Oftentimes, our story flows out of someone else’s story. For me, that story was my mom’s.
My mother was born in 1930 during the Great Depression to a single mom trying to find happiness. Moving in with a man who could only sometimes put food on the table, my mom’s mother settled for a life of abuse. The abuse settled for, however, was forced upon my mom rather than herself. My mom grew up a victim of child abuse.
I think that pain is sometimes tolerated during a crisis. In hard times, we live with the mindset that, because life is hard, things are meant to be unfair.
My mom was later adopted, (a story which could be a book on its own) but life did not get much better after being placed in a new home. Her stepmother was crippled and unable to do the household chores, so the responsibilities fell to my mom. Life was difficult and stressful enough for her without additional verbal abuse from her stepmother. For years afterward, hurtful phrases like, “go back to the pit from which you were dug,” often swirled through her mind.
Growing up, we all knew that my mother had been adopted. It was a public part of her story, one that she did not hide from us. After her step-mom passed away, my sweet grandfather remarried a wonderful woman As a result, I had wonderful relationships with all of my family members. I had a great childhood.
When I was in my early teens, my mother sat my sisters and me down and began to tell us her story in full, for the first time. Hearing about all the suffering my mom went through broke my heart. Anyone would have compassion on a child who had endured hurt, rejection, abandonment, abuse and embarrassment, but realizing that my own mom had experienced such severe hardships produced many emotions. For one, I was confused; how could she go through all of that heartache and new show a sign of the damage done to her? I’ll tell you how: Jesus.
The trajectory of my mom’s future changed the day she met my dad at a Christian youth event where she learned about the love and forgiveness of God. There was still work to be done in navigating the feelings of trust, fear and rejection, but her life changed for the better that day. From that point onward, she knew who she could depend on: a God who led her and the man who loved her. My mom’s story could have turned out much differently had she not chosen to accept the love and forgiveness of her heavenly Father. I am the product of a woman who did not allow the enemy to control her life or have power over her future. And thus declaring that he would have no power over the stories of her children, either.
We get to choose the future of our story. How we forgive, how we love and how we lead are all parts of our story. And those that follow in our steps will have the legacy we leave. I am the woman, pastor, coach and optimist I am today because of my mother. I like to tell the women I coach “until you step out of your shoes, you cannot step into new shoes.”
Do you need to step out of something today?
Do you need a new story?
Do you need to move forward into your future?
My story would not be my story without my mom. Who is in your story?
There is power in every part of your journey. When you embrace your story and share it it brings purpose to your life and freedom to others.