Wrestling with God: The Series…Wrestling over the Past

I am excited to introduce my sweet friend Stephanie Shott. Click here to visit her site. She is a woman who has been through a difficult past, suffered for her poor choices, and found Jesus. Since then she has never been the same. Her love for Jesus is evident in all she does. She has a book coming out this summer. It is titled Ecclesiastes: Understanding What Matters Most. You can pre-order it by clicking on the title.

I hope you are blessed as you read her post.

Wrestling With God

I wasn’t a virgin when I got married. That decision was stolen from when I was three. In fact, from the age of 3 until the age of 12ish, a lot of things were stolen from me.

Momma and Daddy never knew what happened every Wednesday night when they went bowling and left me with relatives. They didn’t realize their little girl was being used and abused every time they left the house.

I grew up knowing right from wrong, but what happened to me during those 10 years moved my moral boundaries from what I knew to be right to what experience had taught me.

With my innocence stolen and my view of love skewed, I did what a majority of girls do who were abused as a child…I became promiscuous.

And, so at 17, I was pregnant – then married. At 18, I was divorced and a single mom. At 21, I was married again, and by 22 I was divorced again and a single mom.

I met my husband in a bar.  Got pregnant, then married again. I was a mess!

It’s never easy for me to share my pre-Jesus-in-my-life story. It certainly isn’t a pretty one. In fact, my very conception was a reminder of how messed up my life was. My birth mom was raped and I was the result.

But to be honest with you, I never really “felt” it. Although I was becoming the product of my painful past as well as the product of my own destructive decisions, my heart never hurt. I just kept moving forward as if it was happening to someone else.

Maybe I was just in survivor mode. Perhaps I never grasped the gravity of it all. Or maybe the Lord just shielded the little girl in me. I don’t know. But my heart never mourned my lost innocence. I never grieved over the child that got lost in the abuse or the adult that lost her way.

Not until after my mom died last November.

So many questions left unanswered. So many words left unsaid. Somehow I emerged from the funeral fog with a plethora of unexplainable emotions. And there I was – letting my heart wander to the place where I began to wonder what could have been – what should have been.

That’s when the wrestling began.

I’ve been a Christian long enough to know that God does not ordain sin – that my childhood abuse wasn’t part of His plan for my life. I knew that if I hadn’t endured that, I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am today – but I also knew my heart was hurting like never before over something that happened so long ago. Some things should just never be – and childhood abuse is one of them.

I didn’t question why it happened. I just didn’t understand why I was finally feeling it at 48. My heart ached. Deeply. Desperately. Relentlessly. A decade of pain showed up over three decades later and all I could do was grieve. “Oh God, it hurts SO bad!” “Why am I hurting now?” “Oh LORD, PLEASE! I don’t want to feel the jolts from the rocky road of my life!”

Like Jacob, I was in a wrestling match of the Divine kind and I wouldn’t let go – I couldn’t let go…Not until He blessed me!

“And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Genesis 32:24-26

And that’s when it happened. Somewhere in the midst of the pain, Jesus whispered peace to my heart with the answer I knew all along.

When I was a little girl, God shielded me from the pain and I walked through that whole thing like much like the four Hebrew children who were thrown into the fiery furnace. The smoke of the abuse still lingered in my foolish decisions, but I never felt the heat of the flames of abuse.

But now, the wounds were as fresh as if it just happened.

It was there, in the midst of that wrestling match that God gripped my heart and I quit groping for relief. It was there I rested in the realization that not everything we go through is only for ourselves. Sometimes we must be broken if we are going to be poured out for others.

And so I was.

In a corner of my life…a solitary place – God showed up and a wrestling match ensued. I desperately clung to Him – not for answers – but for Him alone – for the blessing of Himself. And before the sun would shine in my heart again, He touched a part of my life where I thought I was strong only to make my wounds more sensitive than before and more obvious than ever.

For my own healing? I’m sure. But perhaps even for yours.

Are you wrestling over your dark past? Have you found the blessing that is God? Please share. Also click here to find out how to enter the $50 Amazon gift-card give-away.

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12 Responses to Wrestling with God: The Series…Wrestling over the Past

  1. Thank you Stephanie, for sharing this. Such depth of pain so beautifully expressed, and the God of all creation with His hand on you the whole time. I pray that your testimony touches many lives for His sake.

    My teen years were not unlike yours, and I know the sorrow that comes from starting out marriage and family all backwards. What a Redeemer we have, that He takes women with pasts like ours and turns them into  Godly wives and mothers!

    Bless you,

    • Anonymous says:

      Powerful word Tyler. Thanks for sharing!

    • Stephanie Shott says:

      Tyler ~ My heart breaks everytime I hear that anyone had to walk a similar painful path as I did. But you and I both know that God really does make beauty out ashes. Thank you so much for your kind words!

  2. Amy M says:

    “Sometimes we must be broken if we are going to be poured out for others.” I love this quote.  
    Thank you for your vulnerability to share your story on this topic. 

  3. Maa2495 says:

    Dear Stephanie, we really must talk. I too have a story like yours and would like to share it but do not know how. I am not sure even if God is through with me. I spent most of this morning talking with God. Talking is not even the correct word, crying out would be more like it. I know I have a great testmony but I am not sure how to get it out. Thanks for sharing your story, it has helped me see mine in a different light.

    • Stephanie Shott says:

      Marilyn ~ I’m SO sorry our stories are oh-so similar! I would love to talk to you. Please feel free to email me any time! God delights in healing our hearts and using our broken lives as a platform of praise. Only He  can do that. Only He can make beauty out of ashes. But we have to give Him our ashes first.

      Please email me at stephanieshott@me.com

  4. Kathy Howard says:

    Thanks Stephanie for your willingness to share this with us.

  5. Stephanie Shott says:

    Amy ~ Thanks for taking time to comment. It’s never easy to share those raw places of our lives, but we all go there and I just pray God can use it to encourage someone else. Blessings to you!

  6. Lynn Mosher says:

    Angela, thank you so much for having Stephanie. Stephie, every time I read the precious words from your heart, I cry. I cannot imagine anyone treating you so wrongfully.  I see you as you are today, God’s beautiful expression of love, forgiveness, and comfort. Your life’s story is a blessing to so many. May the Lord use your words to bring comfort to more hurting hearts. Love you! Lynn

    • Stephanie Shott says:

      Lynn ~ Thank you so much for popping in over here and encouraging me! I know I say this all the time, but you really are the nicest woman I’ve never met! I sincerely hope we can change that and meet in real life soon! And don’t you just love Angela’s heart! I met her at She Speaks last year and just fell in love with her gentle spirit and love for Jesus!

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