These women were so brave, they were sharing the truth of their horrible memories and I absolutely applaud them for it. But my heart was weeping inside as I listened. See, I shared last, so I got to hear all their stories first. I heard the pain, the sorrow, the guilt, the shame, all things I can nod my head at and say I understand....
but I didn't hear hope.
I didn't hear the hope of total healing. I didn't hear the hope of a life free of shame and guilt. I didn't hear the hope of freedom. I had a thought, while I was sitting there listening to such broken, wounded souls sharing their tragedy. I thought to myself that if Jesus were walking this planet in person today, he would have been in that room, listening to these women share their broken hearts.
So, then it was my turn to share....
And share I did! I shared my story, how I carried all that same guilt and shame, all that pain and sorrow...but I shared my Jesus too. I shared how much freedom I have because my God did not abandon me in my darkest place, but he lifted me up out of the ash and made me new.
I shared hope.
The atmosphere in the room shifted as I spoke of freedom from the past. I saw tears in the back of the room, I saw awed looks on the faces of those who are much more educated than me.
I saw hope breathing life into a room of hopelessness.
I shared about forgiveness, about how necessary it is to move forward and about how much joy I find in sharing my story so others can find freedom. I walked away from that moment with one revelation, or maybe it was just a reminder of what I already know.
Jesus does great things, great things indeed.
My heart is whole, I do not carry the weight of my pain anymore. I really did want to weep over these women as they shared their broken lives. In fact, I choke back tears as I write. I understand statements like, "I'll never be whole again." I understand how sorrow and shame are a driving force when left to rule in our hearts. I really understand.
But Jesus does great things, great things indeed.
In Jesus, there is no shame and my sorrow has turned into glorious light. Oh, that others would see. Oh, that women who carry the weight of those things would find the peace they crave. My love for him only deepens when I share the truth with others. My joy only grows when I feel the hope of freedom coming out of my mouth to the ears of the lost.
Never in my wildest dreams did I see this coming. Never did I think God would draw me out from that darkness and ask me to stand in the light and carry a banner of freedom high for others to see. He did, though. He does...
There is power in looking someone in the eyes that carries the same pain you have carried and telling them there is hope. That's what I did that day and that's what I do now. I tell those of you that are suffering in silence,
THERE IS HOPE.
You can be whole again. You can walk in beauty and grace. No more must you crawl through the dirt, thinking you are not worthy to walk standing up right. Let Jesus pick you up from the dirt. He will stand you up, rip that dirty, stained cloak off of you, and he will give you his cloak. One of worth, grace, acceptance and wholeness.
I see even more now that I must continue on this journey of sharing my story with others. I see what God is doing, I think I finally see. He is calling me to be a light in darkness. A darkness many, many are sitting in.
He is calling me to share hope.
And share I will.
"Whom the Son sets free is free, indeed." John 8:36