“Remember your word to your servant; You have given me hope through it.
This is my comfort in my affliction:
Your promise has given me life.”
As Psalm 119 proclaims, through the ups and downs of my life, God has surrounded me with His faithful love and salvation. (verse 41) Like many of you, I have wrestled with obedience to God’s words, wrestled with my sin, wrestled with the truth of God’s love and the completeness of His rescue. Today, as I share some of my story, I hope God uses my experiences to encourage you in your own journey.
Growing up in a Christian home with a loving family and attending a Christian school, I heard the message of salvation through Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection early in life. I joyously received Jesus as my Savior at age 6 and began the complicated journey of following Jesus in a broken world. Soon, I found myself entangled in a faith consisting of deep truth laced with lies . . .
I was told God loved me, but only when I perfectly obeyed Him.
I was told God’s Word contained guidance and instruction for my life, but one mistake could ruin my life and relationship with God.
I was told God longed for relationship with me, but only as long as I dressed the “right” way, acted the “right” way, spoke the “right” way . . . and I quickly learned shame and condemnation were the punishment for stumbling into the “wrong” way.
So, I tried my hardest to be perfect.
I tried to behave perfectly at school and church, then let my humanity loose in the safety of my home (parents, is this familiar?). I even claimed, “I did not sin,” anxious to shift from feeling tolerated by God to embraced by Him.
For MANY years, I walked a very lonely road in my relationship with God. Truth was hard to find…because I didn’t know what truth was. (John 8:30-38) I lived with depression and anxiety, but adamantly denied both, since I believed they were sinful.
Instead of working through these struggles, I tried harder.
Harder to be happy.
Harder to make the right decisions in hopes I wasn’t ruining my life.
But all my striving just made things worse.
I believed I was saved, but my relationship with God was full of hurt and despair.
I see now, Satan was using sticky, stifling lies masquerading as truth to strangle my heart. I attributed Satan’s accusations and condemnations to God, and thus, God’s Word became twisted in my heart.
Instead of finding pleasure in the path of His commands (Psalm 119:35), I found the crushing weight of shame too heavy to neither carry nor shed.
Instead of unfurling into new life in His ways (Psalm 119:37), my spirit withered under the disapproval I imagined God radiated to me.
Eventually, exhausted and battered by years of constantly falling short and feeling alone in my struggles to master holy living, I sought biblical counseling. For the first few months, I continued to cling to the lies I’d labeled as truth, because letting go was too painful.
One day, I encountered an image of Jesus tenderly holding one of His children.
In that moment, I saw myself in Jesus’ arms.
I didn’t need to earn His love;
I didn’t need to work out my sanctification on my own.
All I needed was Jesus to open His arms and let me cry.
Even though I was a 35 year-old adult, I was also a little child who needed her Father’s tender love and I was receiving it!
For the first time in a very long time, Scriptures that had been twisted and weaponized against my spirit broke loose from the lies, and the truth of God’s Word began to saturate my heart.
“‘Comfort, comfort, my people,’
says your God [. . .]
He protects his flock like a shepherd;
He gathers his lambs in his arms
and carries them in the folds of his garment.”
(Isaiah 40:1, 11)
When I read through this passage in Psalm 119, I go back to that day when God reached down and I took His hand. I can see He wanted to give me His truth and set me free!
He (verses 33-40) and Vav (verses 41-48) speak of being in His law and His commands. Today, rather than feeling cold hardness behind His commands, I delight in His presence and walk in freedom because His law is LOVE.
“A person’s steps are established by the LORD,
And he takes pleasure in his way.
Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed,
Because the LORD supports him with his hand.”
Zayin (verses. 49-56) speaks of the hope we have in God. Though I had lost my hope for many years, today, my hope in Christ rings with the joy of His salvation!
Can We Pray With You?
Prayer is central to our ministry as believers in Jesus as we carry eachother’s burdens and intercede for one another. Our team is honored to share the work of praying alongside you!
This Week's Lock Screen
Authentically living out a life of worship to the God who rescued us from darkness requires accountability and intentionality. Join a GT POD and take the next step in your faith journey!