I have had the privilege and honour of walking with a friend who is newly saved. It is through our long Skype conversations that I feel we are both growing, receiving and learning so much. It is in these sweet moments that Father shows me how far He has brought me in 3 short years. I hear and understand so well where my friend is at, because for me, it feels like yesterday. To some the difference of 1 year saved and 3 years saved may not seem like much, but in my eyes, it’s calling a 1 year old child and a 3-year-old child the same and I am sure if you asked any mother, they’d be able to tell you it’s just not so. Heck, I think if you asked a new mom, they’d be amazed to tell you how much their baby changes from month to month. I think our walk with Yeshua is just like that – starting over as a brand-new person in Him. I am not making this comparison to undermine where my friend is at, but our conversations have made me realise how similar one’s first few years walking with the Father are. Though we are all unique with different stories, we all have to go through the same process of dying to ourselves, of surrendering, and letting our mighty God work in the hearts that once belonged to the world. This realization got me thinking and these are the words I would have liked to have heard when I was going through this and feeling quite alone in it.
First things first, I honour and celebrate you for the brave decision you made. The decision to turn away from a dying world and look your Saviour in the face takes a lot of strength and courage. Please remember this strength and courage that lives within you because there will be some hard times up ahead. You will feel discouraged and knocked down and on the brink of giving up, I want to say that all these feelings are OK and normal, but please don’t give up. I know how confusing those times can feel too – I remember so clearly how light and full of joy I felt when I was first got saved. It was indescribable and I felt invincible. I fell madly in love with my King and I thought this feeling would last forever, but then it didn’t because life happened and it shocked me quite deeply when I now had to fight for feelings that previously flowed so freely. Again, please know that this too, is OK.
Things started to surface in my life. Pain from my past, a sinful life and old rotten roots that I never realized I had. I didn’t have them because I was a bad person, I had them because I belonged to the world. A world where any behavior is acceptable. A world where you are taught not to deal with issues, or to be real, but instead to sweep them all under the rug and keeping living a life behind this façade. Then I got saved and God decided to throw away the rug that was covering the ever-growing heap, and I was left looking at this massacre and wondering how I had ever thought of myself as good. This is true for all of us, whether we choose to admit to it or not, we all have these heaps and once we give our lives over to the Father, away goes the rug.
Take courage, dear heart, He doesn’t show you this because He doesn’t love you, nor does He show you this to punish you. He does this because He is your Daddy and He doesn’t want you dealing with or carrying all this anymore. He does this because He can’t build on a shaky and broken foundation. But, nor does He just sweep this away and pretend it never existed. Yes, ultimately, He could, but He knows how wonderfully complex we are. He knows this because He made us. He knows the close relationship that will come from sorting through all this with Him. He knows the closure and understanding we sometimes need before we can really do away with something, understanding that only He can give us. So no, He knows just sweeping it away would not benefit us in the end. So, when you are faced with this pile, don’t run away and hide. Don’t get overwhelmed either, when I tell you that some of that stuff will take years to deal with. Run to Him, don’t let any guilt or shame cause you to lash out at Him and turn from Him, because it will not get you anywhere, except maybe worse off. I say this, because I know it. I say it, because I did just that and I know where it got me and it was a dark place, a place I struggled to find my way out of. He was never showing me this pile to rub it in my face and say what a horrible person I was; He was showing me this pile to show me what He saved me from. He was showing me this pile so that I knew what He meant when He told me that He would return to me that which the locusts had stolen. He was showing me this pile so that He would be glorified and so that I’d be able to share my story of His saving grace and power. He showed me this pile as a promise – a promise that He will always work things out for the good of those who love Him. A promise that he will never leave me or forsake me. A promise that He would be my strength when I am weak. That He would be my answer when I didn’t have one.
So, again, I say, take courage, dear heart. Persevere. Because perseverance will develop a godly character. A character that when you are pressed on both sides by hard circumstances a sweet fragrance, a song of victory will burst forth. Someone once said to me that God is more concerned about our characters than by our purpose; and it’s something that I have carried with me. It is my goal in life more than my purpose, because if I haven’t allowed the Father to mold and shape my character, I will never be able to fully walk in my calling – none of us will. And if we aren’t able to fully walk in our calling then we will never know the full extent of what God would have done for us and those around us. It will be the difference of witnessing miracles or not. The difference of seeing people saved and receiving eternal life or not. It will be the difference of chains of oppression breaking or watching people live their lives in bondage. Life altering things will happen and it all begins with your character and not your calling. So, use these years wisely, friend. Allow Him to guide you and comfort you with His rod and staff. Don’t be afraid of His discipline, because it comes from a place of deep love and protection. Live a life of humility and repentance. Allow Him to change that heart of yours, allow Him to replace that heart of stone, even when you don’t understand it. He needs you to live a life set apart unto Him, and being set apart sometimes means saying no to things you once thought were OK, things that the world deems OK.
Lastly, I want to encourage you with this: Life is a journey and a process. Never think that you will reach a place where you no longer need to work on yourself, or change, or grow. Dreams are not destinations, you will realise dreams and through Him achieve them, but it will not be the end. Always be transforming, always allow the great Potter to work in you and through you. You will soon see for yourself, because you have no idea just how much work He is going to do in your life. The places He will take you, the ways in which He will heal you and set you free; the words that He will whisper to you in moments of great sadness and great joy will make any dark valley worth it. The love He is going to place in your heart will be groundbreaking. So, please remember this in those hard moments and seasons – cling to Him and remain hopeful and expectant, because, Friend, the things coming your way will take your breath away.