WHAT I HAVE LEARNED.
No more do I look to my knowledge, skill, experience, possessions, or works to qualify my righteousness or earn His favor, nor do I rely on them to qualify me to bear His message which is precisely why I deliver the Good News of:
His Track Record
He took the worst and best of me and absorbed it into Himself where I continuously discover all I need and want. Oh how He loves me so passionately, deeply, completely, without reserve. How could I possibly deny Him the only thing He wanted in return: my whole heart?
He is truly a God worth living for …dying for!
The years of detours & dead ends that I thought were wasted, God has woven them all into present-day purposefulness.
How could I not burn for Him!?!
Being raised by a strong woman in ministry wasn’t easy. She was a fighter, courageous & unapologetically outspoken. From her influence, I developed a hunger for God’s Word. Although I succumbed to worldly traps for many years, it was through our relationship that I would be wholeheartedly saved.
Despite my mother’s best efforts to provide a Christian home, my life became a mosaic of brokenness colored by abandonment, abuse, betrayal, distrust, failure, fear, grief, heart break, loss, rejection, & suicidal ideations. Compounded by a graven image of God, I eventually hardened my prismatic heart against Him.
Until I started to heal, I didn’t realize just how much my mother struggled with the wounds of her own past, inhibiting her ability to love “as we ought.” I grew up without many of the attributes of love that should be typical of every Christian home.
Peace, stability & relationships became difficult to maintain over the transient years of my childhood. Without a safe place or person in which to anchor my soul, grief from the continual loss of relationships only intensified underneath the abuse we kept a secret. Shame, despair, and loneliness only added to my growing generalized distrust.
At one of my most fragile moments, my mother attempted to explain away the pain of our abuse as the hand of God teaching us some mysterious lesson. In horror, I screamed, “Then I don’t want God if that’s how He loves me!” That day, I vowed to spend eternity in hell before ever surrendering my heart to such a heartless God.
Thankfully, He didn’t let me get away completely before exposing me to enough truth that would one day lead me fully back to Him.
Partially armed with just enough good news, I attempted to live a lukewarm Christian life. My pursuit of acceptance, peace, fulfillment, joy & love took me on many detours that always led to bitter disappointment & fruitless dead ends. Not realizing that I didn’t fully trust God, my half-heartedness perpetuated my internal dysfunction, making me easy prey to a deceptively alluring world that promised freedom from my confusion, loneliness, & pain.
On the outside, though, it all seemed normal.
By worldly standards, I was doing well, very well; yet nothing, not even the quintessential American dream could fill the cracks of my broken heart.
By spiritual standards, I was doing well, also. Over the years I had dabbled in everything from youth & young adult programs to women’s ministry, bible studies, drama, praise & worship, witnessing, missions, counseling, training & teaching. I attended church & served as much as I could. I read & studied the Bible. I prayed. I gave money. I helped hurting people.
I did all that was expected, works I thought would make a difference. And, yet, my lukewarm heart succeeded only at reaping selfishness, pride, and a self-righteous spirit in my accomplishments and perceived appearance. All the works I did to feel good about myself coupled with a judgmental attitude was the facade I used to cover the bitterness and shame lurking underneath that inevitably resurfaced to zap my strength & motivation. Burn-out would lead me to seek relief by dipping my toes back into the world for a flesh fix, only adding to my shame.
It wasn’t until I became a mother to my two special needs daughters that I began to see how much God loves me. To Him, I must have seemed like a special needs child, too.
Despite all the lows of my life, amazingly God was able to use some of them as pivotal highs for my eventual & perpetual freedom from the past. Initially rejecting that graven image of God I had constructed paved the way for the eventual relationship that has enabled me to know Him as He is:
The God of Creation: The Beginning.
The God of the Cross: Yeshua.
The God of Completion: The End.
Instead of coveting His gifts and promises and using Him as a genie in a bottle, I became passionate for the Gift-Giver Himself and eager to deliver the message of His passion for all us!
No one special in the grand scheme of things.
No one of significance by worldly standards.
No extraordinary credentials or accomplishments worthy of boasting.
No exemplary past that qualifies me to be God’s messenger,
but I do so anyway because:
His Victory over my past does!
His Life gives my life meaning!
His Credentials make me worthy!