Welcome to Making Space Monday (Making Space for God, that is)! Each week we explore topics that encourage us to make space for God in our busy lives. Last week we watched as hurricane Florence approached the east coast. Living in Charleston and having been through many hurricanes, we know the drill. Watch, prepare, evacuate, pray and wait. This time, however, hurricane Florence, though following a specific path for days, left some frightening options up in the air concerning whether we would actually be in the path of a substantial hurricane. One of the possibilities indicated a course that would hit Wilmington, NC, then circle southward and hit Charleston. So we watched, we waited, and many evacuated under evacuation orders. As it turned out, we only experienced a tropical storm and were relieved, but continued to pray for the areas that were hard hit.

Hurricane Hugo

30 years ago some of us experienced hurricane Hugo which was a category 4, with winds of 140 mph sustained winds. Upon returning from evacuation, it appeared I was on an alien planet- nothing looked the same. I was without electricity for 21 days and it was an experience that has colored all of my future hurricane scares. Many of my friends are the same way. When the newscaster says this is similar in strength to Hugo, our past experience makes us want to run for the hills. All of this explanation to say one thing…

Our past experiences can color our future. 

Sometimes we must release our past to realize our future. Sometimes we cling to past experiences and unknowingly are unable to release our fears or traumatic past in order to grab hold of a preferable God given future. Having been involved in ministry for 20 years, I have seen this pattern repeated over and over.

All of us have had experiences that have caused us pain, been overwhelming, leaving us with a sense of hopelessness, trauma, and continued pain. Not to minimize the pain or the negative effect of your experience,  it may be helpful to see how others moved from an overwhelming past to a victorious present.

My son Billy’s picture taken days before the hurricane

Joseph – He brought some of his pain on himself when he bragged and shared his dreams of grandeur;  however, being thrown in a pit and sold into slavery must have been unbearable at times particularly since it was his very own brothers who did this to him. But God raised him up to a position of vast influence where he was able to impact a nation for good.

Esther – orphaned and left with her cousin to raise her, she overcame and became queen of Persia impacting her people and a nation.

There are countless other Biblical examples of God bringing men and women from pain to gain, from stress to peace, from poverty to riches. Along the way they made the choice to serve and trust God.

Again, I am not minimizing your pain. I certainly have had my share. But together we can encourage one another to make space for God to help us let go of our painful past so that we can realize a better future. How about you? Would love to hear your stories of how God has met you in your pain and helped you press through to the other side.

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  • Martha
    Reply

    My painful experience was a divorce 30 years ago. There isn’t enough space to totally paint my experience for u but because of the pain, heartache, disappointment, and grief I have survived and become a better person , mother and now grandmother of 10. I allowed God to use my pain for gain through forgiveness of myself for the part I played in the divorce and my ex husband. We were high school sweethearts- three beautiful children a good life. It wasn’t suppose to happen to us. But it did But by God’s grace and His mercy my ex and nice and friendly to one another. There is hope after divorce even when the pain was debilitating. I am so grateful for how God has worked in my life
    Thank u Joanne for your Ministry. God Bless You

    • joanneellison
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing this Martha! I know this is a great encouragement for others to hear how your past pain has strengthened you. There is hope after divorce. Many need to hear this. Bless you!

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