I want to be transparent whenever I talk to you. Meaning, I am not going to sit at my computer and pretend I am perfect. I am not, and anyone who went to Baylor with me can definitely testify to that. I messed up. Throughout my last two years of college, I was running from God. I mean a full on sprint away from Him.
And I was miserable.
One memory has been vividly seared into my mind. I remember taking a walk with my boyfriend at the time and it hit me.
I hated myself.
I stopped dead in my tracks. I turned to him and said I hated myself and couldn’t understand why anyone else could possibly love me. I hated me, so why wouldn’t everyone else? That moment was my rock bottom. I was done running. So I got in my car and headed to Austin to see my family.
I remember sitting in church that Sunday at The Austin Stone and Matt Carter was talking about salvation. At that point, I was living my life like I didn’t even know the Lord. I was broken. I remember him talking about how once you are truly saved it can’t be taken from you. God will not rest until you are brought back to Him. Tears welled up in my eyes as the impact hit me: my Father was bringing me back. If you are living your life outside of God’s will and you are saved, He won’t stop until you are brought back. It’s like in Matthew 18:12 when Jesus says,
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?”
I was the stupid little sheep who wandered off. The most beautiful thing is that God loves you enough to make you come back. He cares about each one of you so strongly; He will do anything to bring you back to Him.
One of the most comforting things for me is how God repeatedly uses people who are so far from perfect for his purposes. My favorite example is David. In Acts 13:22, God describes David as “a man after my own heart.” Wow, does this poor guy have a lot to live up to. And he fails miserably. He commits adultery with Bathsheba and then murders her husband to cover it up. Those are pretty much the two worst things by human standards that a person can do. But the thing that is beautiful is that he has a repentant heart. Having a repentant heart means to literally turn away from your sin, it’s not just to say you are sorry. Psalm 51:1 is David’s repentant prayer, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.”
Another person God uses who is a total screw up is Paul. Before he was saved, Paul was a terrorist to Christians. Acts 8:3 says,
“[Paul] began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.”
I don’t think it is a coincidence that God uses men and women to further his kingdom who have made huge mistakes. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 says,
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
God’s strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. When we can admit in humility our dire need for Christ is when His strength and His beauty are made perfect.
Another good thing to remember is Romans 8:28,
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Even the dark times in college when I was living my life outside of God’s will, can be used for good. It’s important to remember this promise, God will always make good out of bad for those who love Him.
So after reading this, I challenge you to examine your walk with the Lord. Are you striving to live a life worthy of the calling you have received? Or are you wallowing in sin and sadness? If you are dealing with sin, turn to the Lord. He will welcome you back with open arms. Always seek His face. If you are not working towards intimacy with Him, you are inevitably growing farther away from Him. In Jeremiah 29:13, God promises, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”