My whole life growing up I knew there was a lot of secrets and pain hidden behind my mom's struggling attempts to raise us and survive. Little glimpses of the unimaginable abuse my mom and her brother endured left me uncomfortable and curious at the same time. So much I didn't know.. there was so much my mom wouldn't tell me behind the deep hurt and anger that welled up in her eyes when I asked. I learned to stop asking.
All these years later, my heart longs to know the truth.
But I've come to realize that the details of my mom's childhood is not the truth I've longed to know after all.. Sure it might help me make sense of the difficulties I faced as a child, but I know enough to say that no child should have to go through the trauma, abuse and neglect my mom and her brother endured as little ones. My heart burns with anger for justice, but is comforted by timeless truth of the gospel I have come to know.
Today I watched a video of about my Uncle Matt that deeply grieved my heart. I watched this news report of the struggled he is enduring after being released from 22 years in prison as a convicted sex offender. I watched it with tears in my eyes knowing thousands of people cringed with judgment and disgust against my uncle.. who they know nothing about expect the bold title across the screen "Convicted Sex Offender" -- I don't know my uncle personally and hope one day to meet him and thank him in person for the seeds of hope he sown into my life as a little child. He wrote me from prison, sending my jewelry he hand-made and a watercolors phrase that said, "Jesus in Me Loves You."
This phrase was a mystery to me for years.. In His letter he shared with me how he was transformed by God's love into a new man. He was in prison since 1994, the year I was born, and wrote me this letter when I was about 9.
There are thousands of people hastily ready to heap judgments against my uncle.
But to him who is without sin, go ahead and throw the first stone.
After watching this video of my uncle:
And spending time talking with God about it,
I was prompted to send him this email, and felt led to share it with you:
Hi Uncle Matt!
Its Helen Rose, Amy’s daughter.
I just watched the news report about your transition back into life after prison.
I want you to know God really spoke to me and revealed to me that all your suffering and pain is not in vain.
Everything the enemy intends for evil and destruction God delights in recycling for His glory and YOUR greatest good.
Your story is going to give hope to so many people. God already revealed that to me.
I’m sure you know Romans 8:28, but I just wanted to affirm you with this truth today.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Your love for our Lord Jesus is clear and evident. His transforming power has done a mighty work within you that is a powerful testimony to everyone who watched that news report.
And you are most definitely hand-chosen and CALLED by God.
When I was a young little girl, so traumatized by the darkness of the life handed to me, finally living with my mom and brother after shifting through many different homes in and out of foster care, I remember receiving a letter and some jewelry from an Uncle Matt I never met or knew anything about. I treasured those earrings and still have them to this day. The letter you sent me had a colorful watercolored paper in it that said, “Jesus in Me loves You.”
This phrase was a mystery to me, but brought so much comfort to my hurting little heart.
I taped it up on my wall where it remained for years.
I looked at it from time to time, thought about you, thought about who Jesus might be and why the heck He would love me.. and I turned away from it again and again.
But it planted a seed in my heart that had finally taken root August 10, 2010 when I met Jesus through a woman when my brother and I were living in a motel.
The love of mom’s life, Neil, had died of pancreatic cancer. I started doing drugs, and watched the fullness of evil and darkness in that world take the lives of so many people I loved. My very best friend, Chance, took his own life. My best friend was dead and all I had was the hope of getting high to survive another day.
We got evicted. Mom got arrested.
Alex and I, me at age 15, Alex at age 11, ended up in a sketchy, run-down motel.
The enemy met me there and I made up my mind.. I was going to take my own life just like Chance had.
That very night, an ex-meth addict came up to me and stopped me. She scooped me up, held me as I cried, and shared with me the gospel.
I finally came to understand what that little watercolored phrase on my wall could have meant..
August 10th, 2010 I woke up with no desires to use drugs anymore and instead I had a deep hunger to know this Jesus I had been told about.
I gave up the life I had known and cried out to God giving it to Him.
A few days later mom got a call from a Christian sponsored foster care program called Safe Families.
Christian families in churches answered the call on their lives to open their homes to children in need, with the goal of reuniting them with their families.
We met with the program director on a friday, the family on a saturday and moved in on a sunday.
Alex and I were given a second chance in a stable, loving home.
Mom felt the pressure and continued her battle with deep pain and drug addiction.
Uncle Matt.. I only had vague ideas of the difficulties you and my mom went through when you were young, but I know it was unbelievably awful.
I am so sorry you and my mom had to endure such abuse and neglect.
I don’t blame my mom or you for one moment. I recognize the enemies finger prints all over it.
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
After coming to know my Lord Jesus and reading the life-giving truth in His word, all the burning anger and hatred I had towards my mom for all the abuse and neglect my brother and I endured was rightfully redirected toward the enemy. I now realized why the gospel is so important. It is the reason we are still alive, breathing and living with a purpose.
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. 1 John 3:8
That is our commission too, Uncle Matt! We can’t afford to let bitterness take root in our hearts, but instead use the power of our testimonies to destroy the works of darkness!
I believe God had great plans of redemption for you and your family, but beyond that.. to use your story to set many many many people free, and to lead them into an encounter with our Lord Jesus.
I believe that the rest of the days of your life are numbered and God has every moment filled with increasing purpose that will leave a timeless legacy.
Share your story, Uncle Matt. Make sure the gospel is at the core of it, and so many lives are going to be deeply impacted and transformed.
I am going to ministry school and am committing to be praying, interceding hard, for you. The redemption of relationships with your kids. The sanctification and growth in your relationships with Jesus. And for the launching of the ministry God has created you for. Write your story. Give God the glory, and theres going to be an unending ocean of lives forever changed.
So proud to call you my Uncle.
I will never be able to thank you enough for sending me that little watercolored phrase, “Jesus in Me Loves You.”
I am devoting every day of the rest of my life to partnering with our Lord Jesus in destroying the works of the devil, and advancing His kingdom.
I am going to bethel school of supernatural ministry this year, in Redding CA.
—> http://bssm.net <—
I can’t wait to see the fruit of my prayers as you begin walking in the fullness of you destiny.
Love you Uncle Matt!
The best is yet to come!
God is for you. Who can be against you?!