Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Evidence Of Grace

"Here is what we believe to be some very good news: If you’re reading this, if there’s air in your lungs on this November day, then there is still hope for you. Your story is still going. And maybe some things are true for all of us. Perhaps we all relate to pain. Perhaps we all relate to fear and loss and questions. And perhaps we all deserve to be honest, we all deserve whatever help we need. Our stories are all so many things: Heavy and light. Beautiful and difficult. Hopeful and uncertain. But our stories aren’t finished yet. There is still time, for things to heal, change, and grow. There is still time to be surprised. We are stories still going, you and I. We are stories still going."


As I was sitting in counseling a few weeks ago we were talking about the kingdom value of sharing your story. People these days love to talk about stories, how we are all living them.  People talk about how there are chapters to your story.  As a culture we love a good story.  Even if you look at marketing you can tell we are a society driven by stories.  However, I think when it comes to kingdom value, our stories are so very important. Back in my youth group days, it used to be called a testimony.  The story of how you came to Jesus, or how Jesus saved you.  The problem is, is that for so often, so many of us simply saw our testimony as a stand alone event.  As in, I came to Jesus, He saved me, now I'm good.  

The problem is, is that so often rescue and recovery is not a single, once-then-done, event. 

The sacrifice that provided our eternal rescue, that was one sacrifice for all for eternity. But our everyday growth, it's just that, every day.  

It's an often used phrase, but it's true, "we are stories still going".  We require much grace and rescue every single day.  

So this leads me to the original thought behind this post.  I, for so often, believed that I couldn't tell my story, or my story wasn't even worth telling, until it was perfect.  Until it was finished.  I thought that a story of rescue wasn't rescue if it wasn't complete.  But that isn't true is it.  Christ, in his infinite mercy and grace, is saving me and redeeming my story every second of every day.  I may still struggle.  My story may still royally blow some days  most days.  However, one look at my story and the evidence of grace is written all over it.  Look at the story of anyone who is in Christ, and you will find the same thing.  The message of rescue is present in everyone who has been rescued, and we have all been rescued haven't we.  

I am doing a bible study right now from IF that is about telling your story of redemption, and I struggle with it.  Not because I don't believe it, but because I know it's true.  Hiding my story of rescue comes naturally to me.  I love this perfectly crafted image I have built of myself.  I don't want to be broken.  I don't want to show my weakness, but that is what I have felt convicted to do.  It is so easy to keep living behind this image of who I appear to be.  I like that person. People like her, people think she is great, people admire her.  Who wouldn't want that, right? I guess what I am saying is, is that I don't, or rather can't, be that person anymore.  God has rescued me, and if telling people about that brings them to Him, or even gives them a glimpse of His infinite grace and mercy, then how can I keep that to myself? 

My story is still messy, but today is a different chapter.  

The evidence of His grace is the fact that I am still not where I used to be.  

The evidence of His grace is the fact that I am still here.  

I've made progress, that is proof of the rescue.  I may still get depressed, but I don't think about dying anymore.  I may still cut every once in awhile, but it is so much significantly less often than it was.  I am still anxious, goodness I am still anxious, but it's better.  I still go to counseling and do the work, but I have to go less often than I did when I first admitted I needed it.  I am more open and vulnerable, still need to work on that more for sure though. My obsessive need to do things, it's practically gone.  My life is completely changed.  I am still here for crying out loud, how great is His mercy and grace!

I haven't moved into the next chapter yet, but this is definitely not the chapter I was living before.

How can I keep that victory to myself.  It would be an injustice to the people around me.  Perhaps more importantly, in doing so, I am not giving glory to Him.  My goal should always be to give the glory back to Him in everything that I do.  He demands glory.  

So, I will speak.

I will tell my story. 

I don't quite know how this will work.  I mean it isn't the most natural to just go up to someone and talk about how you used to want to die is it? So for now, if someone asks, I will share my chapter.  I will point to rescue, I will point to the evidence of His grace.  I'll give Him the glory.