There is a sermon by Matt Chandler (He is great by the way, you guys need to check him out) in which he says “Where the ideal is lacking, grace always abounds.” What does that mean exactly? It means, unfortunately, a lot of us didn’t grow up in an ideal home. White picket fence, blue shudders, red door, tire swing, and your mom sipping iced tea on the front porch…yea, for many of us, that wasn’t the case. My father was always in and out of my life, we were a low-income family, my mom worked two or three jobs to support us, and I took care of my brothers since I was 9. By the age of 12 I witnessed so much infidelity I wasn’t sure what love was supposed to look like. At the age of 15 I became a teen mom, by the age of 19 I became a single parent, fleeing domestic violence, and by the age of 23 I was pretty much an alcoholic who spent her days partying trying to forget that I was a total screw up. It definitely wasn’t the white picket fence I dreamed of as a little girl. Many of us grew up in dysfunctional families. Maybe you had an absent father, maybe your parents were alcoholics, maybe your mother got married 6 times and you resent her for it, maybe you grew up watching your father abuse your mom, maybe you were abused as a child. As much as I wish it wasn’t that way, we all didn’t grow up believing in fairy tales and unicorns, and it wasn’t always peachy. Now, it wasn’t all bad. I have wonderful and happy memories of my childhood and upbringing. I was a healthy, happy child for the most part. Our past doesn’t mean we have to be bitter, I am actually so very thankful I grew up the way I did. Looking back, I can see God working in my life and drawing me close to Him, even at a very early age. The truth is, however, our past affects us in so many ways. Either way, “GRACE ALWAYS ABOUNDS”.  Do you really get that? Grace makes a way, Grace takes that place. God in his infinite mercy comes into our lives and fills those spaces where the ideal is missing.  Sometimes we try to fill those spaces with things other than God, and that only leaves us more broken. I remember a couple of years ago, the world looked so attractive to me. It offered me things I thought could make me forget, things that could make me feel better. I tried everything; It didn’t work. It doesn’t work. The world is filled with things that glitter but are not really gold. It makes you promises of a better life, it promises to fulfill that longing, but only God can do that. One of my favorite bible verses by the Apostle Paul is Philippians 3:13-14 : “But one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind, and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ.” This is such a beautiful verse. Do you see what He is saying? Forget about your past, forget about your parents who weren’t there for you, forget about your children’s dad who abandoned you, forget about the people who hurt you, forget about the mistakes you made, forget about that relationship that didn’t work out, forget about that person who just wouldn’t change, who just didn’t love you. That’s all in the past, it is behind you. Keep moving forward to what lies ahead, keep pushing and fighting and don’t give up. God has way better things ahead. Keep pursuing Jesus Christ. He will sustain you, He will heal you, He will comfort you. He is enough. He is our ultimate prize.

“He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.”- Psalms 147:3 ❤

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