When the Lord rescued me from the entanglement of sin, I was pretty messed up. Still today, it is hard for me to believe that I have been given the life that I live. Each day is a new opportunity for me to draw close to my Lord. Every moment I am given, I am able to learn to enjoy all that He has blessed me with. But my life was not always like this.
Nor was my disposition.
Before God delivered me from the chains of insanity that was my life, most people considered me unredeemable. I was so heavily weighted down by guilt and shame, that I was pretty certain “most people” were right. I had run so far, and for so long, from my Savior, that I had given up on ever finding my way back. Even if I could find my way, I was more than certain He no longer wanted me. So I stayed far away from God. I stayed far away from anyone who seemed to know, or look, like Him.
Like the lepers of the ancient near east, I imagined myself an outcast. The woman that I saw in the mirror, repulsed me, and so I assumed that what others saw of me repulsed them, as well. I felt rejected by society, and so, in turn, I rejected society and societal norms. Standing on the outskirts of civilization, my actions, words and appearance intentionally cried out “Unclean! Unclean!”.
And no one knew better than I how my words rang true.
For years I wore so many masks that I eventually lost track of who I really was. I was the fun party girl that everyone loved, yet inside I was the tortured introvert that no one truly knew. I detested what was inside me, so I never allowed anyone the chance to get to know me.
I was surrounded by friends, and yet desperate for love and acceptance.
Sometimes, I still struggle with feeling accepted.
I continue to be a work in progress.
My sin destroyed relationships and hurt others, but it was most damaging to myself. Yet the circular nature of the devastating effect of sin, only led to further sin in order to avoid the shame of the previous sin, and on, and on, until I was buried by destructive and selfish choices.
I felt lost in darkness so thick that I believed I could never be free.
My mother prayed for me. My grandmother prayed for me. Everyone prayed for me. I was in my late 20’s when I finally stopped running from God.
I was a mess when God found me.
And then, in the wholly magnificent way that God does, He saved me, delivered me, cleansed me, and sent me on my way.
It has been over a decade since the Lord changed my life, and the process of change has not always been easy. One task that proved most challenging was learning to see myself as God sees me: loved, precious, and accepted. And, because I could not see God, I sought that love and acceptance from the next closet thing – His church.
Unfortunately, we as the Body of Christ, can be hard on believers such as myself, who were once sinners of the Mary Magdalene variety. Often, we would like them to be assimilated into a uniform example of godliness, without the history of having been delivered from seven demons.
The problem with this plan, however, is that hurting people need to know that God can heal the hurting.
Broken people need to hear that God mends the broken.
Damaged people need to believe that healed people have scars.
Therefore, hiding our scars due to prideful, fearful, or self-centered reasons not only shadows the glory of God manifested in our lives, it can also hinder the work of God through our lives.
Dear friend, if you are reading this today, please allow me to share this with you today:
My scars have scars.
And my scars are massive. Many of them run deep. Some of them are downright grotesque, and a few are still healing.
And though I was once revolting in my own eyes, I am now marvelous in God’s eyes. Not because I am good, or righteous. I am far from it.
But, I am a magnificent work of art, masterfully crafted to reflect His love, mercy, and power to a world full of hurting and lonely people.
There have been times that I felt life would be easier if I fit the mold that appears to be the Christian norm. But, that mold would not fulfill God’s purpose for me.
God has plans for me and my scars.
I desire that my life might be a living sacrifice, and He desires to use it as a living testimony. And while my pre-Christ story resembles that of Mary Magdalene, my post-Christ praise aligns with the accounts of Mary of Bethany. Because He has loved me fully, I desire to sit as His feet soaking in everything He will share. Because I am so indebted to His grace, I long to anoint his feet with oil, wash them lovingly with hands, and dry them with my hair. For when you have been forgiven and healed of all that I have, you cannot help but adore the One who saved You.
The one who has been forgiven much, loves much.
My sin was damaging, and my choices deforming, but my God is powerful, patient, forgiving, and true. He found me, saved me, healed me, strengthened me, and gave me new life. And what He did for me, He can do for you.
Or your spouse.
If you, or someone in your life, desperately needs to be rescued by Christ, count this as truth:
He is more than trustworthy.
I encourage you to cry out to Him from where you are. Pray for repentance and deliverance, for yourself, and intercede regularly for others. Then, choose to walk in faith.
Our God is still healing lepers.
He specializes in calling forth the impossible.
He brings new life from the darkness.
He is the faithful hope for your hurt.
And He is the Restorer of the lost.
For further study: Luke 17:11-19 (ESV)
For prayer on this topic, see today’s Daily Hope & a Prayer.
Throughout the week, the Your Story Page is open to anyone who wishes to share their story of hope and grace with someone who may waiting to hear it. Simply enter your story into the form, with any other information that you may like to share. If you are a blogger, writer or have a website, feel free to leave your website URL for the readers to connect with you later. Then, on Hope-Day Wednesday, individual stories will be added to the Our-Stories page in order to offer hope and encouragement to someone who may need it.
Your story might change a life, save a marriage, restore a relationship, give a discouraged parent hope, or help someone to hold on for just one more day.
Happy Story Sharing!