I can truly say that God has restored joy to my life. I experienced emotional, mental & verbal trauma over long periods of time early on in life. As a small child, I went through this in my home and it carried on into adulthood with my husband. When I was a kid, I was somehow able to brush it off, allowing me to be a bright and bubbly kid. I did deal with depression somewhat, but I learned how to fake being joyful when I was around others.
At eighteen, I met my husband at church and quickly thought he was the answer to my sadness and insecurities. I soon discovered that I was wrong. He caused me more heartache as I was a very weak and easily manipulated young woman. I did anything he asked, even if it went against my morals or beliefs. I thought that I wasn’t good enough for anything better. I grew up believing that this was the only form of love I deserved and wasn’t worthy of anything good because I was a mistake.
We dated, and eventually, I became pregnant at twenty-four. I was so disappointed with myself and ashamed, but we decided to get married. I was told that would be the best choice for the baby, but I wasn’t confident it was the right decision. I wasn’t happy but promised myself that I would do whatever I needed to provide my child with a happy, safe, and well-rounded upbringing. To me, this meant I had to push aside my feelings, and I found myself becoming lifeless and losing my sense of joy. I did see glimmers of happiness throughout my twenty-five years of marriage. However, I attempted suicide early in our marriage as I was overwhelmed by the negative atmosphere all around me, especially in my depressing thoughts. A very sweet moment happened when my nine-month-old said ‘mama’ for the first time. God used it to save me, and I got stronger after that with counselling, but I never felt like I completely found my joy.
Fast forward twenty-one years, I found the courage to leave my husband at the prompting of my three sons. They could see I wasn’t able to handle staying. Even though he had some great qualities, my husband didn’t know how to deal with our situation. For the last six months of our marriage, I spent a part of each day crying, and when I wasn’t crying, I found myself afraid of my husband’s reactions. I thought I was going crazy, and since I believed I was worthless, God surely wouldn’t answer my prayers.
When I left my marriage and moved away, I knew the only thing that would help me heal was God. When I arrived at my new church, I noticed three banners hanging on the wall that read Rescue, Recover, Restore, and in my broken state, I knew that this was where I needed to be. I realized that if I let God in, He would do all those things in my life.
It was not easy to let go of the many years of hurt, fear, and insecurities, but the first thing God restored for me was my joy. He taught me how to laugh again and find joy, even in the little things of life. The last years have had their share of trials, and I still have things to heal from, but God is teaching me how to work through each one of them, trusting in Him and the joy He put in my heart. If you are struggling with similar things, I encourage you to trust in God to heal your brokenness, and He will also restore your joy.