I’m Not Who I Was

I have a heart that longs to serve God. I would like to say that I have always had that heart, but that is not the case at all. A year ago, I had preconceived notions of who I thought God might be. But as in most other things in my life, I had only jumped to conclusions before knowing all the facts. I didn’t understand God for who He was. I thought IF God was real, then He hated me and He was simply waiting for a moment to strike me down. I have since discovered, though, that I was very, very wrong.

I’m not who I was, but not because I did anything to fix myself. If I was left to my own devices, I would have killed myself by now. I do not say that to be morbid or depressing, but simply to be honest. I was on a downward spiral through most of my life and I was quickly destroying myself. Satan did not need to get involved in my life to make me miserable; I believe I was doing enough of that myself. When I finally realized something had to change, I thought I had fallen too far. I never thought God could pull out of the pit of despair that I had found myself in, nor that He would want to.

Because of God’s grace, I am not who I was. He has changed me from the inside out. The simple fact that I long to serve Him, proves that He has done something in me to change my heart, because I would have never developed that longing on my own. Shortly into developing my relationship with Christ, God showed me that He wanted me to minister to high school aged kids, specifically girls. I knew that, that was not where He wanted me at that moment; I had plenty of healing to do myself before I could’ve even considered helping anyone else. But I also know that one day, that is where He would get me.

Luke 16:10 – Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.

So trusting in His sovereignty and providence, I have gone through a long and arduous healing journey. It has been painful and educational. I have learned a lot of God and myself. And I am not done. I will be on this healing journey until the day He brings me home. I am a codependent. My recovery will take place daily, for the rest of my life. I am a walking relapse.

I feel unworthy of all the God has given me and I am blown away and awe-struck by the fact the His Son, Jesus Christ, DIED FOR ME!! But in the feeling of unworthiness, God continues to bless me more than I could have ever dared to dream.

This past week alone, He has given me so much healing and freedom. I am astounded. I thought I was free already and I didn’t think it could get much better…BUT IT DOES; AND IT DID!!

Ephesians 3:20 – Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

At last week’s Celebrate Recovery meeting, I shared my testimony for the first time. I walked into it shaking; I was terrified. A friend told me that once I opened my mouth the Holy Spirit would take charge and the nerves would be gone. I didn’t believe her; I thought that might’ve been true for her but I doubted that it was true for me. There I go again, not trusting in God’s power. But this friend of mine was correct.

As I stepped up to the front of the room, I hugged my sweet friend with tears already in my eyes and I was almost wishing I could just run out of the room. I’m kind of glad that my voice was already scratchy because I think that made the shakiness in my voice less noticeable. Well, as I looked out at the audience and saw all the people who came out to support me, I was calmed when I realized that these people were there for one reason and one reason only – they loved me. And because they loved me, they were there to support me. I looked down at my papers and I started to speak and that’s when I felt it – the Holy Spirit. My anxiety and nervousness disappeared and I was calm. The time seemed to fly by as I spoke the words that God wanted me to speak. The next thing I knew, I was done and I was being engulfed with hugs. I heard things like, “I love you,” and “I’m proud of you,” and “thank you,” and “that was encouraging,” and “I love your honesty.” These are all things that I never thought would come from me sharing some of the darkest parts of my life with other people. I was encouraged, loved, and humbled. But most of all I realized how free I am

I thought before I shared my testimony, that God had set me free from the bondage of my past; I didn’t think it could get much better. Boy, was I mistaken. I’m blown away by how free I feel now and how much support, love, and encouragement I have received as a result.

Sharing my testimony gave me more healing than I even realized that I needed. Still feeling unworthy, I was realizing that God would use me right where I was.

Then, yesterday, I attended the Celebrate Recovery One Day Seminar. I had been feeling a little unsure about stepping up to a leadership position in Celebrate Recovery. I mean, how could I be a leader when I still had so much of my own junk to work on? In retrospect, I am understanding the silliness of that statement.

Early in the day, someone said that being a leader did not mean that you had to have it all figured out, but more so, you needed to realize that you did not have it all figured out. I have been given some of the most wonderful leaders in my recovery process and it can be a bit intimidating if I think that I can never be as good as them. But I do not think that those are the thoughts that God wants me to have about becoming a leader. I do not think that God wants me comparing their gifts to mine; we are different people with different gifts and God will use us in different ways, all for the same purpose.

Not too long ago, I knew someone who hurt me deeply. In my process of recovery, I thought I had forgiven him. But one thing I realized yesterday is that I was still very hurt by and very angry with this person. God showed me this when, Johnny Baker, the Celebrate Recovery Pastor at Saddleback Church got up to speak. He looks just like the man who hurt me and my heart started doing flips. I got fidgety and very anxious from the moment I saw him and I thought that what was supposed to be a great experience for me was going to be terrible and that maybe God was showing me that I wasn’t cut out for leadership yet. But as the day progressed and I realized why I was feeling the way I was, I was able to process through the pain. Before I left last night, I went and spoke to him. I did not explain to him why I needed to talk to him; I do not feel like that was necessary. However, for my own healing, I simply needed to talk to him. I shook his hand, talked with him a bit about The Landing, and he introduced me to someone else who I could give me more information about how The Landing works. It was that short conversation and his gentleness that allowed to extend forgiveness to the man who had hurt me years before. God gave me so much healing yesterday, healing that I did not even know that I needed. The Enemy does not want me to step into leadership and I truly believe that he was trying to get to back down yesterday, but thank God that He is stronger and than the Enemy and that He knows where He wants me. As long as I’m willing to listen to the call of God on my life, He’ll make a way for me to get there.

Ephesians 4:12 – Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.

So speaking of The Landing; yesterday was the first time I had really ever heard of it. As soon as Johnny Baker started talking about it yesterday my sponsor started elbowing me as I was already thinking that this was where I wanted to be. I do not know how God wants me to be involved in The Landing. I do not feel worthy to even be a part of it, so I have many insecurities swirling around my head about it. But I know, by the pulling I feel in my heart, that The Landing is where God wants me.

The Landing is how God is going to allow me to help high school kids.

I am humbled at where God has brought me to today. I am in awe of the power He has and I am blown away that He would bless me as much as He has. God has pulled me from the pits of my despair and is now placing me in a position where I can share what He has given me. I just pray that I will be a good steward of the things He has given me and the I will extend the grace He has shown me to the people around me.

 

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