Your Past Does Not Define You


Corey climbed the school bus one sunny spring day. As she took the first step, the entire bus chanted in unison, “Cooty-bug Corey, cooty-bug Corey.” They didn’t stop until the bus dropped her off at school.

I believe Corey was ten-years-old, a nice girl who y I believe had the misfortune of getting head lice–a rite of passage nowadays.

I’d love to believe I didn’t join in. I do know the chants bothered me then and now, but who wanted to be cooty-bug Carol?

And don’t ask me why the bus driver didn’t do anything.

One bad event scarred a child’s life. The stigma of head lice had to torment the poor girl’s psyche into adulthood. I’d never go on a bus again had that happened to me.

Tamar conceived Perez by Judah. She is the ancestor of Jesus.

This makes me think of Tamar. Her story appears in Genesis 38. She married Er, a son of Judah. Er lived in wickedness, so much so, that the Lord killed him before Tamar had a chance to conceive.

In Jewish law, another brother had to marry the childless widow and raise up a descendent for his deceased brother (Deuteronomy 25:5). This levirate duty fell to Onan. Well, no one was going to force him to raise a child who wouldn’t be his own. So, he married Tamar but used her only for sex. He’d “waste his seen on the ground.” (The term Onanism originated here. Today we call it coitus interruptus.) This sin, this insult to Tamar displeased God, and Onan died.

Judah had one last son, but no way would he give Shelah to “Cooty-bug Tamar.” If Shelah married her, the cursed witch would surely kill him, according to the Jewish Women’s Archive, (a very interesting website).

Left destitute. Forced to live with her parents, Tamar devised a way to ensure her survival. She waited for the now widowed Judah who was going to his friends to help shear sheep. Acting like a prostitute, she convinced him to sleep with her and took his staff, seal, and cord as surety for the payment owed her. She then went home.

When Judah discovered Tamar was pregnant, this self-righteous man ordered her to be burned. How dare she fool around. Only he could, of course. When confronted, Tamar produced the staff, seal, and cord Judah had given her as surety. Filled with shame that he never did right by his daughter-in-law, Judah proclaimed, “She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah” (Genesis 38:26).

Tamar bore twins. Perez became an ancestor of David and Jesus.

In Matthew 1, we find Tamar one of the few women listed in Jesus’s genealogy.

Your Past Does Not Define Your Future

  1. Has your past been shamed?
  2. Have you been sexually abused?
  3. Mistreated by a spouse?
  4. Had promises broken even though you carried through with your end of the deal?
  5. Left destitute?
  6. Done illicit things to survive?

All the above happened to Tamar. Yet she attained righteousness and the honor of being key in Jesus’s lineage.

You are loved more than you can imagine. When awful things happen, God can make them work for good (Romans 8:28).

I like to think Corey rose above the childhood indignity of those bus rides. Perhaps the driver worked behind the scenes and stopped the abuse. Perhaps he stopped it on that bus ride (I was 8, and very oblivious).

God is greater than our circumstances.

Prodigal Lives

Jealousy propels Pearl to the end of her future.  How can she be redeemed?

According to one review: McClain has done it again! Another compelling story that causes the reader to consider the reality of choices and their results.

Buy now.


  1. A powerful message indeed! I didn’t have cooties–my difficulty was being cross-eyed–but the taunts followed me for many years. You can read my story on my website,, under This and That “Best Friends Forever.” It was surely a God-thing, confirming how He cares for us in whatever way we need when we most need it.

  2. A powerful message! Thank you, Carol. God gives beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61: 3).

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