The Freedom Found in Jesus
Growing up, I was always told “Aidan, you can do it!” or “Don’t give up, try your best!” and that was what I tried to do each and every day. My childhood was not easy, especially in elementary and middle school. There was this constant lingering feeling that I was perceived as uncool and I didn’t fit in. I always felt replaceable.
Because of this, I wanted to make sure that I was with the cool kids. This was a coping mechanism I created in hopes I would feel valued because the cool kids were so looked up to. I wanted to feel the same value that they must have felt. But even among the cool crowd, I still felt easily replaceable.
Another challenging factor in my journey is that I had a few learning disabilities that affected me in my schooling. I had an Audio Processing Disorder, which made it hard for me to catch up on concepts. Something that may take another student 30 minutes to figure out—took me an entire class.
I consistently needed more help and guidance in order to succeed, and some people didn’t understand that. While I was asking for help, I recall a teacher saying to me, “This isn’t hard” and he continued to get frustrated with me as I couldn’t figure out the math problem. The main thing for me, at the very least, was that I didn’t give up.
Some time passed, and by the grace of God, this learning disability was healed in early middle school. We knew this to be true when we went to the doctor for our regular update on my brain and how I was doing. When he performed my brain scan, everything was normal and as it should be. This amazed the doctors.
We believe Jesus healed it. But even then, I always needed extra support in my academics going forward. It felt like a race others had already started to run without me, but I still ran. I recall having a conversation with my mother and father: they told me someone said to them that I would never graduate, and worse, they said that I would never see a university classroom. I’m happy to say those words were all untrue, as I am now at Ambrose University studying in the Bachelor of Theology program with a focus on Church Ministry.
Galatians 6:1-10 shares some wonderful insight on what I am trying to get at. I especially appreciate this part of the passage.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
In my life, I have had countless opportunities to show anger and fight back, but instead, by God’s grace, He gave me the ability to respond with kindness and mercy despite how I was treated. Like the passage says: “A man reaps what he sows.” That’s a tough pill to swallow, especially when people treat us poorly.
Now, I’m going to share maybe the hardest moment that I had to face in my journey. Being vulnerable is tough, but maybe this will help one of you and help you walk out of that loneliness by God’s grace.
Coming out of the summer of 2018, I came out of a relationship that has been defined by my counsellors and mentors as emotionally abusive. I don’t need to go into details but instead, I want to share that at that time of my life, this passage from Galatians felt like a bit of a joke to me. I had felt anger that I can’t even begin to describe. The only way I could visualize this anger was that it was like a water dam ready to explode.
Emotionally, I was at the lowest point of my life. But spiritually, I kept my faith. Still to this day, I believe that it was Jesus who saved me from the abuse that I was experiencing.
The anger that I felt I believed needed to be sorted by Justice, and every day I would think of ways that there could be my own Shawshank Redemption moment. (By the way, I highly recommend you watch this movie as it was one of my inspirations coming out of my abusive relationship that gave me hope.) I prayed every day that God would bring me freedom like Andy; I wanted to be free from my suffering and pain.
While I was lamenting so deeply and felt so much rage, Jesus was there protecting me, even when I did not see it. And more than that, He was trying to gain my attention. One of the things that Jesus shared with me that steered my attention away from the anger was a vision. It completely changed my heart on the situation.
One day, I was coming home on the train with my friend and we were talking about the situation, and while I was talking, I was given a vision. I was sitting in a closet, hiding. I could hear my ex yelling and screaming. Then, Jesus opened the closet door and said: “Stay here, I will deal with this.”
Moving forward, I did just that. I allowed Jesus the space to do what He needed to do in my life and my abuser. I no longer plotted or made plans to get revenge: I surrendered it all to God. In Him, I found my worth. In Him, I found my freedom.
I have decided that in my life, coming out of all sorts and kinds of pain and confusion, to look at it this way: they all taught me to love harder, to pray deeply, and to forgive those who persecute me.
I encourage you that in all you do, love as Christ loved the church. To love the ways that Jesus did that led him to die on the cross for our sins. Now, when I think about the race I am running, I press on, knowing Jesus is right here with me, and He is never leaving.
Written by Aidan Klukas, Student Ministries Summer Intern
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