We have a very public ministry. Our names are all over the web. Our books are on shelves all over the country. Our CDs and Audios are all over the world. Many of our readers have come to expect to read ideas, tips, hints, and inspiration from me. But, there is something I do not talk about too much, and that is the fact that I have a pretty dreadful past.
No, I am not an ax murdered or former bank robber. But I am a sinner. In many ways, I know I am a far worse sinner than most of my readers. But, in a way I think it equips me to reach the heart of women living with a sinful past, living with things that shamed her, and living with the realization that we will never, this side of heaven, be perfect and sin-free. But what we CAN be, is godly women living in light of who God says that we are on a daily basis. We can continue in the path of sanctification. Yes, we can. In spite of our dreadful pasts.
I would love to be perfectly transparent with you. The thing is, some of the things from my past DO at times still haunt me. I still live with the life-long consequences of some of my selfish, sinful choices.
Also, right here in our immediate and extended family, we have faced (and will continue to face) all kinds of dysfunctional, messed up, botched up and embarrassing situations. So, just in case any reader of mine should somehow hold me on a pedastool and think for any reason whatsoever that I am somehow “above” you spiritually, let me just give you a laundry list .
In our little family, and in our extended family we have dealt(and still deal) with all of the following on some level:
- Internet Addiction
- School Drop-Outs
- Illicit Drug Use
- Children born out of wedlock
- Jail time
- Prescription Drug Addiction
Yes, our family and extended family does not look very pretty does it?
But before you think today that I am only going to share a message of gloom and doom I have one thing more to say. If your trust is in me then, you have probably misplaced your trust. But if your trust is in Christ, you cannot be any place better. I am not sharing these things to run our family “down” or to discourage you in anyway. Here is the true message: God alone could take a family that is THIS messed up, and THIS dysfunctional, and THIS depraved and use it for his glory. And use us, he HAS.
Years ago when we accepted Christ, something changed in us. All those things that caused us to have so much selfishness and sinfulness started fading away. We transformed our marriage and our parenting and our way of living life to match what we knew God was calling us to do. We still are not perfect, nor will we be this side of heaven, but we are living lives set apart for Christ. We still mess up, but we no longer give up.
I do not like the person I once was. I am not sure if I ever liked her. But thank goodness, God did. God loved me and drew me to him, just the way I was. He never forsook me. He never abandoned me. He never threw his holy hands in the air and said, “Enough. I am finished with you.”
So, today, I am being transparent. I ask you to forgive me if I ever appeared good of my own accord. Anything at all that I have done or will do that is good is directly from my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I also ask your forgiveness for those times I still disappoint. That is all part of this continual sanctification that I am undergoing as a Christ-follower. You see, on the day that I accepted Christ he did not choose to show me all of the depravity of my own soul all in one day. The weight of so much sin and ugliness would have crushed me to the point of death. He works on me slowly, like a sculptor. When I first accepting him, he knocked away big chunks of my sinful self all at once. It was miraculous. But he continues to chisel daily, bringing me more and more in the likeness of his own son. Every time he gives me freedom from the bondage of sin, he does let me enjoy the victory from it for a season, then, like a true gentleman, he quietly takes me aside and whispers one more area where I am failing to live like the daughter of a king. And he uses his chisel, his sandpaper and his tender hands to get back to work on me once more.
Well, sisters, enough dwelling on the past. The daughter of a king does not have time for such petty things. I am off to go live in the light of The King’s very great love. And there is laundry to do, sandwiches to make, boo-boos to kiss and math lessons to grade. Live in victory, and encourage those around you who are still under the hand of the great sculptor. Our dreadful pasts are not to be hidden from others so they think we are perfect. They just prove to others the greatness of a mighty God who can take all our trash and turn it into treasure for His kingdom. Praise Him!Praise Him!