By Kyleen Baptiste
Some of my favorite messages are ones that get real. Raw. Not because of the pain, but because those stories show the magnitude of God’s power, and display His ability to comfort, heal, and redeem up close and personal. It makes sense, really. God tells us in Revelation 12:11, “They overcame the evil one by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony”.
When we think of it this way, ladies, knowing God and sharing our stories is our most powerful weapons.
Our stories. If you’re anything like me, you love being a part of it from the audience…cause it’s safe there. We get inspired and even take a good testimony from someone else and share with our friends to encourage them. It’s exciting to hear what God’s done and is doing!
So then, what about when God wants us to tell what He’s done in our lives? Ummm, say what?! You know, that “thing” from your past God’s healed and restored. That internal prison you were in for years only to be set free by Him. Yes, that thing.
I’m with you, friend. I can so relate. I’m the first to sign up for women’s conferences and yet, for years, was reluctant to share those deepest places in my own life. Truth be told, I was still living in the shadow of the shame.
You see, I grew up in a pastor’s family. My parents love all people with a servant-hearted love that led me to know Jesus at a young age, and paved the way for me and countless others to want to know Him more. The “not afraid of messy, near to the brokenhearted, free the captives” love of Jesus. To this day, I’m discipled by their life of loving others and standing boldly on God’s trustworthiness.
I had the voice of Truth inside me, but the noise of the world began to drown it out. Saved, but with shallow roots. Slowly, into my teen years, I began to buy into a lie from the enemy that because our family was in ministry, we didn’t have permission to have struggles of our own. I began pulling away inside. My parents certainly never spoke that message to us, Satan just knows which lies to use in our weak spots, doesn’t He? All that, mixed with some other painful wounds, a full dose of teenage recklessness, and overwhelming fear, before my 17th birthday I’d had an abortion.
For the next several years, while I went to college, graduated, and began an amazing career, my life was full of one destructive choice after another to numb the shame and self-hate I felt.
Even though I’d confessed and been forgiven by God in those years, I believed I’d never know what it was like to feel completely untangled from it. I was forgiven, but not free. Part of me even thought living in that bondage was just the price I’d have to pay because of what I’d done. (Spoiler alert: that’s a lie too!)
Oh, I’d seen countless people share their redemption stories before. Still, the message that kept playing in my soul was, “People won’t celebrate your repentance because you knew better.” So many of the redemption stories were told from the storyline, “My life was a wreck. Then I met Jesus, and now I’m set free!”
That wasn’t my story. Mine was the prodigal child.
I felt so disconnected spiritually, as though the journey to find my way home was far too big a task for me to figure out. Just like the prodigal son’s father was watching for him, God’s not waiting for us to figure out freedom on our own. We can’t. He’s eagerly waiting for our hearts to turn toward Him - even the slightest - and He’ll come running. When I look back at that season, I see countless ways God was moving on my behalf while I was still running. There’s no greater love, y’all.
Whether you share this specific experience or not, we all can relate to knowing how sin or wounds in our lives have stood in the way of real intimacy with God. No matter what your “thing” is, He loves you so much and desperately wants you to experience real freedom. To experience Him.
Forgiveness comes from God, healing comes in community. God places people in our lives to be the megaphone of His promises and the touch of His nearness. He’ll be faithful to bring people into your life, the same way He did mine years ago. The women and men He surrounded me with during that time in my life were exactly the people I needed to shatter the prison of lies I was living in. He knows who you need too. But, we must be willing to open up and let people in.
If your story does involve a past abortion, please hear me. You are SO loved. I know what those prison walls look like, friend. You’re not alone. I’d love to talk, text, email, or help you get connected with a confidential recovery group local to you, so please reach out. I’d be honored.
This year, whatever wound is holding us back, let’s not stop short of real healing. Trust me when I say, it’s worth letting go and there’s nothing like it!
Then, in only the way God can, He’ll take your story, the scars and the redemption, and He’ll use it to help another.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
Kyleen is a mom to four amazing children and one super spoiled Great Dane in her blended family. She gained her three oldest “covenant” kids through marriage to her awesome husband, and they have one little girl together. Kyleen was a child life therapist for over 10 years and is now a Tippi Toes® Franchise owner, founder of Foreign Soil Ministries, and passionate about helping blended families thrive in light of redemption. She provides coaching calls and online support to help families navigate the tricky stuff in a godly way. A Kentucky address with a Florida born heart, her fav’s are Florida State football, traveling, as well as being home with the roar of her kids and company. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.