I recognized the presence of God early in my life. I remember being at church as young as four, dancing around the sanctuary and praising God. Joy and peace filled my little frame as I jumped up and down, shouting His name.
I loved being at church and around God’s people, and I loved God. Even so, I couldn’t imagine that God could love me. He was so big, and I felt so small. What did I possibly have to offer God? I was a nobody.
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t insecure. My low self-esteem was a byproduct of childhood events. I was six when my older brother, Simon, and I were taken from our mother’s care and placed in a foster home. My father has never been in my life.
Mom had a mental disease that prevented her from properly caring for her seven kids. My other three older brothers and two younger sisters were also removed but placed in different homes. The foster-care system wasn’t kind to any of us.
The absence of parents and siblings wounded my heart and mind. I felt abandoned, alone, rejected, and unwanted. I remember looking out the window of my foster home and wondering what my life would be like. Who would I become? Would my life always be this way? Would I ever get to be a somebody in this world?
These were heavy concerns for a six-year-old, but I knew my future was bleak even at that age. I was a poor little girl without a family—what hope did I have?
I would watch parents picking up their kids after school and imagine their lives. I envisioned them talking about school and then stopping for an afternoon treat before heading home.
I longed for a family and a place to call home. As a foster child, my time in any one place was temporary. It always felt like I was borrowing someone else’s family because there always came a day when I had to give it all back.
When I was nine, the Massachusetts Department of Social Services decided to separate Simon and me, but a kind social worker named Mrs. Edna made it her mission to keep us together. She located an aunt and uncle in North Carolina and told them our situation; they welcomed us into their home.
In North Carolina, I continued to attend church. I gave my life to the Lord; God was my best friend. I shared everything with Him.
My aunt and uncle provided well for my brother and me. But even in a home with relatives, I still felt like a stranger. I imagined I was a burden.
“Nobody wants you, Simone. You’re weird.” That theme played constantly through my mind. Satan had convinced me that I didn’t belong anywhere.
I felt disconnected from people and assumed those around me merely tolerated my presence. Satan used every rejection, especially by peers in the church, to cement the idea that I was an outcast, that I had nothing of value to say or give to this world.
For most of my teenage years, I cycled in and out of depression. Mental health wasn’t discussed like it is today, so I didn’t know how to manage those dark seasons.
My survival instinct was to isolate. Year after year, I put a smile on my face and went through the motions of life. I hid my wounds and told no one how I felt. Who would want to listen to me anyway?
I didn’t know that those childhood events—being taken from my mother and siblings, growing up without a father, being shifted around and seeing vile things in the foster-care system—had created wounds that needed to be addressed. Nor did I know that God wanted to heal my broken heart.
In 2013, I graduated high school and began my studies at Campbell University. I wanted to become a social worker and help children in the foster-care system like Mrs. Edna had helped Simon and me.
A year later, I transferred to East Carolina University, where I eventually graduated with a bachelor of arts and a master’s degree in social work. I became a licensed clinical social worker and started working with children in crisis.
But I was not prepared for what providing intervention services would do to my heart. Seeing kids being removed from their homes and shuffled around in the system took me on an unexpected collision course with my past.
The wounds and emotions that I had suppressed for years were dredged to the surface.
I attempted to push through those dark emotions as I’d always done, but the weight of the pain took me down.
I had a nervous breakdown and had to leave my job. It was the best thing that could have happened, though, because I finally realized my need for help.
With support from my husband, I started seeing a Christian counselor to confront the scars of my past. Three years later, I met Ms. Renee, a powerful woman of God, and I asked her to be my mentor.
She helped me wade through my pain. Together, we uncovered why I felt so unwanted, unworthy, anxious, and depressed. She also helped me discover the truth about how God thinks about me. That was a game-changer.
It turns out that God is particularly close to the brokenhearted and crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). David, in Psalm 68:5–6, tells us God is a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, that He sets the lonely in families, and leads prisoners out of their captivity.
God knew every disappointment I had ever faced, and He cared about how each one had impacted me. He sent His Son, Jesus, to bind my wounds and set me free from the effects of my sin and the world’s sin. (See Isaiah 53:4–6.) He cares for you in the same way.
God never intended for me to experience painful events like growing up without a father or having a mentally ill mother. Those were Satan’s desires.
Satan’s purpose has always been to kill, steal, and destroy me and to cause me to see myself through the lying lens of “I’m not enough.” But Satan is a liar (John 8:44).
With time, I have discovered and accepted my identity as the daughter of the King. I know that I am enough in God’s eyes, and according to the Bible, nothing I can do will change His mind about that. My acceptance into His family does not depend on my performance.
No amount of worldly accolades, degrees, or titles will bring additional value to me because I have been valued by God since the day I was born. I am God’s daughter, forever. He has chosen me and adopted me into His family, and everything that is my Father’s is now mine (Ephesians 1:5–8).
Not having an earthly father or mother makes God’s role as a heavenly Father even more special to me. He fills the void in my heart created by the absence of my parents. Over the years, Psalm 27:10 (NLT) has comforted me. It says, “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.”
Unlike my earthly parents and other people, God continually holds me close. He never pushes me away or fails me, even if I fail Him. God doesn’t abandon His children or cause them to be disappointed (Romans 10:11).
I still encounter depression, but when I do, God’s Holy Spirit comforts me. He jumps into those sad pits with me, reminds me of who He is and who I am in Him, and helps me get back on my feet. My circle of godly friends helps me out of those pits too. Their love and encouragement are vital to my mental health.
For years, Satan tried to silence my voice by tricking me into believing I had no value and nothing to say. Satan knew how much I loved the Lord and that if I told others about God’s goodness, they’d want to know Him too. He also knew he would be defeated (Revelation 12:11).
I remember one of the first times I sensed God wanting to use me. I couldn’t imagine how it could be true.
“Me, Lord?” I asked, sure I had heard wrong.
“Yes, you.” And then He added the most profound question. “Why not you, Simone?”
Why not me? I’d never considered that question.
But then I remembered that the Bible is filled with examples of God choosing and using people who felt unworthy and who the world had discounted. The Lord uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27).
I’ll never forget the first time I experienced Him using me publicly. I was on a mission trip to Nicaragua, and the leaders had called on me to speak to a group of students. I was scared to death and begged God to lead them to choose someone else. And then, like Moses in Exodus 4, I reminded God of my inadequacies.
“I can’t speak, Lord,” I said. “I have a weak voice!”
But the Lord didn’t accept my excuse. He replied, “Trust Me, Simone.”
The surge of power and boldness that came upon me when I stepped in front of those young people and opened my mouth to speak was overwhelming. God met me on the other side of my faith and filled my heart with His words. They flowed effortlessly from my lips. Many students came to know the Lord that day, but I learned a lesson too.
My shortcomings and my past don’t matter. All God needs is a willing vessel to work through. And what I’m seeing now is that the people God chooses to make a difference for Him are the people society labels unlikely or unfit to do so!
King David was once just a shepherd boy, until the Lord called Samuel to anoint him instead of his brothers as the future king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:7–12). God can use any willing person for a greater purpose and to bring Him glory. He takes care of everything, including drawing people to Himself.
Since that moment in Nicaragua, God has used my voice as a source of hope at my church, a local pregnancy center, and through the correspondence program of Victorious Living. Every day, I have the joy and privilege of helping people overcome past traumas and wounds as they discover who they are as children of God.
There’s nothing like being used by God. And there’s nothing like resting in the truth that I am loved, accepted, and enough. I hope you’ve realized that truth too.
Don’t let Satan trick you any longer into viewing your worth through his lying lens of “you’re not enough.” God gave His Son’s life for you—yes, you! That should prove how much He values you, once and for all.
So go ahead, right now. Decide today to exchange Satan’s lies for God’s truth and step into your identity as a son or daughter of God. Discover His love and faithfulness and all that is yours through Him. And then, be willing to be used however He desires.
There’s so much God wants to do through you. There’s so much purpose for your life that He wants to show you through the plans He has for you.
Seriously. Why not you?
Simone Bryant is a daughter of God, as well as a wife, writer, and mental health advocate with a degree in social work. She serves to deliver hope with the Victorious Living inmate correspondence team.