All too often I speak with people who mourn their past. And I get it. My past wasn’t full of rainbows and unicorns. I wasn’t served up opportunities on a silver platter. (In fact, any silver platters I’ve ever had, I found for a bargain price at a thrift store or garage sale.) I can’t deny or reject the hard times in my past, because they shaped me into the person I am today. And I don’t think it does any good to yearn for different memories. Why look back and wish for something different? You’re not going that way. That’s why the windshield is wide-open and the rearview mirror is small, my friend. Because what’s behind us doesn’t matter nearly as much as what’s in front of us.
I had braces on my legs during the most impressionable years of my youth. Because of that, I developed a thick skin for criticism, a sharp tongue that bites back at bullies, and a compassionate heart for people who suffer from disabilities. I call that a win. I ﬁrmly believe God had a plan for that gawky tween with leg braces to grow up a strong defender of disabled children who have no voice or resources to help themselves.
I could be bitter I had to pay my parents to live under their roof while still just a youth. I could be mad that my mom stole my cash. At the time, I was resentful, believe me! Do you know the adventures I could’ve had with that extra money? But today, I am a grateful woman for those lessons. They were harsh at the time, but they turned me into a resourceful, frugal, independent person—capable of making it as a single mother who can dress up Top Ramen a hundred different ways.
Have you ever considered that the hurts in your past are meant for something greater than you? God hurts with you. He didn’t, nor doesn’t, want bad things to happen to you. But here’s the really interesting fact: God can redeem anything, and anyone at any time. Your pain and suffering of the past can be healed, and not only that, it can be used to heal others. Have you ever stopped to consider how someone else may need your story? That’s exactly the point. Changing the world one heart, one story at a time. That means you telling your story of redemption and offering hope to the next person going through some tough stuff.
If you’re feeling crushed by the weight of your past, by abuse, by guilt, by shame, by something you’ve wasted good years on, you need to ask God to redeem your pain and use it for good. Don’t spend another moment feeling sorry for yourself, because you are stronger than you think. I know it. God knows it. It’s time for you to take that heavy brick off your shoulders and use it to lay a ﬁrm foundation for your future.
Delilah appears this Monday on LIFE TODAY. Excerpted from One Heart At A Time by Delilah. Copyright ©2018 by Big Shoes Productions, Inc. Published by RosettaBooks. Used by permission.