I was guilty. There was no denying it. It’s not that I wasn’t already paying a hefty price for the idolatry in my life but, this time, the consequences were breath-taking. My life would forever be changed and so would the lives of countless others.
I will never forget that day for the rest of my life. Standing before the crowd and taking ownership of my sin. It’s as if my heart stopped beating as I tried to look into the faces of so many people that I loved so much, many of whom I had invested in and had helped point them toward Jesus and what He wanted for their lives. I’m not boasting but I genuinely wanted to help others and I truly loved this family. How horrible that I would be the one to stand before them and confess THAT sin. Interesting that I would say that…why NOT me? This is what happens to people like me. And so it goes…the conversation I have had in my head a million times since a kid. I wrapped myself tightly in my ever-familiar blanket of shame and walked forward.
At that time, I thought I would never recover from this fall. I would suffocate under the blanket of shame this time. I have children, for crying out loud. I would never be able to look them in the eye again. How do you explain this to two very impressionable young women? And my husband? I never wanted him to see my face again. I have always been waiting for the other shoe to drop and for him to leave me. This fall should certainly do the trick.
Just let me get through this confession Lord and I will disappear forever. As I confessed my sin, my husband and my daughters stood up and walked on the stage toward me. I couldn’t look at them. I panicked and fled. I couldn’t look at them EVER AGAIN.
I called Jeff that evening. We decided to meet up in person and talk. I had put together a solid case as to why I was so bad and there was no fixing me. I really believed that even God couldn’t fix the mess I was. I felt pretty solid in what I was saying.
But God had other plans for me…
Jeff was most gracious as he listened to me give him all the reasons why he needed to move on and find a woman he deserved, one without so much baggage and grief, one that amounted to something in God’s eyes.
He smiled and said “I love you. You are the one for me. You need to come home with me.”
Wait a minute…did you not just hear all that I have done? Did you not hear all the wreckage that is in my heart? Did you not hear where I am at this very moment? I want out!
He smiled again. He was so calm, it was unnerving. I wanted him to flip tables or something. He just smiled and said “God showed me what our marriage is gonna look like. You need to come home with me. I love you.”
I came home that night. I didn’t want to. I was exhausted. I had nothing to give. But God showed Jeff what our marriage would look like. Could it be true? There was a very tiny part of me that hoped it to be true. Where did this grace and mercy come from that my husband was lavishing upon me? It had to be God. Nothing else made sense. I had a mustard seed of faith inside my heart that something good could happen but the rest of my heart was filled with anguish.
The following months were a nightmarish swirl of complete and utter brokenness, a sifting that my counselor described as a violent thrashing about before the Lord. But then…
I remember one day in those months standing in my home office and looking at all my Bibles and books and teachings and journals. I don’t think I ever picked up one and read it for myself. I was a student of God’s Word so I could just regurgitate it to help others. Please forgive me for this sin. I intend to only speak out of the overflow of my own relationship with God from now on.
Our family decided to sit together each Sunday and go through a series called Grace by Louie Giglio. That is the first time I REALLY heard the message of grace for myself. I remember thinking…SERIOUSLY? FOR THE LIKES OF ME?
Then I came across the Scriptures in Romans 5:6, 8 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless (weak), Christ died for the ungodly….But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God opened up the eyes of my heart and showed me that He KNEW what I was gonna do…ALL MY SIN…BEFORE I did it and He chose to die for me anyway.
Not only that but while I was still weak, at just the right time, God came to my rescue. And still does. And still is.
Better yet…all that work I was doing to try and get God to like me even a little…here’s what He says about that…
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
I want to stop here a moment and clarify something. I don’t want a single soul to feel sorry for me. This is not about a pity party for me. While this season has been wretched at times, it has been the biggest blessing I have ever encountered. I have experienced the love of Christ in a way that I did not deserve (GRACE) at a time when my sin deserved nothing short of death (MERCY). He rescued me. He loves me!
Evidence of God’s grace in my situation is that He used my husband to give me a tangible display of his GRACE and MERCY. My husband, by God’s grace, has showered me with forgiveness, mercy and grace and has pointed me to Jesus every step of the way.
Are you wrapped tightly in your ever-familiar blanket of shame? There is only one way out…yes! only ONE WAY…I have finally let go of that blanket and given it to THE ONE and ONLY Jesus Christ and He in turn gave me His robe of righteousness. It keeps me close to Him at all times and I can move freely about in his LOVE, GRACE and MERCY.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16