Nineteen years ago this April, I had a dramatic life change.  Several climatic events took place as I was transitioning from college into the working world.  

I was coming out of a lonely, desperate and empty place.  A hidden incident of acquaintance rape in my junior year at PSU led to struggles with self worth, eating disorders, and promiscuity.  I lived in secrecy hiding my pain from family and friends.  I remained silent for two plus years allowing the hurt to fester and infect every fiber of my being.  It was a time of great turmoil, self hatred, shame, guilt, and deep hopelessness.  The pain in my heart was consistent and continual.  Darkness followed me everywhere for even day light appeared gloomy.  I frequented the chapel on campus regularly praying to a God I didn’t know, pleading for change and a do over of life if it were possible.    Then alone in the dorm room at night, I would contemplate ending my life.  But, the thought of how my demise would affect my baby sister always averted my thoughts from suicide. 

On April 4, 1994 three months after I graduated from Penn State, my mom had a brain aneurysm sending her into a coma.  “God, please heal her and I will change my ways”, I desperately prayed.  She passed away four days later leaving our family in distraught.  I bargained with God and lost or so I presumed.  I don’t know why He chose not to heal my mom but God knew the sincerity of my prayers for a life change and He answered it in the most gentle, beautiful way.  Spring of 1994 would be the beginning of new life and hope.  I met God for the first time in my life at a time when I so desperately needed Him.

God came gently for He understood my broken heart.  He revealed beauty and purity when I felt ugly and unclean.  He didn’t force himself on me for I was ready and willing to choose a better way.  I had long awaited a path which leads to healing, forgiveness, love, and peace.  My Heavenly Father gave me a clean slate declaring me not guilty as if I had not committed any wrongdoing.  I did not deserve forgiveness yet I received it because I repented of my sins.  I was ready and willing to live the rest of life in secrecy.  Prepared to hide in shame and be punished for a wayward life, I convinced myself this was my fate.  Yet, God sought after me and presented himself to me through a young man whose heart belonged to Jesus.  Seven plus years later in 2001, I would marry this man who told me about the saving power and grace of Jesus Christ.  My old life was gone; a new life began! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

How about you?  Are you ready to give your past to God so He can begin a new life in you through a personal relationship with his son Jesus?  Indeed, this is the hope we have as we celebrated Easter.  I don’t know how God does it but He truly can make all things new.  Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came with the purpose of giving us a rich and satisfying life.  He has done this for me and He wants to do this for you as well.  Jesus is always waiting.  Just tell Him that you want to give control of your life over to Him.  Then, come and receive a new beginning and a new life beyond what you can imagine!  Father, I pray you will draw all those who are hurt, weak, broken, wayward, and lost to your Son Jesus.  May they hear and follow His voice to new life!