Now before I paint a perfect picture, I want you to know though I love the people in my life and am blessed by them, they are people similar to the ones in your life - they challenge me, upset me, try my patience and sometimes let me down. And I do the same to them...we are humans living in a fallen world. I'm grateful for the opportunities I've been given, but they haven't come without stepping out of my comfort zone, battling fear and facing rejection. So my life, like your's, is far from perfect, but I've been reminded it is good...because God is in it.
This time of reflection led to memories from years ago because you see God hasn't always been in my life. Well, not in the center like He is now. I grew up believing there was a God, but didn't know Christ personally until nearly 15 years ago.
In September of 1999, I was in my 2nd year of teaching junior high math and coaching the 7th grade volleyball team. I often wore a smile on my face, but depression clouded my heart. My friends were getting married and I feared living life all alone. I longed to make a difference, but struggled with not being good enough. I tried to please people, but rarely experienced joy myself. I worked hard, but my strength was never enough.
One night after a rough day in school and a worse night in the gym, I hit the bottom. I contemplated taking my life and ending it all - the pain, broken heart and depression nobody saw. God intervened and stopped the plan I'd created...the night I thought would be the end was really the beginning.
I found medical help for depression, opened up about my struggles and began to pay attention to the work God was doing. It wasn't long and Psalm 40:2 became real in my life - "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and the mire; He set my feet on the rock and gave me a firm place to stand."
My mind began to clear and my perspective started to change; after a few months passed my life was no longer the same. God worked in amazing ways, made Himself real and drew me close. Eventually, Romans 10:9 became a reality in my life - I confessed Jesus as Lord and believed in my heart. I was saved. Initially I didn't understand what this all meant or where it would lead, but as I look at my life through the rear view mirror I am amazed. And I have a glimpse of what God can do.
Friend, these memories bring tears to my eyes, but I pray they bring encouragement to your heart.
God can take what is broken and make it whole. He can open the eyes of the blind and heal the heart of the hurting. He can change your life and encourage your soul. He can open doors and do the impossible. He provides peace and brings joy. He creates connections and changes us from the inside out. He can give a quiet girl a voice and use my mess to share His message. He can save and strengthen. He offers forgiveness and blesses obedience. He can take one who's insecure and help her become humble.
I could share a story for each of these points, but I pray you can see the power our God possesses and I'd love to encourage you to look back on the life you've lived and work God has done. It has been good for me to remember...I appreciate the memories, but I needed the reminder of God's faithfulness. Though God has done much and changed my heart immensely, sometimes the old me returns. I worry, I doubt and I fear. I'm impatient and insecure. But God, He never changes and tonight as I reflect I'm reminded of this from Philippians 1:6, "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Some days I look at myself and can get discouraged when I realize I'm not there yet, but tonight I'm encouraged because God's not done yet!!