Moving Past Your Past with Kasey Van Norman
People like to say, “You are not your past” … but it’s not like we can forget it. And when our minds are filled with our mess-ups, can we trust God to lead us back, in order to move us forward?
Part of the “moving back” for Kasey Van Norman, included being open and honest about very hard things in her life, including a difficult childhood and committing adultery in her marriage.
Today on Walk it Out, I’m excited to be chatting with Kasey, author of the book and study, Nothing Wasted: God Uses the Stuff You Wouldn’t.
If you feel stuck in the past and ready to move forward with God’s help, this episode is for you.
But first … my gut-honest story
The high school classes of 2020 feel cheated right now, and I understand. I too missed out on my Senior Year. Yet while a pandemic halted their world. An unexpected pregnancy halted mine. I found out I was pregnant in October and finished out the football season as a cheerleader. (Getting bus-sick on away games was NO fun.)
When word got out about my pregnancy, and my boyfriend moved on to a new girlfriend, I decided to drop out. I dropped out of high school and finished working on my credits at home. I also dropped out of life and spent most of my days in bed, sleeping them away, as a baby grew within me.
Unlike the class of 2020, there was a graduation ceremony at Weed High. (Yes, that was the name of my high school!) I came out of seclusion to walk during the ceremony with my class. Looking back, I’m proud of that girl. In a school and a town where everyone-knows-everyone, I thought more about making my soon-to-be-born baby proud, than worrying about people’s gossip.
You see, it was during my pregnancy that I decided to turn over my life to God and ask Him to take the reigns of my life. I hoped He’d do a much better job than I would … and I haven’t been disappointed!
Laying in bed pregnant, feeling ashamed and alone, I dared to believe that God had a good future planned for me.
When I chose to trust, I also chose to let go of shame and fear. Walking across the stage, in front of our whole town—nearly nine months pregnant—was evidence of my choice.
We all know what it’s like to be broken, right? I’m not the only teenager pregnant at her high school graduation. And you’re not the only one with secrets and regrets either.
“Shame is ultimately the belief that we are unlovable,” writes Holley Gerth. “And because of this, love is the only way to break the shame.”
At age seventeen, I dared to believe Jesus loved me, and that changed everything. And then the women from my mom’s Bible Study—who reached out to me in the middle of my mess—showed me that my life still could be good. When they opened up to tell me, “I’ve messed up, too, but look what God has done,” it gave me hope.
There are two important aspects of telling our stories and being hope-givers to others: 1) Our confession breaks the chains with us, and 2) Our testimony allows others to believe that “all things made new” can be available for them, too.
Not that any of us have “arrived.” If we’re breathing we’re still the main character in a still-being-written story. Yet hope reminds us that even though there are parts of our past that we wished could be different, God can use those parts for our ultimate good.
And that’s my long introduction to this episode, giving you a glimpse of why Kasey’s message is so important to me. As Kasey shared her truth, her words resonated within my soul. Moving past her past has transformed Kasey’s life, just as it’s transformed mine.
And this is the hope we want to offer to you.
Who is Kasey Van Norman?
Kasey is a professional counselor, Bible teacher, and the author of the books and study series, Named by God and Raw Faith. She writes and teaches about the love that redeemed her life from the shame of past infidelity, and strengthened her through a life-threatening cancer diagnosis.
Kasey is the founder of Northway Farms — a non-profit serving homeless women in her community. She travels and teaches thousands each year as a ministry even speaker. She lives in Texas with her husband, Justin, and their two children, Emma Grace and Lake.
You can order Nothing Wasted HERE.
About the Book:
We all have past experiences we wish we could redo, undo, or hide altogether. In Nothing Wasted, counselor and teacher Kasey Van Norman shares how God revealed his specific plan for her life through the most unlikely, embarrassing, and painful seasons of her past. Her vulnerability invites you to discover God’s personal and purposeful design for your future, not in spite of your story, but through it.
What if the pain and mistakes of your past are exactly what God wants to use to redeem your future?
A difficult childhood, public infidelity, and a fight with cancer – Kasey Van Norman has walked a rocky road of regret and loss. Shockingly, God would take her back to move her forward, uprooting her undealt-with wounds, secret shame, and intimacy-sabotaging patterns of behavior. No longer running from her past, but instead, allowing herself to be defined by it, Kasey discovered a God more intentional and loving than she’d ever believed him to be. Today, she shares the truth that no part of our life story is wasted – but purposefully designed and used by God to shape who we are meant to be.
With vulnerability, sound doctrine, and humor, Kasey unfolds the brokenness in her own life, reminding us that a holy, sovereign God lovingly works, not in spite of our past, but through it.
In this book, Kasey invites you to look at the most unlikely, shocking, and painful experiences of your past in order to embrace them as the necessary setup for your future. No experience or relationship has been a mistake. You are no mere byproduct of random events, and you do not need a do-over! Join Kasey, and take God up on his offer to weave together every confusing, disjointed scrap of your past in to his beautiful story of redemption.
Because with God, nothing is wasted.
Walk It Out Scripture
Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish. Isaiah 46:9-10 NLT
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Resources, books, and links mentioned in this episode:
- Nothing Wasted
- Raw Faith
- Northway Farms
- Acts 17
- Psalm 139:23-24
- Romans 14:23
- Teen Mom: You’re Strong Than You Think
- From Dust and Ashes: A Story of Liberation
- Walk it Out: The Radical Result of Living God’s Word one Step at a Time
Connect with Kasey Van Norman
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