Unashamed

Unashamed

There is this girl I know, she was conceived in unfortunate circumstances, raised by preachers, who did not tell her she was adopted till he was 16 years old, engaged to be married and as her father was about to go into open heart surgery. She was sexually abused not only by a young man who called himself a christian, but right inside the church walls. She was bullied and made fun of by her peers, people who didn’t even know her believed she would never turn out to be any good. Adopted at birth,  She herself suffered from infertility, for 10 years. Struggling with body issues she was bulimic for a time, just to try to conform to what she thought the world expected from her, and to fit into a family that would never love her.

It seemed every time this girl would get ahead in life, something would knock her back down. People in the churches she was raised in rarely acted like the God that she knew. Her dad, kicked out of 2 churches, himself, should of made her hate God, she herself was fired from three jobs in her life,  and each time her father was asked to leave, it was as she herself had been rejected again. How could people that call themselves Christians act like this? She not only faced emotional bankruptcy but financial as well. She lived in 5 different states, and attended 9 schools in twelve years, living in countless houses but never really having a home.

Just looking for someone that would find value in her, she searched everywhere,  including an emotional affair. She lost the only father she ever knew and loved, when she was only 23 yrs old, and became the full-time caregiver for the next 33 years to her handicapped mother. While, homeschooling all 3 of her children one being severely dyslexic she felt again she had failed and blamed herself for her child’s challenges. Early in her marriage she and her husband with one child to care for, found themselves homeless, her family has rejected her, her church has rejected her, and her own mother has even rejected her, she felt all alone.

 Exhausted and tired from all the circumstances of her life, it is no wonder that she locked herself in her house for a season and refused to leave or answer the phone for fear of what the world was going to do to her next.

She had seen a lifetime of hurt and pain that no one should see their whole life, let alone before the age of 30,  and once this girl finally got brave enough to leave the house again, she did so, but not without putting up some walls in her life to guard her from ever being hurt again. Especially around people that called themselves Christians, because all this girl had ever known was to be hurt by these so called people who loved God. This girl finally put on such a hard exterior that no one could get through, and it’s no wonder she decided that she didn’t care if the whole world would die and go to hell.

Her plan was to just follow Christ like a racehorse with blinders on, laser focus to the finish line, because suicide wasn’t an option for her but a natural death or the rapture would be her only escape. Because,  after all, God was the only one who had never left her. With her hard exterior and protective layer she soon went in straight survival mode, guarding what she said, and preferring to be alone. She was hesitant about anything she would say around others,  because all to often in this Christian world, like a puppy that would just barely stick its head, out of its cage, she had all to often been slapped back in before she barely got her nose out the door.

She felt whipped, beaten and alone. She felt unsure of who she was and what she could ever do. There was a battle raging within her of what she knew she could do, and what she felt like would be accepted by those around her in her life. Her mind tossed and turned contemplating, what she wanted to do, and what she knew she had been called to do. So all to often it was just easier to step back and do nothing. That is when again, she drew up into a shell, and just really wanted the world to pass her by.

Until one day the Lord begin to show her in her own prayer time that He had great plans for her, that her circumstances were not a punishment, but a badge of honor to wear. Not proud because of her mistakes, but a victory that she kept going and did not quit,  that she was a fighter and a winner. So slowly but surely this girl would attempt to stick her head outside the cage one more time, maybe it was just saying “Hi” to a person, maybe it was just inviting someone over. But just as quick at she stuck her nose outside that cage, she would pull it back in, for fear it would get swatted again like it had so many times before.  

Over and over again she tried each time sticking that wet, scared nose out of the cage, a little bit further each time, with the success from the last. With each attempt to let the world back in,  she would stay a little longer outside the cage, looking around a little more, till finally one day she was totally revealed to the rest of the world. She had come completely out of her cage.

All the while, her mind battling against what she wanted to do, which was crawl back in her cage and let the whole world die and go to hell, and at the same time realizing that God had bigger plans for her,  and those plans would mean stepping out of the comfort zone of that cage and allow the world back into her life. That process took well over 40 yrs and she still is working through it.

But that girl doesn’t hide in her cage anymore, afraid to stick her nose out for fear it would get smacked because she isn’t good enough. That girl, now looks back on her past, not with shame,  but with gratefulness of what the Lord has brought her through, that girl realizes that she is a child of God, and no matter what man may do around here, or think of her, it doesn’t matter, because God is her ultimate authority and He calls her His child.

Oh! Does she still battle with the fact life would be easier, if she just stayed hid in her house and let the rest of the world die and go to hell. Sure she does! But she also realizes that the very reason she was created, and the reason she had to walk through what she did, was because she needed to know there was a God that could bring her out  and there are many that she needs to tell of this goodness of God.

So when you hear  this girl talk about how shy she really is, when you hear her say she really prefers to be alone, believe her. Don’t be shocked when you see her laughing in a crowd or sharing with a group of people. Remember at those times, what the Lord has brought her from. Understand that the girl you see today has not always had this freedom. You need to know that there is still a battle that rages within her.

But also know that she has drawn a line in the sand and she as decided that she refuses to allow her feelings to abort what God has called her to do.  And I know all this, because that girl is me!

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:25, But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 NIV

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When is Enough, Enough?

When is Enough, Enough?

When is enough, enough? When do we stop sharing Christ’s love? When do we stop telling others about Him? When do we decide we should stop praying for our unsaved friends? We can we quit being the witness that God has called us to be and just focus on us? When do we get to do what we want to do and not have to think about anyone else but ourselves?

I don’t know? Would it have been enough for our sins to be redeemed by Jesus as he prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane and asked His Father, “Please if there is any other way, don’t make me do this” How about just for being arrested? Could God have called out from the heaven’s and said “Cut! That’s enough this show is over” Would it have been enough for Christ to just be beaten? Or maybe it was just enough for Him to carry the cross up the hill? No! No!! I’ve got it!! Maybe it would be enough for the 3 nails to be hammered into his hands and feet? Surely, that would have been enough right?

The truth is, the only way we could find remediation for our sins was for a sinless sacrifice to come and die for us. DIE do you get that?  Capital D-I-E.

The other day as I was traveling back from Wichita I was listening to Christian talk radio the show was taking questions from callers, and one of the people who called in asked the question ” Should I give up talking to my unsaved family about God?”  You see the young man said that he has 3 or 4 family members who were not living for God. He had encouraged them to read their bibles and go to church,  and because they all had not responded to his expectation, his question was,  “Should he just give up on them?”

My immediate response to him, (Because you know, we all have our opinions in situations like this) So what was my answer you ask? Well, I asked him (as if he could hear me through the radio)  “Did Christ ever give up on you?” “What would you want someone to do for you? Would you want someone if you didn’t know Christ to just give up on you because you were not meeting their expectations? Because things did not happen in the timing you thought they should?” I think the answer for all of us to that is a resounding “NO!”.

But all to often don’t we do that? Don’t we subconsciously or consciously make that decision about co-workers, family members etc. We decide I am done with them! They are too far gone!  They don’t want to hear the truth! Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying to pound people over the head with the word of God until they submit and come to know Him. No!

The bible says it is the kindness of God that leads people to repentance. (Romans 2:4) So I understand that we can’t talk all day everyday to them about coming to Christ. And we certainly aren’t going to win them over by judging and condemning.  No! Far to many people have been run off from the church and God with that one. Nor will isolating people from us help either.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that with every person is a different situation and a different personality you are dealing with. But no matter what the circumstance or situation. We never stop praying for them we never stop loving them. We may have to set boundaries, we may have to be sensitive to their feelings and more often than not we need to meet them where they are. We need to meet their physical needs before they will every want to hear about their spiritual needs.

I don’t know about you, but I am thankful God never gave up on me! I am thankful that Christ was not only beaten for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities  and the stripes on His back were for our healing. (Isaiah 53:5)  I am thankful that I serve a Savior that didn’t give up on me! He didn’t quit!!  But He holds the keys to death, hell and the grave! (Rev 1:18)

He went all the way for you and me!! Praise God! He rose again on that 3rd day!! Now, He is seated at the right hand of the Father making intersession for you and for me! (Mark 16:19)

SO, When is enough, enough? When do we stop sharing Christ’s love? When do we stop telling others about Him? When do we decide we should stop praying for our unsaved friends? We can we quit being the witness that God has called us to be and just focus on us? When do we get to do what we want to do and not have to think about anyone else but us?

I say the answer to all these, is Christ example! There is never enough! There is never enough reasons to stop calling on the name of the Lord for our loved ones and friends to come to know Him. Look at all He went through for us! He followed the specially design plan God had for Him and He has a plan for you to reach the people you love and care about too!

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Roman 2:4)

So like Christ’s example! It is NEVER enough until we reach the other side and join our Heavenly Father in heaven.