Story of Hope: Overcoming Abuse
It was around Christmas time when Ashlee, age 23, first stepped foot inside Woodside Bible Church’s Romeo campus. Having come from a rough background, Ashlee was unsure what to expect going to church. Would she feel comfortable? Would she be accepted? Would she fit in?
As she listened to the worship and heard Pastor Billy’s teaching, Ashlee was overcome with emotion. She felt a sense of belonging, and in her words, experienced a loving environment. For the first time in a long time, she felt at home.
Before coming to Woodside, Ashlee felt lost and unsure where to turn. It was only a few years ago that she found herself in one of the darkest seasons of her life. After spending years of living in an emotionally and physically abusive home, she was hopeless and attempted to take her own life. By the grace of God, she was rescued and spent a week in the hospital. This was a huge wake up call for her as she began to realize the value of life. She decided to push through as she sensed there was a deeper purpose for her life.
Even though Ashlee experienced many dark seasons in her young life, she can look back and see threads of God’s love and faithfulness woven into the fabric of her story. As a child living in a turbulent home, it was her grandmother she could turn to in order to feel safe and protected. When she grew older and met her boyfriend, it was his mother who embraced Ashlee as a daughter and made her feel loved and accepted. She was the one to invite Ashlee to church.
All along, in times of isolation and great despair, the Lord was watching over her and drawing her to Him, working all things together for good, according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). When she could find no reason to live and had lost all hope, God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love He had for her, saved her by grace and made her alive in Christ (Eph. 2:4–5). When her parents left her, she was feeling rejected, abandoned, and alone, but God would forever change the narrative of her story when He called her His, adopting her as His daughter where she became an heir of God and fellow heir with Christ (Rom. 8:16–17).
The hope we find in Ashlee’s story is the same hope each and every one of us can experience in Christ. No matter what your background is or what baggage you carry, you are welcome in His presence. No heart is too broken, or life too far gone that the resurrecting power of Jesus cannot revive.
Ashlee shares her story to remind people they are not alone. If she can experience hope, so can they. We are grateful the Lord brought her to Woodside where she’s experienced love and acceptance. The same invitation goes out to you. If you find yourself in a similar place as she was, feeling lost and unsure where to turn, you are always welcome into His presence and in His home.
No heart is too broken, or life too far gone that the resurrecting power of Jesus cannot revive.
Her story of hope also emphasizes the importance of being the hands and feet of Jesus. If it hadn’t been for her grandmother, or boyfriend’s mother, Ashlee may still have been in a dark place of loneliness. Truly, we don’t know the depths of pain and struggle those around us are facing. How are you showing hospitality and demonstrating love to those around you? Who in your life may need encouragement and to hear the hopeful story of Jesus? All around us are people who are searching for hope. How are you sharing this gift with others?