One very important part of the healing and restoring process is to mark points along the way where you make large steps of progress. Maybe it is opening the Bible for the first time, forgiving someone, going back to church, trusting your own feelings and thoughts, or attending a social event with others from the place where you were hurt or disillusioned. It might be larger steps such as committing to a church, starting to serve, telling others your story, publishing your story, or allowing God to heal wounds and pains so that you no longer have to carry them.

This summer I have walked through some of those issues, and I have laid markers along the way. Some of the steps were just to overcome the issues with my latest church, and others dated back to the abuse 4-1/2 years ago. Either way I knew that I was making progress but I still had a lot of doubts because after having problems in two churches I doubted whether God could or would use me again. What I am learning is that if you are willing to humble yourself and come before God, he will use you.

A month ago I met a man that invited me to help with a youth/young adult conference. Over the last month I attended a few meetings and was going to help run some games until last Sunday when two key people had to drop out. I was asked if I could step up to help out. My prayer had been, “God, however you desire to use me and whatever you want me to get out of this event whether for them or for me I surrender to you and will answer whatever call you make.” A willing heart is all that God asks for. I was asked once, twice, again, and again to take on more and more responsibility. Each time there was no pressure, just an honest and open request that the other leaders thought I could handle things and they wanted me to be involved. Each time the areas where help was needed fell right into areas where God had showed me I had gifts in the past.

I have never been a part of any ministry where my gifts so closely matched the needs. I have rarely felt the openness, grace, and empowerment to use my gifts and be who God made me. I saw God do huge things in my life and in the lives of others. He healed wounds in me, removed doubts, and challenged my unbelief. He asked if I would believe in him and that he wanted to use me and I walked away knowing that I can be used and that God wants to use me.

Each of us is on a journey. Some steps will be small. Sometimes the process will move slowly. Other times we will face battles. And if we are willing, faithful, and open maybe God will choose to open and bless us with significant steps of healing and hope all at once. I don’t know what comes next, and I know my journey is not over, but I can stand with confidence today that I know God does have a future for me, I am saved and have assurance of that, and I choose to follow him no matter the cost!