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You Don’t Have to Handle Everything All by Yourself

 
Hi, friends!
 
Today, I want to introduce you to my dear friend Terry. I’ve known Terry since 2006, and we’ve become very close friends since that time. Terry has an amazing story of recovery from trying to do all things by herself. I wanted her to share it with you, so I now introduce Terry.
 
 


 
 
I grew up in Longwood and Winter Springs Florida. I was one of five children with two older brothers and two younger sisters. Our home had an atmosphere of fear and anger. My parents divorced before I was five and my Mom remarried when I was eight. Both my Father and Stepfather were abusive. In addition, my Mother was working so much and dealing with her own life that she had nothing left for us children. I found out early how to take care of my siblings and myself. By the time I was 11, I was cooking meals, doing laundry, cleaning house, and babysitting to earn some money.
 
TerrySelf
At 14, the abuse worsened so, my sister and I went to live in Utah with my Dad for a year. That turned out to be a nightmare. He was even more abusive than our Stepfather was. We went back to Florida at the end of the school year but things there had only gotten worse. I imagine that the years of abuse had finally rubbed off on my Mom and she had become abusive herself. I started making plans and moved out 5 days after high school graduation.
 

When we were young, my Mom sent us to church on the bus. There I learned all about God and Jesus but never learned anything about knowing them or following God’s word. By the time I was a teenager, I felt like I had gone to Church as much as I needed to and left. I had been baptized when I was eight and had considered myself a Christian ever since. Only, you couldn’t tell that by looking at my lifestyle. I continued to search as an adult and tried several other religions along the way. None of them seemed to make any sense so I filled my life with work. I went to college off and on some but didn’t get to finish my AA degree until 2012.
 
I kept on with using my coping skills of staying busy with work and taking care of not just myself but everyone around me. I was very confident in my ability to take care of any situation that came along. I got married in 1986 and we seemed to have the perfect marriage. We never argued, not once in 10 years. It turns out that we were both experts at avoiding conflict, until he was no longer able to and suggested we divorce. So we did… in 1996.
 
After the divorce, I spent the next 3 years trying to fill the hole with everything the world had to offer but that just made the hole bigger. By the end of that time, I had sunk into a deep depression. I would go home from work on Friday and stay in bed until Monday. Going to work was the only reason I had to get out of bed. I’m so thankful I had a job I loved during that time. The depression continued for 3 months. I was finally up against something I couldn’t handle all by myself.
 
One day, a friend and I were talking about how bad the language had gotten on the radio. She said, “I know a station you would like where they don’t do that and they play the kind of music you would like.” So I thought I’d give it a try and she was right, they didn’t do that and I did like the music. That station was The Joy FM, and I’ve been listening to it ever since. One day, while driving to work, a song came on called I Am Not Alone by Natalie Grant. That song made me realize that even though I had been trying to handle everything all by myself, I didn’t have to. There was help available. In that moment, I was finally able to tell Jesus that I needed His help. After all the years of searching for love and approval, I had finally found it and it was unconditional. It didn’t rely on my performance at all.
 
I visited several churches and finally landed at my home church. In the early days of my salvation, I leaned heavily on the verse in Romans 8:28: “All things work together for good to those that are called according to His purpose.” I immediately started getting involved. I joined the choir and planned activities for my class. I took any extra classes available and within a few years, I was leading a Connect Group and a Ladies Bible Study. In 2004, I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Moldova and then got to go again in 2006. I also led several sessions of Divorce Care and in 2008, I got involved in Celebrate Recovery at my church. After completing a step study, I volunteered and led small groups and eventually became a member of leadership.
 
After being single for 15 years, I married Jim in 2011 and now we both help lead a Celebrate Recovery at another church and I lead support groups at my church on Wednesday evenings. Oh, and Jim and I are involved in an adult class on Sunday mornings to plan and coordinate ministry activities.
 
One of the most amazing changes in my life is that before salvation, it seemed as if I was walking around with a giant mirror in front of me. I could never see a clear path to the future, only the distant painful past behind me. Now, it’s like that giant mirror is gone and I can clearly see the future that is in front of me. Like Natalie Grant says, “I am not alone.” With Christ, I can live in freedom from my past and even be used by God to help others find that same freedom. Now I lean on the verse in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans for good and not for harm, to give you a hope and a future.”
 
Thank you for letting me share.

 
 

 
 
What a great story of moving from self-sufficiency to God-sufficiency! Thank you, Terry, for your courage and transparency. May God continue to bless you and use your story to help others struggling with giving control of their lives to God.
 
 
Friends, I hope you will comment and encourage Terry for sharing her story with us. Tell us what part or parts of her story you related with and why. If you have any questions for Terry, feel free to ask her in the comments section below. If you need prayer, please share that with us as well.
 


 

Terry’s picks

 

 

7 Responses to You Don’t Have to Handle Everything All by Yourself

  • Terry, what an incredible image with the mirror in front of us. Not being able to see the future and only living by looking back. My husband and I were conflict avoiders too. Well, he was. It wasn’t until this issue came to the forefront after about 18 years of marriage — that we had our break through. But it could have gone the other way. Now we both share how we are feeling. So glad that you have a wonderful marriage.
    Jamie@SouthMainMuse would like you to read…The Waiting Room again. And again.

  • Jim Lewis says:

    Terry and Daphne–
    Thank you for sharing! I grew up in an alcoholic home– where my dad was the pastor until his secret got out! i’ve been struggling with that self-sufficiency thing for a lot of years too. And that is the crux of the matter if I may be so punny– at the heart of sin is that PRIDE of self-sufficiency– that our culture has turned into a virtue! But when we rely on ourselves, we put God in the back seat, or even completely out of the car!

    keep being a blessing and turning that cross into redemption!

    J. Richard Lewis, author of “Marriage SOS: Spiritual, Obcordate, SEXY First Aid for YOUR Marriage!” at Smashwords

    • Daphne says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Jim.

      You’re right: Pride is the crux of the issue. We can handle what God can’t, or so we think. That’s a sobering way to think of it, for sure.

      Daphne

  • Karen says:

    I didn’t grow up in an abusive family, but in my family I think it was considered unbecoming if you were proud of anything you did. Praising a child would make them “proud”. My grandmother’s favorite saying was, “Pretty is as pretty does”. 🙂 I guess I grew up with the drive to be everything for everyone while struggling with no self-esteem. Self-sufficiency and “jack of all trades and master of none” describes me. (Just got back from wiring a new electrical switch at my parent’s house. Oh, and I need to make time to go fix their shower valve.) I confess that sometimes I struggle with remembering that God loves me for who I am, not what I can accomplish. 🙂
    Karen would like you to read…WAITING PATIENTLY

    • Daphne says:

      Thanks for sharing this, Karen.

      I wanted to be everything–and sometimes, I still struggle with that. But thank God, He has helped me to see that He is everything, and I don’t have to be.

      Hugs,
      Daphne

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your terrible childhood. Glad you managed to work things out yourself
    Christopher James would like you to read…This is review3

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