Overcoming Adversity

Holly Nelson, author of Live Rejoicing Every DayI have spent my life overcoming adversity. Some call me the ‘transcendent child’ in my family. Some say that they have never met anyone that has had so much ‘bad luck’. All are amazed at the number of overwhelming events and their intensity. But that is not what defines me.

I am a royal daughter of the King of the Kings, and saved by grace, through His unchangeable and everlasting mercy, and through His Son’s painful, voluntary death on a Roman cross, upon which this Son, Jesus Christ, shed his blood, making sacrifice, once and for all, for the sins of all men everywhere. That means my sins…He paid the price for all my awful sins, and the sins of my forefathers, and their fathers. Who can believe that? But it is true.

Is He knocking at the door of your heart? His voice is small, as He whispers His unfathomable love to you. Are you hearing Him? Some day, His voice will be that of a roaring wind, and all who have not listened to Him will be caused to listen, however, that voice will be one of judgment. Yet still today, He whispers his love to you. I am praying that you are able to hear His love message to you, so that you too can learn to live with joy.

I was not always able to hear Him speak in a love language to my heart. I grew up in a very authoritarian home, with parents who came from such challenging backgrounds, that they learned nothing of relational skills. Not only were they combative with one another, they were unloving and abusive with their children. We were immersed in every kind of violence against the soul and body that you can imagine, and many things you could not.

Early on, I realized that I could die at any time. Death skulked around the corners of our home, and stalked my path every day. As God’s hand of providence would have it, I was able to listen to a wonderful Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Higgenbottom, who told me every Sunday about the penalty of sin, and how Jesus had paid that for me. Knowing I could die anytime, I wanted to make sure that Jesus knew me and that things would be okay when I died. So it was, in my fifth year, I prayed to God, repenting of my sin, and knowing that His blood sacrifice would pay for my sins, and thanking Him that I would go to heaven when I died. I knew things would be different from that time on.

Nothing was different in our home, but things WERE different in my heart. I knew I had a Defender living inside of me, and that my battle for life and death was taken care of. From that day, I was never again afraid of death, even though it continued to stalk me for the next two decades of my life.

However, I was still not able to understand His whisperings of love to me. I was very damaged by the lack of love shown to me as a child, and it would take many decades before I felt safe enough to understand and reach out to that aspect of my Savior. It is one thing to know someone has saved you from imminent danger and eternal damnation, and quite another to trust Him enough to love the inmost part of your being, your soul, and your personality. For after all, I was not even wanted by my parents…why would the God of the Universe have affection for me?

This blog is about sharing with you, the gentle, sweet, and patient way that He wooed me with long-lasting tenderness and understanding, and has brought about my ability to live rejoicing every day!

4 Responses to Overcoming Adversity

  1. Judi Coleman says:

    Thank you for this quote! I am studying prayer in my quiet time right now and it encapsulates the Truth to a tee! I am being thoughtfully provoked by the HS as I peruse your site. God is using you for good. Keep on Proverbing 3:5-6!

    • Holly Nelson says:

      Sweet Judi, thank you for your kind words! As fellow sojourners, we have the important opportunity to build one another up, goading one another towards well-doing and more Christlikeness. All else is chaff in the wind. I thank the Lord, if you find words to live by here on my blog, as I have on yours!!

  2. Anon says:

    I’m struggling and keep thinking negatively of myself and I know God made me strong enough to quit smoking but I like smoking and I’m scared because I, for whatever reason, just want to continue. I wanted to stop but now I just imagine myself dashing for the cigarette and I hate myself and don’t know what to do. I was close to God and now I feel far away and the bible scares me and I don’t know how to restore brethren slipping into sin and I’m scared. I don’t think positive of myself at all because there are all of these rules and it horrifies me. I know I’m forgiven, but I just want to do all of these things instead of shutting up and listening. And then whenever I read the bible sick thoughts enter my head and I hate it. I hate that I’m suffering in my own mind and I’m selfish. And it talks about how there are people who have faith but do no works and I sit around feeling bad for myself and I’m gross and confused and whenever I start to think, “okay, to feel this way means you do regret it; He still loves you,” I start to think “no, you’re just doing this to make yourself feel better and to think He’ll still love you.” Constantly, all day long, gross thoughts enter my head. And I lost my ability to love.

    • Holly Nelson says:

      Hi there, I hear where you are coming from. It sounds like you may have suffered from spiritual (and other) forms of abuse in your life, and that is coloring how you think. Satan is the author of confusion and seeks to keep us in this kind of turmoil. As long as he can get us moving in circles, instead of forward, he has a temporary victory. Is there a godly counselor in your area that you could talk to? I have found that having help to process my thoughts and feelings can be really powerful. Perhaps the first step might be to realize that self-loathing like this, is common to abuse victims, as is being leery of the Bible, or scared of God. Perhaps it was used as a whip against you, in times past? Perhaps you cannot get close to God for fear of Him? If you have been a victim of spiritual, emotional, verbal, and/or physical abuse, I cannot encourage you enough to get some good books on healing from abuse, and to find a counselor you feel comfortable confiding in. Hugs, and prayers for your complete healing.

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