God’s grace is such a wonderful gift. Often we don’t even realize how much grace He has given us until we come face to face with our sin. Until we see ourselves as we truly are and realize He loves us and has loved us while we were in the middle of our messes. He pursued us while we were so messed up. His grace is so precious.
I was about twenty years old. I had walked with God for six years. In those six years He made me new and set me free. I loved Him as my first love. I couldn’t get enough of God, His word, prayer and learning more about Him. I went on missions trips sharing God with others, worked at a christian camp to tell others about Him. I basically just wanted to tell anyone and everyone what God had done for me. I wanted them to know and experience a relationship with God. However, through the years I couldn’t understand something…why didn’t God change a bad circumstance in my life? It was so hurtful. It was getting worse. Why wouldn’t God change it?
I was mad at God because He wasn’t acting the way I thought He should.
I grew bitter in my heart and stopped spending time with God. I still went to church because my mom would notice if I didn’t, but I didn’t trust God. My heart hardened toward God until I reached a breaking point. I decided I didn’t want God anymore. I couldn’t trust Him and I was hurt so I walked away.
I remember it clearly. I was standing in the basement alone. I was so hurt and mad. I shook my fist at the ceiling and told God (out loud) that I didn’t want Him in my life anymore and didn’t want to follow His ways anymore. I was done.
I wanted to do life my way. I ran toward what I wanted to do.
A year later I was a mess.
I was stuck in sin and I was anxiety ridden. I had anxiety so bad that I was in counseling. During the sessions I was taught breathing techniques for anxiety. I was encouraged to trust God, but the anxiety worsened until I couldn’t control my body. I would have anxiety attacks so bad that I would shake. My hands would shake and I couldn’t stop it. I would lay down, do the breathing exercises, and totally relax my body. Then as soon as I got up the anxiety would take over and I would shake again. It was awful!
Through all the anxiety, sin, and bad choices God was still there with me. I would go to church and I would feel in my heart God telling me to come to Him. I would be in a bad situation or directly sinning against Him and the Holy Spirit would remind me this was not best for me. I was made for more….for Him. I ignored God. I even grew annoyed with His gentle nudges.
Then a longtime boyfriend broke up with me. It tore my heart into shreds.
At that point I realized everything I tried to do my way failed miserably. I thought I found “the guy” and I didn’t. I tried to find a major for college and couldn’t. I took classes and failed them. I couldn’t figure life out. I was lost, hopeless, and heartbroken.
That night in my bedroom, I was on my knees bent over crying so hard, so broken. I realized I could keep doing things my way and I would end up in a really bad place or I could surrender and do life God’s way. I would have no idea where God would lead, but I knew His way was better than mine. I cried out to God. I told God I wanted to go His way no matter what it looked like, even if I didn’t see the road or understand everything. I told God I trusted Him. I needed Him. That all of me was His and I wanted all of Him. I knew in that moment God’s ways are better than mine.
God’s way is better every time.
I immediately felt peace that only God can give and was relieved. In that moment I also realized how sinful I am. I had pushed God out of my life, yelled at him, rebelled against Him in the biggest way I could think of, and kept pushing Him away. Yet He still loved me. He still offered me grace. He welcomed me back with open arms and restored me.
The anxiety melted away as I started to spend time with God again. It is still in my life, but it doesn’t rule my life unless I stop spending time with Him. If I start to let pride come in and think I can do it my way the anxiety is a reminder of where I have been and the lessons I have learned. It’s like a stop sign that directs me back to Him who gives peace. God who is love.
The anxiety reminds me of who I am and the grace and love God has given me. He didn’t say, “Fine, your on your own!” He kept reminding me I was His. He kept telling me He had better for me because He loved me. He kept offering me grace!
No matter where you find yourself today, know that God loves you right where you are in the middle of your mess. He is offering you His grace and mercy too. Take it from a woman who knew His love, walked away from it thinking my way was better and realized His ways are so much better! He is amazing! His plans are awesome! He wants to heal and restore your soul and give you a hope and a future.
This is part of Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday link up.