In his book, Teaching to Change Lives, Howard Hendricks writes, "By His grace, the Holy Spirit has developed in me an incurable confidence in his ability to change people." I have this same, unwavering confidence that no one is beyond redemption...that is, God's redeeming love. It has the power to change people like I've never seen before.
Have you ever seen a life change? I mean TRANSFORMED....from the inside out. Yes, I know that God changes people everyday. Not everyone sees or experiences it, however, because we are usually too wrapped up in our own selfishness. Over the last few months I have seen a life broken and then picked up to be transformed by our Maker. Amazing. And I would like to share this story with you...
First, let me tell you that this person gave me permission to share part of her story. We are going to call her "Angel." Not her real name but I stole it from a book I recently read, so just roll with it. I am sharing her story with you because of what God has taught me through her. But more on that later.
Angel was like most of us...broken, confused, and searching. The only problem was, she thought she had it figured out. She thought she was content with "everything in moderation," giving parts of her life to God, but keeping the rest for herself. It's often hard for us to see that when we keep things from God we are limiting Him. We are telling Him, "Sorry, this is too big for you...I got this." This allows us to justify things that we know are wrong. It ultimately pushes us further and further away until we aren't sure where we are or where we came from.
Well, that's what happened to Angel. She was tearing herself apart...making a mess of who she was created to be. She found herself so far from God that she couldn't even recognize her own face in the mirror...all she saw was darkness. It seemed as if life had lost meaning and she was trying to fill the void. With what? A lifestyle that was destructive, unfulfilled, and willing to do anything. Anything other than God. Pick whatever you want, though, we all do it. I look at myself and I see her in me. The brokenness manifests itself differently in my life than in hers...but it's all the same, for all of us. It's ironic that the only thing that can and will save us is the very thing we refuse to run to. Instead, we run away. Actually, it's not ironic. It's SELFISH.
Angel is a close friend of mine and I was watching this destruction happen. I was watching but couldn't do anything about it. But I prayed that God would bring her to her knees and give her no where else to turn but to Him. There were times when I wanted to give up on her so badly. But I didn't because I couldn't. I couldn't because of how God has changed my life. I couldn't because, as I mentioned before, I saw myself in her. He didn't give up on me and He wasn't allowing me to give up on her because He wanted to use me to be the tiny light in the darkness she found herself in. But the thicker the darkness...the brighter the light can shine.
I have never seen a prayer answered like this before. Rock-bottom is where she found herself. Literally, lost and alone. But who was there? The only One who will ever be there...God.
I wish I were an eloquent writer that could describe the life-change I have seen in her since then. But I can't. She went from lost child to Beloved Daughter. All I can say is that she is a new person. New. Transformed. Forgiven. Redeemed. Loved.
I am not kidding when I say I want to cry every time I see her. Why? Because God showed me how much HE LOVES US through her. I know people talk about "God's Love" all the time but I had gotten to the point where I was like, "What the crap does that even mean? I don't feel that."
If ever there were doubt in my mind, it is no more. Jesus tells us, "blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." Well I BELIEVE and now I have SEEN! How can we not love a God who loves us like that. Who loves us so much that He is willing to SAVE US FROM OURSELVES?
Angel, like myself and many others, has been transformed from the inside out. Her perspective has changed and she is starting to see the world as Jesus does. She looks back and regrets much but also understands that she can now allow herself to be used as a light to others...and she's already shining brightly.
Life is about God and about people. It's easy to get lost in this world of deception...but that's why He gives us each other. I think I need to seriously reevaluate how I treat everyone that crosses my path...did I love them even though they can do nothing for me? Angel's path has crossed mine quite a few times...and now we're finally on the same one. I learned that it's mostly about patience and grace with each other. Not from ourselves...but from seeking God and letting Him work through us.
I thought I may have lost a friend...but now I have a new sista :)
"We are His portion and He is our prize,
DRAWN TO REDEMPTION BY THE GRACE IN HIS EYES..."
- How He Loves, John Mark McMillan
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