Would I choose to keep looking into the darkness that had become so great in my life or would I choose to look up and see the Light that was still available to me? Would I choose to take one step of obedience and then another and then another, and would I choose to hold onto grace when I felt the muddy earth slipping beneath my feet? Would I choose to not have my blessing, and the blessing of my husband and children, taken away because of my disobedience? Would I choose to lay my desperate self, with all my desperate situations and emotions into the outstretched arms of my Jesus? Would I choose to believe, not just say, He loved me? Could I finally see that the “comfort” of the pit of sin…of darkness that I had dug myself into was stealing my life from me, killing any joy in me, and destroying all hope in me? Would I rise up out of the ashes into the beauty God had prepared for me? Would I trust? Would I believe? Would I live?
Well, after all these questions there were shaky, imperfect, but nevertheless steps in the “yes” direction. I would become completely honest with God, I would make myself accountable to Nathan, and I would literally fight to choose blessing over disobedience. After about 3 1/2 years of loneliness and isolation I would begin to let myself be seen and be among others more. I hadn’t not done anything with anyone, but a lot of who I was was kept hidden. I always laugh on the inside when I hear people say they can’t imagine me “losing it;” I absolutely wish I couldn’t imagine it either! I have shown my true colors to certain friends…and some of my sin, and I haven’t liked any of it! But I know that it is as real in me somedays as my love for God is. I am not perfect, and for a long time I didn’t want others to know that. I didn’t want to fall in their eyes or in God’s or in mine. There is a very scary word for that, though; one that will knock the wind out of you and the footing from beneath you. Pride! “God opposes the proud.”
That is an amazing fact to me, you know. It is the one who shows her sinful self to God – the humble one – who is exalted by Him. The girl (or guy) who tries to hold it all together, to live behind the mask of pride, is the one God stands against. When I think of who He is, though, this makes perfect sense. Of all the beings in the world, God would and could be proud. He Is perfect after all! Instead, He laid aside His glory to live among the sinful, to love and disciple the sinful, and to provide a perfect way for the sinful to come to Him for all eternity. And the requirement…His perfect strength and our honesty about our weaknesses. His grace and our need for it. His Spirit ready to fill and our vessels willing to empty so He can. His death for all mankind once and for all and ours daily until we are called home. His resurrection from the dead and our lives lived in that same power!
So, where to end? Well, I guess nothing has really “ended” yet, nor will it until I’m heaven-side, but many things are beginning! Relationships are beginning. Laughter, easy and free in me, is beginning. Living for Christ and not the world (or myself) is beginning. Keeping my eyes on Him is beginning. Living and breathing God’s Word is beginning. Becoming a true disciple is beginning. Choosing His love and gentleness over my pride and judgement is beginning. Choosing the “simple life” of obedience over the messy one of disobedience is beginning. New life. New breath. New habits. All are beginning. All are imperfect, but the One in me is Perfect!
For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. 4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
6 So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. 7 For we live by believing and not by seeing. 8 Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.
11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12 Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13 If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5 NLT