“I’m stupid, fat, and ugly.”
Negative voices torment us. Our past causes us to feel shame and guilt. We hesitate to tell our story because of what people might think if they knew what we’d really done. This guilt and shame can cause a vicious cycle of self-destructive behaviors that leave us feeling isolated.
I had a story to tell, but I couldn’t put all the pieces together because of my childhood trauma. I grew up in a home surrounded by violence, alcohol, and drugs, until my father was sent to prison for attempted murder. He was typically in and out of our home or in trouble with the law. Growing up in a fatherless home shattered my identity and kept me searching for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. I felt powerless over my life and circumstances, so I spent the next decade of my life engaging in self-destructive behaviors, including abusive relationships, cutting, a long-term eating disorder, and even gang initiation.
At 21, I was broken and had three small children. In that season, a friend told me about Jesus. Shortly after that, I found myself in a painful situation. I went into my closet and curled up into a ball. I screamed, “Jesus if you are real, I want to know you!” Instantly, I felt a warmth come over me. I walked out into my living room to my three children. I wiped my tears and asked God to help me change. I didn’t want my children to experience the life I had growing up. I picked up my phone and asked my Christian neighbor if he would take me to church. There, I accepted Jesus as my savior. My life has never been the same. That day I learned my first scripture, Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, but to give you a hope and future.”
The words of this scripture resonated in me. Jesus doesn’t want to harm me—He has a future and hope for me. I was up for the challenge. What did I have to lose?
For the last 17 years of my life, I’ve held on tightly to Jesus, His followers, and His word. I’ve learned to surrender my life to Him. That means letting Him take over. It has not been an easy journey, but it has played a huge part in my healing process. Nothing in this world can heal you. Nothing in this world can fill your voids. What I’ve learned through Jesus is that He can take all my broken pieces and make them whole. He has healed my heart, He has healed my relationships, and He has released me from my addictions. And even after a lifetime of being unable to read, He brought people in my life to teach me.
What obstacle are you facing today? What areas of your life need to be healed? What do you need to hand over to God? To get started, it’s as simple as going into your closet and screaming, “Jesus, are you real? I need to know you! I surrender my life and my ways to you!” I promise, He won’t let you down.
Paula Jauch is a passionate lover of Jesus, a Bible teacher, a motivational speaker, and a survivor. She is using her life experience to offer hope to the hurting. She loves inspiring her audience to walk in freedom by giving them tools to increase their faith and believe that God’s truth will set them free. Previously, Paula has worked with troubled teens, abused and neglected children, and teen male sex offenders. Paula is a happily married mother of four and resides in Michigan. You can connect with her at paulajauch.com.