From a precious single sister in Christ, I greatly appreciate her generosity in allowing me to share her story – I think a lot of you may relate to it:
I just wanted to know how much God has used you to shape me….
How I would have described myself in the past:
I am, how shall I put it… feisty. I am quick to share exactly what I think is wrong with a situation that involves me. I am even quicker to jump to my own defense, when I feel wrongfully judged, mistreated, or hurt. I forgive easily, but I have been blessed with an amazing memory. I remember every detail of every hurt – down to the clothes I was wearing when the hurt occurred. I am very hard on myself (harder on myself than others). My memory also means that I remember every detail of every sin. If I have to be corrected, I will beat myself up over it. My boss told me that she has never had an employee who dwells on their own mistakes as much as I do. I am determined NEVER to repeat mistakes. I am compassionate, but very guarded. I am consumed with my own world. I prefer solitude over group outings.
The paragraph below is how I would describe myself now:
If I feel wronged, I fight to take these thoughts captive. I pray, pretty much every single day, that I would see others through the eyes of Jesus (not my own eyes and not the world’s eyes). I forgive quickly and truly forget the offenses. Sometimes folks have to remind me that they should apologize, because apologizes truly do not matter in the grand scheme of things. Yes, I appreciate an apology, but they do not change my level of forgiveness or love for the person. I forgive because that is what I am called to do- no more, no less. God has graciously allowed me to forget some vivid details of my past sin. If someone criticizes me, I do not immediately jump to defend myself. I thank the person for pointing out what they see as sin, something I need to correct, etc. I then take what they say and compare it to the Word and pray about it. If I feel they were correct, I approach them and thank them again and tell them how I have weighed their words against scripture and truth and what I have taken away from it. If I disagree, I generally do not respond unless a response is warranted. If it is, I thank them for loving me enough to want to point me to truth, but tell them that I have read and prayed and cannot accept their words as truth and explain why if asked. I do not hold this against the person and truly move on quickly. I have allowed others into my world, giving them access to my past. I don’t pretend to have been or currently be perfect. I don’t divulge every detail, but I want others to see the transformation power of Christ. I daily pray for others and am burdened for the souls and hearts of others. I cry with my sisters in their pain, and rejoice in their joy. I truly love people.
NONE of this was done by me, or in my own strength- not even a little bit. It is as if the Holy Spirit transported me to be a new person. ALL of those things were painful to change. I am not bragging. I am thankful, so thankful that He never gave up on me. I am in awe that He would care about a girl like me and remain diligent about changing me.
So… what does this have to do with you, April? Well, more than you know.
I thought you were a bit too extreme for me. Actually, I kind of hated some of what you had to say. It made me angry. But, finally, I decided to compare what you had to say to Scripture. Yikes, you weren’t too extreme and my anger was a result of the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I studied a lot, because I wanted you to be wrong about quite a few things. Well, you weren’t.
Then, I read silently, but I watched. I read every single comment and every single response from you. I never once saw you lash out, and there were some folks that would have gotten an ear full from me. You took the time to respond to every single comment. Every. Single. Comment.
A light bulb went off:
You weren’t writing to make ladies feel less than.
You weren’t writing to build yourself up.
You weren’t writing from a pedestal.
You were writing because you love us. You want us to understand the love of Christ, the sovereignty and holiness of God. You want us to be sensitive to the Spirit. You were writing from the trenches WITH us. You wanted to be that hand to reach out when others were helping dig the grave. You wanted to be that ear when we needed one. You wanted to be the light in the darkness that radiated the love of Christ. You wanted to point us to Jesus. You loved us with no judgment. You rejoiced with us. You prayed for us.
Thank you for loving us. Thank you for being a safe place… I am not sure I have ever shared this with you and just wanted you to hear my heart.
This dear sister truly gets my heart for each of you. This is EXACTLY why I do this ministry. I found the Greatest Treasure there is in Jesus Christ – I cannot possibly keep this to myself!!!! I know how awful it is to live without His power – how miserable, lonely, scary, painful, sad, and frustrating it is. I want each of you to have every opportunity to get out of the dungeon cell we all start out living in – to find the light, freedom, grace, mercy, and beauty available in Jesus. I don’t want you to have to learn the hard way about a lot of this stuff like I did. I want to spare you much pain, many tears, and literally, I also want to spare you hell (in this life and after this life).
How I pray that you might know God’s love for you and that you might experience it here through me. I pray daily for each of you to experience the abundant life that Jesus Christ has to offer you. I long for you to personally experience His Love, His truth, His peace, His joy, and the Living Water that He is that will quench the deepest thirst in your souls.
Much love, my dear sisters!