My very first memory is of this little light.
As I think back to my tiny 2-year-old self, I can remember so vividly the ache in my heart as I heard people say to me what they didn’t say to those born biologically into my family. Things like “you’re so special”, “how lucky you are to be adopted.” You see, the words “special” and “lucky” were daggers to my chest. They never called my siblings “lucky or special”. I just longed to be like everyone else. Because those words didn’t feel honoring, but made me feel like an outcast instead. Those were the first moments I began to conceal my pain with a smile. And Oh, did I smile. Even as my tiny heart ached with the lie of unworthy, I smiled and raised my chubby little hands so very high as I sang, “This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine.” But even my little 2-year-old heart felt that there was no light to shine from within me. I couldn’t let my Mommy see, so I asked her if I could sing it “just one more time.” Because just maybe by that second verse I would finally believe that there was something shining deep inside of me. But that encore was futile. Being adopted didn’t make me feel special or chosen.
The enemy turned that blessing into a seed to plant a lie in my heart, “You are unworthy”. And I believed that lie from the very start. So, from that day on I wanted to abandon any attachment to shining anything from within me.
As I grew older a little glimmer of light had finally started to break through, and I almost began to believe that maybe this shining held some truth.
But the enemy was quick to find a wiling vessel to help bury that flame. A man whom I trusted did to me a terrible thing. He sexually abused me and broke my innocent heart. So that light that once glimmered began to slowly grow dark. Even as my heart was breaking— still, somewhere deep inside I could hear my tiny 2-year-old voice sing, “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” But she couldn’t sing it loud enough to break through the pain. Because what was once a seed of rejection had now grown into a tree of shame. I just wanted to hide myself away. So, hide is what I did. I hid my light inside the darkness of sex, drugs and alcohol, in a futile attempt to numb the pain.
One night in the darkness, I met a guy who carried the same sorrow as me. Far too often our wounds lead us to places we’d never go had we been healed. My wound led me down the aisle to marry a man whose brokenness would eventually become the breaking of me
It was the year 2002 and I had just begun to feel a little bit of light begin to peak above the surface. God had blessed me with a beautiful baby boy and oh did he bring my life joy.
I saw so much light inside of his big brown eyes and squishy cheeks. I had a family and a baby boy that was a part of me. I had hope that my dreams of a happy life were finally coming true. But 3 years later, my marriage, my hopes and dreams were ripped to shreds. Because sometimes a broken man cannot be faithful, so all he could do was bleed on me. I can still hear his wounded words inside my head, “I can’t stand your personality, you’re so boring, no one will ever be faithful to a woman like you.” Gutted doesn’t begin to describe the pain I felt as I cradled my newborn baby girl in my arms. The hurt was so deep it was as though I was bleeding pieces of my heart out of my eyes. And as I wept, I felt the chubby fingers of my 3-year-old son gripping the side of my leg. “Mommy please don’t cry,” he said. As together we watched his wounded father walk away, and somewhere echoing in the distance, I heard a 2-year-old me singing “this little light of mine.... I’m gonna let it...hide.” And hide it I did.
That day the enemy had two new seeds of rejection to plant alongside my tree. You see If we don’t heal, our trees of pain can become a forest of bitterness, and our children become the soil in which we plant those seeds.
Time is a thief, and it began robbing the years from me like they were precious jewels. 2 years had been stolen away since the day their daddy had left. Looking back now, I can’t even recall those memories because the meth I began using to hide the pain and dim the light, made sure to wipe them all away.
Drugs don’t discriminate, they steal both your joy and your pain. but because of Gods goodness there is one precious memory that still remains. A memory that has carried me through so many hard times—even to this day.
A memory of a man, who met me in my mess, one who saw the light behind all of my brokenness. I was a barely functioning-addict, when I met Brad. A single mom struggling to raise two children, isn’t exactly a bachelors dream but still, somehow, he was relentless in his pursuit of me. He didn’t see the drugs I was using or the pain I held inside, I hid all that away, behind my smile and batted eyes. And after knowing me for just 6 short weeks, he made me his wife.
I wish I could say that the light came flooding back in, that the love of another can heal a broken heart. But it didn’t. I still believed the lies I was fed, and the belief I was unworthy blocked my receiving his unconditional gift. “Let it hide let it hide let it hide” I could hear the whispers of the enemies lies. So, hide it, I did. It took me only a few weeks before I left my husband, to go back to the drugs and drowned the pain. And in the darkness where I found the same wounded man who had left me just a few short years ago. Like the rest of those stuck in the darkness of addiction, I believed I was unworthy of love and there was no light shining in me.
BUT-- there was someone waiting for me. Even though I broke his heart into a million tiny pieces my husband NEVER STOPPED praying for me to come home.
Never. Not once did he refuse to see that little light shining inside of me. Instead, he went into the pits of the darkest places to find me and bring me home. And he did this over, over and over again. His love was relentless. Each time I went back, he fought his way back into the darkness to seek me out and bring me home. Even when I was the furthest, I could be. He never stopped praying and holding onto me. No matter how many times I left him and no matter how many people could no longer see any hope, He never stopped believing the light inside of me would bring me home, “Don’t hide it under a bushel, NO... you’ve got to let it shine!” He called to me somewhere deep inside the darkness, time, after time. You see He knew the reason for the Hope he had in the light that was shining in me.
And when his prayers birthed breakthrough and all my efforts to drowned the pain had finally failed. When I finally walked to the end of myself. I knew there was no escape, so I just hung my head in shame. My body completely collapsed inside the pain. I could hear that little chubby girl sing, “Let it shine.... let it shiiinnnee—-“ and now there was nowhere left to hide.
So, it was in the lowest place of my life, where I finally began to shine the light. I felt a strong hand reach down into the darkness, and scoop me up in his loving arms and say, “There’s no shadow I won’t light up, mountain I won’t climb up coming after you. There’s no wall I won’t kick down lie I won’t tear down coming after you!” In that moment it wasn’t my husband that was carrying me home, but this little light that shined from inside of Him. A light that couldn’t be hidden away. A light that had been with me all along. A light that my 2-year-old heart held so deeply inside, but couldn’t see because of the lies. A light that nothing could put out, because the light He shined was Jesus Christ.
So today I stand before you, over 10 years clean, and say what a 2-year old me tried so hard to sing and believe that "this little light of mine, I’m gonna let shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Only today, I finally believe it!!
The devil would like nothing more than to bury the light of Jesus that shines inside each and every one of you.
Even today as I write this “Reason for the Hope that I have”, I can feel a tug and hear the lie “there is no light in you”. But the truth is, no matter where you sit, or where stand you cannot hide from the light. Because there is a father who will leave the 99 just for you. And there’s no shadow he won’t light up, or mountain he won’t climb up coming after you.
Because in Christ we all were made to shine!
******This written testimony was birthed through the “Hope and Reason” course!******
You, too, have a story that God has written IN you. One that only you can tell. The Hope and Reason course makes it so very easy for people of all stages of life, and writing ability to leave a written legacy of HIS-story in their life.
For information click the link below!
“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony”
– Revelation 12:11
What is your HIS-story?