How many of us have regrets about something we have done? In our teen years, or while in college? Or as we started into the working world? Or in our marriage or raising of our children?
I have to believe that none of us have lives that are perfect; have never hurt anyone, or brought guilt on ourselves.
I , for one, have several of those incidents in my life of 65 years.
WE all have stories of our lives. And we are told our stories need to be told, that no one’s life is meant to be alone. But how many of us in telling our stories only tell the good parts, the parts that make us look favorable to others? The ones that convey the successes and victories in our lives.
In reality, the stories of loss and failure, of shame and guilt, of misunderstanding and regrets are the stories that need to be told. Those of us in ministry need to be vulnerable with our stories to our fellow followers of Jesus.
We need to hear THOSE stories because we need to know that we aren’t the only ones who have failed, who could have done better, who should have known better. But that we have experienced the love and forgiveness and compassion of a GOD who desperately woos us to know that we are His Beloved.
But also, the people who do not know Jesus need to hear our stories that we would rather not tell. They need to hear of the forgiveness and grace of God as much as we do. In fact in the book of Romans it says:
“ For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed”
How many people are out there living in shame? Not wanting their stories to be told because they live in fear of their consequences? How many of us NEED to hear that there is a God who deeply loves us in spite of what we have done? Who longs to comfort us and heal us of our past and often times our present as well?
I was one of those people. I had plenty of things I was living in shame with. And I often wonder why God would allow these things to be used for His purposes in spite of me and my choices.
Yes, I was a party-er in high school and part of college.
Yes, I was a 19 yr old girl, who in living in fear, chose to have an abortion instead of marrying the guy.
Yes, I was the mom who yelled at my sons, accusing them of ruining our perfect Christian family, and watched them run away and be distanced from me for a number of years.
Yes, I am one who can be quick to speak and hurt deeply others by my words- those who were my dearest of friends.
Yes, I am one who judges others too quickly.
I am also one who has received the endless grace (the favor of God that I never have deserved) and forgiveness of God. I can’t even begin to describe what it has meant to KNOW and EXPERIENCE God’s love and forgiveness of me. But I do know that no matter what I have done, what I might do, God still loves me. Still loves me as much as He loves you-you with the regrets you wish no one knew.
Those are the biggest wrongs of my life that I mentioned above, but believe me there are many more.
Why has God used me with college kids for years? Because I can tell them that there is NOTHING in all of Life that can separate them from how much God loves them. How much He wants them to know this.
And what about you? Doesn't your story need to be told? Don't you have good parts and bad parts that need to be shared? To let God use your story for His purposes, for His Glory?
Remember, all of creation waits expectantly for the children of God to be revealed; so that they might know that we are like them: flawed, mistake making, living with regrets and guilt, but ones who know the love and forgiveness and grace of the GOD who wants to do the same for them.