Welcome back to what we call our Faith-full Friday post. We call it that because our mission is to share something on Fridays that will help you build your faith in Jesus Christ!
My prayer is that I do just that today!
I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend, Lord knows I did. I got to spend Sunday with my church family and then with my God-daughter and her family. Then I spent all day Monday with my grandbaby, Jackson. Nothing feeds the soul like family time (that is if your family is as awesome as mine).
So let’s jump in. This month’s theme is “Life Verses”. Each of the writers of Share His Peace is supposed to give you their life verse and share something about what that verse means to them. If you read Monday’s post, you know that today we are going on a journey through my life verses (because I can’t do anything simple and one verse would just be too easy). I hope at least one of them connects with you and carries you through whatever you may going through at the moment.
I know that there is not one person reading this blog that isn’t going through something. It’s just the nature of the fallen world we live in. It’s full of broken and hurt people. And broken and hurt people tend to break and hurt other people.
I have been through a few heartbreaks myself. And with every hurt God gave me a verse that ministered to my soul in a way that no human words could have. You see I have been conditioned not to trust human words. But God’s words, they’re ridiculously trustworthy.
And it’s not just the Words themselves; it’s the timing of the Words. The exact Words I needed to hear always came at the exact moment I needed to hear them. Sometimes they came as I listened to the pastor preach on a Sunday morning. Sometimes they came as I read my Bible. Sometimes they popped up on a coffee mug.
But I knew God was loving on my broken soul when they popped up three, maybe four times in one day in many different avenues. And when it would happen, it would humble me to tears. It was so overwhelming that such a great big God loved me enough to make sure I got the message.
One of the very first verses that ever spoke to my soul was Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. I was 30 years old when God gave me this verse.
I had given my life to the Lord when I was three (shortly after my parents had divorced) and I gave God everything I had until I was about fifteen years old.
All of a sudden, at fifteen, it felt like the world was caving in on me. I realized that no one cared about me except my sister and my brother (or so Satan would have me believe at the time). My sister was six years older than me and my brother was a year younger. My brother and I had been sent to live with my dad and I was very resentful. My big sister (Kim) had always been my best friend and protector and they separated me from her. To make matters worse, my dad treated her like a common criminal.
She came to see me one day and she wanted to take me for a walk. (I was 12 years old at the time) My dad wouldn’t let me leave with her. He shoved her out the door and nearly slammed it on her foot. I screamed and cried. My dad sat me down and explained to me that she was a homosexual and she had a drug problem. He told me that she would expose me to things that I had no business knowing about at my age.
I hated him for saying those things to me. I knew my sister had a girlfriend. She was molested and raped weekly from the time she was 9 until she was 14 by our cousins. Her own dad abandoned her. Her first boyfriend broke up with her after he found out that she was pregnant and she was forced to have an abortion. Every man that had ever been in her life let her down. Could anybody blame her for being a “homosexual”? And as for the drugs, why shouldn’t she want to numb the pain?
I now know the answer to her hurt and her pain and her addiction was Jesus. But nobody was showing her anything about Jesus when she was eighteen. My dad was taking me and my brother to church and he was doing bible study with us at home (and I will be eternally grateful that I was learning how to study the bible at a young age) but he didn’t look much like Jesus to my sister. Nobody did!! It seemed as though Christians judged her the harshest.
But she was my biggest fan. She was always there for me. I was never molested or beaten or hungry. Fast-forward a few years. I was 23 and she was 29. I was married with two beautiful children. My sister was still living with my mom and she was still stuck in her addiction and allowing the pain of her past to control her. Except for when she was with me and my kids. She adored them. She loved them with everything she had. They brought her so much joy. They never saw her struggles. They only saw Aunt Kimmy. Their time together was priceless!
I remember waking up one day and having a strong suspicion that my husband was having an affair. She was the first one I called. Within a week she had helped me catch him with the woman he had been sleeping with for three months. She helped me find a new place for me and the kids. She helped me move every piece of furniture. Once again, she was my hero. After six years of running from God, angry at Him for how my life was turning out, I wandered into Temple Baptist Church. I began visiting shortly after my 30th birthday. I had been fired from a job that I loved very much and I was hurting. I felt like I was wasting my life and I had nothing to show for years of hard work and struggling. Within the first month of visiting this church, I went down to the altar and rededicated my life to the Lord. My sister and I started cleaning houses for a living. We were making good money and I was sharing with her everything that I was learning at this little church in Selma, NC. We had many conversations about the Lord and she confirmed to me over and over that she was saved. She told me she talked to Jesus daily and that she knew she would go to heaven if she died. She began to make amends with people she had hurt and she began to forgive people that had hurt her. She even went to see my dad and they talked, really talked, for the first time in years.
Five months after the first time I set foot back in church, my sister passed away. She died of an acute allergic reaction to a prescription medication. The coroner determined it to be a medical accident.
This is where my journey of life verses begins. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. I can sit my kids down and tell them that Kim had gone to heaven (they were 6 and 8 at the time). I can plan her funeral. I can keep getting out of bed every morning. I can go to work and put a smile on my face. I can say God is good because he allowed me to get fired from that job so that I could spend the last three months of her life working side by side with her. I can thank God for letting me hear out of her own mouth that she knew she was saved, just days before her death. I can keep going to church and singing praise from the choir steps. I can pour into other little girls who have been through some of the same things my sister went through. I can do “all things” that God calls me to do because He truly does give me strength. I could even forgive the father of my children for his mistakes because I had been forgiven. I could take the blame off of him and realize that we were both broken from the beginning.
As I continued to go to church, I knew I would eventually have to work through my own past hurts if I were to grow in my faith and let go of my past. I had to deal with the fact that two husbands had cheated on me. The verse God gave me in a dark time of loneliness and hurt: Isaiah 54:5 “For your Maker is your husband – the LORD Almighty is his name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of all the Earth”.
Wow. Here I was thinking I didn’t have a husband and turns out I have the greatest husband in all the earth and His name is God.
My sister turned to women for affection because of the rejection and abandonment issues she had with men. I felt a lot of the same feelings of rejection and abandonment. How was I supposed to deal with them? Sure God was a good husband but how did I know He wouldn’t leave me once I had made enough mistakes?
Because He gave me this verse over and over until it sank in: Joshua 1:5 “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you”. God told Joshua this multiple times because he needed to hear it, and God kept telling me until I believed it. And better yet, He kept showing me. One day I was in my prayer time and I heard God say to me as clear as day, look up the definition of “forsake”. The first word used to define “forsake” was “abandon”. I had been confessing that I was dealing with abandonment issues in my small group at Celebrate Recovery. God showed me that I wasn’t alone. Joshua struggled with abandonment. Even Jesus cried out from the cross: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”. He felt abandoned, right there on the cross. Why have you abandoned me? He was asking his own Father this. He also asked the disciples “will you leave me too?”.
There is comfort in knowing you aren’t alone, that other people struggle with similar things. There is even greater comfort in knowing they made it through. It’s one of the reasons I count it a privilege to be a writer on this blog. I know your time is precious and I want it to be worth your time to read my post. I want to share my struggles with you and be vulnerable so you can have hope. I want to share my victories so you know that you can make it through also.
I have a husband now that is amazing, but he’s not perfect. When I need a perfect husband, I turn to God. I love my job. I work at my church. I love my boss, but he’s not perfect. When I need a perfect boss, I turn to Jesus. I have great friends and they give good advice, but they’re not perfect. When I need perfect Wisdom and guidance, I turn to the Holy Spirit.
This brings me to my final life verse, because it is where I have landed this year: Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your soul”. I have been so busy trying to fix everyone around me that I am exhausted and burnt out. I have wasted so much energy trying to please people and God has finally convinced me that He is the only one that I need to please. The rest will fall into place. So I have been taking my own advice from my last blog post and I have been scheduling a daily time to meet with Jesus. And He has been washing me clean with refreshing life-giving water.
On Monday I talked about the old fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. I shared how I didn’t normally like to wear white because of how clumsy I am. But Christ promises to clothe us in expensive pure white clothing, kind of like a wedding dress. What little girl doesn’t dream of sashaying down the aisle in an extravagant white gown towards a man that will love her unconditionally forever? I know I currently am dreaming and praying for that very thing for my own daughter. (I have even picked out her wedding day, but don’t tell her!!!)
My sister never got to experience that. As a matter of fact, I only remember seeing her in a dress one time. It was my wedding day and she was my maid of honor and the dress was red. But now….Now I picture her dressed in white. She’s radiant. She’s in heaven waiting for me and my children. I can’t wait until that glorious reunion.
Until then, I will find rest for my soul at the feet of Jesus. I will stand on the promises of His Word. I hope you will do the same. If you don’t have your own life verse, you can borrow one of mine until you find it. I love you all and I hope you have a fabulous September. (I will be turning 41 this month. Eeeek!!)
Father, I pray that at least one verse quoted in this post will speak directly to the heart of every single person reading it. I pray that you will continue to confirm that verse over the weekend for each of them. Let us hear your voice loud and clear. Wash us white as snow, forgive us of our sins. Let us look forward to the day that you will wrap a beautiful white robe around us as you welcome us home. Lord, I love you so much and you are worthy of every ounce of praise that we have in our bodies. I especially want to pray for that one person who feels they are too dirty to be made clean. That one person has been so used up by the world that they feel thy have nothing left to offer. Father lift them up out of the miry clay and set their feet on a rock of hope. Show them the plans you have for them. Give them a glimpse of your purpose for all of their pain. Let them feel your love more than ever.