“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those that love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
When I was young, I would play imaginary games with my dolls. I would play school, restaurant, store owner, library, hair salon, or house. The common denominator to my imaginary play is that I chose games where I would be able to interact and serve others. If I was teaching, I could encourage them. If I was playing house, I could nurture them, and if it was library, I could share with them wisdom. I could cook for them and make them feel beautiful or just sit and hold my dolls as they “took naps”.
God built me this way. In fact, he built most of us this way. We were designed to be like Jesus and serve others. Now that I am “all grown up”, I get to do these things with (and for) my family and with those the Lord entrusts me to serve. It is like I have grown up into the fairy tale of my childhood dreams. However, the dream took several dips and turns before I actually saw the beauty of serving others over the bondage of serving myself.
Many years of my life were spent in chains. Whether it was alcohol, drugs, food, relationships, people pleasing, or accomplishment, I was caught in the web of lies the enemy had spun for me. I believed that things were my fault when they were not. I believed I had to be good to be loved. I believed others were better than I was, and that I would not amount to anything because of my addictions. At times, I felt less than human.
I remember crying out to God and feeling utterly alone and hopeless. In fact, there were times I wished he would let me die. I was so absorbed in taking care of my own needs that I failed to see the needs of others that were all around me. How had I forgotten the pure joy I had received as a child when serving those around me? How had I gotten so far away from who God made me to be?
Gracefully, I could not out-run God. Yes, I was deep in a pit. Yes, I was far from where I needed to be. But God, in his mightiness to save, set me free. He set me free. He set me free. He set me free! (Okay…..I’ll stop) And, if he set me free- He will surely set you free too! This has been the cry of my heart since Jesus came into my home and turned me inside out.
When God redeemed me and broke my chains of bondage, it was like he added a piece to my heart. This new piece included a super-charged passion for other women who were experiencing life’s hurts. This piece of me became most of me. It changed the trajectory of my life. He called me not only to freedom for me, but freedom for you. He placed in me a well of hope that overflows when I meet other wounded souls. There is no cause too lost for our God. There is no sin to deep, no hurt too infected, no mistake too profound, and no hiding place too dark for God to restore and recover you into his plan for your life.
I am elated to be coming on staff for the Refuge for Women ministry. God has given this team a heart that is ‘super charged’ to see the captives set free. I have had the privilege of getting to know and love the refuge guests, volunteers, staff, and workers. What I love most about the family here is the shared heart for serving God and loving others. The Spirit of God surrounds this ministry, and I don’t know about you, but there is no place I would rather be than under the shelter of His Wings. May I be a vessel of hope and love to those who are seeking refuge.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort that we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Carrie Miller, Licensed Pastoral Counselor