presence.  It was a beautiful and precious picture of God’s love and redemption.  It was such a secure way to walk through those moments of grief that I was facing in order to take that big leap forward in healing. 

These precious moments reminded me that God’s plans for me are good and that God’s character is good….always.

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