No Longer Damaged Goods

They invited me to meet with them after Bible study ended. This group of women,  each one deeply respected and admired for their ability to lead women, were issuing me an invitation to join their team.  Me!

But then, they leveled me with this statement: “We have faith in your ability to lead this ministry.”

And, as I looked around at each pair of wise, mature, and gracious eyes, I realized there was one huge problem.

I didn’t.

My guilt and shame over my past made me feel out of my depth for anything other than participation. I was sure that they needed someone further along in this journey of faith, more mature in their understanding of God’s Word, or at the very least, not scared witless.

So I thought.

In chapter 5 of Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray, he speaks to the “God who heals damaged people”.

Do you consider yourself damaged goods?

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I surely did.

Now, I’m in awe of The God that takes every damaged bit of me and turns me into a “trophy of grace”*.

Jesus wants to make me a trophy of His grace.

He wants to make YOU a trophy of His grace!

He already sees you that way.

If that doesn’t make you want to leap up and fist pump the air with joy and thanksgiving, I’m not sure what could!

Each time I read these Words, waves and waves of grace wash over my dinged and damaged heart:

Romans5_8_MissindeedyLast night, while my thoughts turned dark and shameful, He died for me.

Last month, when I thought ugly thoughts and used harsh words, He died for me.

Last year, as I struggled to stay out of the pit, failing again and again, He died for me.

He died that I might stand on knock-kneed wobbly legs and lead a group of women into a deeper love for His Truth. For four years! He took so very many moments that I thought made me damaged goods and turned them into something useful.  He filled in my dings with His Grace and Truth and Love.

Because, He is Grace and Truth and Love.

Even now, I long to get it right, but so often get it wrong.

But, His love never fails.

It never gives up.

Those skeletons in my closet? He knew.

That shameful behavior?

He knows.

And He’s still right here, loving me anyway.

That is grace.

He is grace!

Admitting that I desperately need that, need Him, in my life?

Well, that takes me from damaged goods to trophy of grace, in one fell swoop!

Yes indeedy.

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Today’s post is a contribution to the blog hop over at Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Study of Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray. Click the button below to join the conversation.

OBSBlogHop*The phrase “trophy of grace” was created by Derwin L. Gray, author of Limitless Life.

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A Photo-Op For My Bathroom

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It sounds glamorous, doesn’t it? A photo-op for a bathroom?

One of the ways I’ve learned to soak in the truths from the Bible is to stick them in the places where I am able to do the most soaking.

And, I don’t know about you, but the bathroom might be about the only place where I can gain enough milliseconds to drench myself in the beautiful promises and encouragements that the Bible provides.

Some days, just being able to see it there on the mirror while I go about my routine, is enough to get my day going in the right direction.

And other days, glimpsing the peace-filled truth as I’m about to blow my top, is enough to simmer me down.

Needless to say, each time I approach the throne, I’m focusing on the God who bids me come closer to the only one that matters.

Where Grace and Mercy flow.

Either way, I’m sharing the verse that I’ve been digging into this week through my study of Living So That by Wendy Blight.  Our Online Bible Study over at Proverbs 31 Ministries is doing our one and only blog hop during this study – today! Feel free to click on the button below to see what others wrote about. Or, the many other creative photos were shared.

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I Used To Think I Needed People

I used to think I needed “people”.

Last year, if you had asked me if I could ever see myself joining an online Bible study, I may well have gotten a good long chuckle out of the question. I’m a people person, you see.  I am invigorated and filled with joy at being with others.  Being able to reach out and hug the neck of a friend, or lay a reassuring hand on the shoulder of another mama, or look into the eyes of a sister and share in some joy with her?  That’s The Stuff I live for.

But, God…

He had other plans for me.

Life turns, as it is want to do. And as I looked around me at All The Quiet and the lack of necks to hug, I realized that I had a choice to make.  I could say #YesToGod in whatever He had for me in this new season; or, I could stand with my hands clenched tight wondering about the road ahead and what it would look like and where it would lead and if I would like it and… That’s no way to spend a day. Or a season. It’s just not.

So… I heard the messages God seemed to be sending me.  The ones he sent through His Word. The ones He sent through precious friends urging me to stay plugged in, For The Love.  He sent me a podcast or three, and a radio broadcast or two, and a magazine article or four, about the growing trend of online Bible study.

Light dawned on this marble head of mine.

I heard.

My heart said, “Yes God. I will do this thing. I’ll engage right here.”

Although it felt like a small thing, this yes to God, it wasn’t.

I am beginning to see that it was a surrender. And a beautiful one at that.

I stood ready to be amazed by what this new obedience would bring.

And, what did it bring?

It brought a much deeper appreciation for the self-discipline required to crack open the Word of God with the intent of digging in deeper. Without a team to urge you on in person, or a table with 10 sets of eyes looking at you for your next thought on a passage of scripture, or the agenda for the next hour and a half in front of you and the clock to remind you that you need to stick to it.  Thank God for giving us a spirit of self-discipline!  I’ve been needing that Spirit, something fierce, these last few months.

This particular “yes” to God brought a realization of how very different the rhythms of online Bible study are than in real life Bible study.  Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are all available to me 24/7.  I can hop on and engage in a conversation about what all of this obedience looks like whenever I am able, or whenever I feel led to.

And, maybe most significantly, my “yes” brought me back to an awareness of my need for daily grace. What attempts to compete for God’s attention for you, my friend?  Because, this little sinner can tell you, the list is long over here.  L.O.N.G.  And it can even get a little whack-a-mole ish.  My husband pops up and says things like, “Hey! Remember me?  We used to kiss a lot.”  And just when I think I’ve got the endless stream of twitter feed/facebook status/blog comments under control,  the Sweet Children pop their noses up close to mine and attempt to nuzzle, reminding me that there is real life love to be given, too.  And don’t even get me started on the dust bunnies that come out of nowhere, the books piled high in hopes of being read, or the magazines from 2011 that hope to be perused in this decade.

That little yes that I uttered? It brought a beauty to obedience that I’d never seen before.  It brought a startling beauty to surrender. I can maneuver through my day knowing that God will be woven throughout every thought, word, and deed.  I can do no thing apart from Him anyway.

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In saying yes, God gave me the eyes to see and the ears to hear that I don’t necessarily need “people”. But I do necessarily need Him.

And in Him I will remain.

Yes indeedy.

I’m participating in a weekly blog hop over at Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Online Bible Study.  If you’d like to read how other hearts are responding to the book “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa TerKeurst, click the button below!

OBSBlogHop