This is the first time I have ever used one of my original poems in my blog. But I really felt it was fitting. Life is all about choices. The world will tell you, you aren’t beautiful enough, rich enough, smart enough, talented enough, good enough, for anything. And all too often we believe that lie. Every time we make a mistake or do something wrong we add it to our list of inadequacies. When we are put in a difficult situation where we make a mistake or we feel incompetent, we pull out that list so at least we have a reason for our failures.
Instead of owning our mistakes or our failures, instead of asking for forgiveness and learning from the struggles we face, we pull out our list and say, “Ha, ha, ha, yep that’s me. I’m driving the bus straight to Hell. Who wants to join me.” We believe it is easier to live with the burdens of our mistakes and failures than to face them, own our stories, and really learn to live.
I talk with people all the time who think there is no way that God will forgive them for the things they’ve done or the paths they have chosen in life. They believe they have been away from God too long and they can’t go back. I love the saying by Lisa Bevere that says, “If you think you have blown God’s plans for the rest of your life, rest in this, you my friend are not that powerful.” To believe that because you have made some bad choices, made some wrong turns in life, been angry with God, or turned your back on God, or it’s too late to turn around, is one of the biggest lies in history. God the creator of the universe loves YOU! He has a plan for YOU! He will never give up on YOU!
Living in my Mormon belief system I struggled with this often. I have said many times, I wasn’t a good person. I really wasn’t. I always wanted to be more. I wanted to be beautiful I wanted to be thin, more athletic, but most of all I wanted to people to like me. I always felt like I didn’t have any friends and I wanted to be accepted by others. When I was in jr. high, I would steal money from my parents dresser drawer and basically buy friends, I had people who would want to be around me because I would give them money and I would buy them candy and soda. When the money in the drawer got low, I had to find other sources of money. I would find money anywhere I could, because I was afraid I wouldn’t have any friends if I didn’t. I would go through my siblings drawers, I would go through coat pockets, and I would even go through piggy banks. I would lie about all of it, every penny I took, what I was doing with it, and I would lie to my “friends” about where I got the money. Every bit of my life was a lie. As I got older I lied about more and more things. It came to the point that most of the time I didn’t even know if I was lying or telling the truth. I began to believe I was a mistake. I believed that I was born into the wrong family, maybe I was really adopted at birth. I believed I didn’t deserve to live. I was such a horrible person and I didn’t believe I deserved to ever be forgiven. In my mind I was not much better than a murderer. I made a deliberate choice to take money from my family and I made the deliberate choice to lie. I knew what I was doing was wrong. I would lie awake at night and think about every drop of blood I caused Jesus to shed just for me. It was a lot. I could have caused his death just by my sin alone. Yes, this added a lot to my depression and feelings of worthlessness. But I think the biggest struggle was living in a belief system where there was no redemption. Believing I had gone so far, there was no way I could ever do enough to earn the forgiveness I needed. There was no way I could be forgiven, and I didn’t feel that I deserved the forgiveness anyway.
Brian coming into my life helped cure me from my lying. Even before we became a couple we were good friends, he held my feet to the fire and wouldn’t let me get away with even the smallest white lie. I used to cheat on games all of the time. I would manipulate and find any way I could to win. I love games and am very competitive. He wouldn’t play games with me. He would walk away from the game and not play with me any more. But he never walked away from me and never gave up on me. As our relationship grew, I didn’t want to lie to him, I didn’t want him to be mad at me. I always wanted to be truthful with him. And I realized winning fairly is a lot more fun than winning by cheating.
After we got married, and our life was in complete chaos, I became involved in an online relationship. I’m very blessed that there weren’t online dating sites like there are today, otherwise I would have been in a lot of trouble. In Mormonism, to be forgiven for adultery, you have to confess to your bishop, be excommunicated, go through a confession process, and then get re-baptized. I’m not sure that I committed adultery according to Mormon standards. But in God’s eyes and mine it was an affair, I became emotionally connected to a man I didn’t even know and had never even met. The man I was having an emotional affair with lived in Canada. If that man had lived closer, who knows how things would have turned out for Brian and I. This part of our lives was a very difficult chapter. I struggled a lot with believing I deserved forgiveness for this from Brian and God. But God did forgive me, and so did Brian, not only was there forgiveness but through turning our lives to Christ, He made our marriage better than we could ever have imagined. I still get giddy to see him after a long day of work, I love to hear him say my name, sometimes, his smile melts my heart, I feel like we’re still 2 teenagers madly in love (just a lot wiser).
Giving my life to Christ was one of the hardest and easiest things I ever did. It is hard to let God have control. When I do, the weight of the world is off my shoulders. Accepting that Christ died for my sins for the most part, is easy. Knowing He loves me and has a plan for me, is easy some days and hard some days. But it is the most healing thing I’ve done. In her book The Gifts of Imperfection Brene Brown writes, “Owning our story and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we will ever do”. I’m learning to own my story and, most days, I love myself. It took time for me to accept and understand that God truly loves me and He really did forgive me of all the things I have done. I think the hardest thing was to forgive myself and move on.
As I’ve grown in my Christian walk I have learned that there is nothing that you can do that will make it so God doesn’t love you anymore. There is nothing you can do that God won’t forgive you for. The only thing you can’t be forgiven of is, if you turn from God and then die before coming back to God.
The awesome thing about God is that he can take the most shocking, shameful, appalling circumstances and work them together for His good. He can take the darkest of situations and make them into something great.
I am still amazed everyday at what God has done with my life. He took a broken, lying, adulterer, with a broken marriage, ready to end my life and the lives of my husband and kids, and gave us a life I could only dream of. I’m not the most rich, powerful, thin beautiful, overly talented, or extremely smart but, through His grace and mercy, there is healing, redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. If God can do that to my life, what can he do with yours?
Are you tired of living a life of heartache, pain, despair, and misery? God is waiting for you, He wants to help you. All you have to do is ask. You don’t need to wait for the right time, place, or situation. The time is now. God loves you, He created you, and He has a plan for you. There is no sin too big, no situation too great, nothing is bigger than the Creator of the universe. You can be anything you want to be. Life is what you make it!
I’m just a forgiven, small town girl… living in a healed, redeemed, restored, world.
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