My parents immigrated to the states when I was two. I was left to live with my grandparents in Mexico. They “sent for me” when I was seven and my life dramatically changed. Talk about a traumatic experience! They were strangers. I didn’t know my siblings and I didn’t speak their language. I felt like an outsider. I went from being an only child to the oldest. I didn’t fit in and I felt rejected. My parents didn’t know what to do with me. I didn’t understand why my grandparents didn’t keep me. I missed my grandparents terribly! I am so grateful to my grandmother who introduced me to God through the Lord’s Prayer, which we recited nightly.
I wanted to go back to her. Traumatic experiences change us. Unkind words damage and hurt us. Rejection causes pain and changes what we believe about ourselves. I didn’t belong! My identity was slowly being damaged. I didn’t know who I was. Low self-esteem seeped in and I became a victim of my circumstances. I didn’t just feel unimportant I believed I was not important, I believed I was unwanted.
I couldn’t understand why God would allow a little girl to go through so much hurt. Maybe He didn’t love me? Every night, I would recite the Lord’s Prayer. It gave me peace and helped me remember my grandmother. I didn’t realize that the prayer was also getting me closer to God even when I didn’t understand it. I went from reciting it to actually praying it. Daily, he gave me what I needed. He kept me safe and protected me. He delivered me from evil. The enemy always looks for ways to use our weaknesses to tear us down. Because of my insecurity, I was weak and made wrong choices that sent me off course for what God had for me.
But Christ’s power is made perfect in our weakness. “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless” (Isaiah 40:29) Insecurity and thoughts of rejection pursued. The older I got, the more insecure I became. I was doing things to please others in order to feel accepted. I was trying to fill a void and satisfy the longing in my heart in the wrong way. I yearned to be loved. I never felt like I fit in anywhere. I was afraid to try new things, to be happy. Every time something good happened, I could not enjoy it because I didn’t feel I deserved it. Rejection made me feel unworthy. I was unable to show excitement or joy.
In my thirties, I gave my life to Jesus and joined a bible study. As I studied about who God was, I learned about his love for me. I began to trust that he was good. As my intimacy with him grew, my heart slowly began to heal. I had so many questions but I knew I didn’t have to know the why’s of my past; I just had to learn to trust him. Walls began to crumble and my confidence and self-esteem began to grow. I began to feel joy.
My identity was not defined by my circumstances. It began to be defined by who God has called me to be. I couldn’t claim victory if I remained a victim. He took my sins to the cross and suffered every form of pain and humiliation so that I could live victorious, not defeated. He created me to have a voice, to be fierce and strong, to be loved and accepted. Insecurities and self-doubts were not part of his plan for me. It wasn’t easy! I still struggle and any form of rejection still brings back pain, but I’m choosing daily to delight in him and dwell in his presence. My heart is filled with joy and forgiveness, which leaves no more room for bitterness.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
Are you allowing your circumstances to damage your identity? You can’t live in victory if you are living as a victim.
My truth is found in Him,