Today we are privileged to share our friend Kellyann Harmon’s words. She writes with vulnerability as she explores how God changed her perspective about herself, her dreams, and what a life with Jesus looks like as He leads us out of the wilderness to the river that quenches all thirst.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. “Isaiah 42:19
Second thing I know. Jesus. Life giving. Constant companion. DNA shaper.
He is the DNA shaper who changed my perspective about myself.
When I was a little girl I loved to play dolls. I imagined myself as Chrissy, nurturing mom to her precious baby doll daughters. I have always been a day dreamer. At eight I dreamt of being a famous singer. I belted each song played from the turntable to my audience of pinup fans like Shawn Cassidy.
When I was sixteen I dreamt I would finally meet HER! The beautiful mystery mother who would look like me, embrace me, and tell me she’s sorry for leaving.
At eighteen I dreamt of leaving my factory job in the little hick town, certain to have adventures living in the big city. When I was married I dreamt of returning to that hick town and raising my daughters in the sunshine of the country pastures –daughter’s golden hair flying with freedom and abandon.
I’d also dream of how to make my parents see my accomplishments. I’d dream of them coming to visit me and my family in my suburban home. I’d dream of how I’d be a better wife, so my prince would come home from work to visit me, not yell at me. I’d dream of how to be a better mommy for my daughters, so they wouldn’t get yelled at by the prince. I’d dream of not being afraid of my life.
We all have shattered dreams. Sometimes dreams need to shatter for the air to get in and breathe new life into us. That is where I was in March of 2007 when the dream was over, and I walked out of Prince Charming’s life with an order of protection, two scared daughters, and no money or plan, placed into a hidden home for our safety. I don’t remember Chrissy having this dream for her perfect family of plastic baby doll love. Chrissy didn’t know she’d need grace to get her through.
Grace saved me. It handed me a job with animals, and a coworker who suggested I talk with God again. I accepted Jesus into my heart as an 11-year-old girl. I left Him with the other pile of dreams in my little hick home town when I started to see Him as mean and condemning instead of who He is: grace-filled and loving.
Losing sight of God and His grace can happen when circumstances keep hurting us. But somewhere deep in the heart of man I believe we know we are not meant for this pain. Something greater than us is there for us. As infants we reach our arms up to parents for help, love, and support. We trust they will meet our needs. Yet we are also spiritual beings who desire to believe that when we raise our arms there is a Heavenly Parent who picks us up, wipes our tears, and gives us hope for a future. My Savior does that time and again for me. I have been re-parented through grace.
As a survivor of domestic violence, it took me a long time to understand that there is work on my end too. While my abuse was real, it doesn’t give me a reason to remain a victim. God has no weak or powerless sons and daughters. Once adopted into His family, He forges us with strength. I had to move my feet towards Him and do my part for Him to do His. Fear was in my DNA. And it didn’t start with Prince Charming. It started at age 5, with my first fallen experience of man. My fleshly DNA was made up of fear, hopelessness, powerlessness, and anger.
My little girl dreaming a way to escape harsh realities.
But then God. God knew my name. He is El-Roi the God who sees. He knew me inside out. He knit me together in my mother’s womb. He held my life in his hands and gave me a hope for my future. His love felt safe and irresistible, not contingent on His mood or my pleasing Him.
He adopted me into His spiritual family as I was and parented me through grace. Through one friend, He afforded me Christian counseling for trauma healing. Through another believer He taught me about Daddy-daughter time. Through another friend, I learned how God’s forgiveness and consistency in His word could change a life. Through other believers, He met my financial need, brought protection from my abuser, and I was taught how to talk with God through prayer. Yet another showed me how to move in the Spirit and stood with me as I learned to stand in God’s strength and power.
My flesh family was broken, in need of God’s saving grace too. My spiritual family helped fill my relational need for intimacy and connection. They were tangible evidence God was holding me in His love when I reached up my arms in surrender. Looking back, I can see how God raised me new with His righteous family.
My DNA began changing. I was drinking in Jesus’ love. The result?
Seasoned faith replaced fear as I saw God’s faithfulness to meet my needs.
Courage replaced fear as I grew into new shoes that stepped out in faith.
Wisdom replaced emotional decisions.
Trust in God replaced hopelessness.
Knowledge of His identity and how to have a relationship with Him reminded me I was not alone.
Endurance through long suffering and hardship helped me grow strong.
Mercy for the lost birthed as God showed me His.
Forgiveness for the offenders grew because my future depends on it.
Love for Him, myself, and others became the strong foundation God built upon.
Loyalty to His cause and truths deepened because I am grateful and want to reveal His glory.
Peace replaced the storm.
Strength for me has come through bent knees and lips of praise, not earthly policemen, lawyers, or judges.
God’s parenting changed my perspective about me. He showed me I am able, because He is able. The strands of DNA He has woven together have helped me hold tight to Him and all the dreams He has for me and my future.
When we allow God permission to adopt us into His family, he doesn’t leave us looking like the mess we come in as. As we trust Him more and give Him permission to be Lord of our life, our DNA changes. We start to look less like our earthly family and more like our Heavenly Father. We look more like Jesus in as much as we give Him access. New dreams emerge that look more like His true purpose for our lives as we desire to be the person He created us to be. Today I sing, not to an audience of pinup teen idols, but with the angels as I proclaim God’s grace and majesty singing to Him. Some dreams were just meant to be.
As for me, I will always have hope. I will praise Him forever and ever! Psalm 71:14
How has God changed your perspective about yourself through trials? Join the conversation here or on our Facebook page.