What has been done to you and what you have experienced, does not need to be a life sentence of despair.

Abandonment. Alcoholism. Adultery. Abuse. Addiction. Divorce. Poverty. Suicide.

We don’t get to choose what runs in our family or how we’ve been touched by these millstones. We do, however, get to choose what we do with them.

Will you allow the weight of these to crush you, suppress you, or make you stuck? Will you allow these to embitter you? Will you pretend they don’t exist, or will you give way to the temptation to repeat those that cycle through generations, ravaging relationships and futures? Will you take blame for the imposters’ behaviors, or will you expose the darkness?

Will you acknowledge the pain and the scars? Will you allow yourself to feel the disappointment? The lost dreams? The broken pieces? Will you create space to feel, and then to forgive? Will you release the offenders, step out of the felt condemnation and begin to write a new story of dignity, self compassion, and strength? Will you rise out of the ashes, and see that what the evil one meant for destruction has become the fire that creates purpose, and instead of remaining in the heap, use the experiences as fuel to shape eternity?

I say acknowledge it. All of it. Feel the disappointment and the pain. Then embrace that the evil did not overtake or destroy you.

Then step forward. Use the past as a weapon for strength. Declare freedom and fight for self compassion. Allow each step to be stronger than the one before. Only look back on purpose, to collect more fuel for the next step. And begin to use the scars as a declaration to others, so that they too can find freedom and strength and purpose.

Rise up. Claim your purpose with courage. And say no to returning to the path you walked away from. Ever. There is purpose in pain. Use it as fuel. Tomorrow is depending on your strength.

I know. I’ve had to acknowledge the weight and impact of all of them. And without them, there would be no Care to Change. Genesis 50:20 says, “…You meant evil against me, but God used it for good.”

How can we help make this verse your reality too? If you’re struggling to make sense of what you’ve experienced, or if you feel stuck in the weight of it all, reach out to us. It’s why we’re here.

April Bordeau is Care to Change’s director and a therapist who has been helping families for over 25 years.