By Samantha Jackel
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 NLT
I am the fourth child to alcoholic parents. Being the youngest in our family meant that I was the most vulnerable to sexual, physical, and emotional attacks from both my mother, father, and family friends.
While I was growing up, my mother seemed to be constantly drunk. She was a paranoid, unstable, abusive, and desperately manipulative woman who forced those around her to constantly feed her need for emotional support.
She was an expert at playing emotional mind games, and I was often used as the bargaining pawn in dramatic, violent fights that would break out between her and my father and later my step-father. Starved of her husband’s love, she instead looked to me to help meet all her needs.
This was my life.
I can remember as a thirteen-year-old thinking that I would never be able to survive – it all seemed too much and too heavy to bear!
At the age of eighteen, I left home, and the abuse eventually stopped. I can remember in my early twenties God captured my heart, and little by little, He began to knit my broken heart back together.
During this time I was fearful and felt a deep ache of pain that penetrated my whole being. I had to learn to pull down the walls around my heart and begin to trust and forgive – it was a slow painful process.
There was a point in my life that I faced a choice – I could let the past and the abuse define who I was and who I was going to be, or I could let God re-define who I was and who I would become, transforming my life and the direction of my future.
Allowing God to work in my life has given Him the opportunity to use my testimony and story to minister to others.
Twenty-plus years on, I have had the privilege to be able to stand with and minister to others who have suffered in similar ways to me. I have been able to pray, talk and guide people through the power of forgiveness, encouraging each person and sharing the reality that God does not have “favorites”. God’s healing, blessing, and transformation are for everyone.
Not only did God transform my life, but He has enabled my story to impact many people along the way.
Will you let your past determine who you are and thereby define your future, or will you put your trust in God and allow Him to define who you were made to be? Will you choose to live the God-given future and purpose He always intended for you? Make a decision today which way you will go and write it down in your journal. Don’t forget to date it!
Lord, I thank You that in Romans 2:11 You say “For God does not show favoritism.” I thank You that the freedom and transformation I have received is for everyone. I thank You Lord that each one of us has a unique story. It is my prayer that we would allow You to work within our story until completion, enabling us to walk in freedom from our past and into the God given future that You have for us. Lord I pray that our lives would not be defined by circumstances but defined by Your words of truth over our life.
© 2021 by Samantha Jackel. All rights reserved.
Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Pull up a chair… He’s been waiting for you.
Need a refill? Please join us at the Encouragement Café with Luann and Friends.
The conversation at the Café is always hot and fresh. We invite you to listen in as we gather around the table to discuss everyday life.
Comfort food for your soul is always on our menu, and friends are always close enough to hug. We invite you to join us daily, as our writer’s share how the Lord continues to transform them into His glorious image.
Still craving more…Join us as we grow together in grace and truth through our online bible study.
Stop by Encouragement Café and listen as the girls share life. Find podcasts, videos, Bible studies, prayer, resources and daily helpings of hope, laughter and friendship around our table. We've saved a seat just for you!
Originally published Monday, 19 April 2021.