Have you ever judged someone…and then later found out that you were wrong? Just being honest…but it seems that people do that with me a lot. In the past several months, numerous people have come up to me, messaged me, or called me, and said something along these lines…
“I owe you an apology. You’re not who I thought you were.”
Now, you might be curious, who exactly they thought that I was…but I didn’t ask. Why? Because I never let what someone else thinks of me, define me. And none of the people who said it, were people who actually know me.
There were a few who knew who I USED to be. And a few more, who have NO IDEA who I used to be, so they were making a judgement soley on my social media posts, what someone else told them, or what they think they see now. But, they don’t know who I actually am. I am who God says I am, and all I’m responsible for, is being that person.
If there’s one thing I can teach you from this, it would be…don’t ever judge someone by what you think you know. What if you’re wrong? The Pharisees were! They had Jesus pegged as a blasphemous, trouble-making, rebel…and He was the Son of God!!
And in the same way, people judge me…(and maybe you too)…without ever making any attempt to actually get to know me. I’m kind so they assume that I’m weak. I’m genuine, so they assume that I’m fake. I’m loving, so they assume that I have some alterior motive. I’m nice, so they assume that I’m naive. But what those people don’t know, is that I’m not who I am because I’ve never been through anything. I’m who I am, BECAUSE of what I’ve been through. This summary doesn’t even cover half of the things that happened…but maybe it will give you an idea…
I was 5 years old the first time I was forced to look at pornography, and 6 years old when that very same person started to sexually abuse me. I was addicted to porn for 23 years because of that. I was left alone a lot, because my mother was having to care for my grandma who had Alzheimer’s. My mom stopped being affectionate with me, and would instantly pull away if I put my head on her shoulder. Rejected. It wasn’t long before a neighbor started to abuse me, too. He told me that I was an “invisible little nothing”, and that no one even cared what he was doing to me. I believed him for most of my life. The abuse went on for over 6 years. When I was 13, my dad (my hero) got dementia. He didn’t get diagnosed for 10 years though, so at the time, I thought I did something to make my dad hate me. Rejected. So I hated myself too. I started cutting myself. I got pregnant by my long time, jerk of boyfriend, who then dumped me. Rejected. Then so did another boyfriend. Rejected. I lost the baby. I tried to kill myself when I was 16, and almost succeeded. While in the hospital, I finally told my parents about the abuse. My mom told me I could never tell anyone who abused me, or what happened, or I’d be responsible for putting him in jail and ruining his life. That’s all she said. Rejected. Shameful. Worthless. My mom is a minister of music, so all the while we were going to church where everyone thought we were the perfect family. So I listened to her. I shut up…and started drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, doing drugs, to numb the pain…and became promiscuous just trying to find someone to love me. By 19 years old, I was running with a rough gang of felons, fighting all the time, and causing chaos all over the city. I didnt like hurting people, but I felt like they protected me, so I stayed close to them. I was constantly in high risk situations. One night I was in my friend’s SUV outside of the bar, when it got car jacked. I was held at gunpoint in the back room of a house, and then put back in the vehicle so they could “get rid of me”. They stopped for gas and smokes, and with the help of friends, I got away before they got back to the vehicle. Things like that were happening all the time. I got married at 22, to a man I thought could fix my life. But he cheated on me, and we got divorced 2 years later. While with him, I confronted my abuser. I lost my family in the process. My life was spinning out of control. I felt worthless, rejected, and invisible. I will never forget that night, 7 years ago today…March 8th, 2009. By that time, I was bi-sexual, addicted to porn and dilated, an alcoholic, and a cutter. I felt absolutely worthless. I was on my way to the bar to start a fight, and make sure someone killed me. My only plans were to die that night…to never come home again. I wandered into a church instead, sat down and thought “It doesn’t matter what I look like anyway. I am invisible. No one is even going to care that I’m here.” 5 minutes later, the pastor stopped the whole service, and walked to the back row, where I was. He started to pray for me, and the first thing he said was, “God wants you to know that you’re not invisible.” After that night, I changed. I mean really changed. I never touched drugs, or alcohol, or porn again. I stopped cutting myself, and stopped being bi-sexual. I knew that I was different. But my abuser got to people in the church and they started questioning if I had really changed. Some of my family members would pull me aside and tell me to “quit faking, because they all knew that I hadn’t really changed.” The enemy was always trying to shut me up, so that he could get the glory instead of God. But 7 years ago today, Jesus set me free…and I decided that He was the only One that I would ever worship again. So I prayed. I had discovered that the only way I could learn who I really am, was to ask God. And when I asked Him, He showed me. And He led me to write a book, my testimony. I knew He was going to use it to reach many lost and broken people. But writing it made me lose most of my family all over again. So I learned to spend my time alone, with Him. I spent the following months and years, in a process of replacing the lies that the devil had told me, with the truth about me from God’s Word. And now I teach that truth to others.
So when you see me being kind, it’s because I know what it feels like to be mistreated. When I’m accepting, it’s because I was rejected time, after time, after time, my whole life. When I stand for purity and waiting for my future husband, it’s because I knew nothing but perversion until Jesus showed me the truth. (I didn’t even think I was worth enough to pray, and believe for God’s very best!) If I love you through your pain…it’s because I have known such pain and loneliness myself. And when you see me worshipping like a maniac, during worship, and you want to tell yourself that it’s a “show”. UNDERSTAND that it is not you that I’m worshipping, so I don’t care one bit whether you like it. I remember the hundreds and thousands of nights that I prayed for someone to save me from being raped. I remember the pictures that ran through my head every night and day of my life. I remember when I looked in the mirror and saw the before pictur that is attached to this post. I remember the voices of demons constantly screaming in my head. And you had better believe that I will never forget the night that all of that stopped. Now, I remember the Love that came for me…called my name…pulled me out of that pit of darkness and filth…set me free…and set me apart. I remember Jesus. And He is the only One that I’m worshiping.
So if you wonder why I get so excited…it’s because I know Who I’m worshipping, and I know why! -@LauraPLytle
The truth is, that I could tell some of you my story over, and over, and over, and you still wouldn’t believe it. And no matter how real I am, some of you would still think I’m fake. Because some of you are committed to misunderstanding me, (or someone else that you know of), so set on judging a book by its cover…just like the Pharisees were with Jesus…that you won’t believe it, even if you see it. You’ll never get to know who I really am, because you can’t get passed who you think I am. You’ll never see the pain that shaped me into who I am, and refined my character. You just don’t know the price of the oil in my alabaster box. And if that’s you…no need to worry, because I didn’t write this for you! Your opinion doesn’t affect my self worth in any way, but you better believe I’m praying for you! I wrote this for the ones who do get it. The ones who can relate. The ones who aren’t busy judging this testimony, but instead can recognize the pain in it…because they have felt similar pain, themselves. For the ones who cry themselves to sleep every night, just wanting someone to love them, and see who they really are. And if that’s you…God sees you! You are not invisible. He knows your pain, and He sees your heart! And He loves you! Maybe, just maybe, He’s hiding you from those people, to protect you! But sooner or later, He’s going to heal your heart like He did mine. And when that happens…
Never be afraid to share your story, or BE YOU,because of a “brood of vipers”, who can’t see or understand who you are. –@LauraPLytle
They couldn’t understand Jesus either. (Check out John 8 -if ya wanna know more about that.) But He lived for an audience of One, so do I…and so should you! There’s a world of people dying out there, that need to hear who God really is, how much He really loves them, and how free they can truly be! Tell them!
“And they have overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations.” Isaiah 61:1-4