If I could get into a time machine, go back 15 years and tell my 19-year-old self that I would become a mother of four, a Christian author and a pastor, I would have laughed all the way to the bar. I was living a life polar opposite of those three things. As soon as I graduated from high school I began to run down a destructive road as fast as my legs would carry me, taking every opportunity to be rebellious and cursing the Lord every chance I could get.
I got married when I was 20, we had our first child when I was 21 and in the same year I found out my husband had been unfaithful. My life shattered into a million pieces at my feet and the pain left me a hollow shell of a woman and I vowed to make him hurt the way he hurt me. I became bitter and rage overtook me. I was verbally abusive, I became an alcoholic, I was spiteful and then I chose to be unfaithful. I hit rock bottom and I dragged there for a while because my pride wouldn’t let me forgive or release the pain.
I knew I was undeserving of any type of grace or mercy Jesus was extending to me, but when my eyes were opened, and my heart was slightly receptive to Jesus He came in like a flood and I slowly started to walk down the path He originally designed for me.
I love 1 Timothy 1:12 (ESV) because the Apostle Paul says, “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service…” Paul was one of the least likely to be a Christ follower. Verse 13 tells us, “though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent.” He persecuted Christians, he was the one who approved the death of Stephen, he was greatly feared by believers until he had an encounter with Jesus that radically changed and transformed his life. This encounter took him from a path of darkness and placed him on the path which leads to life. If salvation was the only thing Jesus did for Paul it would have been enough, but Jesus didn’t stop there, He assigned Paul to be His voice to the Gentiles. Jesus knew what Paul had been guilty of yet He still died for him and called him to preach the gospel. Paul’s gratitude can be heard throughout this chapter because he openly admits his unworthiness of the call on his life, but he quickly points to the grace and mercy that was extended to him and the source of his strength, Jesus.
I have a hard time verbalizing how grateful I am that I have a Savior who left His place in heaven, humbly clothed Himself in flesh, was rejected by His own creation and murdered, to make a way where there was no way. I am grateful for His arms which were outstretched on the cross, because it’s a constant reminder of how He accepts those who come to Him broken and lost, with arms wide open.
We can all look back on a time in our lives when we were unworthy of the grace and mercy of Jesus. I am so thankful He saw me, in my sinful state, and He still died for me. I am so thankful He has taken all my sins and He uses them for His glory. I am so thankful He chooses to work in and through me because if it were up to me, I would choose someone else. We all could make an exhaustive list of everything we are guilty of and the list wouldn’t make the love Jesus has for us null and void. Even with all our flaws, He has called each of us into His service whether we feel worthy of the calling or not. He has saved you and assigned you. He has radically set each of us free and now He uses each of us to play a part in radically setting others free.
When I reflect on what Jesus rescued me from I often hear the words to the old hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ and I rarely get through the song without crying because I can intimately relate to those words:
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost
But now I’m found
Was blind but now I see
When I am given the opportunity to be a light in someone’s dark world it is an honor. I look at the wretch I was and how He saved me, how lost I was and how He found me, how blind I was and how He gave me sight and I desperately want the same thing for others. We were worth Jesus to God and so are they, now He wants us to humbly accept the assignments He lays before us, to be His hands and feet to a lost and dying world.
During this season I want to encourage you to reflect on the seasons of trial, brokenness and hopelessness and the way God was faithful to you and how He brought you through it.
Questions for reflection:
-What was the greatest struggle you have faced?
-How was God present in that season?
-How did God turn it around for you?
-What lessons did you learn through that season?
-How can you use your story to help encourage others?
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GATHER HER || 11.09.17
FAITH + FASHION + FRIENDS + FREE
God-sized Dreams & Health for the holidays
Whitney Rohl founder of Fit-Bar.
Through an intimate conversation founder of Fit-Bar Whitney Roehl will share her journey of entreprenuership and what it took to blazer her own unique journey hosted by CW founder Heather Frierson.
Enjoy an evening with women just like you who want to explore their faith and love all things fashion!
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Fashion Partner: Holiday make up and jewerlry looks by the CW Family!
~ Food: Catered by Tita Joliff
~ Bar is available for purchase.
~ Raffle items! $3/ticket or 6 for $15
...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.