Wildflowers from Winter: Hope after Abandonment

It’s an honor to have Shelly Brown as a guest today. God has definitely brought wildflowers from her winter. She says her deepest desire is to be used by God to impact the lives of women. 

I’m trusting her story will do that today.

He Makes All Things New

Can you recall the saddest day of your life? I can. It was one month before my sixth birthday.

It was the day I heard the words,  “Kids, your mom’s gone.” 

As a result of a tragic car accident, my mom had spent the last year of her life confined to bed, with only an occasional escape in her wheel chair. My dad was driving that night. He had been drinking. The accident left her with a broken back, many internal injuries and she was paralyzed from the waist down. She wasn’t supposed to die. She would simply live out her life as an invalid. She unexpectedly succumbed to a blood infection.

The second saddest day of my life was my mom’s funeral. She was buried on her 32nd birthday. I lingered at her casket through the entire viewing. Gently caressing her arm, quietly crying, asking her to wake up. I couldn’t grasp the finality of death. I remember hoping that she was just asleep and would come back to me.

As the service began my father picked me up and carried me to the front row where he sat me on his knee. My eyes stay fixed on my mom for the entire service. When the service ended, everyone got up to leave, including my dad. But before he left, he leaned over and kissed my brother and me on the cheeks and told us good-bye.

We never saw him again … alone and abandoned … on the same day.

For the next year of our lives, we were at the mercy of temporary homes and foster care. We were neglected, rejected and abused in unimaginable ways by every one who was charged with our care.

Finally, a couple who couldn’t have children of their own adopted my brother and me. They chose us out of a catalogue full of children. There were many to choose from, but they were drawn back to my brother and me on more than one occasion. Perhaps it was our toothless smiles that endeared us to them. They read the narrative of our stories and knew we had been separated from our three sisters. They wanted to keep my brother and I together.

So we were chosen. We had our forever parents. A fairytale come true!

Or so we thought.

Our new dad was amazing. But, within the first few weeks our adopted mom unleashed her anger and hostilities on us. 

Horribly abused. Rejected by the very mom who chose us.

After five long years my adopted father got permission to rescue us from our mom. We made a clean break from our home state of Pennsylvania to move with him to Orlando, Florida.

Though I learned to cope with my past, my soul wounds ran deep.

But over the next thirty years, God would divinely place women of faith in my life, each with great purpose. Some to show me unconditional love. Others to teach me how deeply loved I am by God. One to teach me how to depend fully on Him. Another to show me what it’s like to walk in the fullness of Christ’s power. And yet another who would lead me to embrace my inheritance as a daughter of the King.

From the age of five, the enemy sought out to destroy me. But, like Joseph of the Old Testament, what the enemy meant for evil in my life, God meant for good. And not only good, He has allowed me to be a part of a miraculous redemptive story. A story filled with His healing and power. God does not waste our sorrows. Today, I share God’s story of my life, a blueprint of healing, knowing that nothing is too broken for Him to make new. 

Shelly Brown has spent the last decade sharing the hope and healing she has found in Jesus Christ with women of all ages. A life filled with hurt, abandonment, rejection and pain left Shelly emotionally damaged and longing for love. It was only through the redemptive power of God’s incredible love that she found restoration and wholeness. Shelly uses humor and poignant details as she shares her life experiences along with solid biblical truths, revealing the hope and healing that only God can give. Her deepest desire is to be used by God to impact the lives of women by not just having their hearts stirred, but forever changed.

Let’s Talk: Do you know Shelly? Introduce yourself. Say hi. And check out her ministry, Forever Changed

Do you have a story you can share? Don’t miss out on the Wildflowers from Winter blog hop on May 4th! Click on the link for details.

Join me over at Casey Herringshaw’s blog today! I’m vlogging about friendship and she’s giving away a copy of my book.  

22 thoughts on “Wildflowers from Winter: Hope after Abandonment

  1. I enjoy reading about those who have overcome incredible obstacles and inspire through Faith.

    Thanks for post Shelly and sharing your story.

  2. I hate the suffering many kids have to go through, but I love seeing Jesus heal pain and brokenness. He is real and He is able to take our wounds and make them a gift to others. Thank you, Shelly, for using your story to do just that.

    And thank you, Katie, for your ministry. I see your book release is fast approaching. How exciting!! May God use your book to further His purposes.

    Happy Easter.

    1. Tiffany, your words are precious to me. Thank you for your encouragement for both Katie and myself. Happy Easter to you sweet friend.

  3. Mara McMullan

    Oh that story (and Jennifer’s above in the comments) is both heartbreakingly sad as well as incredibly uplifting. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Please know that you have helped to remind me of all the wonderful things in my life and that looking forward, with the Lord, is a gazillion times better than looking back at what has already past with bitterness in my heart.

    1. Thank you Mara for your comments and encouragement. You bless me!! Happy Easter to you!

  4. Wow…I really don’t even know what else to say. This story just breaks my heart. Thank you so much for allowing God to use your story to touch so many lives. You’re right. God will not waste any of our pain. Thank you and God bless.

    1. Lindsey, thank you for your sweet comments and encouragement. You bless me! Happy Easter to you!

  5. Jennifer Major

    And yes, I have experience much healing through Jesus. But I still fear rejection.

  6. Jennifer Major

    Holy cow. What a testimony! What did me in was thinking of a tiny little girl caressing her dead mother’s arm, then to be abandoned by her father.
    I understand abandonment. I understand rejection. I understand getting pummeled by a “loved one”. When my mother was 23, with a 4yr old, a 2 yr old, and a baby on the way, my father walked out. My father’s girlfriend was also pregnant. My grandmother told my mother that if she had been better in bed, no one would have left her.
    My mother left us with her parents to go get an education. It wasn’t so bad, we saw her on weekends.
    When we were naughty, Granny got mad and out came the hot wheel tracks. And not to play cars.
    Then Grandpa left, forcing mom and us kids to move to the big city, bringing angry Granny with us. Then slowly, the two uncles faded from sight.
    I always wondered where everyone went.

    Then Mom met a wonderful Arab Christian who loved us all, and married us ALL. Sadly, my semi-invisible grandparents didn’t think a “rag headed Jesus freak” was good enough for us.
    Fortunately, Mom was tough, and followed her husband away from the hate to his house with a back yard and a cherry tree. We went from slums to the right side of town. His Arab family took us in and LOVED us little white imports. When she’d visit from the old country, my new Grandmother kissed us with every breath she took. She knew 5 words in English, which were: dairy, queen, kentucky, fried and chicken. I wore her 125 year old filigree gold bracelet when I got married.

    If I could have five minutes with my biological father, all I would ask, over and over, is “Why did you leave me? Why wasn’t I good enough?”
    I am almost 49, it has been 47 years now that I wonder WHY.

    1. My dear Jennifer, your testimony brought both tears to my eyes, AND a smile to my heart. I’m so sorry you had to endure the abuse, abandonment and rejection. BUT, I’m rejoicing with you that God ultimately brought a loving father & family to you. One of the most difficult things for me to heal from was in the reality that all 10 people, who were at different times charged with the responsibility to care for me, chose instead to abuse, reject, and harm me. for 37 years of my life I wasn’t angry at them. I was angry at ME. Overwhelmed by shame, because it had to be ME. In my mind, it was impossible for 100% of the people to be wrong. Something was wrong with ME. BUT … in God’s perfect timing, the Holy Spirit showed me that those 10 people had no idea what they were doing. They saw a young throw away girl with no value. They didn’t see that inside that little girl was a diamond of great value. It was just too muddied and imperfect for anyone to see. BUT … the Holy Spirit showed me that a diamond’s value isn’t based on what it can do for you. A diamond’s value, once cleaned up and expertly cut & polished is based on what someone is willing to pay for it. And Someone paid the highest price imaginable for me. Jesus, gave His life for me. That gives me (us) some pretty great value. 😉 When I realized this, I was able to release and forgive those who abandoned, abused and rejected me. They no longer determine my value. GOD does.

      Much love, and Happy Easter to you! -Shelly

      1. Jennifer Major

        It does me in when I realize how many of us have suffered at the hands of those who were supposed to protect us. I am thankful that you can be a help to so many who have not yet learned of their value, and can be there when the words becomes truth, and the healing work of Jesus begins.

        When you think about it, a diamond only becomes precious when force has been applied.
        I guess God has asked some of us to be quite a few carats worth!

        Have a lovely Easter.


  7. This story spoke to my heart today. Not because I’ve been where you have, but because of the beautiful grace of God you exude and His amazing promise to use our bad experiences for His glory. Amazing, amazing story. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you Casey for taking a moment to comment. You blessed me by your sweet words. Can you even imagine where we would be without His grace?? I sure can’t. Blessings and Happy Easter to you.

  8. Wow, what an amazing story of hope through suffering.

    I will share this story with our teens next week.

    Thank you for sharing, Shelly!

    May God continue to bless your ministry and change lives.

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement, Ruth. There is NO ONE like HIM, is there?? 😉 Happy Easter to you.

  9. Beautiful, beautiful.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop in and read this, Lindsay. Blessings, and Happy Easter to you!

  10. It just breaks my heart to read that! I can’t imagine the emotional trauma your childhood has caused you. But so thankful that God has used it for good, to help others who’ve gone through the unimaginable. God bless you, Shelly!

    1. Heather, thank you so much for your comment. God’s promises are so clear and for ready for our claiming, if only we will claim them. Like you, I’m so thankful how God will use in each of our lives what the enemy means for evil, God means for good. Happy Easter to you!

  11. “God does not waste our sorrows”…hitting home with me.

    I’m thankful for your story, for you sharing it here today, Shelly!

    ~ Wendy

    1. Katie Ganshert

      I loved that line too, Wendy!

      1. Thank you Wendy for taking a moment to comment. You blessed me. Happy Easter to you.


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