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.
Not a week that goes by that I don’t remind my son to be kind to his sister and play with her. When he looks at her, he sees an annoying two-year-old girl who steals his toys and ruins all his fun. For him, she is simply too hard to love. While few of us can relate to the irritation of dealing with a two-year-old sister, many of us can relate to the experience of living with a difficult family member. Continue reading →
Sometimes you have to just suck it up… and this was one of those times. Midnight snacking in the kitchen I swore a shadow moved under the radiator. Nahh…I poo-pooed it away. To cast out all doubt the mysterious shadow was boldly sashaying across the front of my fireplace a day later. Yup, it was a &*^#% mouse. Those of you who follow UHB know the water bug incident. If not, go check that out. Continue reading →
There was a time that I thought some things were absolutely unforgivable. There was an imaginary scale in my head that weighed the offense and eked out the level of forgiveness that it was worthy of. I justified my right to own the hatred that I felt for my abusive ex-boyfriend. He had taken enough so I was not willing to give him any more of me, including my forgiveness. My angry mind rationalized that forgiveness would send a message that his actions were OK, even when my reality mind knows that notion isn’t true.
What I have come to grips with is that forgiveness is not an endorsement nor is it a hug wrapped in rainbows, fluffy clouds and harp music. Forgiveness is not a warm fuzzy feeling that puts you in the mindset of running through a field of flowers, smiling with the sun beaming as if you were singing about the hills being alive in the Sound of Music. In spite of how it feels, forgiveness is a choice.
I have heard it said that forgiveness is setting someone free and freedom is not what I wanted for this person. The truth of the matter is that the real prisoner was me. I was holding myself captive. I stayed bound in my anger where I was insulated from being in any situation where I could be hurt in anyway. I’ve become hypersensitive, acutely aware and ready to protect my children and me from the slightest external infraction. When looking at life through the lens of this seething anger, you see threats everywhere. A person in a store line accidentally stepping on my daughters foot required quick action to protect her when it was just an accident.
For years I was full of hatred and rage for not only my abuser but also memories of my mothers. I vowed to break the cycle and never have my children, sisters or brothers, nieces or nephews be victims of abuse. Un-forgiveness held me prisoner. The person that I have wished a house to fall on kept on living his life, unaware and probably apathetic to the depth of my hurt, anger and bitterness. To truly be an example, I’ve learned that I need to follow the ultimate example. God himself asks us to forgive those who have wronged us. (Colossians 3:13) Nowhere did I read it was an easy thing to do. As I’ve committed to the hard work of forgiveness, releasing my abuser and the dark, ugly pit of anger has made room for the beautiful things like joy, peace, love and gratitude. While forgiveness isn’t always easy it is worth the effort as I reclaim my freedom Under my Tattered Brim.
There are days when you wake up and have to be like David and encourage yourself. Not
because you don’t have an awesome other half that listens to you whine, encourages and holds you up when you are feeling down and deflated. No matter how you try to shake it you see evidence of the irritation(s) everywhere you look. Each sign making the tear in the irk fabric larger and larger until its a deep, dark, empty hole. Continue reading →
I work for an organization where some of my colleagues speak many languages. It is an enviable ability that has had me wish I really paid attention when Senior Fazinni was teaching my Spanish class, at least to recall more than a few phrases. The one that I still remember and used most – ¿puedo ir al baño so I could find a study hall to socialize in. I’m ashamed but confession is good for the soul. Hola NAHS clase de 89!!Continue reading →
First let me thank my ultimate motivator who has no problem calling me out on updating Under Her Brim. What can I say, I’m an organized mess and it still takes a village to nudge me along to keep my mess organized. So to you I say Thanks! – I hear you and appreciate you (and all of the Under Her Brim followers!!) here…. have some Skittles. Continue reading →