When God Heals a Broken Soul: Second Place Winner of MAI-Asia Writing Contest

MAI-Asia recently held a writing contest for LittWorld 2022 on the focus: “Tell us about a time when God came through for you.” The top two entries were awarded a full registration for LittWorld 2022. The winning entry, “When God Heals a Broken Soul,” was written by Marjorie Duterte. Congratulations, Marjorie!


When God Heals a Broken Soul
by Marjorie Duterte

I grew up in a broken home. My father was an alcoholic who was often angry or depressed. He would throw plates in fits of drunken rage. He was a broken man, and I felt broken too. Broken china could be easily swept away, but I kept the broken pieces of me inside my heart. I learned to sob quietly because I would be hit with a towel if I cried aloud.

As a young adult, I once found myself curled up in bed, clutching my stomach in intense pain. I wasn’t physically ill but I felt sick in my gut. I learned later from a psychology study that a person could store up negative emotions in some parts of the body if they were left unresolved. I felt my emotional pain in my stomach, and I remember asking God, “When will the pain ever end?”

When I went to university, I turned to men to get the love I couldn’t find at home. But because I was deeply insecure, the love they gave was never enough. I believed I wasn’t beautiful and valuable because my own father did not love me. I felt I wasn’t good enough and not worthy to be loved. I brought my soul wounds into romantic relationships that left me more broken inside. I did not really know how to love because I did not love myself. No man could fill the black hole in my soul.

One day, as I sat on my bedroom floor crying, nursing yet another broken heart, I heard a song playing on the radio. The words were from Psalm 84: “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God, Lord of all.” At that moment, I felt God was singing to me. He was calling me lovely. Was it true? I’d never heard those words said of me before. I grew up hearing I was “ugly, stupid, and good for nothing.”

While the psalm was being sung, I felt God come for my heart. His song descended on me like a healing balm. That moment began my healing journey of learning to love myself the way God does.

I discovered the Father’s love. I realized that I had a true Father in heaven who loved me and cared about me. He began to restore my soul by renewing my mind. I had the desire to read His words in the Bible. I found out that God’s word was truly living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword.

I discovered the truth that I was His masterpiece. Like David, I began to see how wonderfully made I was (Psalm 139:14) and that God had given me talents and gifts to share with the world, which were clues to my purpose in life.

But what truly healed the way I saw myself was when He made me realize I wasn’t merely His creation, I was His child! “See what manner of love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God and that is what we are” (1 John 3:1).

I started to call God “Papa” and He re-parented me. I felt His protection, provision, and love in concrete ways as I continued to live my life. There was a time when I slept away my life, but God breathed new life into me and turned my mess into a message of hope for others who did not love themselves and had grown up in broken families. God healed me by adopting me as His own and loved me back to wholeness.

From being a needy girl desperately seeking her worth and identity in men, I discovered my truest and deepest identity as a beloved daughter of God, and I started to value and love myself the way my Father did. I started to establish healthy boundaries, giving myself the respect and value I deserved, saying no to unhealthy relationships.

I no longer craved love in romantic relationships or from my dad after realizing that I was already loved! Scriptures tells us, “It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: while were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7). I didn’t have to earn this love. I just needed to open my heart to receive the love Jesus wanted to give and it healed the deepest core of my being.

God made me realize that at the heart of any crisis is an identity crisis. When we are wounded through abuse, abandonment, and neglect, our self-esteem suffers and we forget who we are. We start believing the lies of the enemy that we are not good enough, not loveable, not valuable. These are the messages of our wounds, but they are not the truth.

God healed me by reminding me that what was true about me was what He said in His word: I am His masterpiece, I am His child, I am His beloved for whom He died.

God also gave me His eyes to see my dad from His perspective. I saw how wounded my father was and how he needed love too. He couldn’t give what he did not have.

When my dad got sick with cancer, I was tempted think: Why should I take care of him when he did not take care of me? Praise God that His love prevailed in me. I asked God to give me the love He had for my father, and I felt God’s love flow through me. When I chose to forgive and serve my dad, I felt God heal his soul. Our loved ones may not heal physically, but God’s love will always heal their soul, and this is what matters most to Him, because this is what we take with us to eternity—a soul made whole.

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