My childhood was challenging. I grew up in a tough area in the Bronx where survival was more important than education. Running home from school to avoid fights and gunshots was normal. Then, already in a small apartment, my cousins came to live with us after my uncle, a drug dealer was murdered and my aunt was sent to a recovery program for help with her addiction to crack cocaine. Add-in my ailing grandmother who was struggling with Alzheimer’s and it made for some tough times. But the toughest part by far was when my father left us just shy of my sixteenth birthday.
Often times I felt life wasn’t fair. I didn’t choose these circumstances, I was thrust in to them. And as I grew older these tough childhood experiences created feelings of inadequacy as I thought people would judge me because of where I was from or my broken family. But my childhood experiences could not limit God. God had a plan for my life. He would use me anyway despite where I come from and what shortcomings I had.
Maybe you’ve had a challenging childhood and question God’s purpose for your life. You wonder why you’ve been dealt such a tough hand. You may even feel angry that you have not had some of the same opportunities others have had. Do not let your experiences limit what God can do! God has a plan for you. Despite whatever difficulties you have faced in your childhood – rejection, abandonment, loneliness, abuse, sickness – God has a great plan for you too! A plan to make you great. Adapt a new way of thinking about your future by meditating on these 4 verses:
- God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10 (GNT)
- O Lord, you protect and save me; your care has made me great. – Psalm 18:35 (GNT)
- Every child of God can defeat the world, and our faith is what gives us this victory. – 1 John 5:4 (CEV)
- The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life – life in all its fullness. – John 10:10 (GNT)
Nena Podbury is a project associate at American Bible Society. Originally from the Bronx, she has co-authored children’s curriculum and served in children’s ministry for 12 years doing Sidewalk Sunday School. Nena is married with two children, Noah and Emilia.