I believe that all things happen for a reason, and that every obstacle is an opportunity to overcome and to help others do the same. I believe that I have a purpose, one that is unique to me, a specific series of circumstances, opportunities, decisions, and experiences that only I am able to complete. I believe that I am loved beyond comprehension – unconditionally and eternally; but, I didn’t always believe that.
There was a time not long ago when I believed only the worst of myself. Growing up I was exposed to a number of things that a child should never have to experience. These experiences shaped the way I thought about myself and my worth as a person. I have since learned to love myself and to understand how my feelings are affected by my circumstances, but also to consider the scars that other people carry and how their experiences affect their decisions and actions. Every discouraging word, disappointment, and act of neglect leaves a wound. For years, I thought that no one else could possibly understand my problems. Finally learning that I wasn’t alone enabled me to talk about my pain with others. Since then, God has used my story and struggles to show others that they are not alone and to help them begin to deal with their hurt.
I’ve always known that both my dad and my step-dad love me, but neither really knew how to express that love. This left me emotionally and mentally wounded, and I grew up doubting myself and my ability to trust others. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home or go to church as a child, so when my Heavenly Father came into my life, I know He must have been seeking me out, because I certainly wasn’t looking for Him. It wasn’t until high school that someone told me about my Father in Heaven who loved me and created me. This Father was and is everything my earthy fathers were not, and just couldn’t be. I understand now that, like anyone, my dads have burdens and scars that they deal with, and they just weren’t capable of giving me the love I needed. I still love them both more that I can express, but my experiences still effect me so much that I often expect my Heavenly Father to disappoint me, like my dads did in the past. However, I know there is a reason for this struggle. It has given me countless opportunities to help other young women who have had similar experiences with their fathers.
Every day my Heavenly Father shows me that he loves me and how much I mean to him. I still struggle sometimes with believing in myself, my abilities, and even my worth, but every time I stumble in doubt, my Father is there to pick me up. I believe that I can and will overcome, not because I believe in myself, but because He believes in me.