I thought I understood my self worth from the time I was a young girl. As a teenager and young girl who grew up in the church I saw myself as a woman of God and as someone special before God, I wanted to do the work of God on the altar, I dated and married my first husband. Made many mistakes due to my lack of maturity since I was very young, I was 18 but with a 15 year old mind.
We were doing the work of God in a province called Mato Grosso in the south of Brazil, when we were called to serve in Africa, to be more exact, in a country where the church had just been opened, in Namibia. Very happily we packed our bags in February 2000 and traveled. When we arrived there, we found a challenge with the language, because we did not speak English. Luciano wanted so much to be able to make the meeting as soon as possible, that he studied day and night. So much so, that in one and a half month later he was making services. After being two months in the country, he had an accident. This happened on a Sunday afternoon, he was hospitalized until Thursday and on Friday underwent a major surgery and after a few hours he died. At the time he died I was not in the hospital, when they picked me up at home and gave me the news I could not believe it, it seemed like a bad joke, a nightmare. I felt desolated because I depended a lot in him, in his spirituality, opinion and direction. Even so, I moved on believing that everything would work together for my good, even without understanding why I had lost him. Why did a 24 year old with so much love for souls and the work of God, had to die? Sometimes I would blame myself, thinking that I did not care for him as I should, or that I was not the wife he needed and for this reason God had taken him. I remember when I was on my way back to Brazil, I had only one thought, 'I have to be strong, my father and my mother are also suffering because he was like a son to them.’ I demanded it from myself ‘I have to be strong’.
My life went on, I returned to work in the church as secretary and certain words that I started hearing and I let them to come into my heart, and begun to forget the value I had for God. I felt ashamed to be a widow, even though I was not guilty of anything, but I felt I was a burden for the church and my family. I tried to look as if I was very strong, because I did not want anyone to suffer because of me. But inside, I was crushed, drowning emotionally, I felt so alone, and I missed him so much. Whenever I was alone I cried. I remember one day the Holy Spirit spoke to me, "If you believe that it was My will to take him, why are you crying so much?" That word touched me in such a way that I stopped crying immediately.
But whenever we start giving hears more to man than to the voice of God, see what happens ….
One day, I overheard someone with whom I worked, who is no longer in the work of God now, saying, ‘Why God allowed a pastor to die, because who should die had to be the pastor’s wife, so that in this way the pastor could marry again and keep on with his life…’ That word came into my soul like a sharp sword, cutting through any little value I still thought I had. My desire was to continue doing the work of God on the altar, and because my dream was to return to Africa I did an English course. Unfortunately, all I heard was, ‘Single pastors only want virgins, single ladies, I'm so sorry.’ I was 22 when I met my ex-husband. His in charge, explained to him my situation and he wanted to meet me anyway. I thought it was my only chance to be able to go back on serving God on the altar. I did not trust God, I wanted to solve the situation with my own hands because I did not value myself. I thought that whoever wanted to marry me, was doing me a favor. I thought I was a burden to my family, who worried about me, and that I was a burden to the church that even though I did not have much education, gave me a job and supported me so much. That’s when, even though I did not like my ex-husband I married him. We dated for only 3 months and via the phone. That was madness! I went to the country where he was working, England. At first it was so hard. I was in a country I did not speak the language, next to a man I did not know at all, I had no friends, and I was far away from my family. It was very difficult. Still I fought for it to work out. Little by little I learned to like and approcciate him. I wanted to be a good wife, to be helpful, to please him, and do everything I could to make him happy, because in my mind I thought that maybe Luciano had died because I had not taken good care of him. So everything that I had failed to do for Luciano I wanted to do for my ex-husband. We left that country and came to South Africa. We were married for 5 years, when one day, he came home to have coffee with me. He said he wanted to talk. That’s something unusual for him to do. I was really happy thinking, ‘Oh, he wants to give me attention. He wants to be with me.’ But he told me something I never expected to hear in my life. He told me that he had cheated on me with another woman. How painful! What a disappointment! I bitterly suffered the consequences of making the mistake of not understanding my self worth, and not waiting and trust in God.
My low self worth decreased even more, he made me feel like rubbish, that I was good for nothing, I felt used, cheated, disappointed, and more.
Again, I found myself alone. If when I was a widow felt embarrassed, now I could not even look at anyone because I felt so humiliated. I would see my sisters in the work of God, my beloved family, and I did not want to be again a reason for concern and victim of shame. As this was exactly how I saw myself.
I pushed back a lot of people and plunged headlong into work. I remained in South Africa working in the office of the church. I was ashamed, and I could only forget my pain a little while working. I thought no one would ever want me. What I loved the most and wanted to do was to serve God on the altar, but I thought that even God had rejected me.
The voice of feelings were speaking so loud in my heart that I could not hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. I thought that if I am worth for nothing, at least I will work as much as I can so that I can somehow please God. For my intention was to please and serve Him. I remember that one day I was in a meeting and I said to God, ‘Lord, I do not know what I'm doing here, for You have made it so clear that You do not want me on the altar!’ That's when the Holy Spirit spoke to me very clearly, ‘I never rejected you. You are here because I chose you.’ My Lord Jesus in His infinite mercy, even though I had brought those problems to myself, by not listening to His voice and instead I gave hears to my emotions,which deceived me greatly. He took me, found me worthy, and showed me that all those feelings were a lie, because I was precious to Him and that He had chosen me. Also, that I was greatly loved by Him and precious in His eyes.
The Lord Jesus used His servants to take care of me and support me. Today, I am so grateful to God that He always found me worthy, even when I had lost my self worth. Jesus never gave up on me, even when I had given up on myself. Then, I met my beloved husband Edward Dewes. I understood my self worth. Today, I am so happy in my marriage. He is an extremely loving and caring man, but above all he is a God fearing man who has love for the souls. We have the same goal to serve our Father with all our strength until the end of our lives.
I would also add for those of you who went through bitter experiences in your life, such as a loss, betrayal, abuse, etc. Nothing can stop you from being happy, only yourself. If you choose to believe in yourself, and to value yourself as God believes in you, then you will be able to change your present and future. Do not give hears to others’ voices or emotions that try to tear you down, instead listen to the voice of faith and trust in God.
If you felt like Valdirene, or still see yourself in this situation, leave your comment and we will help you overcome.