Dealing with a Dreadful Past

Affiliate Disclosure

We have a very public ministry.  Our names are all over the web.  Our books are on shelves all over the country.  Our CDs and Audios are all over the world.  Many of our readers have come to expect to read ideas, tips, hints, and inspiration from me.  But, there is something I do not talk about too much, and that is the fact that I have a pretty dreadful past.

No, I am not an ax murdered or former bank robber.  But I am a sinner.  In many ways, I know I am a far worse sinner than most of my readers.  But, in a way I think it equips me to reach the heart of women living with a sinful past, living with things that shamed her, and living with the realization that we will never, this side of heaven, be perfect and sin-free.  But what we CAN be, is godly women living in light of who God says that we are on a daily basis.  We can continue in the path of sanctification.  Yes, we can.  In spite of our dreadful pasts.

I would love to be perfectly transparent with you.  The thing is, some of the things from my past DO at times still haunt me.  I still live with the life-long consequences of some of my selfish, sinful choices.

Also, right here in our immediate and extended family, we have faced (and will continue to face) all kinds of dysfunctional, messed up, botched up and embarrassing situations.  So, just in case any reader of mine should somehow hold me on a pedastool and think for any reason whatsoever that I am somehow “above” you spiritually, let me just give you a laundry list .

In our little family, and in our extended family we have dealt(and still deal) with all of the following on some level:

  • Alcoholism
  • Adultery
  • Pornography
  • Internet Addiction
  • Homosexuality
  • School Drop-Outs
  • Abuse
  • Divorces
  • Illicit Drug Use
  • Remarriages
  • Children born out of wedlock
  • Abortions
  • Rape
  • Jail time
  • Deception
  • Idolatry
  • Prescription Drug Addiction

Yes, our family and extended family does not look very pretty does it?

But before you think today that I am only going to share a message of gloom and doom I have one thing more to say.   If your trust is in me then, you have probably misplaced your trust.  But if your trust is in Christ, you cannot be any place better.  I am  not sharing these things to run our family “down” or to discourage you in anyway.  Here is the true message:  God alone could take a family that is THIS messed up, and THIS dysfunctional, and THIS depraved and use it for his glory.  And use us, he HAS.

Years ago when we accepted Christ, something changed in us.  All those things that caused us to have so much selfishness and sinfulness started fading away.  We transformed our marriage and our parenting and our way of living life to match what we knew God was calling us to do.  We still are not perfect, nor will we be this side of heaven, but we are living lives set apart for Christ.  We still mess up, but we no longer give up.

I do not like the person I once was.  I am not sure if I ever liked her.  But thank goodness, God did.  God loved me and drew me to him, just the way I was.  He never forsook me.  He never abandoned me.  He never threw his holy hands in the air and said, “Enough.  I am finished with you.”

So, today, I am being transparent.  I ask you to forgive me if I ever appeared good of my own accord.  Anything at all that I have done or will do that is good is directly from my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I also ask your forgiveness for those times I still disappoint.  That is all part of this continual sanctification that I am undergoing as a Christ-follower.  You see, on the day that I accepted Christ he did not choose to show me all of the depravity of my own soul all in one day.  The weight of so much sin and ugliness would have crushed me to the point of death.  He works on me slowly, like a sculptor.  When I first accepting him, he knocked away big chunks of my sinful self all at once.  It was miraculous.  But he continues to chisel daily, bringing me more and more in the likeness of his own son.  Every time he gives me freedom from the bondage of  sin, he does let me enjoy the victory from it for a season, then, like a true gentleman, he quietly takes me aside and whispers one more area where I am failing to live like the daughter of a king.  And he uses his chisel, his sandpaper and his tender hands to get back to work on me once more.

Well, sisters, enough dwelling on the past.  The daughter of a king does not have time for such petty things.  I am off to go live in the light of The King’s very great love.  And there is laundry to do, sandwiches to make, boo-boos to kiss and math lessons to grade.  Live in victory, and encourage those around you who are still under the hand of the great sculptor.  Our dreadful pasts are not to be hidden from others so they think we are perfect.  They just prove to others the greatness of a mighty God who can take all our trash and turn it into treasure for His kingdom.  Praise Him!Praise Him!


  1. Sweetie Berry

    I love it! This is exactly the topic we’re writing about, facing, and sharing as we share our blended family realities at my blog and a new blog that is under construction about leaving the wicked stepmother images behind We all have to leave our ugly old images behind as Christians for God expects us to look forward and live in today, not let our pasts continue to berate us or live in fear or defeat… God is God and He knew exactly who I was long before I wondered if the mistakes made me unloveable…and He loved me just the same…and still does, warts and all! hugs hugs hugs! Sweetie

  2. Liz

    I love this post, particularly the ending. I live in a situation where people from our sordid past are constantly bombarding us with insults, in hopes of shaming our family! But, a daughter of the King does not have time for such petty things! Thank you for reminding me to let everything roll right off!

  3. misskitty

    thank you sharing this! i could have written this as it describes me and mine so perfectly but i could never have written it so perfectly because i wasn’t putting our lives in the proper perspective as you have. your essay is edifying and uplifting and unusually honest. instead of coming down hard from above, the sharing of your own story slips gently underneath and lifts other’s up. funny how humbling ourselves can vault other’s so much higher than anything else.

  4. Caroline

    Thank you for your honesty. I have heard you speak at the Lighthouse church. I am a mother of many. God has reminded me often that we are all sinners. That he would seek to remind us not to be proud of being a Christian. But, instead humbly stand before him as a Christian …. realizing that we are all sinners…. being so, we are all working daily on past/present issues. With many children, birth and adopted the issue list can be lengthy. One is no better/worse than the other. The blessing of seeking to live a Christian life is that God takes each one of us where we are. He loves each of us enough to forgive us of our past/present sins. Thank you for the boldness/humility in your testimony. I think in these days that satan is seeking to destroy us from the inside of our families. He has tried the outside approach and maybe not made as much progress as he wanted. So, he is slipping on a new tactic (maybe an old tactic revisited). Thank the Lord this battle is not alone. The King has commanded his angel’s to accompany us as we walk along this earthly path. The spiritual warefare we face is not being fought alone.

    Praise the Lord!

    We can be victorious with God’s help.

  5. Melanie Moorman

    Thank you for writing this encouraging article. I felt like you were revealing the words encrypted on my heart. Imagine my relief that a sister in Christ is also feeling this way! Our Lord is always providing just what I need just when I need it, in this case, it was your article!!! There are days that I am so overwhelmed by my own sinfulness that I crawl into my Savior’s lap, feeling His closeness, His Presence and His Love, clinging to His promises. Other days I can freely spread my wings like an eagle because of the time spent there. Never can I do this without Him, though. Thank you for your transparency. You will never know the depth of encouragement it has given to me that I am not alone in my prior life and that we can overcome our pasts!!!

    Blessing abounding to you!!!
    Melanie Moorman – hope to see you as a “friend on Facebook!!!”

  6. Eric Courtemanche

    What a wonderful uplifting post for all of us in our spiritual struggles with sin. Praise the Lord, our King, our Redeemer, the only Son of God the Father.

  7. Jennifer @ Quiverfull Family

    Amen and amen sister! Not only are we not to hide our pasts, but rather our testimonies can be used as powerful tools to encourage fellow believers with the work God continues to perform in the lives of sinners who call upon His mercy. These testimonies can serve as evangelistic tools when shared with grace with those struggling through the same issues

    Lots of love in Christ!

  8. Stephanie

    Thank you for such an insightful and honest post. We are all sinners to some degree, and like you, everyday He does amazing things to bring me closer to Him.

  9. Jennifer Sikora

    As I was reading this, I began to wonder whether we were twins or no. Your testimony sounds so much like mine! Thing that I love is once we share with people our testimony, the devil no longer has anything to hold over our head or to scare us with. We are free to be who Christ made us to be! I remember so well after I shared my testimony at church. I stepped outside afterwards and screamed at the ground, “Now there you old piece of crap, try and hold it over my head now!” Thanks so much for sharing the wonderful work God is doing in your life!!!

  10. lori@allyouhavetogive

    I read that list of yours and thought…not much different from this family (and extended) and in truth…most I know…Blessed are the ones who can SEE it…We are all sinners and when we find the strength and courage to face the ugliness of that sin and heartache, THEN God begins His amazing work of healing…Praise God that he doesn’t “throw those hands up” or just plain give up on us…what a BEAUTIFUL, Healing God we serve…one ALWAYS ready for a new day…
    I’m with you…I share that ugly past with you…beginning each day anew!
    Beautifully said!

    What a blessing this site!

  11. Kim Wilkes


    God often calls us to do something painful. I am sure this was and the negative comments made it worse. God often tells us ” if only for one My will shall be accomplished. His will has been done and more. Thank you!

    His Blessings,

  12. Dawn


    You have often blessed me with the sincerity which you share in you rnewsletter and you posts. What a gift to offer freedom to so many of us who long to put on the image of His Holiness and still have the “real” me to look at. Wonderfully though, God has given us the covenant of blood upon us as he looks at us through the lens of grace. May God bless you in this ministry and the transparency with which you shared and may He keep you from the snares and taunts of those who would try to remind you of what you were before His grace found you.

  13. MeritK

    Malia – this is a beautiful testimony of God’s grace in your life and will serve as an encouragement to all of us humans 🙂 because we are all dealing with sins, maybe, as you mentioned, we are even blind to them right now. I prayed for you and your family as you deal with your ‘list”. Thanking the Lord for you –

  14. Mary

    Thank you for sharing from your heart. For a few years running, every month of March brought some new pains and suffering from various sins…of mine or that of others, close to me. So, this month is always a time of great reflection for me. Thank you for highlighting for us the Grace of God. What a blessed redeemer and friend we have. He alone gives us lives of meaning, joy, forgiveness- and the ability to forgive and to be gracious to others as He has been gracious to us. The Lord bless you! In Christ alone,

  15. Rhonda

    Woman, what a blessing you are. So many times we know of God’s grace and mercy in our heads, but never fully experience it. You have His grace and mercy manifested in your life on a daily basis. Grace and mercy are available to all of us, if we would only accept and walk in them.

  16. Kahri Lynn

    Thank you so much for being transparent with us. All of us who are former sinners 😉 can relate to you well and thank you for sharing with us. You are a wonderful example of God’s redemptive work. Thank you for everything!

  17. Jen


    Thank you SO much for this post. That list is much like the ones from our families. We are a blended family. We were saved 3 years ago. So many times I felt as if I had a huge “D” on my chest. It wasn’t until a year or so ago that I finally gave that up. I am married now to a wonderful Godly man, who has been called into ministry. Satan took me back to that “oh you screwed up and now you’ll never be able to serve God correctly” spot. This post was a big help to me. Thank you so much. Blessings to you and your family.

  18. Sandra

    Hi Malia
    I have subscribed to your newsletter for a few months now and I must admit that I normally skim through it. However, today I clicked on the link to this post and I’m glad I did.
    I have been feeling guilty about some of the things in my past, falling pregnant before being married, leaving my husband after 20 yrs mental and emotional abuse, leaving my children with their father when I left him, because he had convinced them life would be better with him. The list goes on and on.
    I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this and please keep it up. Don’t remove this post, because I know that there are more people being helped by it than those who sent you the unpleasant e-mails.
    Thank you and God’s richest blessings to you and your lovely family
    Sandra, Johannesburg, South Africa

  19. Nora


    Thank you so much in sharing this. This explains my family and me. I can say that if I read this a week ago I would of pushed it aside. IN God’s Perfect timing he brought this article to me through your email newsletter. Thank you for following God’s leading in opening up and sharing. Thank you.

    I am sorry to hear that there are some that was upset by this posting. I will be praying for them. Right now in their lives they might not of came from the background that you and I have come from. And it might not be their appointed time in God’s time table to deal with this. I am praying for them.

    again thank you.

  20. Marianna Watts

    Thank you for your transparency. God is using you in mighty way.

  21. Becky

    Thanks for the beautiful words. As one with a very sinful past, it’s always great to see God use them for HIS glory!

  22. shelly

    I haven’t read the rest of the comments, but if someone hasn’t said it all ready, here it is: Who is the one who loves the most? The one who has been forgiven the most. I want to encourage you, sister!

  23. Bev

    It is well with my soul, Malia, and very humbling. You’re doing great things in your honesty. Love you!

  24. Laurice Cox

    “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
    That saved a wretch like me.
    I once was lost, but now am found;
    Was blind but now I see.”

    Your article “Dealing with a Dreadful Past” really touched my heart. Thank you for being so transparent. LC

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