As fall settles in, we all start coming indoors. We look around, fluff our nests, and ready for the winter ahead. Oklahoma falls don't last that long. We sort of go from hot to cold. But that's fine by me. I love this "little" town in our little state. I love the community I feel here, the friendly people, and the shared value systems around me.
Speaking of value systems, lately I've been a leetle convicted. I've started back in BSF and this week one of the questions basically asked about a sin you struggle with. I wasn't in my normal group where I should feel safe sharing the answer. Nooooo, my leader is out of town so I was in with another group, where luckily two of my friends normally meet. So I felt "safe enough". And as is customary while you're in my company, I just laid it out there to these precious and God-fearing women.
"Welllll, I love Jesus, but I cuss a little. Because if you're honest, you know that sometimes a well placed cuss word is FUNNY." Yep. There it is. I actually said that outloud to strangers in my bible study. But seriously: Jacka$$. That's a GOOD word. And it has all kinds of uses. So I use it.
The problem with all my cussing is that I worry that people see the words and miss the message. I cuss a little (and don't worry: only in appropriate places and around adults) but I LOVE JESUS.
Y'all. You don't even know the road I've walked in my lifetime. You don't even know the crap that lies beneath. But you'll know my heart if you spend any time around me. You'll know that for being a conservative Christian, I am surprisingly non-judgmental. (Well, it's no surprise to me, but liberals might find this hard to understand.)
I know pain. I know loss. I know struggle. And I know the feeling that God is far far away and not really interested in my heartache.
But I also now know that God loves me and every intimate detail of my life. He loves me in spite of my awful mistakes. He has pulled me out of the pits of despair and redeemed me. He has made my story beautiful when I gave Him a mess to contend with. I have seen redemption and forgiveness first hand.
Do you have a story like this? Well let me tell you now, that SHAME is removed from your life when you are able to have victory over it. Telling your story is the only way to really remove the shame from your mistakes. You don't have to hide in fear anymore when you say hey, here's who I am. I'm not perfect, just forgiven. And God has the final say on the chapters ahead for me. That pain has no dominion over my life.
Listen to this little diddy.
I love this song. Because lately I've been convicted to share my story. It's not a story that I will write here, so don't get your hopes up too high. ;) But know that if I get that feeling while I'm with you, and God tells me to share, I will do it. And you should consider doing the same thing.
Do you know why it's important to your own story to share it with others? It's this little word called HOPE. Because your story may be the one that gives someone hope to someone who is desperately seeking it. It tells them that they, too, are worth the cost of the cross. Their life matters. And didn't you need to hear that at some point in your story?
So don't hold it in. Share your story of defeat in victory, explaining how God used your brokenness to make you completely whole. Don't be afraid, friend. You were meant for this.