Grace

The other night I felt so defeated in my sin. I allowed myself to feel overwhelmed and suffocated by shame. Instead of turning to God and relinquishing the control I hold on to so tightly, I clung to my sin.

The thought of never being able to conquer this sin left me feeling like a failure. Like a wall was up between God and I. I told God He couldn’t use me until I defeated this part of me. I told Him I was unusable and ruined. And that’s not the case. Me telling Him He can’t use me is pointless because He will use me if He wants to use me. 

If we had to wait to be used by God until we were perfectly pure and sinless – we would be waiting forever. God exposes our sins and uses us right where we are. I need to remember that Satan wants me to feel isolated in my sin. God can use me and He is using me. Right where I am. Sin and all.

Don’t be content to be forgiven and forget. Your past is unique God-given baggage for carrying the Gospel to other. – Marshall Segal 

Don’t let the enemy use your history to distract you from your destiny. – Lisa Bevere

Just because we are tempted does not mean we are our temptations. – Jackie Hill Perry

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Shame

I live in this constant fear that my sin will be exposed. You can know my testimony…just not those parts. You can see the ugly sides of me that I let you see…just not those sides. 

I’ve come to realize that some sins seem to be more acceptable than others. Some sins are seen as ‘well you’re human so you’re going to have those sins’. And other sins are seen as utterly heinous and unforgivable in the church. There’s this unspoken idea that to admit we have lied or said the Lord’s name in vain is to be expected, but anything else is to be kept hidden. How could anyone love the Lord and follow Him and have thoughts like that?!

So those sins stay secret. Those sins fester and grow because to expose them to the public would be an instant regrettable offense. The shame is overwhelming. I don’t want to be this way. I don’t know why these thoughts and desires manifest inside of me but they do. 

How can God use me when this sin is a burden getting in the way of my walk. Why can’t I just get over it and expose it and not allow it to overwhelm me anymore? 

Instead, it taunts me …torments me …tells me I am never going to get past this. This is the sin I carry. I feel like such a failure.

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His Grace

The grace and mercy of God is unbelievably overwhelming. Looking back on all of my mistakes, sins, and regrets I would never expect God to use me how He is. I am serving Him in student ministry as a life group leader for senior girls, in children’s ministry as a preschool teacher, and now starting up the young women’s ministry. It’s so exciting. I feel incredibly unworthy to be so involved in ministry for the Lord.

God knows my past, He knows everything I’ve said and done and He still loves me and still uses me. I’m beyond blessed.

You are never ever too far gone for God. There is no such thing as being too far gone. He met me where I was. Rock bottom, cursing Him, never wanting to step foot in a church again. I told myself I was unworthy of joy, unworthy of a life serving Him, unworthy of having a relationship with anyone who loved the Lord. And here I am today – I strive to find my joy in the Lord, I try to serve Him every day, and my relationship is centered around God.

His love covers all. It covers a multitude of sins. Don’t listen to the lies that tell you that you’re used and ruined or too far gone. You’re not. God has a purpose for you.

 

 

God’s Chisel

Josh’s lesson with the youth praise team, as well as an in-depth conversation with one of the member’s of the praise team afterwards, inspired this blog post. I’m sure you’ve seen the Skit Guy’s video God’s Chisel – if you have not here is the link.

The video portrays God taking a chisel to a guy who is struggling with his sins…and he isn’t exactly welcoming the changes to his life. The changes, the cutting out sin, the moving on from our old ways and living for God…it’s a process that is filled with mourning and pain. Giving up control isn’t easy. Quitting sins, allowing God to transform us, it isn’t easy. We cling to our sins, they can be a source of stress relief, and they can be comforting, and feel familiar.

When we actually look at ourselves and fail to see God’s craftsmanship it can be a lonely place. Hiding away completely ashamed of ourselves is lonely. We are either going away from God or closer to Him. There is no standing still. There is no lukewarm. So when we find comfort in our sins, in attempting to control our own lives instead of turning from our sins and living for God…we are moving away from Him.

I should rewatch that video each week simply for the intense and much-needed conviction it brings on.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God. Romans 12:2

If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in His ways, and by keeping His commandments and His statutes. Deuteronomy 30:16

Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7