"What use to make us stumble, God can use to make us stand. What once made us bow our heads in shame, He can use for His glory."
~ JoAnna Weaver ~
Having a Mary Spirit
There is a part of my past I'm not happy to admit is there. In fact, for a long time shame dominated any memory of that time. Very few people are even privy to the knowledge of those days--German, my pastor at the time and his wife, a friend who is now in Phoenix, German's best friend and confidante during that time, a counselor and a couple of other friends. It was a dark time, largely brought onto me by me (although counseling helped me unearth the roots from where it grew). I thought at the time that the sin that was dominating my life would always define me. I was sure that I would never again have a vibrant ministry because of what I was. Ashamed and disillusioned, it not only made me stumble it pushed me to my knees. When I finally hit my knees, the Phoenix friend used his gift of encouragement (lol) with one word, "finally."
You see, I had to stumble before I would admit that it was not a "problem" and that it was sin. I had to fall flat on my face before I would look up for help. And I had to get on my knees before God could remind me that I was not defined by my sin but by His sacrifice. Through that humbling and shameful time in my life I learned that God loves sinners unconditionally. He had loved me from the moment of my birth. He had cherished me from the moment of my spiritual rebirth. And years later when I was refusing to act like His child He still loved me. Once I admitted what a fraud I had become, He healed it. And He forgot it.
But I didn't forget. I don't want to forget. I am forever grateful that it no longer defines me. I am amazed that most days I don't consciously remember it. Yet, that time changed me. I stopped identifying people by their behavior--because I didn't want to be identified by mine. I became more willing to pour out grace because of the grace that was poured on me. I started to take intercessory prayer more seriously, because without the prayers of others I might still be in the pit. It changed me into someone who could stand in the assurance of God's unconditional love. Recently a dear blogging friend commented on my ability to speak of the frailties of human nature without being demeaning. That comment meant more to me than so many comments I have received, because I am able to do that only as God is showing His glory. Not being harsh in our frailties was learned from that time in my life. Praise God He has taken that dark time and made me a reflector of His Glory. Dear friends, please know, no place is so dark that God cannot illumine it and use it for His glory. I stand as proof of that!
and he saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom
and broke away their chains.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men
Abba, Holy God, thank you for not leaving me in the pit of despair. Thank you for loving me in spite of me. Thank you for breaking the chains of bondage that were in my life and making me whole. I praise you that I am no longer defined by sins of the past but I am defined by your blood. Thank you for dying for me when I was a pitiful sinner. Thank you for allowing me to stand and glorify you! Amen.
Loni at Joy in the Morning is our hostess for In Other Words this week. I pray you will be blessed by the words of others. Thank you for visiting today.