Transforming Grace Part 1

by Guest Blogger

If you walked into Laurie’s office, you might skip over a small wooden apple on her desk that says, “You are the apple of His eye”.  If you do see it, it might appear cliche, but this small object holds great significance for Laurie.  The woman who gave it to her years ago often used to quote Zechariah 2:8, saying,

“Laurie, remember that God loves you so much…

…and that ‘he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.’”.  Those words have steadied and encouraged Laurie over the years as she has battled feelings of worthlessness.  Although her story is not a happy one, it is laced with God’s grace and love for her.  No matter her circumstances or feelings, God was always there reminding her of His truth - that she is cherished, valuable, and loved.

Unplanned for, Laurie was born ten months after her oldest sibling.  Consequently, she experienced abuse at home, ingraining in her the feeling of being unwanted.  Her father confessed to never knowing where he was going to find her from one day to the next.  On more than one occasion, he found her in a trash dumpster behind the house, or being held under water in the bathtub by her mother in an attempt to relieve herself of an unwanted child.   

Because of this abuse, at the young age of three, Laurie was sent to her aunt and uncle’s house to live.  After a year there, her caretakers threatened to report the abusive situation at her birth-home to the authorities, in order to pressure her parents into signing adoption papers so they could gain financial aid from the government.  Laurie’s parents gave her up for adoption- a fact that she was never told until age thirteen.   

It would be wonderful to be able to say that after the adoption, Laurie had a beautiful childhood.  But she didn’t.  Under her aunt and uncle’s roof, she experienced almost every kind of abuse imaginable.  And with each passing year, the message of being unloved, unwanted, and always a disappointment, was hammered into every fabric of her being.  Sadly, Laurie found a way to cope with her circumstances through anorexia and self-harm.  It was a dark time when she, like any child, longed for someone to tell her that she was worth something; that she was loved. Little did she realize that she was indeed loved already - by God.

A high school teacher helped her become emancipated at the age of seventeen, freeing her from further abuse inside her home.  However, because of the past abuse, anorexia, and self-harm, she was required to seek counseling.  After a difficult year in counseling at Park Center, a second Godly woman, who used to be her Sunday School teacher, reached out, offering for Laurie to live with her and her family.  She constantly conversed with Laurie about the Bible and God’s purpose for her. She was a mother-figure Laurie needed and she was the one who gave Laurie the engraved wooden apple she see every day.

Through living with this woman and her family, Laurie began to have hope and a desire for something more - to be a wife and mother.  Despite not having a good family herself, she had always loved children and so desperately wanted a “normal” future that included having a family of her own. Through God’s love and His people, she finally began to see a purpose, hope, and future for her life.

-Written by Anna Macke, photos by Julie Lee

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