Jesus Is Our Living Hope

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I grew up with abusive parents who were addicts. For many years of my adult life, I kept that truth a secret. In “the church” there is a lot of stigma and shame attached to people who come from messy backgrounds. I’m thankful Jesus is our Living Hope. He can break through our chains and shatter the walls of shame and insecurity that often surround our pain.

God was real to me despite all the insanity that surrounded me in childhood.

Jesus is our shelter in the storm

Having a messy childhood is part of my story. But hiding that reality robs God of the glory. Jesus has sheltered me from some of the devastating effects of living through abuse and dysfunction. He’s healed me as an adult from so much of the trauma that came from growing up in such chaos.

Life is messy. People are messy. We all need Jesus.

There is no such thing as a perfect childhood or perfect parents or a perfect marriage. Those things are about as real as fairy dust.

My family just happens to come from a long line of royalty. If royally dysfunctional, messy people count, that is. Even if your family has some royal dysfunction hidden in your timeline, there is good news. That’s not the end of the story. God is a Redeemer.

Our Redeemer, whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, is the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 47:4

Growing up my parents’ screaming matches would have had normal neighbors calling the police, but my dad was a police officer, and the neighbors knew if they wanted to have a ticket-free life, they’d better shut up and turn the other cheek.

If you have a person in your life that has sworn to protect and to serve your community and they do this with integrity and respect, make sure to thank them for their service.

Dad was in control, and he let everyone know it. After he left my mom for another woman, another man came onto the scene that mom called a “step-up” from my dad.

Just for the record, if an unmedicated paranoid schizophrenic who believed in black helicopters and found joy torturing my sister and me emotionally and verbally is a “step up,” then I seriously blocked a lot of crazy stuff out from my early childhood. Because that makes my dad a saint. And trust me, he wasn’t. He was criminally abusive.

Jesus is our living hope when life feels insane.

I’m a Jesus-loving girl who gave her heart and life to the Lord at the young age of four or five. I’m fuzzy on the details because God has pretty much been part of my life since I can remember. Sure, we’ve had our ups and downs like all normal, healthy relationships do. But the Lord has been the one constant, steady rock in the stormy seas of my life. I’m super thankful for that!

Let Jesus be your living hope and the calm in the middle of your storms.

Have you ever wondered how abusive addicts spend their Sundays?

Many go to church like the rest of us!

Even though our family was messed up we went to church every Sunday. We had our best clothes and smiles on display for the whole world to see. We were “practically perfect in every way,” as Mary Poppins would say.

Mom never missed a Sunday unless someone was sick. Dad worked a lot, so he showed up on Easter and Christmas and that was enough for him. The other guy mom lived with later (“new dad”) was an atheist, so we didn’t need to worry about him much church-wise. But he mocked us daily for our faith and would punish me whenever I sang.

Jesus is our living hope when joy feels non-existent.

I started leading worship at our large church at a very young age. When “new dad” came onto the scene, he wasn’t a fan. I sang all the time, whenever I could. In my head, my life was a musical. God has always used music to speak to me. But when new dad began punishing me whenever he caught me singing, that love started fading

At first the punishment came only when I sang Christian music in our home. But once he learned he could get away with punishing me for practicing worship songs for Sunday mornings, it progressed to just singing in general. He literally stripped the joy of music out of our home. It makes me want to cry just thinking of how heavy and sad this truth is.

Whenever he was out of the house, my sis and I would huddle inside and be on alert for the garage door to open. And we would sing and sing and sing until we were breathless. But as soon as that garage door went up, we’d live in fear that maybe we were too loud this time and he heard us outside. Sometimes he did. That didn’t end well for us. But sometimes he didn’t. That was our private victory!

I still suffer from anxiety whenever I sing as a result of the deep, long-term psychological abuse he put me through.

Going to church was the silver lining of my childhood.

I was filled with the hope of Jesus on Sundays in ways that helped me get through the rest of the crazy days that came in between. Church felt like a safe haven from the abuse I endured throughout the week. The world felt unsafe. But church was my safe space.

The Gospel rubbed off on me. I’m so thankful for this gift!

When I was at church, I could be a kid. I didn’t have people screaming at me or yelling or hitting or doing other unmentionable things behind closed doors. I also didn’t have to be a mom to my baby sister.

In the darkest of my childhood memories, I can look back and see God’s faithfulness in so many traumatic situations. I can see the gift of those childhood Sunday school moments. Jesus was the bright shining light that pierced through the darkness.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

John 1:5

Jesus is our living hope when life feels dark.

I learned at such a tender young age the necessity to hold onto Jesus tightly when life gets crazy. I hope my sharing helps remind you that no matter what chaos is swirling around you, you can cling to Jesus. He truly is our living hope!

God is right there with you in the middle of your heartache and pain today. He loves you and is crazy about you!

When life is hard, we can lean on Jesus
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