I have had the honor and privilege of sharing my life's testimony with two very special sisters in Christ recently. Both women are kindred spirits who share my love for God and my desire to let His love shine through me. To do that, I must be completely transparent and, in a way, vulnerable. How can I let God's grace truly show if I'm unwilling to let people see the brokenness that God's love made whole? The Apostle Paul understood this perfectly well as is noted in 2 Corinthians 12:19-20, "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
I have been praying diligently and feel as though God is going to be asking me to be transparent more often. This isn't always an easy task for some of my past has left deep scars that are still healing. There are times when Satan tries to use these scars and untruths to trip me up, to make me doubt, to make me anxious and depressed, and to make me feel unworthy of God's love. God never promised that every day would be pain free or filled with sunshine and roses. In fact, His Word warns us that we will experience hardships in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The reality is that sin exists here on earth. People make poor choices every day and those choices have consequences.
Some of my own poor choices have had negative consequences as well. This is where my brokenness starts but it is also where God's grace begins. I was a lost teen with no self-esteem. I always felt like I didn't belong. I felt as though nothing I did was ever good enough to please people. I endured verbal bullying. I continued to grow into a young lady who would overcome emotional abuse, sexual assault, and a broken marriage. Now, I am a woman who finally has realized that God's love is more than enough to sustain me. God loves me just as I am. God is the only one I need to please. God sees the beauty within my heart and is teaching me to see it as well. God has a wonderful purpose and plan for my life. Notice I didn't say I endured hardships. I overcame them. God not only brought me through these difficult times in life but
He also utilized them to refine me, to grow me, to stretch me, and to strengthen me spiritually and emotionally. He has also and will continue to use my past experiences to help other people who are hurting. He will use me to show them His love. In my brokenness, I am the perfect vessel for His love to shine through because I have true empathy since I have walked the same road they now find themselves traversing.
My story is far from over. I face new challenges every day. Currently, my trials include a plethora of serious health issues and daily pain as well as being the single mother of a child with special needs. The difference is that God provides the strength, peace, and joy I need to keep persevering as well as a wonderful "family" of fellow believers to encourage me, love me, help me, and pray. Trusting in God's love with total abandon has truly been an amazing and life altering experience. He has brought forth beauty from the ashes and continues to fill me with His remarkable love.
Permit God to create beauty from your ashes and then allow His love to shine brightly through you. As Matthew 5:14-17 reminds us, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on
its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."