Marian Hatcher had a corporate job in finance and was married with five children in her thirties when the pain from her past began to interrupt her promising future. She had been molested as a child and her outward success simply masked an internal brokenness that stayed with her. Her husband started to beat her and, feeling she had nowhere to turn, she turned to drugs. Crack cocaine specifically. "Crack cocaine brought me to my knees...That drug became the love of my life and told me it was OK to leave my children.”
She began to sell her body in order to keep up with her insatiable need to get high in order to escape the pain that was waiting for her in reality. She eventually started working for pimps, so she could stay high and drunk without having to face the fact that she left her family. She was missing for almost two years before she was arrested and sent to Cook County Jail. And it was then that her sobriety forced her to come face to face with a past she had been avoiding her entire life.
The judge sentenced her to three to seven years in prison, but instead she ended up serving four months in an area women’s drug treatment program. It was there where she was given the tools needed to dig into her soul and dredge up the shame that she had been covering up through multiple marriages, drugs, and prostitution. After doing the hard work of uncovering her pain and making peace with her past, she realized she had a calling that was bigger than herself. Her pain had purpose.
She began working with the County Sheriff to shift the way they pursued trafficking victims, helping change their philosophy from going after the women who sell sex to going after the people who buy it. Her work didn’t stop there, Hatcher teamed up with justice officials at the national level to begin speaking out and educating people about the issue of human trafficking across the U.S and, in 2017, she became one of only twenty individuals to receive the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award from President Obama in recognition of her tireless work and impact.
In recounting the arrest that catalyzed the change in her life’s trajectory, she said “Angels with handcuffs brought me to Cook County Jail.” A woman who had numbed herself with drugs and alcohol to escape her pain was now using her story to help others escape their own.
The pain we keep trapped inside of ourselves doesn’t stay buried; it seeps out of us through our decisions and relationships. I can’t tell you how many unwise decisions I can look back on and see unresolved hurt compelling my thoughts to choose wrongly. I am sad to say that I’ve had, both, platonic and romantic relationships that were simply the fruit of unresolved hurt stirring my emotions to give too much of myself when it wasn’t safe to do so. Simply because I wanted to be wanted by someone… anyone. The wrong one. Perhaps you can relate to this.
You look over your shoulder and see a trail of past decisions and relationships that you aren’t proud of. Yet, at the core of those mistakes was the hope that you would find the comfort, security, and validation you needed. That car you bought in an effort to impress people, but you couldn’t afford, got repossessed. That woman you gave your heart to despite the red flags that she wasn’t going to be faithful. The old boyfriend you reconnected with on social media because you and your husband have been getting into arguments.
As you read this I want to offer you the truth that, no matter what you’ve done as a result of your past pain and no matter how much shame you have carried because of it, you are never beyond repair. In Christ Jesus we have immediate and direct access to redemption power; the power to write a new story.
Take this time to get before God and receive His grace by verbally confessing the ways your pain may have directed your decisions and relationships against His perfect will. Be completely honest because he already knows everything you've done. This exercise is for your benefit; to finally admit where you need God's help.
Lord, I ask you to repair the broken parts of my heart that have compelled me to make unwise decisions. I want to live a life that pleases you, in public and in private. Amen.