“Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.
Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!”
I then wrote out an honest, heartbroken, repentant prayer to the Lord in which I said, “I want to be with You, and that’s all I know right now.”
For my whole life, up until around the time I graduated High School, I had never known what life without the Lord could be like. I’m not certain whether I knew him personally or not, but I knew about Him, what He could do, what He had done, and that He loved me so much that he died to save me. My surroundings were filled with Him. My teachers, my family, my coaches, and my friends all constantly spoke of Him, taught about Him, and loved Him. I was comfortable in the culture where I could play a part and be easily accepted by those around me. That is, until my Senior year of High School, when I began to ask questions. They all basically boiled down to one big question: “Who’s to say this is all true?” I began to realize that my entire concept of Christ was bound up in my circumstances — at the time, that meant the Christian school I had attended since age ten. I knew I was about to leave that place, and I wasn’t sure how to leave and take Christ with me to somewhere totally new. I was in a Christian family, I was in a good church and I was in a Christian school. But was I in Christ? I had several great teachers walking through my questions and frustrations with me (people I still talk to and admire today), but I think they knew it was something I had to wrestle through by myself – just me and God.
I’ll be honest here – I knew I was sinful because, well, everyone said everyone was. But in my mind, I never saw my sin as something that was “that bad.” (Man, looking back… I was way, way wrong.) Like I wrote in my journal, I had often prayed that God would reveal my sin to me. He is faithful to answer prayer. He showed me.
Fast forward to the Fall of 2009, post-graduation. I was living on my own for the first time, going to community college at night and working a full-time big-girl job. I was facing heartbreak, loneliness, and a whole new place called the “real world.” Suddenly the pillars of what my life had been built on (friends, boyfriend, etc) had disappeared, and I felt very alone. As God started to reveal my sin to me, I didn’t recognize the answer to my prayer. I saw my inadequacy and wanted to hide. I shut out my family and my Christian friends so I could hide who I was finding out that I really was. I found other friends who seemed to “accept” me.
I specifically remember thinking, “I’m tired of trying.” I was always trying to get someone’s approval. Especially God’s. And especially that of those around me who saw me as a “good Christian.” So, I gave up and decided to stop trying. I chose to dip my toes into the waters of the world and see if I thought I could swim.
Well, it turns out I couldn’t. While I never jumped in head-first, I continued to wade in to see how far I could go. Deep down I knew I was miserable. This was not the life I, or anyone else was made to live. But I also wasn’t completely sure what the answer was. I wasn’t sure if God would take me back. Or take me at all. Looking back on the memories I have of those months, none of them are pleasant. No matter how much fun I had in the moment, I never got rid of the misery I had in the deepest part of me.
I am so thankful for the prayers and actions of my family and those who love me. Their grace, forgiveness, and open arms to me while I wandered showed me more of Christ’s love than I had ever seen before. They weren’t loving the “me” that I thought was so spotless. They were choosing to love the “me” that was rebellious, confused, and dirty. I moved back home with good ol’ Mom and Dad and began reading my Bible and a book called “Pursued by the Shepherd” by Karon Phillips Goodman. Around that time, I also began attending services at The Village Church in Denton. I only knew a few people there, but I think that was what I needed. Somewhere new. I was searching out Truth for myself, but I had to do it in unfamiliar territory. Matt Chandler is a wonderful teacher. I enjoyed listening to his sermons, and I loved the music they worshipped with. One Sunday he preached on 1 John 1. This is the passage of Scripture that finally made everything make sense:
“If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Christ his son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:6-9
That night I prayed that God would make me His follower. He did. I finally realized I couldn’t be perfect, but I didn’t have to be. The months that followed were still difficult. I still struggled with many of the same sins for a long time, but the Scripture held fast: If we confess, He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us. I did not become a better person overnight. But overnight I understood where to take my sins, and that they were completely forgiven. (This still blows my mind…)
three four years later, my world looks a lot different. I sit here in my own home, married to a wonderful man I don’t deserve and waiting on our first second little one to make her his appearance. 🙂 Looking back on the last few years, I can see how He has progressively sanctified me. I’ve honestly still struggled with many of the same sins that I always have, some seasons more than others. But nothing about God has
I remember my affliction and my wandering
the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”