For a decade, I was one of two million children in the United States who had an incarcerated parent. Statistically, I was put at a higher risk of depression, anxiety disorders, obesity, low performance in school, behavioral problems, alcohol/drug abuse, domestic violence and so on… And while yes I did score poorly in my education, receive counseling, live daily with social anxiety and have siblings who have dealt with drug abuse, obesity, suicide attempts, and depression, I’ll say one thing very firmly: YOUR PAST DOES NOT DEFINE YOUR FUTURE! Your future is not your past.
There is no question that my father’s absence played a major role in discovering the Big Idea for my life. It made me eager to be something better and opposite of what society said I would turn out to be. I was very fortunate to be given the right resources at a young age that would guide me into this path I had envisioned for myself. I attended a retreat at the age of 14 and without knowing much about it, I went in with an open heart. Little did I know that this would be the place where God would heal me, fulfill my empty heart and replace my father’s absence with His love. He has given me all the tools I need to conquer this journey. I’ve learned to forgive and find inner peace. He has gifted me with talents I can now use to evangelize His name with, and conquer the fear that I face daily with my social anxiety… My social anxiety is one of the only things I have left of my past, but I will not let it stand in the way of achieving more. The past is to learn from it not to live it forever.
If your dad was a drug dealer, you don’t have to be one!
If you are addicted to alcohol/drugs, you can get out of it!
If your mom was in an abusive relationship, you don’t have to be in one!
If your parents were abusive to you, you don’t have to be with your kids!
If your parents didn’t go to college, you can do it!
If you had a rocky childhood, it doesn’t have to ruin your adulthood!
You can be successful and be a business owner, you can get your MBA; you can have a happy marriage regardless of what people say. YOU CAN. You are good and worthy enough to be happy. It’s never too late. It doesn’t matter how long you have been on that road, you can always change how things are done. It’s never too late to fly new horizons. Change the people you surround yourselves with. Never stop learning and never stop growing no matter how old or young you are and remember, your past doesn’t define your future. You were made for greatness. Let God lead the way and be patient.
I know the consequences of my father’s choices will be the forever journey I will carry, but with God who strengthens me, my husband who believes in me, and my mother who is proud of me, I know I can be more.
So how is your past shaping you?
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11
Jenyfer D. Navichoque – Writer, unparalleled love