From ashes to beauty – 8 factors that bring change into your life.
I am very excited to write my first article for this website. Excited, because there is so much gratefulness and compassion in me, when I look back to where I came from and where I stand today.
Compassion because I remember very well where I come from.
I remember all those struggles, the stupid things I did in my ignorance, unmet needs, wrong beliefs and fears.
I remember the people I hurt, the ridiculous situations I put myself into, the hurt I caused to myself for not knowing how to live, for being completely lost in a world that didn’t teach me how to live a life in freedom, that’s worth living.
I struggled to find my place in a world that rarely tries to find the gold but points out the weak spots, the flaws, the imperfections and the things that need to change in order to be acceptable.
I remember the feelings of loneliness, the shame of being myself, the heartbreaks I could have avoided (if only I would have been tought on how to do that) – and the feeling of complete failure every time I had recognized that I wasn’t at the level of the expectations of the people around me.
My realities were feelings of failure, of not being enough, unworthyness, unableness. The labels of ADHD and epilepsy promised me a future of trying to adapt to these diagnoses.
I hated it. I tried to fight those things. Fight those things in order to “become” normal. In order to become a person like anybody else.
Somehow, this felt like a lost struggle. My environment, who knew me well (or so they thought), tried to make me accept my fate. They shaked their head at my efforts to get out of those labels and diagnoses, those feelings that tried to determine my life. They smiled at my determination to overcome those obstacles (and circumstances) they had put in my way.
My French teacher told me one day:
“Jeanne, you are definitely not made to learn any foreign language. You will never speak more than one language.”
Well, today I speak four of them fluently.
Because of a pretty severe stuttering issue, I felt very helpless and shy, insecure to meet new people. Somehow I knew that I either had to hide in an office, or I face this reality. So, at age 16, I chose to do an apprenticeship in a small butcher’s shop. My thinking was that this way, I had to face all those clients, everyday, who came to buy meat and sausages in the shop. And it worked! I got much more confident and relaxed in meeting new people, and my stuttering diminished very much.
When I was around 24 years old, God spoke to my heart in a very real way. He told me:
“ Jeanne, you can’t become something you already are: “normal” in your uniqueness.“
From this day on, I quit my fight to become “normal” – and I entered into the process of becoming who I truly am – the person I knew deep down inside I could be, if only I would be able to enter into this freedom of who I am, of who God truly is.
Today, I’ve gone a long way. I am at a completely different spot – in my inner and outer reality. My life has a stable foundation that is filled with life, joy, peace, gentleness, compassion and humor. Even though neither my life nor I myself, nor the people around me are perfect… challenges can’t change that basic foundation of freedom.
And well, knowing what I know today about psychology, how the usual effects of child rearing and a difficult childhood will influence the adult life – I stand in awe before this God who was capable to break many of the “normal” consequences in adult life. There is this deep gratefulness for all those people in my life who treated me with grace and compassion and who were eager to find the gold.
Today, I am simply amazed by this God who is so faithful!
I look at the freedom I found of being simply being me.
I see the grace of God all over my life. His compassion. His love. His capacity. He is so good!
My heart is filled with compassion and thankfulness, because I know that the reality I experienced in the past is the reality of many people around the world.
We live in a time, where brokenness, hurt, pain and injustices are as much reality as they were at any point of time in our history.
In this blog, I will share my journey, from where I was to where I stand today.
However, today I would like to point out eight important factors you have to know to enter this journey.
- ) There is no way I could experience my freedom today without the reality that Jesus died on the cross.
Why? Well, because today all my efforts, my will would not have had the power to overcome all those wrong beliefs, lies, fears and the ignorance that held me back.
Because of God, because of Jesus who paid for us, I had a truth to hold on to. To cling on to in my failure, brokenness and pain. God saved me from so many things I would have entered into if I would not have given my life to Jesus Christ. The thief came only to kill, steal and destroy, but Jesus came that we may have life in abundance, to the fullness, until it overflows.
Therefore, the first step is: Invite Jesus into your life. It will seriously change your life on this earth for the good. Visit this section of my website to see how to that.
- ) Dwell in his love.
I got to know a God full of compassion. He never accuses. He never blames. He never shames you. He knows your past, your experiences, your lack and needs.
The only people Jesus got angry at in the Bible, were the religious people who were trying to put a burden on the weaker ones. The ones who were “rejecting” the sinner and pretended to be the “perfect” ones. Once you experience His Love in your life, everything else will become so small.
- ) Be aware that coming out of your comfort zone is scary and uncomfortable.
This means that any process of transformation is challenging. Many times, staying in those “securities” one has, no matter how destructive they might be, seems more promising than leaving this place to grow into another reality.
Promise yourself to hold on, even if you feel that you have failed, that people have failed you or that you just can’t keep on anymore. Every time in my life, when I felt that way and I decided to persevere, God was so faithful, bringing people or circumstances into my life that gave me courage and strength to go on.
5.) Accept the reality that there will always be people that hurt you, don’t understand you or wrong you.
They may be your own family, or even people who believe in Jesus. Accept that they are on their own way, just like you. NO human being is perfect. Bless them, engage a way of life that decides to enter the school of forgiving and go on.
- ) It is great to get help along the way.
Psychologists, therapeutics, Christian counselors, pastors or any other people who are there to help you. My life got changed because of people, who helped me turn around my life with lots of know-how, investment and professionalism.
However, they are human beings too, with weaknesses and blind spots. Don’t build your life around them. Center your life around Jesus, and the truth the Bible says about you and about Himself.
7.) You will be hurt, you will be disappointed.
However, you too, will hurt and disappoint people along the way. So learn how to be gracious – toward yourself and toward those who want to help you.
- ) Cling to the truth that God wants your freedom even more than you do.
This is such an important point to me: The whole process of maturity brings up our humanity. We get to know ourselves, we get to know others. Truth is, God was aware of humanity in us long ago. And he loves you anyway. He is the one who made you beautifully and he wants to go the process with you. Cling to it – even in moments when you feel like you’ve been let down.
The process can be very hard. While in it, you may not even see the progress, let alone the light at the end of the tunnel. But then, suddenly, you realize how things have become different. Suddenly you’re looking back and you realize how things have changed. More and more, you start to enjoy the fruit your change has brought into your life. You start to see the beauty in place of the ashes. And this is the moment you realize that it has all been worth it.