Restoration Stories – Stephanie Palmer 

I am a people person, always have been. People intrigue me, and I have a desire to know about each person. Probably why one of my favorite jobs was at the mall. I would meet practically every type of person on a daily basis. And it some how filled my heart to get to know each of them and somehow make there day special. I didn’t always understand why, but as I look back, I can see how God was able to use that to speak to many who would not have been spoken to otherwise.

Lately as I look around, I see all kinds of people. They range in age and background. Some have money, some are doing there best to get by. Some are very educated and some have little schooling for one reason or another. But, one thing that they all have in common is that they all have a past. As far as I know, none of us, were just beamed down one day from the heavens.

And with a past, comes some sort of baggage. 

Now, maybe some of you only have good baggage, and that’s great. But, it has been my experience that most folks tend to carry the beat up, dirty, stinkin’ kind of baggage from their past with them as they go through this life. I mean the good stuff is in there, but our day to day lives tend to be affected more dominantly by the things that went wrong in our past, the things that we would change if given the opportunity. And this kind of baggage, is the kind that is heavier than we were ever meant to carry. 

The kind that causes us to have mental, spiritual and even physical issues that change the very way that we live our lives. If we let it.

When I was around 7 or 8, I had an experience happen to me that changed who I was. I don’t speak of it often, unless the Lord brings it to mind for use in His Kingdom, so not many people know this about me. It was something that happened with a man who crossed a line physically in an appropriate way, and for me, it was like a switch was flipped on in my life that I was not emotionally or mentally equipped to deal with.

And here is what it ultimately did. It changed who I was on the inside. And it changed who I became on the outside. One moment after it happened, I was changed. The little girl who was innocent and care free, became confused and tainted…in a moment. And it muddied up everything else in my life as I went forward. It took me down a road that I never should have gone down. And I began making life altering decisions based on this one moment in time.
The enemy began to use this encounter as a weapon of confusion against me for many years. And it contaminated the young woman that I was supposed to become. 

In that moment, which was literally a smaller time frame than it takes to microwave a cup of coffee, the enemy tried to take my purpose. 

In John 10:10, it says that the enemy comes to “steal, kill, and destroy”. And on that day, he tried to do just that, take the purpose from a little girl, before she even knew what the word “purpose” meant.

And just like he has done to so many others, starting way back in the garden of Eden, he handed me a set of lenses and said “put these on, and you’ll see things more clearly”.
But, really, everything and everyone began to look distorted and I became very confused about life and the value that I held in this world.

I became broken on the inside.

Years later, the Lord showed me something that changed the way that I processed my original experience.
He took me back to the place where it all began, to the place where I was hurt. He asked me if I felt justified to keep feeling hurt and angry. I told Him that I did. I was hurt, and I was just a kid, so, yes, I deserved to feel hurt. I was a victim so if I went into a court of law, I would win the “case” against the person that hurt me.
He said, “you are right, you are completely justified on all levels. But…if you choose to carry ‘being right’ in your bag, there are things attached”. What did He mean?

He said that if I continued to carry my hurt, my confusion, my anger, my trauma, justified or not. I had to also carry shame, bitterness, heaviness, brokenness, and all the other things that were attached to it. And ultimately, the enemy would use those things as a doorstop, to prop open the door of my life to the things that HE wanted me to carry…I would then be serving HIS purpose. He said that I would carry it in my mind, my spirit…and ultimately my body. And eventually, it would contaminate everything in my life going forward, it would even make me sick in body if I continued down that road.

And with that choice, I could never grow in Him…not fully. The weight of what I was carrying, would be too heavy for me to bear and go forward in Him. I would continue to walk in circles, never forward, never completely free. It would be like a bungee cord that would pull me right back to the start every time I tried to step into what He had for me.

I began to cry, but through the tears, I began to think about what I valued more my broken past…or HIS victorious future. I wanted what God had for me and I wanted to be free from all that the enemy had put in my bag so many years ago. And once I understood, that I had to lay one down, to pick the other things up, it got easier. 

And I was able to move forward.

It was on that day, that I laid my hurt, brokenness, confusion, insecurities, anger, and all else that came with it, at the foot of the Cross. Since I did that, God has been able to use me in ways that I never dreamed.

I will not say that I never revisit those wounds. But, I will say that when I do, it is much like a scar. It is numb to the touch, and it is only visible enough, that I am able to show others how far God has brought me so that they can see hope for the wounds that they may be carrying. 
See, scars show up, so that others can see where we’ve been, but they are no longer bleeding wounds, when our healing is complete.

I will not allow the enemy continue to use them as a weapon against me. I will not even give them a forum, unless God is using them to help someone else. I will not speak of them as though they belong to me BECAUSE THEY BELONG TO JESUS! And if I continually revisit them, it’s like I’m taking them back, and I don’t want them back. 

I had to forgive the person that hurt me, because hurt people, hurt people, and to be forgiven, we must forgive.

My prayer for whoever is seeing this, is that if you are hurt, ask the Lord to give you strength and wisdom to let go of that hurt. Unload your bag of hurts at His feet. Don’t allow the enemy to use them against you for one more second!

And let Him heal those places in you that have kept you going in circles. 

A tethered bird can never leave the ground…It can never fly. 
You were meant to fly. 

Don’t settle for the enemies sad imitation of life on the ground, lean in and let God give you wings!

In Him is not only Life, but LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY!! (John 10:10)

“He RESTORES my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:3)

~Stephanie Copeland Palmer 

    “Leave Them There” 

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