Jesus Is Worthy to Tell Your Story
*This article was originally written for Creative Retreat Kits Here
These last couple of weeks God has been starting to press me to work on my story. My testimony. It’s something I’ve honestly been avoiding mainly because my mind starts spinning not knowing where to start and second because there are past hurts that I’ve wanted to avoid and suppress. Today I want to open up my book and share a little sliver of my story.
The book of Acts is special to me and today is where I landed to journal in, when Saul now Paul gets converted. Throughout my walk with God, Paul has had a special place in my heart. I love his boldness, but that he also admits to his weaknesses. But the thing I love most about Paul is his testimony and the message that it sends to us, how God can change and use anyone regardless of their past. God does not only seek out the “good” people to save and use, but He pursues even the ones with harmful pasts.
He pursues us even in the midst of our sins
Acts chapter 9 starts out with “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.” Paul grew up knowing and studying the law yet when it came to the disciples of Jesus Christ he became an outrageous persecuter. He went to school in Jerusalem to study divinity and the Jewish Law and was tutored under the Pharisee Gamaliel. Paul was a religious man, yet he was going around persecuting Christians for their faith in Jesus Christ.
People persecute what they do not understand. Even religious people.
We even learn that Paul was the one that approved Stephen’s stoning (Acts 8:1).
Like all of us, Paul’s life before Christ was gruesome and dark. He was a religious man that went against the Laws he believed in. He broke the commandment of “thou shalt not murder” by murdering people solely for their faith in something he did not understand. Before his conversion Paul was a very bad man. He was an enemy to christianity and did all he could to root it out by persecuting all who embraced it.
But Jesus saw him. Jesus saw Paul’s passion and knew that if He could reach Paul, then Paul would take this passion and put his all into the gospel. Paul was stubborn and put his all into what he believed in and Jesus knew that. Jesus pursued Paul in the midst of his sin, in the midst of another death mission, Jesus intervened.
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:4-5
Paul’s conversion was dramatic and that is probably what he needed in order to be stopped in his tracks and reevaluate his life. After Paul’s encounter with Jesus he was immediately blinded for three days and didn’t eat or drink anything in that time period. The Lord brought Paul to a man named Ananias who was obedient to the Lord, welcomed Paul in despite the rumors he heard about him. To tell him that the Lord had sent him to help Paul see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Scales fell off Paul’s eyes and he was baptized in the name of Jesus. Jesus allowed Paul to see with a new set of eyes.
A couple verses back Jesus had told Ananias,
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Acts 9:15-16
Despite Paul’s past the Lord said that Paul was His chosen instrument. He also straight up said that Paul would suffer for His name’s sake. Which was true Paul suffered a lot in his ministry, but he did it gladly for the Lord.
Before I came to know the Lord I wasn’t a good person. Even though I thought I was a decent person, looking back I can see all the destruction I did. I did a lot of self destruction and I know I hurt people along the way.
In high school I had a bad reputation and I didn’t care. Inside it hurt knowing what people thought of me, but outwardly my mentality was that I could do anything I wanted to my reputation because I thought I would get out of my hometown after graduation.
The more people told me the lie of who I was, the more I took that on as my identity. I had no self respect for or my body and I allowed it to be used. I craved attention from anyone who would give it to me and I pushed away all the people who actually cared about me out.
I met my husband when I was a junior in High school and ended my senior year seven months pregnant. I continued to live out what people had expected of me. Teen mom, pregnant in high school. But because of my husband and the grace of God I didn’t become another teen mom statistic, and we got married when our son was four months old.
December 2013 was the first of many hardships in our marriage. And it was during that time that my in laws gave me my first bible. The bible they gave me will forever be apart of my testimony it is my personal bible and I treasure it dearly. They gave it to me before I had a relationship with God, but I know they prayed that I would find comfort and hope through the pages of this bible. They prayed that i would seek God and find a relationship with him.
But for awhile it remained unused. For about a year and a half it remained pushed aside.
One Sunday in July of 2015 when I was getting ready to go to church (only to support my sister in law in her walk with God) I saw my bible. Something inside told me to bring it, so I did. I’ll never forget that sunday, the church I was going to had an outside service that day. They were in the book of Acts and it was the first time I had ever brought my bible to church.
Before this Sunday I had attended church on and off with my sister in law, but the services were always dry to me. And I always ended up zoning out during the message, waiting for it to me over so i could go home. But this Sunday was different. God’s word changed me as I sat in service engaged in the word as I read along in my bible. There were no spiritual revelations and my conversion was not dramatic like Paul’s, but God had simply changed my heart completely and I allowed myself to turn to Him. That day God simply flipped a switch in my heart and it was time to start learning how to follow Him.
I didn’t go home the same. The night before i had been smoking marijuana, but I came home knowing that I needed to leave that life behind. Even though my walk with Him didn’t magically become easy and it didn’t mean that the temptations of my old life weren’t in front of me, but it did mean that God gave me the desire to want to chose a righteous path.
My bible has been special to me. I have prayed, cried, and sought God over the bible that was given to me. Through my bible, the word of God has brought me through some very hard seasons in my marriage and God has remained so faithful.
My parents knew it and God used the bible they dedicated to me to bring me to Him.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105
You are Gods chosen instrument
Like we see in Paul’s conversion, It doesn’t matter where you come from. It doesn’t matter how horrific your past sins might be. Nobody is out of reach of God’s grace. His arm is not to short to reach you and He will pursue you even in the midst of your sins.
The Lord will take the gifts and the passions you already have, redirect them, and use them for a higher purpose than yourself. You are His child made in His image. You are chosen to be His instrument to reach others in the midst of their brokenness.
We are all broken and redeemed. God is so faithful and so so good. Turn to Him and His word, He will direct your steps. He will give you comfort in the midst of deep pain and He will heal your wounds. Turn to Jesus, He is pursuing you right now.
Jesus is worthy
Ladies, I just want you to know that Jesus is so worthy of our love and attention. If I would have known of His great love and kindness, it would have saved me from a lot as a teen. My main sin before I knew Jesus was sexual impurity. It has greatly affected my marriage and put a burden on my husband that was never meant to be his.
Jesus is so worthy and I pray that you will find your worth in Him.