Renovating Your Past

Renovating Your Past by Karlene Donahue
My name is Karlene Donahue, I’m 26, and a Flight Attendant.

I love what I get to do, I love seeing the world, and getting to sleep in my own bed at the end of most days. I love meeting and talking to new people, sharing and listening to others. While I love investing in others it took a long time for me to open up about myself.

In reality, I still don’t to most friends I know or see often. The truth is, I’m shy, or maybe not shy but too afraid to completely uncover who I am. I never felt a part or “just like everyone else”, from the time I was really young. It still hurts and saddens me, all I’ve ever wanted to do was blend in.

I was born at Martin Army Hospital in Ft. Benning, GA, to Henry and Constance Atencio, a young military couple. Henry named me Carlene Moriah. He is Navajo and she was Sioux. Before I was 1 month old the Donahue’s, a pastor and his wife and son, were taking care of me. My birth parents had been to their church a few weeks before I was born.

Unfortunately my parents could not make their marriage work. For the next few years I was back and forth between the two households. I was completely unaware that two battles were taking place, both on my behalf. The first was the Donahue’s battle to be granted legal custody of me to be their daughter, which was denied. Both birth parents were still living and tribal law would not grant it.

The other battle, far more superior, was one in which God was in the middle of it all and overseeing everything, from comforting the Donahue’s who were continually being emotionally beaten and hurt by my mothers action and inaction, to fighting and laying down my foundation and future. At 4 years old I only understood that I wanted to be ‘Home’ and not with my mother and her new family.

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
-Psalms 34:17-18

Just when the Donahue’s felt defeat and were in the process of moving to a new house to help heal the hurt and perhaps ease the pain of the last 4 years of memories, Gods plan for my life and remaining childhood to live with the Donahue’s prevailed. I love what my Dad(James) had told my Mom(Gail) during all the legal battles they were losing, “If God wants her to live with us, all the Indians in the world will not stop Him”. I’m glad he was right.

I am very grateful to say I grew up on Sesame St. in Columbus, Ga in the Donahue family who instilled the love of God and His people in me. While I spent many nights praying that the next morning I would wake up having been born into the family, I can now see why God did not create me to be ‘just like everyone else’. He had something better in mind, not legally adopted but placed in a family against all odds, one that knows and lives for Him. All this to share a different story and in the process heal the pain and hurt of the past.

God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.
-Ephesians 1:5 (NLT)

Your story will be completely different from mine and may still may have scars from hurtful events. Remember that Christ came to heal, and bring us closer. If we don’t allow Him in to renovate our past, we will never see or experience our full potential. As long as the process may be, I can guarantee you that it will bring Glory to God, no matter how difficult or hard it may have been.

How great is the love from the Father for us that I don’t believe we can fully comprehend it. Nor deserve it, however it is overflowing and we must take advantage of it. He created each of us uniquely and takes great pleasure and pride in us even during the broken mess that we tend to be.

Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
-Psalms 33:20-22

If you would like prayer for healing of your past please feel free to message me on Twitter at @karlenemariah.

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    • About the Author
    • avatar
    • Karlene Donahue
    • A Collision Student Leader, Flight Attendant, and Friend. Seeking all that God has in store for her. Enjoys meeting new people and Nestle Crunch Bars. You can follow her on Twitter @karlenemariah.

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