What if You Could Change Your Story

I recently took a walk in our local park just as the leaves were starting to emerge. I looked up, then felt that familiar pang that God was trying to say something to me. I remembered those teenagers when I was five. And for once I didn’t remember what they did. I remembered what I did. Which was obey. Acquiesce. Be a good little girl.

When I recounted the story to my daughter Sophie, I started crying. “I realized that I’ve long been that good little girl who obeys, even if it means being abused.”

My friend D’Ann has been a blessing to me, reminding me of when I’m over apologizing or allowing abuse to continue. Lately she sat across from me, flanked by my friend Leslie, and she said she saw growth in me, that as my book about worth releases, I’m actually, truly growing in this area of worth.

All this backstory to say, while it may have been helpful for me as a child to “obey,” (since maybe it prevented further injury), it is not a trait a grown woman should cultivate.

Because sometimes you have to push back. Sometimes you have to fight. Sometimes you have to see yourself as valuable and precious, scrapping for the dignity to live your life as God leads you.

Several years ago, I pushed back after taking abuse. As an innate people-pleaser, this was not a natural thing for me to do. There were many sleepless nights where my thoughts tangled inside me, worrying, fearing, fretting. But eventually I said what I felt needed to be said. Everything I feared would happen, happened. All hell did break loose.

And yet, I stood. I lived.

It was part of God’s process of maturing me. Giving me my voice back.

My story has often been this: I was a victim of sexual abuse. And yet, I’m realizing what a disservice this is to myself to stay in that story.

To deny that would be strange–it did happen. But to give it the kind of power that mandates both the beginning and the end makes me succumb to its inevitability. The “the end” is not written on your story. And your role of victim is no longer the role you need to succeed in life to find joy and freedom.

story

We have to give God space to re-write our stories. He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith, after all. Yes, I may have been a victim. I may have obeyed as the good little girl. I may have been stolen from. All true. But today, I no longer have to play the role of victim. With God’s resurrection strength, I can play the role of protector, truth-teller, healing-agent. What Satan meant for utter destruction, God can mean for redemption, not only of me, but for those He encircles me with.

That good little girl needs to grow up into a God-fearing, well-loved woman–one who pushes back injustice, stands up for herself, and gives herself permission to have opinions, a voice, a will.

Perhaps my tears as I recounted my tree limb story were more than sadness. Perhaps they were grief. Perhaps God was saying, “It’s time to say goodbye to that little girl, Mary. It’s time to grow up, let her go, and continue to sing loudly for your freedom.”

Maybe that’s what you need to do, too. To give up the submissive compliance. To give up the status of victim. To give up being the one taken advantage of. To let go of the belief that you deserve abuse and nothing more. To stop letting people be their worst, and instead set boundaries so they have the opportunity to grow, to be loving, to be their best.

This is your new story. Your new path. Your new mindset. You are made in the image of God, and anyone made in His image deserves kindness, compassion and dignity. Perhaps you have allowed others to treat you poorly because you are accustomed to treating yourself that way. You scream your unworth inside, so it’s only a matter of time before you open the doors for others to do the same.

No longer, friend. No longer. You don’t have to be that good little girl (or boy) any longer. It’s okay to stand up for yourself, to love yourself enough to set boundaries.

But be forewarned. It won’t feel natural or fun or emancipating when you begin the process of finding your voice. And many times, you will be like the Israelites, who, after a mighty deliverance by God through the Red Sea, looked back with longing on their slavery nation. Slavery has been your fall back, your comfortable place, the way you feel safe. To step beyond it is frightening, unsettling. I’ve run back to Egypt a few times myself.

But the shackles feel worse. And the longing for genuine personal freedom grows stronger like a heart-pounding anthem.

All that to say, let God deliver you from whatever abuse and slavery you’re experiencing. Let Him. He loves to do it. He loves to slurp up the seas, providing impossible pathways.

You are the protagonist in your story. You have permission to live your life beautifully, freely, hope-filled. Find your voice. Sing your freedom. Trust your Deliverer. Step into the water.

In what ways have you been holding on to your old story?

How will you allow God to begin to rewriting your story today?

I’ve recently started a podcast called the Restory Show where I ask folks about their amazing stories. You can listen here:

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11 Comments

  1. Jennifer March 27, 2016

    For me, my recent journey has been learning to look at my story, especially the most painful and challenging parts with new eyes, not so much from an analytical, I need to understand or resolve this perspective , but in a one small step at a time, drawing closer to Jesus, simply focused on spending time with him, allowing him to hold me and speak to me. The storm and the challenge has not gone away, but I have found more and more a peace in the midst of that storm, and have found my perspective on parts of it changing significantly, not because I try to change it, but rather allow God to work. It is both comfortable and safe to hold on to the old story, it is after all the most familiar part of us, and yet it is only the beginning, not the end of the story of our lives, of us, that God is writing.  I still walk just one step a time, slowly. I know many times of feeling overwhelmed. And yet I know the very real difference that choosing to focus on God rather than on anything else is making for me, one small step at a time. I am not there yet by any means, but I am walking a new path.

    1. Mary DeMuth March 28, 2016

      This is really great, Jennifer. I needed to read the part about just being still with Jesus despite the outcome. We’re going through big transition right now, and I’m tempted to want to force God to answer me instead of just sitting and being with Him.

      1. Mary DeMuth March 28, 2016

        Sorry for the gigantic face. Here’s hoping Amy can delete it!!!

  2. Kim March 28, 2016

    “You are the protagonist in your story. You have permission to live your life beautifully, freely, hope-filled. Find your voice. Sing your freedom. Trust your Deliverer. Step into the water.”  This is such a powerful post. Thank you for your vulnerability and bravery. So much I could say here, how this piece spoke to me personally, but I don’t have the space right now to put it all into words, so just thank you for your words.

    1. Mary DeMuth March 28, 2016

      Kim, I’m glad the post helped clarify or minister to you. May the Lord give you space to process your story in proper time with peace and joy and perspective.

  3. Elizabeth March 29, 2016

    “We have to give God space to re-write our stories.” I love this. So much. I feel like all of life is this: allowing God to rewrite our stories. In the last several years especially, I’ve experienced a lot of God’s rewriting, and it’s some of the best stuff that’s ever happened to me.

    1. Mary DeMuth March 29, 2016

      So great to hear, Elizabeth. The key is to welcome the re-write. I often want to be my own editor.

        1. Elizabeth March 29, 2016

          (Sorry, I’m not laughing at you, it’s just that the way you said that made me laugh, because it’s true.)

  4. Keri September 15, 2016

    Somehow I missed this post in March, which is odd because I rarely miss a post. The Father intended me to read it today. Thank you for your words. To me they are words of confirmation of what the father is speaking to me even as early as this morning. He is a good good Father and I am so thankful that He is re-writing your story for His glory. Blessings to you!

  5. Mary DeMuth September 16, 2016

    So grateful the timing was good and that the post specifically encouraged you today, Keri. 🙂

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