So, I went to the lady doctor earlier this morning, an experience any woman would say is probably not her favorite. And this was my very first time to go, partially because the idea of someone poking around down there with cold metal tools sends me into a sobbing panic and also partially because I’m secretly afraid that they’re going to tell me that I’m infertile or dying of cancer or something LOL.
But, alas, I showed up to my appointment and was asked all of the questions about my history and whatnot. And I think for normal people that this is the easy part… either you’ve been sexually active or you haven’t. But I had to look at the nurse with tears in my eyes and utter, “Not by my choice,” and then proceed to repeat that statement because masks inhibit any chance of someone understanding the mutterings of a tearful and terrified woman.
We talked about what that meant, about my history of being abused by multiple men over the years, all between sniffles and “I’m so sorry”s. She walked me down the hall to my doctor’s office, where I was met with a kind, Jesus-loving doctor man who, too, asked me about my history and my family and how I came to know Jesus. It was a really odd conversation, seeing as the overview of my life is seemingly one tragedy after the next and yet filled with God’s mercies and kindnesses all the same. And at the end of him listening to my history of abuse and ankle reconstruction and my dead dad, he spoke to me about the evident favor of God on my life. He spoke about the miracle of me being a Believer, when most women who have such experiences choose to not know God.
And all I could think in that room was, “Who, me? Favored by God? Since when?”
I truly, before that moment, had never thought of myself having the favor of God. Of course, I’ve prayed for favor as I’ve applied to jobs or met the families and friends of loved ones that matter to me… but I mean, honestly, what woman with any sort of sexual abuse or mistreatment in her past could look at herself and the story she’s been given and even consider the word “favor”? The words that tend to ring in my ears are “broken” or “less than” or the phrase, “God must not care about you,” or my personal favorite, “God is kind to everyone but you.”
And yet, is it possible to have a story of deep hurt and deep violation, and still consider yourself in the favor of God? Is it possible to have a history of being misused, misunderstood, and mistreated, and find yourself in the love of God anyways?
“You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.Psalm 56:8-9
This I know, that God is for me.
Friends, that is the favor of God. The favor of God is not something He gives to His favorite kiddos so that they never have to endure hardship; the favor of God is that He cares so much about us that He has a bottle designated for our tears. The favor of God is that His mercies are new each and every morning, and that He greatly and steadfastly loves His children. The favor of God is that though we are mistreated, misused, and misunderstood, we have a God who understands us, gives us dignity, and heals our wounds with His love for us. How great is the favor of God who finds us dead in our sins and brings us to life anyways, who takes our stories of terrible experiences and hurts, and makes them into marvelous stories that prove that God can truly heal even the most broken of people.
How great is the favor of God that walks with us through our difficult questions and leads us over a mountain of anguish so that we, too, can share the good news to other travelers on this road: that there is, in fact, a way over the mountain. That there is, in fact, another side to the experience of abuse. That after the hard work and the hard questions and the hard conversations, that you can be more than just okay. You can be healed, and you can help others be healed too.
If you have a story like mine, or even if you’ve suffered through different kinds of pain, my heart in writing this is to encourage you. It’s to encourage you to remember who our God is, even when we go through unspeakable tragedies. That this we know, that God is for us. That God makes us as white as snow, cares about healing our souls, walks with us through our hurts, and is a God of justice who avenges those who act unjustly against His children. To have a difficult story does not equate with being unfavored… to be a child of God despite enduring the horrors of life is favor indeed. You are beloved! And take it from me, the only thing better than living a pain-free life is living a life where you allow your hurts to push you towards the Lord and towards deep friendship with other believers walking through similar difficulties. There is nothing better than Jesus and the comfort He provides, I pinky promise.
My heart is with you, and my prayers are too.
All of my love,