I grew up in the Baptist church in Louisiana, which means that I was in church several days of the week. So, I can say that I grew up knowing “of God.” You see, I was sort of frustrated with God because during my childhood, I dealt with emotional abuse and poverty. My father was never a part of my life. I was also teased and bullied throughout junior high and high school.

So, I felt that God did not really care about my life or what happened to me. I went to church often because I was forced to go. I really did not understand how God could allow such harsh things to happen to me. I could not understand why God would allow my father to abandon me. Why would God allow so many negative things to happen to me? After all, I was just a kid. After high school, I moved to Texas and vowed to never look back. I vowed that I would become someone important. I had something to prove to everyone who hurt me, including God.

When I moved out on my own, I didn’t care much about attending church. I went to college, but decided that I wanted to do my “own thing.” You know, kind of, without anyone or God. I felt that God didn’t care much about me anyway. I was looking for “true happiness” and decided that I would find it all on my own. I was “enjoying” my life. I felt that I created the life that I wanted. I was THAT GIRL that was dating the guys on the college football and basketball teams. Yes, I was finally getting the attention that I was craving. If I was bored with the guy I was currently dating, I would move on to the next guy because after all, I was looking for “attention” and “to be loved.”

Even after college, I was still THAT GIRL that was dating this one guy and that guy. After a while, I was looking to feel something more. I was looking to feel “loved.” I was looking for one of those guys to make me “feel important.” But it never happened. Something was missing. I continued to look for “it.” I looked for “it” in the bars/clubs three to four nights a week. I looked for “it” in my career. I looked for “it” by attending graduate school. I couldn’t find “it." I searched for “it” for a few years.

One day, as I was feeling totally drained and emotionally exhausted, I remembered something that my mother would say. My mother would say that when you don’t know what else to do, pray. So that is what I did. I prayed. As I prayed, I felt the urge to go back to church. So, I returned to church. God really spoke to my heart that day.

You see, I didn’t know what I was searching for, but God knew. The same God that I was disappointed in and ignored for several years was there waiting for me the whole time. God was waiting for me with open arms. The “it” that I was looking for could only be found by seeking and finding God. The “it” was finally identified as the “love of Christ.” This was over 14 years ago. My life has not been perfect these last 14 years. I have dealt with many more challenges over the years. But now I allow the wisdom of God to lead and guide my life through challenges and victories. I allow God to give me and show me the love of a true Father. I allow God to heal my broken heart that was tattered by abandonment, name calling, bullying, and emotional abuse. I allow God, the Restorer, to restore my weary soul. I found and find my true identity in God, not a man.

God is using my “hot mess” as a message. Now I use my experiences to help girls and women find love, comfort, and restoration in God. God provides uncompromising and unfailing love, no matter who you are or what you have done. God is the ultimate Comforter. He provides an unexplainable type of comfort and peace. God can and will restore bruised and broken hearts. God is continually restoring me day by day.

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