I remember when I was a child, perhaps nine or ten, my younger brother had an antique picture of the face of Jesus on his bedroom wall. The painting was lifelike and piercing, as if Jesus were looking right at the depths of my soul. His eyes seemed to drift left to right in order to follow my movement across the room. It haunted me, and I could never understand why it was there. I didn't grow up in a Christian home. In fact, I didn't really know who Jesus was, except this religious figure that hung on my brothers wall. It was odd because him nor anyone in my family was serving the Lord at that time.
As I approached 30 years old (breathe, Britt, breathe), I reflected back on my life quite a bit. I have pondered the deep, life-altering questions regarding what I've done with my life thus far, and how would I change my approach to life moving forward.
I'll be transparent as I've ever been before; it's been a challenging year of reflection. I came to know Christ at the ripe age of 16 years old. Life had been very challenging for me till that point, and honestly, mostly until I moved out of my parents home at 19 years old. One night in high school I crawled to my parents bed in tears, crippled by the near ulcer I had in my body from stress. At that point I was put on multiple medications, aimed to deal with many issues, including depression. I was wrapped up into suicidal thoughts at times and sexual immorality. The greatest stronghold though was the anger.
I came to Christ a broken, confused, depressed, sexually immoral, angry teenage girl.
And he accepted me, in all that brokenness. He loved my in a way I had never experienced before and it was all I needed to surrender my life to Him.
Jesus was no longer a picture on my brothers wall that haunted me, but my Best Friend, Healer, Redeemer and Savior that was very real. And I was right about one thing -- He could see into the depths of my soul.
I am dedicating this piece to all those people out there who can relate to me in coming to know Christ at an older age, carrying baggage and brokenness seemingly impossible to ignore. I call us "those who lived in Pharaoh's house."
"But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile...Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said...When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”
Moses was born to belong with God's people, however his life took a different course and he was raised in the Egyptian Pharaoh's house. He grew up in an idolatrous home that served false gods and undoubtedly had a mixture of hard knocks that contributed to sin and folly in Moses' own life. Essentially, he was raised in the world as many of us have been.
I can relate to that and I believe many of you can relate to that as well. The home you grew up in probably covered one of many challenges: divorced parents, anger, abuse, addiction, manipulation. The list could go one of what you encountered at a young age. As a result of being exposed to so many unhealthy circumstances, you took on baggage and pain that worked its way through your life, like yeast in a batch of dough.
I'd like to take a moment and say that we all have our challenges, whether we have been saved all our lives or just a short time. However, this is for those who came to know Christ with decades of baggage, bondage and brokenness. When we came to Christ as an adult and had to become a child again. I want you to know that you're not alone. That it's not impossible to overcome the past and be victorious. We are often looked at as the greatest challenges, however we have the capacity to be the greatest testimonies.
Moses spent 40 years in the Egyptian culture and it brought him to murder. I find it quite interesting that when he pulled away from Egypt it took another 40 years before God called him to the great purpose for which he was born. My conclusion is this: because Moses had 40 years of the world in him, God needed 40 years in the wilderness to pull the guilt, shame, brokenness and baggage out.
I've had a tough go at life since I became a Christian. God has been incredibly wonderful to me and I've been able to experience things beyond my wildest dreams. But man has it been tough! I mean, "wanting to give up on God, can't take it, when will this stop" bad, at times.
I was talking with a good friend of mine a few weeks ago who grew up in a religious home but didn't really come to know Christ until his early twenties. This guy has had the toughest life of anyone I know. And still, in his early thirties, faces many trials. He loves God but can't seem to understand why life is so hard for him. And I can relate to that. We live as God has called us but still face such constant defeat it seems.
This conversation, along with my pondering over the last few months, exposed a realization I had. More so, I felt this prompting in my heart. When I was at a point in my life where I was wondering if God had forgotten about me, my friend, and people like us, I felt God say to me,
I haven't forgotten you. I know you and love you. It's because I know you and love you I've brought you through many trials over the last decade. You've had so much in you that I've wanted to pull out. It hasn't been easy, and it's not over, but I bring you through these trials to refine you. To make you more like me. I do this because I love you and have great plans for you that can't include those things from the past. I have you and you're not forgotten.
After 40 years in the wilderness shepherding a flock and in more isolation than we can imagine, God spoke to Moses. He called Moses into a plan greater than he could ever imagine. God used Moses to lead a nation out of bondage and changed history.
Honestly, I struggle to find words that adequately convey the true depth of what I want to say to those who have grown up in Pharaoh's house. But I want you to know that it's not over, and you're not alone.
You see, because we became Christians at an older age we had more to rid ourselves of. We had to be born again and start all over. In fact, our journey will most likely be harder and that's okay. It doesn't mean God loves us less. It means God has a huge plan for us that is as great as any other Christian. It's just that we need more time to grow and learn. We need more time in the Potter's hands to compensate those many years in Pharaoh's house.
When I became a Christian 14 years ago I never imagined my journey through my twenties would be as challenging as it has been. When I was called into ministry at 18 years old, I never thought I'd be where I am at now. But I'm becoming ok with that. I'm learning that the passion and dreams God has put in my heart won't go uncovered forever. He just needs more time with me in the wilderness. And I want that. I want to be made more like Him everyday; it's what pulls me through each day. I wan't to be rid of the world so that I can love those in the world as much as He does.
My brothers and sisters who grew up in Pharaohs house...
Don't give up.
Don't give in.
Don't lose hope.
God loves you...He sees you...He has a huge plan for you that goes beyond your wildest dreams.
If you're' struggling to let go of the past....
Or facing a challenging trial...
Or wondering where God is...
Or tired of not seeing your dreams come true...
God knows your past and loves you regardless...
God is powerful enough to overcome the trial...
God is always with you...
God will see those dreams through if He placed them in your heart.
Embrace the wilderness and allow God to mold you into His likeness. And I beg you -- don't compare. Don't look at others success and think God must love them more or have better plans for them. I've struggled with that at times throughout my twenties, but it's a lie and it's unhealthy. The delay or challenge in your life has nothing to do with God's love or desire for them being more. It has everything to do with God loving you and wanting you to be the best version of yourself.
I hope that if you're struggling with this, or can relate, you'll reach out to me. From one resident in Pharaoh's house to another. If you have been a Christian all your life, I honor you and thank God for blessing you in such a way. The journey is challenging for us all, but our home will be well worth it.
- Are there some things from your past still in you that God may want to pull out? What are they and what can you do to face them?
- What are the dreams you feel God has placed on your heart? Don't give up!