Bitter or Better?
Bailey was born as a healthy baby girl! She had two of the most loving parents in the whole wide world that adored her and wanted to make sure that she had the best of everything. Bailey had picnics, vacations, walks in the park and plenty of little children to play with. Every one of her birthdays were celebrated and every Christmas, she always received more than what she asked for. Bailey’s parents made sure that she excelled in school. She was a popular, beautiful straight A student and was both musically and athletically talented all the way through high school. Bailey was accepted into one of the most prestigious universities in the country and eventually earned her doctorate degree. She never wanted to work for anyone so she started her own business and made her own money. Bailey married her soul mate. They did everything together. They resided in their country club home on the lake and had two little children, a boy and a girl. She instilled the same values and character in her children, that both of her parents had given to her. Bailey lived a healthy, wealthy and happy lifestyle. And then…..she woke up! The perfect life that she thought she was actually living, was all a dream!
As she dragged herself out of her old wooden bed in her run-down apartment, tears ran down her face as she reflected on the reality that was her life. The truth is, Bailey was a rape baby. She was not conceived in the warmth and love that most children encounter. Instead, a mother who was not strong enough to fight off her attacker brought her into this world. There was no love. There was no affection. Her mother didn’t plan her, nor wanted her and treated her a such. As a result, Bailey ran away from home and eventually found herself living from foster home to foster home trying to find the perfect family to live with. During this journey, she had to learn to fight. Bailey had to fight off molesters, robbers and thieves. She had to fight off both physical and mental abuse. Some of her foster parents made it clear to her that receiving a check for her care was more important than her well being. She never had a picnic, vacation, and walks in the park or little children to play with. It was even more difficult for Bailey as she grew older. She barely managed to keep a job living from paycheck to paycheck. She celebrated birthdays alone and cried every Christmas.
Bailey did well in school however. That is the one thing that she was most proud of. Despite her living conditions, she tried to read as much as she could and learn as much as she could. She encountered beatings at the hand of some of her foster parents and as a result, she missed going to school quite often. She found an old dictionary that someone had thrown into the trash and started reading it. So when she didn’t attend school, the dictionary was her school. She was determined to make something of her life.
Bailey almost made it to graduation. She had one more year left until she met Carter. To Bailey, he was a dream come true! Even though Carter was quite a bit older than she was, he said the right things and he did the right things. She fell in love with him and wanted to get married! Unfortunately, Bailey found herself pregnant before she got married to Carter and this drastically changed things for her. The man that she thought was in love with her was not. Carter left Bailey and she found herself alone again. Her world shattered. The one thing that was supposed to be the bright spot in her life, turned out to be her worst nightmare. She struggled to make ends meet trying to prepare for her coming child. Never in a million years did she think she would be raising a child alone. She did not want history to repeat itself. She did not want her child to experience the same thing she experienced. She was determined to make life better for her child, by any means necessary. Bailey gave birth to a baby girl and named here Danielle. Being a single parent was not easy for her. She did not realize how much care and attention her little girl needed. Bailey devoted herself to being the best woman and mother she could be.
And this is where she is today. As Bailey wiped the tear from her cheek after reflecting on the reality that WAS her life, she realized her own strength by the power of the Holy Spirit that lived within her. She began to smile because she made the choice to be BETTER and not BITTER about what she experienced. When Bailey was pregnant with Danielle, a nurse in the hospital gave her a Bible to encourage her and to give her the support she needed. She never put it down. She woke up reading God’s word and she went to bed with His word on her heart and even started reading a little to her little girl. Bailey learned that eternal life is what she wanted so she asked Jesus to come into her life and to save her. God’s word renewed and transformed her spirit and catapulted her to a whole new world. She was now looking at life through a different lens. She now realized that she had the power to change things because she had the Holy Spirit living on the inside of her! She was no longer dead! She now realizes that true love comes from Jesus Christ and Him alone. When no one else wanted to love her, He did. He never stopped. She now realizes that everything she went through was to make her BETTER, and not BITTER.
As she wiped her face for the last time, she looked around her and began to smile and reflected on God’s love and favor bestowed upon her. That old wooden bed she got out of this morning was the last time she was laying in that bed. The run-down apartment she was living in was the last time she would be living in it. Because she was faithful and trusted God with every fiber of her being, He began to open doors for her. She was able to go back to school and she finally completed that doctorate. She was now moving out of town to work on her new non-profit organization helping underprivileged young women improve their self esteem, embrace education, find employment and to live healthy lives. Bailey made the choice to not let her situation make her become BITTER, but to make her BETTER. She stood on the footstools of her enemies and became better, wiser and stronger. She now realizes that if God could help her with THIS, He could certainly help her with THAT.
What is your story? What is your testimony? What choice will you make today? What is your THIS? What is your THAT? What changes do you need to make? Who do you need to let go of? WHAT do you need to let go of? Will you let your life make you BITTER or BETTER? Begin to pray and ask God to help you work on those things that are still hurting you. Forgive your mother. Forgive your father. Love your children. Say I’m sorry. Not for them, but for you.
Notice in the above scenario that Bailey did not go and find another man to replace Carter. She didn’t go and eat herself to death because of her problems. Notice that she didn’t run up her credit card bills because of her troubles. The only thing she focused on was God. I agree that this is easier said than done sometimes. Husbands, children, finances, jobs, church, school, just life in general can be bigger than us and everything can seem overwhelming. But because of Bailey’s faithfulness, God gave her back what she lost and then some!
This message is for someone who feels like they want to give up. This message is for someone who feels as if God doesn’t care anything about them. This message is for someone who feels like they have messed up so many times that they are not good enough for God to love them. Some of you can’t see God because if there isn’t one thing that is happening, it’s something else. Psalm 91: 5-6 says: “You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or the arrow that flies by day, of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.” The terror, pestilence, destruction and arrows mentioned here are our problems, our frustrations, our hurts, our pains, our confusion, our concerns. The Bible tells us not to be afraid of them! These arrows may hit you, and they will, but they won’t hurt you! You may fall down, but you can get up! You may stumble, but you CAN get thru this. When Peter walked on the water, he kept his eyes transfixed on Jesus, but the moment he took his eyes off of Him, he began to waiver. Keep your eyes transfixed on Jesus and be determined to believe that everything you are going thru is all to make you BETTER, not BITTER!