A couple of weeks ago, I held a microphone in my hand and told my messy-pride story to 150 of the most gracious women, who laughed at all the right moments, and caught their breath with me when I fought back tears. I prayed (begged) God to keep me from completely dissolving when I told my story, because–are you ready?– it hurts my pride to stand there and sob in front of the room.
Ha. Yeah. My pride.
It’s the same old story with me, every time God has opened the doors for me to speak, it’s this story He asks me to tell. It’s my redemption story–well, really, it’s the story of how God grabbed me up from the pit. It’s all His doing. Lord knows I tried (and failed) at saving myself.
He’s saving me still–
Before I left for the event, I was talking about my pre-speaking jitters with my friend Deidra (a woman of incredible grace and wisdom) and she told me, “we get to be terrified, so God can be glorified”. When I told her I didn’t have anything written down for my talk, I heard the understanding confidence in her voice as she told me that she regularly speaks without notes or outlines. She relies on the Holy Spirit, and we laughed at the insanity of it, and marveled in awe of how God has always come through.
God met me there. I spoke without notes, because I know the story God asks me to tell well–I ought to, I’ve lived it. It is little more than my testimony. I did weep, but God was merciful and held my tears back until after the event, when I was alone in my car.
For years I didn’t think I had a story. Because my life lacked some of the shock and awe of the testimonies of my friends, I believed I had nothing valuable to contribute in the realm of redemption tales.
What’s the big deal about a “good girl” finding Jesus? (That’s what I told myself). What I’d lived blind to for so many years, was how being a “good girl” had inflated my pride, I mocked the Pharisees all the while oblivious to my own likeness to them.
Pride is a filthy beast–a dragon that can only be slain daily by the Host of Heaven.
Lately, when I think I’m done telling that story, God props open another door and says, “tell it again”. I admit, sometimes, my shoulders sag. Little bits of my pride begin to glow and smoke, “Really?–that same old story?” I ask Him.
In my mind I see Him nod. In the repeated telling of how grace continues to transform me, cool water is poured over the embers of my self-righteousness that threaten burn still.
When we keep talking about the goodness of God, we remain tucked in the safety of His shadow.
The only true version of the story is the one where God is the rescuer. We are never the hero of our stories.
My flesh remains ever-eager to spin it a little to the left. I’d rather not reveal the ugliness of my past because I don’t want you to judge me. But in pretending it wasn’t as bad as it was, I risk cheapening the grace that has been afforded to me, and nudge God from the center, fighting Him for the glory.
Because God is continually renewing us, we need to continually tell of His mercy. The truth is, as much as I fear having to divulge the depths of my depravity before God cracked me open, redemption stories are beautiful, and worthy of re-telling.
In telling of His goodness, the choke-hold of shame is loosened.
Every opportunity to share about the grace of Jesus is a gift.
Whatever your story is, keep on telling it. Let it be a consent reminder to you of how God continues to save you.
*My dear friend, Monica drove I don’t know how many hours to sit at the front row table and encourage me that night. Monica had just been in the hospital undergoing painful but critical treatment for her ongoing health struggles. SHE was the face of Jesus in the crowd for me that night, her generosity unbound, and gratuitous. You can get to know Monica HERE.