Recently I had an opportunity to share my story with a group of women. I don’t know of many things more intimidating than talking about yourself. In a trap of comparison we women often like to live in, talking about ourselves is hard. We think we have nothing of worth to say, or someone else could say it better, or we won’t make a difference with what we share. For a lot of my life, sharing my story has been in the category of “it probably won’t make a difference” because it’s not dramatic enough. It’s not even that I didn’t share it at all, because I did, and sometimes often. It has been sharing it and then walking from it in failure mode. I just knew I had botched up any good work in my audience’s life. You know, it’s funny that we often talk and don’t really even hear what we say. Sometimes it is all we need to just listen to ourselves and heed our own advice.
Many years ago, my spiritual mentor shared with me that she prays this verse over me…”He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion to the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 I’ve shared the story on my blog before. At every significant juncture of my life, in every big decision, God has brought that scripture to the forefront time and time again. You can’t make that stuff up. God knows I need reminder after reminder. As I stood before these ladies recently and shared this very thing, never have the words of God having begun a good work in me rang truer. After time and time again of repeating that scripture, I think I’m finally beginning to get it. You see, the good work God started in me, it began the day I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life. I was 7 and a shy girl who just quite simply had decided that nothing sounded better than living my life for Jesus. And I did that. Through middle school, high school and college I lived my life for Jesus. No drama, no running away from God characterized my story. It was a sweet beginning with even sweeter days with God. What could possibly be worth sharing about that? Days rolled on and I got married, God called us both into ministry and we had children. Sweet, sweet, sweet! I still shared how God had begun a good work in me and I believed it. He was showing me daily that He had. Then a day comes that began a series of not only more days, but year of pain. Pain birthed more pain and bitterness has been the ugly result. From hard days of ministry that caused us to really question our calling to really hard years of health struggles, I began to wonder, “God have you forgotten the part of ‘beginning a good work in me and carrying it to completion.” It’s easy to become deceived that the beginning of a good work has more of the same in between the start and the finish. That’s not the case. I’ve often said when I hear pastors or teachers ask, “Do you remember what it is like to be lost” that I can’t. To me, I’ve always just been…found. My days have, like I said, been sweet. I don’t remember days without Him – that is until I’ve walked these last few years so sick at times that I lay on my bathroom floor wondering what in the world He is thinking allowing me to go through such pain. Just recently, it’s been that exact scenario that God showed me what it was like to be lost. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t just suddenly go from being lost to found to lost again. I believe when I found Jesus I found Him forever. But in the dark day of another painful attack, He allowed me to experience the utter bottom of the barrel so that I remembered my need for Him, and more importantly I remembered that He had not stopped working in my life. He loved me enough to refine me, to mold me. I certainly don’t wake up everyday hoping I’m in so much pain that all I can do is think on that, but I see more clearly that He loves us enough to not leaves us just the same.
So, why do I share my story? A life changed can’t help but want the same for others. Jesus has changed me. He continues to change me. The day I feel I’ve arrived is a day I live only for myself. For you whom are hurting, wondering if your day of salvation is the only good day you’ll ever have with Jesus, take heart, don’t give up! His promises are good. They are true. To be able to get to the other side of what He uses to shape us is just what gives us our story. Rejoice today He is not done with you yet!