A defiant attitude developed in my heart as I struggled to resist the feelings of abandonment and anger I felt towards Mom leaving us. While my sister, brother and I were at school, she moved her belongings to an apartment. Dad broke the news to us; she was never coming back to live with us.

A lack of emotional security at home caused me to search for love and acceptance outside of my family. This misguided search lured me into a world of drugs and life in a motorcycle gang. I envisioned myself as part of this outlaw family, pledging my loyalty to the gang and adopting their set of ideals. It was an illusion of freedom that required a celebration of nonconformity to the mainstream culture.

OUT_OFTHE_BROKENNES_LOGO_400Gang life offered me the promise of excitement, plentiful drugs and a sense of belonging. I became a part of this biker family embracing, the camaraderie of my new brothers and sisters. I was Viggo’s old lady, which meant I was his property. Other bikers had to respect that I belonged to him. I soon developed a false sense of security. He gave the orders, and I did as I was told; there was no negotiation or questioning on my part.

It was less than six months ago that Viggo was released from prison and already the NYPD had issued a warrant for his arrest. We were on the run; a quick and discreet escape was essential to preserve our freedom. Viggo had been ordered by the gang’s leaders to get to Texas and protect the club’s interests. Gangs are very protective of their territories. With each passing mile, we were drawing closer to entering a volatile gang war.

Six nights later, unknown to us, a rival gang stood outside the house armed with M16 rifles. I was standing in the doorway, facing the front windows, and silhouetted by light when they opened fire. I had reached for the light switch with my left arm, and when the first shots were fired, I felt a fiery sensation in my left forearm that had covered my heart. I have no explanation as to why I used my left arm to turn on the light; the light switch was to my right. This rival gang came to kill and destroy, but the Lord was my shield that night.

The impact of the bullets threw me face down at the foot of the bed. Before I hit the floor, another bullet lodged in my right thigh. My left arm had been blown apart, and the bone in my leg was shattered. The shooting continued; I could not move. The bedroom blinds lay ripped open; glass and bullet casings covered the floor, and my flesh was splattered on the bedroom ceiling.

At that moment, I thought God was punishing me, but in truth – His love made a way for deliverance. Often the most devasting circumstances create an opportunity for God to reach those in the pit of despair and pull them up to higher ground. The pain and suffering of two gunshot wounds to my body were the beginning of a long journey of recovery. I chose not to stay a victim, but to be a survivor and an overcomer in Christ’s steadfast love.

I learned that deliverance and restoration come to those who open their heart to the Redeemer and Savior, Jesus Christ. He longs for each of us to have a personal encounter with the hope and healing available to us through God’s transforming love. I have found the best way to heal a broken heart is to give God all the pieces.

The brokenness in my life became the key that unlocked the treasures of the love I was searching for; the love of the Father. His love gave me the courage to hope, to live, and to love again. Our past does not define us; rather Jesus offers us a new life in Him. Imagine my joy when I discovered that the Lord loves me just as I am – and He loves you just as you are!

He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 (NKJV)

How have you been broken? At Bloom in the Dark, we’d love to hear your story of brokenness and redemption, too.

MoMaureen Hager is a survivor. Her passion lies in empowering women to receive healing from their brokenness through the love of Christ. Once a wounded victim in a biker gang war, her painful journey led her to a place of restoration. Her testimony of deliverance and hope has impacted women of all ages. She is currently writing her first book based on her journey through emotional, spiritual and physical trauma. Website: www.MaureenHager.com Twitter: @Maureen_Hager Blog: www.OutoftheBrokenness.com  Facebook: Maureen Hager – Out of the Brokenness  Pinterest: Maureen Hager