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The “Gift” of Relationships

I had a counselor once tell me that every person who passes through our life is an opportunity for us to learn something.  She even went so far as to say that we should try to look at them as “gifts.”

If your experience with people has been anything like mine you might be shaking your head in denial at this point.  I can quickly think of about a dozen people that I would definitely not place in the “gift” category!  I think I might even place them in the “I wish I’d never met them” category!  However, when I look back over my life, through the lens of healing, I can see how God has turned even the most horrific relationships in my life into something that can be used for His good, others’ good, and my good. Even the person whose abuse devastated me the most played a pivotal role in my desperately seeking healing from the Lord.

One of those relationships that God redeemed was a young man who I met when I was 16 years old.  We were both alcoholics who didn’t truly know how to love anything but our drink of choice.  But we made the best effort to love each other.  The relationship was wrought with emotional abuse that resulted in constant arguments and a complete lack of trust in each other.  That emotional abuse escalated to physical abuse on several occasions.

At the age of 17, I became pregnant which caused even more stress in our fragile relationship.  I ended up having to move into BETA House which was a live-in facility for pregnant women.  My personality and the personalities of the other residents were often at odds which led to many verbal and sometimes physical altercations.

I was such a “difficult case” that I was transferred from the Social Worker that had been assigned to me at intake to the Founder/Executive Director of BETA.  Kathy Hummel was also a Social Worker, but she didn’t put up with any of my shenanigans.  She was hard nosed…refusing to cut me any slack.  And I
absolutely adored her!  I hated the day that I was forced to leave BETA after being physically threatened by one of the other girls living in the house.  I left BETA despondently wondering how I’d fallen so far from the life my parents had provided for me.

I ferociously threw all my anger and all the blame onto my boyfriend’s shoulder.  I despised him and hatefully wondered why God had ever let me meet him!

In 2004, I returned to BETA House as a Social Work Intern with Kathy Hummel as my Advisor.  She pulled some strings to get me a paid internship which is virtually unheard of especially at the undergraduate level.  While doing my internship I was invited to speak at BETA’s annual fundraiser to give my
testimony of how BETA had changed my life.

I was given the blessed opportunity to speak to a large group of people at the TD Waterhouse about how God had worked through BETA House to transform that painful time of my life into a gift to me.  If I hadn’t met the boy who would become my “first love”, gotten pregnant, moved into BETA, and met Kathy Hummel – I wouldn’t have been able to tell a group of strangers how BETA House saved me from being a homeless pregnant woman.  I stood before them as a woman God had healed from her sorted past, a woman who was completing her degree in Social Work, and a woman who now worked at the Healing Ministry.

I truly believe that God can turn our worst relationships into beautiful miracles that heal us, transform us, and mold us into someone that God can use to help others.  So maybe that counselor was partially right, perhaps every relationship in our lives can be seen as a “gift” – not necessarily the person, but the final outcome from that relationship can be the gift.

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