If you have ever wondered what your purpose is here on earth, if you are longing for a sense of dignity and belonging, I understand. I’ve been there, and it is with incredible gratitude to the Lord that I share my story.
I can describe my childhood in one word: rejection. It didn’t begin that way, though.
See, in the early years, I had a close-knit family. Things were good. My mother, who was a Christian, had a huge influence on my life. Her relationship with God inspired me to ask Jesus into my heart when I was nine or ten years old. But before I could fully grasp my own relationship with God and grow in it, something went very wrong.
My mother decided to leave my dad for someone else. Then my dad remarried and was always working. Our family was suddenly over. It seemed that everyone else looked out for themselves and forgot all about me. It felt like nobody knew where I was or what I was doing, and…probably, nobody cared.
Thank God, I was determined to work hard and finish high school. Then I put myself through two years of college and moved away from home to start my own life.
But one big issue remained: I felt completely rejected and alone. With no family, I never felt that I belonged to anyone.
I desperately wanted someone in my life, anyone who would accept me. This desire made me an easy target for predators. A man nine years older than me came into my life and took complete control. He wanted to know what I was doing every minute of every day. I had never had someone so interested in me. It felt good. Like someone finally cared about me.
I was so wrong.
This man brought nothing but destruction into my life. Over the next seven and a half years, I was abused and mentally tortured. He constantly told me I was disgusting and worthless and stripped me of all confidence. He told me no one would ever want me but him. And I believed him.
During those years, this man introduced me to a variety of drugs and brainwashed me with teachings of white supremacy, leading me into a world of hate. Amid all this darkness, however, two of my greatest blessings came…my two precious daughters.
As much as I hated my life, I felt I couldn’t leave. I thought all this negative attention and control was love. But in reality, I was in my own prison.
Then one day, everything changed. This man did a robbery and went to prison. Finally, the spell he had over me was broken. I was finally free from his hold. But I wasn’t free from my sense of rejection. Loneliness settled in once again.
I desperately wanted someone to want me, to treat me nice, and to make me feel loved. This time it was a former youth pastor turned heroin dealer and user that I welcomed into my life. Once again, I found myself in a dark world of destruction, and my out-of-control addictions added to the darkness.
Then God’s mercy came.
I got a DUI and was sentenced to six months in a county jail. While incarcerated, everything I owned was stolen. My house was looted, and my identity taken by thieves. And of course, I lost my daughters.
I didn’t just hit rock bottom; I was under the rocks, totally crushed.
And in that place, I did the only thing I knew to do—I prayed. I remembered the God of my youth and slowly started getting into His Word. And God began to work in my heart.
When I got out of jail, I decided to seek God, but I hadn’t yet surrendered to Him, and permanent change didn’t come. I went to church but returned to drugs. Drugs to church…church to drugs. It was a constant, defeating cycle.
Then on August 26, 2014, I heard these words: “You cannot have a relationship with Me and continue to live like this.” It was time to choose once and for all between God and drugs. I chose God and with His help, I walked out of that dark lifestyle for good, and I didn’t look back.
I pressed into God, and He began restoring everything I had forfeited and everything the devil had stolen from me. God gave me back my freedom, my daughters, my driver’s license, and finally a car. He even blessed me with a job at the church I attended. They made me an administrator. I was welcomed, trusted, and loved.
Early in my commitment to God, I began to pray about my husband. I asked the Lord for a mighty man of God, one I could worship and serve alongside, a man who would unashamedly lead our family into a deeper walk with God.
God delivered in a most incredible way!
On Christmas Day 2014, through a chain of events that only God could arrange, I met my husband Keith. He was an inmate totally sold out for Jesus. We had an instant spiritual connection, and on April 2, 2016, we were married at Franklin Correctional Institution.
Through Keith, God has shown me what Christlike love should look like. Keith loves me as a husband should, and loves my daughters as his own. Even with the challenge of him being in prison, I have never been happier.
God has been so faithful to take care of all our needs. He even made a way for the girls and me to move near my husband. Our daughters are flourishing in school, and I’ve been blessed with an amazing job at a Christian-owned-and-operated company.
Because of Christ, my life, morals, and perspective have changed. I am no longer living in a world of loneliness, hate, and deception. This former white supremacist now even has a best friend who is black. God has restored my heart to love as He does.
I can’t say that I have been an overnight success story, nor have the painful memories of my past all disappeared, but in God’s grace, I am healing a little more each day and becoming more like Jesus every step of the way. I no longer have a sense of rejection for I have been made accepted in the beloved. I now belong to Him! And there is nothing in heaven or earth that can separate me from His love. (See Romans 8:39.)
I’d like to encourage you with Ephesians 1:3–14 from The Message. Read this passage as if it were written for you…after all, it was.
How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life. Ephesians 1:3–14 (MSG)
This passage clearly describes how much we are truly loved and accepted by God. We are the focus of His love, and through our faith in His Son, Jesus, we are adopted into His family and made a free people. Everything we need in this life and the life to come can be found in Jesus. His love makes us whole.
It is my husband’s and my greatest desire to help people discover this place of wholeness. Keith will soon be released from prison, and we have already begun our ministry aimed at helping people find their place in Christ. Because of our past, we both have a passion for prisoners. We want the “least of these” to know the love of God, so they can be set free from their bondage and be healed of their pain.
Perhaps this is exactly what you need right now—to belong…to be healed…to be free. If so, then come to Jesus and find everything you’ve longed for. Wholeness begins with surrender, with choosing Jesus over everything and everyone else. It’s through that choice that you will find new life in Christ.
There is a place for you in the arms of Jesus. He loves you and will receive you, no matter what your past. Choose to come home to Him today. You will always belong.
Written by Kasey Gordon