Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Dawning of a New Day

Have you ever noticed that when the Olympic year rolls around we see the Olympian hopefuls on all the news channels telling their stories? I am always drawn to the ones that have great victories already won in them. The most inspiring stories come out of those situations where someone has fought their way back from cancer, or worked their way back from a horrible accident. They come in as the underdog and then wow us by their performance. As they race to the finish in first place, people rise to their feet, tears streaming down their faces because they are moved by the sheer guts and glory of a winner who fought back so hard to become more than a conquerer. I wonder when the decision was fixed in their hearts. When did they say, “this accident or cancer will not stop me.” Was it on the day of the race? I think not. I believe it was probably made in the midst of the chemo treatments or in the recovery room. After the decision was made there were years of discipline and muscle strengthening in preparation for a win. The dawning of the victory was made on the day the young Olympian made a decision to be an overcomer.

The dawning of the victory for me came when I was four years old. I attended church every Sunday in my puffy dress with shining black shoes complete with white lace socks. I loved singing happy songs about Jesus and felt loved and secure in the church I attended with my family. But the day I recall with clarity was the day a man named Joe Talley came to our church to play songs on his saw! I sat right in front because I didn’t want anything to block my view. Mr. Talley held a hand saw propped between his knees and would bend it to make different notes as he ran a violin bow over the edge. It made a sound similar to a stringed instrument but it was fascinating to me because I had only seen my dad use a saw for wood. As he played and talked, my heart was captivated. He concluded his performance by saying, “If I can make music like this with just a saw and bow, what could the Lord Jesus do with you if you give your heart to him?” My hand shot into the air when he asked if we wanted to know more about Jesus. I knew in that moment that whatever Jesus could do with me, I wanted it to be that wonderful! It wasn’t long after that I became very ill and for the next five years fought my way back from a muscular disease that was very painful. I had to go and stay with my grandparents after my hospital visits so that they could help with my physical therapy. It was during that time that my grandfather began to abuse me whenever he had a chance. I love getting older and looking back with awe. I can look back now on the devastation and see that while I was being broken, I was being healed.

The decision to trust Jesus was the beginning of a new way of looking at trials. Because I believe His word, and that He loves me, I can recall the vile acts committed against my will and know that Jesus was there. His word says He will never leave us or forsake us. I know it broke His heart. The Lord of the universe sees, and feels deeply over the things we suffer. One day going off by Himself, He climbed a hill overlooking Jerusalem, knowing His own people had rejected Him, and wept. The Bible says in John 11:35 that Jesus, in His sorrow and compassion over the loss of His friend Lazarus, wept. Jesus wept. I believe He wept repeatedly for my grandfather, who could not trust Jesus to help him control his sexual sin. I believe He wept over me. Sexual abuse is a huge burden for little four-year-old shoulders to carry in secrecy.

I wonder how many people have stories like this. Their hearts or lives have been broken by loss, pain, abuse, or suffering, but by trusting Jesus to make something beautiful out of it their eyes sparkle and shine with the light of life! Although there has been tremendous hurt, their lives reflect peace. I know many of these people I’m talking about. Some are friends who have lost children in tragic ways, some are struck down with physical problems, yet their lives reflect the heart of an overcomer just like the ones we see crossing the finish line like a true champion.

As Easter morning dawns, the victory is won, He is risen! He has said, “I have overcome the world.” Then in His mercy he teaches us through His word how to overcome our sin and shame. But He doesn’t stop there. He will be there at the finish line with a crown welcoming His champions home as our race comes to an end! I give Him high praise for the new day that dawned for me when I was only four years old. It has made all the difference in my race.

Comments:

  1. Trisha Ferris Says:

    Sweet Dawn,
    A new insight into your beautiful soul. I’m crying; I’m awestruck; I’m humbled; I’m ashamed of my lack of thankfulness; I crave your joy in the face of suffering.
    Love in the Lamb,
    Trisha

  2. Jennifer S. :-) Says:

    Mrs. Campbell,
    I’m completely speechless. I honestly don’t know what to say. Your candidness and openness about your past and joy in what the Lord did for you is truly humbling. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it means to be broken and how that leads to further sanctification. It’s just difficult because being broken involves pain, and we shirk from that. Thank you for sharing that aspect of your life, even though it was so personal. It is encouraging to me.
    Love and prayers,
    Jen :-)

  3. Jennifer Blugerman Says:

    Dawn,
    Thank you for sharing such a difficult testimony which will surely resonate with many who have locked their own painful memories away, afraid to confront them, afraid to remember. Thank you for showing how God indeed gives beauty for ashes. If God can bring victory from such a horrific ordeal, how much more can He bring healing into the smaller issues we deal with in our home, work, and church. It should shame us all when we too easily give in to our desire to hold a grudge or hold onto anger or just give up when God is offering a balm of healing, grace, and glory! Once again, you are teaching me and many others. Thank you!
    -Jennifer

  4. Doris Harriff Says:

    I hope that some day my children can tell their story with the victory & triumph with which you told yours.

  5. Karen Tillman Says:

    Dearest Dawn,
    I cannot even imagine the burden such a small child would have to carry, However, I’ve had a couple of friends who have suffered abuse of a parent or loved one, and had it not been for their coming to God later in their lives, I truly believed they would’ve never been healed. One of them has an amazing story to tell, and she speaks to others when given the chance, and would like to become an inspirational speaker someday, so that others can come to know Christ, and so that people can realize there is someone out there very similar to themselves I think you are very brave for sharing this with the internet community that you have created. And I know that God will use these words to tender someone’s heart.
    Love
    Karen Tillman

  6. Doris Harriff Says:

    Dawn, Lily emailed me and told me a bit about her conversation with you. It really lifted me up. God bless you!

    Aunt Doris

  7. Martha Harrison Says:

    Dawn, I have just this morning taken time to read some of your writings of the past two months as I have been involved in many family happenings such as reunions, short trips, etc. You have touched my heart today!! Thank you for your honesty and sincerety in sharing your deep hurts and how God healed you. Truly, He has brought beauty out of ashes. You are blessed and such a blessing to others. I praise God for you and the Christian witness you are to so many!

    With loving thankfulness in Jesus, Martha

7 comments:

  1. Trisha Ferris Says:
    April 8th, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    Sweet Dawn,
    A new insight into your beautiful soul. I’m crying; I’m awestruck; I’m humbled; I’m ashamed of my lack of thankfulness; I crave your joy in the face of suffering.
    Love in the Lamb,
    Trisha

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jennifer S. :-) Says:
    April 8th, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    Mrs. Campbell,
    I’m completely speechless. I honestly don’t know what to say. Your candidness and openness about your past and joy in what the Lord did for you is truly humbling. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it means to be broken and how that leads to further sanctification. It’s just difficult because being broken involves pain, and we shirk from that. Thank you for sharing that aspect of your life, even though it was so personal. It is encouraging to me.
    Love and prayers,
    Jen :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jennifer Blugerman Says:
    April 9th, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Dawn,
    Thank you for sharing such a difficult testimony which will surely resonate with many who have locked their own painful memories away, afraid to confront them, afraid to remember. Thank you for showing how God indeed gives beauty for ashes. If God can bring victory from such a horrific ordeal, how much more can He bring healing into the smaller issues we deal with in our home, work, and church. It should shame us all when we too easily give in to our desire to hold a grudge or hold onto anger or just give up when God is offering a balm of healing, grace, and glory! Once again, you are teaching me and many others. Thank you!
    -Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  4. Doris Harriff Says:
    April 9th, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    I hope that some day my children can tell their story with the victory & triumph with which you told yours.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Karen Tillman Says:
    April 9th, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Dearest Dawn,
    I cannot even imagine the burden such a small child would have to carry, However, I’ve had a couple of friends who have suffered abuse of a parent or loved one, and had it not been for their coming to God later in their lives, I truly believed they would’ve never been healed. One of them has an amazing story to tell, and she speaks to others when given the chance, and would like to become an inspirational speaker someday, so that others can come to know Christ, and so that people can realize there is someone out there very similar to themselves I think you are very brave for sharing this with the internet community that you have created. And I know that God will use these words to tender someone’s heart.
    Love
    Karen Tillman

    ReplyDelete
  6. Doris Harriff Says:
    April 17th, 2007 at 7:26 am

    Dawn, Lily emailed me and told me a bit about her conversation with you. It really lifted me up. God bless you!

    Aunt Doris

    ReplyDelete
  7. Martha Harrison Says:
    May 31st, 2007 at 7:10 am

    Dawn, I have just this morning taken time to read some of your writings of the past two months as I have been involved in many family happenings such as reunions, short trips, etc. You have touched my heart today!! Thank you for your honesty and sincerity in sharing your deep hurts and how God healed you. Truly, He has brought beauty out of ashes. You are blessed and such a blessing to others. I praise God for you and the Christian witness you are to so many!

    With loving thankfulness in Jesus, Martha

    ReplyDelete