I’m just going to tell you a story today. Nothing fancy. Nothing crazy edited. Because something happened yesterday – good and bad.
I promised God that I would tell about His grace and forgiveness today because of it. I will speak in some vague terms simply because I’m embarrassed about my own actions.
I met someone amazing on Wednesday this week. Amazing. We share a ton of things in common – most of these are painful experiences but shared nonetheless. It was an amazing day. Then came Thursday. Yesterday.
I woke up and reached out to encourage this person. Trying to lift her up. It was even a beautiful morning. We shared songs to encourage each other and keep each lifted. And then the day took a different turn.
I made some bad choices.
I gave in to some emotions I haven’t felt in nine years.
Didn’t even know they were still in me. I had no idea. At first, I caved in a small way. Then my heart started racing and my blood was pumping hot. Fast and furious. I felt sinister. Livid. Rage. Revenge. Terrible terrible things.
I caved to them. Literally WHILE I WAS CAVING, I heard Jesus saying, “Stop, Nancy. Don’t. Don’t do it.” So I stopped. Five minutes later I said to God, “I’m just gonna” and I went back to it.
I heard Him even louder. But I just told Him to be quiet.
After a few minutes, I stopped. I listened to Him. I made an attempt to rectify what I had done. I didn’t feel good about my choices. But I also couldn’t stop the rush of anger.
Where had that anger been all of these years? I thought I had dealt with it???
Anyways, the day continued. I hadn’t had a chance yet to tell Ted about this awesome person I’d met on Wednesday so after dinner, I asked him if I could tell him about it. We sat on the back patio…him on the stairs, me in a chair.
I started to tell him the story…her story.
I cried as I told him feelings it brought up in me. I sobbed as I told him details that I had never told anyone ever before. He held my foot.
Then I told him what I had done that day. And how I had ignored God begging me to stop. I told him how I tried to fix it after I had acted on my impulse and rage.
He was quiet with me then. I asked if he was mad. He said no. He was disappointed in me. Could there be anything worse than those words coming from your husband?
It was 8:30 at night and the sun was setting. I told him I was going to take the dogs for a walk and I headed out the door.
After about five hundred meters, I started to talk to Jesus. Out loud.
I whispered that I was so sorry.
I asked him why I still had these emotions. But the guilt was heavy on me. Pulling me down. Drowning me.
And then I met Jesus.
You see, a few months ago I would have believed that it was God pulling me down. It was God drowning me in guilt.
But months ago, as I sat in a Costco parking lot talking on the phone to my counsellor, she told me God is not a God who drowns people. God is the one who pulls up alongside in a lifeboat and pulls us out.
After spending so much time on that walk repeating to God that I was sorry, I started to praise Him. A grand and “Christiany” word, I know, but there is no more suitable a word.
I said something like,
“Jesus, what I did today was on your shoulders when you died on the cross. You died for what I did today. Thank you. Thank you that I’m forgiven. I don’t need to drown in guilt. You don’t want that. That ruins my testimony about You. Now it is time to talk about Your grace and forgiveness.”
God would never want to drown us. Never. He would never want to take away our breath. Fill our lungs with the water of shame. What purpose would that serve? What good would that do for Him or for the world finding out about how amazing He is?
He is not the
God of guilt.
He is the
God of grace.
He is the
God of forgiveness.
As I walked, some of my hard work paid off.
I’ve been forcing myself to listen to worship music almost non stop for a year and on the sidewalks, those songs flooded my head. I started to sing quietly as darkness settled in the streets. Lines like:
I have lived in the goodness of God…
Your goodness is running after me…
You are good, good, oh…
Come on my soul, don’t you get shy on me now. Lift up your song cuz there’s a lion inside of your lungs. Get up and praise the Lord.
I was so thankful that in those moments, guilt wasn’t ruling my thoughts anymore because I had a huge inventory of songs of truth to drown it out now.
I just want to say one thing today.
God is good.
I am forgiven
and He wanted me to wake up
and tell you that.
He didn’t want me to wake up
and continue to live
in the shame of yesterday,
but to live in the grace of today.
And the best thing is that this isn’t just for me. This is across the board.
If you have been confused and believed that God is the God of guilt, know that that is not true. It isn’t.
Make today your day one in your search for the God of grace. Start building your inventory of truth.