“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)
Today is your birthday. Not the day you were physically born into this world, but the day that you decide to be renewed. You survived your abusive relationship because, somewhere deep inside, a tiny voice (which was the Holy Spirit) kept whispering, “You will make it. God has not abandoned you.” And you believed so much in that voice that you followed it to your freedom. And here you stand, alive.
Today is your birthday. It is the day you begin the arduous work of peeling back the layers of pain to get to that person God intended you to be. You are still alive for a reason. God tells you so in Jeremiah 29:11 when he says, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God has a purpose for your life and the pain that you experienced, and He will fulfill that purpose, but before he can do so, He must put people in place to help restore you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
You first step is hope. This four-letter word is the key that opens the door to a new life. Having hope, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means you “desire something with anticipation and expectation.” Hebrews 7:12 states it even better: “hope [is] an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Life turns in a different direction once you have hope and belief that God has a vision for your life that involves joy, not the pain of abuse. Once you have hope, then you have faith. Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). It is being sure that the hope we have for a renewed life will come to pass even when things don’t look like they will ever change.
All change requires work. For you, that work involves release. It’s letting go of the memories of abuse, harmful words said, even things you may have done to yourself. Release requires a change of perspective. God cannot give you your new things until you change your old way of thinking and behaving (Matthew 9:17). You must be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 15:13), and you cannot do this alone. First, seek help from a licensed counselor or therapist. Secondly, talk to God and strengthen your relationship with Him through prayer and bible reading. Doing so will change how you see yourself, your past, and will help you to hear from God when He is ready to pour those new things, your purpose, into you.
After hope, faith, and release comes peace. Living in a constant state of peace is attainable as long as you are connected to God. His peace “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) because it is anchored in the promise He shared with you when you began to release the past. It is a gentle place of blessed assurance that you have never been alone, that God has a purpose for your life, and that, not matter what anyone has said, or will say, it will come to pass. The only person who can allow you to be taken from that center is you. Many, even you, will try, but you have the power to choose the peace that God extend to you every moment of every day. Peace allows you to move through stress, painful situations, doubt and fear. Once you understand that there is no greater power than God, then you will allow nothing to take you from your peace.
Today is your birthday. The day you decide to take your first step toward healing, toward the life God has for you. You have already survived the most difficult part of your life. That part is now over. It is time now to work for the renewed you.
If you, or a loved one, are in an abusive relationship and want help, please click here for the National Domestic Hotline, or call them at 1800.799.SAFE (7233) 1800.787.3224 (TTY).
Candance L. Greene is Editor and Writer for Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. Her work has been published in several books, anthologies and articles including Bittersweet: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Women’s Poetry; Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction; Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir, and the Huffington Post. She is the founder of Cherishedflight Communications, LLC, an editing and writing service. Visit her website at www.cherishedflight.com and follow her on Facebook: cherishedflightcommunications and Twitter @cherishedflight.
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