There is no one more critical of me than me. For every person that has thought or said, “who does she think she is” or “what gives her the right” or “I know her past and she shouldn’t be…”, I’ve thought it more. I’ve made a case to God about why I’m not a good fit for the things he’s called me to. My life is a mess and not just because I have four kids, a guinea pig, a dog, and dirty diapers laying in the living room. The mess I am talking about is the choices I’ve made that led to a heaping scoop of shame and guilt. You don’t just “get over”, “move on”, or “grow up” from shame and guilt because something about them become you- not just a part of you.
It wasn’t a quick fix- or soul healing for that matter- but a long, hard road of continuing to lean into Jesus through these feelings of being unqualified, ill-equipped, the shame of my past, guilt over broken relationships- as if I had the ability to hold them all together. As I continued to hold these feelings against scripture, God continued to be faithful to reveal himself to me.
The very things the Enemy wants to hold over our heads- to weigh us down and tire us out from being poured out like a drink offering- are the very things that make our testimony miraculous.
If I try and pretend like I have it together, that I am somehow equipped to be following Jesus than I’m robbing God of the glory he so deserves. Actually, let me change that to say, “I’m robbing myself of an opportunity to give God glory” because I don’t see how we can rob God of anything. He is God, we are not so he gets glory regardless of us giving it to him.
Somehow through his full knowledge of all of the things that cause such shame and guilt, God is still choosing to pour into me so I can pour out to others. I don’t know how you define miraculous, but to me, this is a miracle.
All of the people listed below are straight from the scripture. If you aren’t familiar with their testimony, I hope you would open up the Bible and get to know them. Then consider this: what would happen if their testimony stopped at their failures? What if all they were made of was their mess of shame, disloyalty, gossip, slander, etc?
I’m not suggesting that they could have derailed their call- quite frankly, I don’t know how all of that works but what I do know is if I could have derailed mine, I would have. I thought I did at one point but somehow God was holding it all together- there is just no other way to explain it. There is some sort of flow to all of this that I don’t know I can explain, but what I do know is there has been a fire lit in my bones for those who are being weighed down by what God has already marked as forgiven and free.
Legitimate lies the enemy could have tormented these faithful servants of God with:
Shame: Samaritan Woman
Unforgivable: Joseph’s brothers
Bad Friend: Peter
Fear: Abraham and Sarah
We must go and tell what Jesus has done for us. The enemy taunts us with our failures and screw ups but these are the things that are often what the Lord uses to refine us- being the very catalyst to the call God has on our life.
Wouldn’t it be the coolest if we didn’t just ask God to heal us but to also do something mighty through the healing? Even if we doubt it can happen, the guts to ask him is a demonstration of a belief that God can do imaginably more. I know firsthand how gutsy and scary simply asking can be. I mean we are asking God to take the most vulnerable parts of us and somehow make them a catalyst for change. Do we even believe he can do this? I’m not trying to convince you of anything other than opening up scripture and just ask, see, and wait…
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20 NLT)
I’d like to seal this up with the reason why our screw ups never have to be our ending.
Covers it all with restoration: Jesus
“Satan so vehemently despises what Christ has done for mortals that one of his chief objectives is to make the clean feel unclean. Oh, how he desires to stain the beautiful bride of Christ. Satan can't make the bride do anything, so he does everything he can to get her to. How is this best accomplished? He tries to corrupt thoughts to manipulate feelings. Satan knows that the nature of humankind is to act out of how we feel rather than what we know. Second Timothy 2:26 tells us that Satan's objective in taking people captive is to get them to do his will. If we have received Christ as our Savior, Satan is forced to work from the outside rather than the inside. Thus, he manipulates outside influences to affect the inside decision-makers of the heart and mind.” (Moore, Beth. When Godly People Do Ungodly Things. B&H Publishing Group. 2003)