Bonus: Day 31 of 30 Days of Breakthrough

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Yesterday marked the conclusion of an amazing 30 days of resurrection testimonies! I’ll wait until next week to unpack some of the treasures discovered in those stories, but suffice it to say, I believe these 30 days have been a wild success! I believe Jesus was indeed glorified in His power over death and destruction, and many women were encouraged and inspired to continue believing Him for their breakthrough.

I have chosen to conclude with an extra day because I received this testimony, and it was too beautiful to leave out. It is the story of one woman’s very honest journey through rejection and abandonment, her responses to that pain and the regrets that accompanied those choices, and the amazing way that God met her and healed her from it all. In many ways, her story encapsulates the heart and soul of many of our stories – maybe not in its particular details, but in the nature and scope of its pain and recovery.

All of us are marked by some kind of regret, no matter the justifiable circumstances of our woundedness. None of us have responded to our pain in ways that would win us any medals of honor. The pain of regret is sometimes worse than the pain of our original wounds, especially if we carry a broken identity and are always trying to establish our own worth.

That’s the beauty of the God her story portrays, the God all of our stories have portrayed these 30 days. He is not looking for perfection. He isn’t turned off by our brokenness, nor by the deeper messes we’ve made because of our brokenness. He doesn’t stand there casting His judgment down on us, but rather reaches deep into the belly of our heartache and mess, drawing us out and into the greatest love we could ever imagine. He isn’t looking for someone ‘good enough.’ Instead, He makes us worthy by His own goodness, by His own perfect love and faithfulness.

This woman’s courage, her ‘yes’ to God’s amazing grace and persistent love have saved her from a life of repeated despair and hopelessness. As I look at her today, I am amazed by the way God keeps her. Her countenance shines with the sweetness of His love, and her stance is unwavering in His presence, because she knows but one thing for certain: He is faithful in His love toward her.

There are many answers she does not have, and many twists and turns within her journey, but she has stood through it all, because she is rooted in her faith. And I’ve seen the difference that has made, for her and for her beautiful family. As she continues to hold fast to the hem of Jesus’ garment, believing Him to heal her to the uttermost, I am watching that healing unfold before my very own eyes. It isn’t unfolding the way either of us would have expected, but God reserves the right to be mysterious in His ways toward us, and we have the unique privilege of watching and waiting for a surprising goodness to come out of places we would never have imagined. I commend her for the tenacity of her belief in this goodness, and I stand beside her as she sets her heart to receive every prize He has reserved for her.

How I hope that this would be your story, too. That, in all of your brokenness, in all of your regret, you would discover the healing balm of Jesus’ relentless and healing love. And that, as you embark on that journey, there would be other women standing all around you, believing for your breakthroughs and sharing in the joys of your particular path. Afterall, this is the way God designed for us to live….together.

I hope you have been and will continue to be blessed by all that these women have so graciously offered us in their testimonies. Take the treasures you have received back to your circle of friends and family, and tell them all about this God who calls the dead out of their graves – who takes what the enemy meant for destruction and causes all of it to work for our good and His glory. He is so worthy of our praise.

“My name is Lizette, and this is my resurrection story…

I was only five years old when my innocence was taken away by my grandfather who chose to sexually abuse me. That very moment was the start of the enemy’s purpose in my life. Growing up, I always believed it was my fault for what had happened to me. I know my parents did what they could to get me the professional help I needed, but the reality was that I still believed I had destroyed our family. I carried that guilt with me for many years, and I grew up resenting everyone around me – especially my parents. That resentment eventually affected my views, beliefs, and all of my relationships, especially with my family. In particular, my relationship with my mother was poisoned deeply.                                       

I believe I was ten years old when my mother sent me to move in with my grandparents in San Francisco to attend a Catholic school, since I was having some issues at the school I was attending. At least that was what I was led to believe. In my adult years, I learned that I was sent away because my mother couldn’t handle my rebellious behavior. The message I received from that was that she didn’t want to deal with me anymore. But at the time when I was sent to my grandparents’ home, I just figured my parents wanted me to have a better education and schooling experience, so I went.

It wasn’t long after I moved there until I found myself  unhappy. I wanted to be with my parents, to sleep in my own room and  bed. What ten year old wouldn’t want and need that? For the next three years my life became a monotonous routine: school Monday-Friday, come home on Friday nights and spend the weekend with my parents, then go back to my grandparents’ house and do it all over again.  I felt alone, isolated, not wanted or loved. I felt I couldn’t talk to anyone. I learned at that young age to keep my feelings bottled up and not say anything. It seemed better that way, since no one really cared. I knew I was unhappy, but there was no one who was listening or who would be willing to. But keeping my feelings in turned out to be more damaging than I realized. I turned on myself and started to self-destruct. I started cutting and burning myself until I felt the pain was relieved for the moment.

I knew my dad was doing the best he knew how. He would come to every sports game I had and he attended most of my school meetings. He would spoil me every chance he got. Sadly, I can’t say the same for my mother. She was really never at any of my sports games or school meetings, and I didn’t know why. I was never given an explanation, which only reinforced the belief that she just didn’t care. I eventually graduated from middle school and moved back home to start high school. It was then I found out that my mother was actually suffering through her own troubles. She was on sleeping pills and anti-depressants, and she was going through a lot of turmoil in that season of her life. But I was still angry. I felt sorry for her, but another part of me wasn’t sorry. I almost felt like I hated my mother at times,and we fought a lot with each other.

The next four years was a long and dreadful journey in my life. I made many bad choices. I didn’t care too much about school, but  I kept a decent grade point average just so I could keep my part-time job. I was sixteen when I got that job, and that was when the doors of hell opened wide for me. I ended up making friends with older people who would bring me to places that were not appropriate for a girl my age. I started drinking, smoking cigarettes and going to all kinds of house parties. I was introduced to a whole different world – a world which would have me in chains for the next few years.

I made many poor choices, but the one choice I really regretted was when I lost my purity to a man who was much older than me – a man who would then never talk to me again, as if I had never existed to him. My father found out (as most parents would),  and I knew I had broken his heart. I lived with the pain of the reality that I couldn’t take that back, but at the same time I didn’t care because anger took over me and I rested in the resentment I still had for everyone around me. It became my justification.

My dad didn’t make things any easier for me after that. I knew I had lost my parents’ trust and that my father was ashamed of what I had done. I became so overwhelmed with everything that was happening that I felt like I just couldn’t do it anymore. That’s when the spirit of death came over me and told me to end it. I chose to listen, and I went looking for any kind of pills we had in our bathroom. When I found them, I swallowed almost all of them. I still can’t remember how I was able to, but I called one of my friends and I told him what I had just done.  Although I don’t remember, he told me to pass the phone to my sister, which I did, and he told her what I had done. I was rushed to the hospital, whereI stayed overnight. Death had not collected its claim on me.

I knew I had given my parents and family a huge scare, and that I had again disappointed my father. This time my father didn’t even want to deal with me. He was ready to hand me over to the state authorities because he couldn’t handle me anymore. My mother didn’t let that happen, however.  I later went on to get professional help and I went on depression pills for a while. My mother found out it was actually making me worse, so she took me off of them. I then decided to finish my last year of high school with the best grades I could. I graduated and was even able to go on to college. I moved to LA for my second and last years of college, and finally things seemed to be ok, and I thought life was beginning to move along somewhat normally for me.

But once again, everything took an unexpected turn, and I got a call that I will never forget. My parents called me and told me the most heavy and heart breaking news ever: my mother had stage four pancreatic cancer. I didn’t know what to do. My mother still wanted me to finish school, so I stayed in LA and tried to focus on my studies.  Over the next two months, my mother fought until she couldn’t anymore, and she passed away exactly two months after being diagnosed and two weeks before I graduated college. I couldn’t believe I had lost my mother. I couldn’t believe it was real. Before her passing, my family and I were able to say our goodbyes, and thankfully, that brought us a measure of peace. I still carry that peace. She made me promise to stay in school and finish out my last two weeks graduate. I did what she asked. It was really hard for me to lose my mother because when she died, we still had so many unresolved issues. The hardest part was that the last year and a half I was in college, our relationship finally felt like it was starting to get a little better. It was difficult for me to grieve her loss, because I had so many mixed feelings and I was still holding a lot of anger, pain and resentment. 

I believe it was three or four years after my mom’s death when I decided to go to my sister’s church, Templo De La Cruz. It was then that I chose to give my life to the Lord. Except, I honestly didn’t know what I was doing! I just knew I wanted to go up to the altar and respond to the invitation being offered. MAN, I can say it was truly the best “I Don’t know” decision I ever made in my life (LOL)! I went to the baptism classes and got baptized right away. I knew everything felt right, but I still didn’t understand all that was happening. I knew this man Jesus died for me, for my sins, but He didn’t know me and I never really knew him.  Still, my heart was taken, and I dove in.

Today, I can proudly say that about eleven years later, Jesus won me over completely, and God has transformed my life tremendously. He took a girl whose life was shattered at such a young age, who felt abandoned, unwanted, and unloved, and He accepted me and loved me with a love that began to heal all my broken pieces. I had always felt like I had to fight for myself because no one else would fight for me, and I had fought the best way I knew how. But when I gave my life to God, He began to fight my battles, and I began to feel important enough to be fought for. It was truly life changing. My parents had never talked to me about sex and boys, and my father didn’t give me the true affirmation of a father’s love. Instead, the world was my teacher when it came to love and intimacy. I fell into the arms of wrong men who hurt and used me, but God came and wrapped His arms around me and never let go, no matter how hard I tried to get away. My image of a father was an image of my earthly father, and it was hard for me trust God at first. But He never gave up on me! God gracefully, lovingly, yet sternly, grabbed ahold of my heart and started shaking the dead weeds off of me. Slowly, layers and layers were getting peeled off and I was walking from grace to grace, from glory to glory.

God showed me that the slashes Jesus bore were every slash He took for my sins, and that He willingly took it upon the cross and died for me to be saved and renewed. My sins and my past are no more! God has healed many broken pieces in my heart over the years, and I know there’s more to come. He has taken me through a crazy journey which I can honestly say I would do all over again if it meant I would get to have eternal glory with my Almighty Father.

I still have my struggles today, and even though I’m still facing battles as I write this story. I’m fighting with all my might to trust God’s plans for me, and to rest in His strength. I’m throwing everything I can right back at the devil, because I don’t want any of what he has aimed at me. Even in my trials and tribulations, I have still received small breakthroughs all along the way, which have given me joy and peace even that I can carry even in the most difficult times.

I will not give up because deep in my heart, I know God is doing something very wonderful inside of me still. He’s not finished with me, or my life, yet! So, despite the difficulties and the pain I may face, I don’t want to move away from the Potter’s hands. I know God is purging me of things that He could never  have reached in any other way but that which I am walking through today. There is a joy that comes from being close to God, which drives us to seek Him through our pain. There is nothing quite like it. The amazing fruit, the rich gain that comes from our lives through the suffering is always well worth the pain.

When tribulations hit and you feel like there is no other way, there is always a way with Jesus. He is the lover of our soul. Let Him grab  ahold of you, and let Him show you what you’re worth. I leave you with this scripture:

“Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. If we are afflicted it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective in enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted it is for your consolation and salvation.” 2 Cor. 1: 3-6  

I pray for whoever reads this, that your heart will be moved and blessed, that you will know you are not alone. God is with you; He has never left you, nor forsaken you. I’m still under my Potter’s hands, being daily shaped and molded, and He will continue to craft and mold you, too, into His image and into the light of Christ as you turn to Him. God Bless. Love you.”

{Photo images courtesy of http://www.pixabay.com}

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