Many have tried drugs, money, sex, or even moving to remote areas in order to escape the painful memories of their childhood. Maybe some think “if I don’t come home for Thanksgiving then I will forget that my daddy abused me – physically, emotionally, or sexually. Maybe if I don’t go to the high school reunion then I will not be reminded that I was once the fat kid that everyone taunted. Maybe if I get into a relationship then the void will be filled and replace the rejection I received from my father.” Maybe you watched your parents go through a nasty divorce that caused you to fear marriage. Maybe if I make a lot of money then I will not be reminded that my permanent residence was once a homeless shelter with my mom.
Wholeness requires us to pick up the shattered pieces of our lives and compile them together to walk into a place of restoration. God tells us in the bible that He will, “restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you; and my people shall never be ashamed.” (Joel 2:25-26).
You see, I once knew a girl (which I will refer to as Tiffany) who was constantly mocked throughout her childhood. I was introduced to her in middle school, as we were the two high performing students in Mrs. Johnson’s math class. Our grades were always above 95 percent compared to the rest of the class, which made it difficult for Mrs. Johnson to curve the exams. To Tiffany, math meant everything but to me it was just something that I easily excelled. However, the students were not shy of embarrassing Tiffany like putting gum in her hair, stealing her clothes while she showered after gym, stuffing her locker with paper, or teasing her on the bus ride home from school.
As we matriculated to high school, Tiffany continued to be ridiculed by her peers as she outperformed other students and was awarded academically for her hard work. During lunchtime, she would sit in the bathroom to eat her lunch in order to avoid the cafeteria bullies who constantly threw bread slices and ridiculed her because of her weight gain. Sadly, the people who she thought were her friends would join in on the teasing by taking her glasses and throwing them into the toilet.
In addition, Tiffany frequently stayed late after school so she would not have to ride the school bus. Her parents were wealthy so Tiffany lived in a gated community. This caused many students to believe she did not belong at the school so they would try to follow her home. It was a lot for anyone to take. In our senior year, Tiffany had a mental breakdown and almost took her life but later became one of the top five graduates of our graduating class. She went on to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she excelled and graduated with a 4.0 GPA.
I did not hear much about Tiffany for a few years but with social media, we reconnected in 2009. Her life had completely changed. Tiffany had lost weight, got rid of her braces, acquired two degrees, and was finishing her doctoral program. She also accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and was engaged to be married. She was happier than she had ever been in her life. As we frequently talked, Tiffany shared with me that she had to let go of the wounds of her past in order to find true happiness.
We are not all like Tiffany, for some things will take longer to recover from than others. The healing process involves confronting the things that have left you in a state of brokenness and unfulfillment and finding solutions to regaining your joy, peace, and strength to become all that God has called you to be. You may not share your story with the world or your loved ones but we serve a compassionate God who is aware of the painful wounds and the dreadful experiences that circulate daily in our minds. He is able to restore so you can fully live your life. “For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast” (Jeremiah 30:17).