Trust God Is Not Finished With Your Story
When I was 16, I was groomed into a romantic relationship by a 39-year-old married high school band director. He was charismatic and cool, with hair a little too long and a rebellious attitude. The kids adored him, and the parents respected him because he seemed to bring out the best in his students as they traveled regionally and nationally, marching in parades and winning competitions.
Everyone seemed to overlook the favorites he had – the girls he seated first chair and gave solo parts or conducting privileges. They were students who did indeed show musical promise, and he was constantly hugging and high-fiving someone. It was probably nothing. We all wanted to be close to the teacher, and we all secretly hoped someday we might be one of the students to receive special attention.
It started when I returned to school after missing several days due to an extended illness. He asked if I was getting caught up in my classes. We began to have long talks about my plans for the future. He wanted to hear about my hopes and dreams. Before long, he was passing me notes in the hallway, inviting me to stay after school, visiting me where I worked, and taking over my thoughts every waking moment of my day.
The relationship lasted approximately nine months. When rumors of our involvement began to swirl and move from inside the small rural high school into the surrounding community, people were outraged. But not at him. They were outraged at me. With the encouragement of a DCFS caseworker, I decided to turn over letters and testify to the specifics of the relationship. Many in the town and others connected to him began to call me a liar and a homewrecker. They organized support and pressured the school board to believe his story over mine.
I left that town traumatized and heartbroken.
When I realized the truth about who he was, I thought I’d done the right thing by sharing my story. But doing the right thing had cost me a great deal, and I entered into a season that was the darkest and loneliest I’ve ever known.
Twenty-five years later, I would find myself in my living room during a time of prayer and journaling, pouring my heart out to God like I’d done so many times before, asking for strength. Living life carrying the heavy weight of shame I’d picked up after leaving high school had become too much again. I rarely felt free or joyful. Moments of peace were fleeting, and as much as I loved the Lord, I could never hang onto the truth that my story didn’t disqualify me from the abundance He offered.
That morning, I heard an invitation to allow God to untangle me from the net of lies I believed because of the trauma and abuse during my last year of high school.
Instead of working so hard all the time to live around my story, He asked me to trust Him to show me how I could live with my story.
There was work He wanted to do in and through me, and my story was an essential part of that work. He wanted to use all that had happened to illustrate His redemptive power. It would mean learning to hold my head high, believing in His love for me and purpose for my life, instead of hanging it down, believing that my life no longer held promise because of what I’d done and others had done to me.
Strength comes when we trust the Lord.
I know that now. My ability to embrace and share my story was a slow unfolding, but now I see how I am strong when I trust God to use my weak places to reveal Himself. God is everywhere in my story. There are many things for which to be thankful and praise Him. And even though I wish I and others hadn’t been wronged and overlooked by the teacher and his supporters, I am grateful for my story. I am grateful because I know God saw my heartbreak then, and God uses the same story I ran from to strengthen me and others.
We never walk alone in our struggles (Joshua 1:5).
God’s love is everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3).
We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
The Father offers an outpouring of compassion to his children who have wandered and return (Luke 15:20).
We are the handiwork of God Himself (Ephesians 2:10).
God wants to do in and through us more than we could ever dream (Ephesians 3:20).
Whatever your story and whatever heartbreak it has caused, God sees you. He’s not finished with you.
The broken pieces do not cause Him to doubt or be impatient with you. He can put them back together one by one, and when we trust Him, the result will be a stronger heart than we had before.
Angie is a pastor, Bible teacher, author, podcaster, founder of Steady On ministries, and creator of the Step By Step Bible study method. At sixteen, she was groomed into a romantic relationship with a high school teacher and faced community rejection when she went public with her story. Knowing and living by the promises of God helped free her from layers of shame, and she now helps others by teaching and testifying to the faithfulness of God in the painful places of our lives. You can connect with her on her website and Facebook.
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