Each of us has a story of the "before" and "after" days in our lives. Some of us still live in the "before." Read on as Paula Jauch shares her story to encourage us all.
Clean and New
By Paula Jauch
This past weekend my husband and I went mattress shopping. It took a lot longer than I expected. We were gone for over six hours because we visited three different furniture stores and laid on about twenty different mattresses. I'm happy to share we found the perfect mattress.
It got delivered in only a few days. As the young men carried in our new king mattress and were setting it up in the master bedroom my mind began to fill with so many past memories.
Just ten years prior to getting this new bed I was a single mom of four children living in a two-bedroom apartment and I did not have a bed at the time. My income was very limited so I couldn't afford to go out and buy a new bed. I ended up looking on Craigslist and found a lady who had a mattress stored in her garage. She said I could have it for twenty-five dollars if I moved all the stuff and pulled it out. It was buried under a lot of things. When I finally got the mattress out it was dirty from being buried and had grease spots on it. But I was desperate, so I handed her the money and threw it on top of my minivan and strapped it down with some bungee cords.
When I was raising my children I didn't have anyone to turn to for simple needs like a mattress, or for deeper support. I grew up in addiction and both of my parents were addicts. My mom passed away early and my father struggled with addiction until he passed.
This story of the mattress is so much deeper than anyone reading this might understand. When you grow up in addiction you learn how to take care of yourself as a child and you carry all those behaviors over into adulthood. I gave my life to Christ at twenty-one years old because a coworker kept telling me that Jesus loved me and wanted to heal my heart. She actually shared this message with me for two years but I wasn't ready to hear it then.
There was a time in my life that I didn't want to live anymore. The pain of my brokenness and being a single mom was too much. I actually positioned myself in the closet to take my life and I was processing how to end it all when I heard my coworker's voice, "Jesus loves you and wants to heal your heart." In the midst of my pain I screamed, Jesus if you are real, I want to know you now!
My life didn't change overnight but with my cry of desperation, I felt a shift. In the past twenty years I have been on a healing path of recovery from childhood trauma and addiction. God has restored so much in my life. At twenty-one, I was illiterate, on welfare, and a single mom. My life was like that stained mattress, but God has washed me of my stains and has renewed my hope in him. The fresh, new mattress in my home reminds me of the fresh start he gives me every day.
We all have a story to share. What is your story? Are you afraid to share the love of God with someone because of their story? I would not be here today writing this blog as an author if someone had not told me the truth that Jesus loved me and he had a plan for my life.
Paula Jauch is a motivational speaker and trauma survivor who has a heart to see people set free. She offers a hopeful path to recovery for those who are hurting and traumatized. Paula tackles some hard topics in her new release, Cross Addicted: Breaking Free from Family Trauma and Addiction. Paula and her family reside in West Michigan. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook @paulajauch and at www.paulajauch.com.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255