I Once Was Lost, But Now…

by Donna Baldwin

When I was really young, my parents often visited a roadside tavern and left me and my little sister in the car. On one occasion, an old man came up and motioned for me to roll down the window. When I did, what he did to me and my sister left me with an ugly memory. I didn’t know how to tell anyone about what happened to us, and I don’t remember even trying.

My parents were often irresponsible and used alcohol as their main form of entertainment. Mom married three different men in her lifetime, all heavy drinkers. When my favorite step-dad died within a week of my own children’s father passing away, all I felt was numbness, not grief. I had learned early on to stuff my feelings and not cry. In fact, I remember making a conscious decision when I was a teenager to never shed a tear again. I had decided crying was a sign of weakness, and I didn’t want to be a weakling anymore.

Depression seemed to follow me throughout my life, from early childhood all the way into adulthood. My remedy was to stay super busy. At times I would seek counseling, and was able to function well enough to support our family when my husband lost his job. Outwardly, I seemed fine, but inside, I was a wretched wreck.

The Bible says, “Through His stripes we are healed.” As surely as I write this, I am healed; a broken part of my life has been mended.

At the age of thirty-three, I surrendered my life to Christ. I learned to trust in Him and He, in turn, sustained me through some pretty rough times. From being lonely and scared to having to be the sole support for our family, He came through on a daily basis. I credit Jesus for providing me with better-paying jobs and He gave me comfort when I needed it. But, depression was always on the periphery of my life, threatening to derail me at any moment.

In 2003, I joined Northshore Community Church. One day, listening to an encouraging talk about an upcoming class called “Healing the Father Wound,” I realized that despite having many negative memories from childhood, I was emotionally void. My total lack of any feelings convinced me I needed to take that class. It turned out to be co-ed, which bothered me, so I also began attending private counseling sessions through the counseling ministry at church.

In the process, many stuffed memories and emotions came pouring out, including the one of being molested so many years ago outside that roadside tavern. As the counselor prayed for me, I began to feel the total wretchedness of my childhood and I started to cry, big, broken-hearted sobs for what had occurred to me more than sixty years earlier. I was finally able to mourn the shame that had robbed me of trust and had become a huge roadblock to my feelings for years.

The Bible says, “Through His stripes we are healed.”  As surely as I write this, I am healed; a broken part of my life has been mended.

My tears flow freely now, especially for others who are wounded and who, like me, need His healing touch and freedom from deeply hidden scars. I am no longer lost in a haze, but with Jesus, I’ve been found and am able to enjoy emotional health as my reality.

Explore groups (http://northshore.church/connect/recoverysupport/) that will help you lead a healthy life in Jesus, available through the Counseling and Support Ministry at Northshore.


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