Tag Archive | redemption

So Glad to Meet You

My name is not Cynthia. Well, that is not entirely true. My birth certificate says it is, but no one has ever identified me by that name. Well, that isn’t entirely true either. When producing my passport, the agent will undoubtedly call me Cynthia as that is the name printed there. But all that does is elicit my blank stare which isn’t at all suspicious when travelling to another destination. And if you were to attempt to get my attention by shouting “Hi Cynthia” to me I would not turn my head, simply because I wouldn’t know that you were. I tell you this so you can stop crossing off the list in your mind of any Cynthias that you may know. I am not her. I also tell you this so that we may begin our journey together today with truthfulness and no traces of deception between us.

I admit that when I read the post introducing me as a guest writer for this blog, I had quite the mix of emotions. It is an absolute honour and privilege to be invited into this valuable blog community where we can heal, grow and learn together. I was completely unprepared for the gracious and kind words used to describe me and my writing. This Cynthia woman sounded amazing. And then came the moments of doubt and fear. Could I really do this? Will I be enough? Will people be disappointed? How could I possibly live up to your expectations when it was me that you were going to meet? And so by writing one and a half paragraphs on this blog so far I have already been shown two truths. One, that the telling of our stories is an integral part of our ongoing healing process and transformation into the person that God created and intended each one of us to be. And secondly, that yes, by the grace of God and through the redemption of Jesus Christ, I am enough.  And so are you.

If you are wondering what I will be writing on this blog, so am I. Because I will be leaving that decision up to God. But what I can tell you now is that you will hear of our mighty God’s miraculous healing power that has redeemed the untold pain and despair of my life and marriage. You will hear how beautifully God has designed every detail of the healing that He has available for us. You will hear that I am a wife of a man recovering from sex addiction and intimacy anorexia, married for 27 years, the last two happily. And I would be amiss if I did not tell you that I am the blessed mother of two awesome young adult children and a beautiful daughter-in-law. But most importantly, I am an extravagantly loved and cherished daughter of God which took me nearly 46 years to discover.

I am Cynthia. But if you are reading this, then quite possibly so are you. Or maybe it is the woman sitting beside you at church, your neighbour, or co-worker. It may even be your best friend, daughter or mother. There are many Cynthias living each day in invisible pain and shame.  Many Cynthias that need to know, and not only know, but believe that there is hope and healing for the wounds and pain they have kept hidden for so long. Because there is. Oh, there is. And my prayer for you is that as we journey together you will open your heart enough to glimpse the hope and healing that is within your reach. No matter how faint the glimmer may be, there is One that can and will take the smallest offering brought to Him and turn it into more than you can ever imagine. I know because His name is Jesus and He has become my best friend.

Look at the nations and watch, and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told. Habakkuk 1:5

Safety in the hiding place of grace….

I haven’t written for a while and I admit that I’ve missed being here. In the last couple of months it feels like I’ve been on a journey with God as I faced myself; truly faced some things about myself….my agendas, my weaknesses,  my flaws and my longings.

Working through the book, Grace for the Good Girl: Letting go of the try hard life by Emily P. Freeman, as well as the book, Truefaced: Trusting God and others, with who you really are by Bill Thrall, John Lynch, and Bill McNicol, has certainly not been easy, but it has been healing and freeing as I’ve been throwing off the yoke of pretending, and of learning to forgive myself.
Through these books God once again stripped away something within me….and I believe He is using these authors to strip away something within all of us who long for more……and I also believe that our Father God is blowing upon His children in this hour, with a gentle, yet powerful wind. He is breathing life into us…. and as He blows, the false perceptions concerning our identity, which we have received from the enemy, the church, and even ourselves, will be removed, and we will stand as His mighty servants….His warriors.

As my heavenly Father continues to strip away all that causes me to hide from Him and others, He offers me safety in the hiding place of grace!
And so, in the safety of His grace I have faced my self-protecting ways, my tendency to try and please God rather than trust Him, attempting to live a life of perfection and failing, the fear of making a mistake and looking foolish, and the hiding, not wanting others to see my weaknesses and flaws……but I get so weary of the striving, of beating myself up, of never cutting myself any slack….of paying penance….and I don’t think I am alone in this….God used the authors I mentioned earlier to expose another layer of self-protection and in its place I experienced the wild grace of God….

A friend shared with me a post from the Truefaced blog that was so very timely. With permission from John Lynch I am sharing this very powerful and freeing post.….

Please be sure and visit their blog….you will be blessed and experience much freedom as you journey into the room of grace.( www.truefaced.com/blog)

The Haunting Question

We’ve been spending the last few times together talking about forgiveness. But before we get to the good news-the way home, let me first address this haunting question being asked by many of you:

“What about the forgiveness I can’t give myself? How do I forgive myself?”

Bill and Bruce would do this much better, but they’re probably on some Polynesian island with friends, drinking fun concoctions from the shells of coconuts. So, today I’m all you’ve got.

Ready?

To forgive myself demands I not only trust the shed blood of Jesus to completely purchase my salvation with God in heaven. I must be absolutely convinced it allows Him to never be disgusted with me while I am maturing into who He says I now am. He says I am righteous even though I often don’t yet behave like it. He says I am holy though I surprise even myself with the outlandishness of my selfishness. He says I am absolutely and completely beloved. He is actually unable to love me more and refuses to allow anything I do to cause Him to love me less.

It is stunningly and overwhelming shattering to face that He saw every single betrayal, obsessive repetition of failure, and my repeated hurting of those I most love long before I performed them. And having seen even the degradation I’ve not had a chance to yet act out, He said, “Yes, that one. That’s the one I want to bestow all my love upon. All of it. Uniquely, particularly and with as much unbridled love as I have for my only begotten Son.”

And now, what delights Him most is that I’d just believe it. Not perform penance for Him. Not beat myself up to prove I mean business. Not take the all-forgiving nature of that love as a reason to carry disgust for myself when I fail. Not degrade myself before Him under the self-disdaining groan of “What’s wrong with me? I should be better by now. What a loser!” Those words no longer fit; not for one now literally fused in nature with the God of the universe.

It’s hard to conceive that the very power over the next failure you will not want to not forgive yourself for, is found completely in trusting the power of this scandalous, outlandish, stunning love. Trusting God with my sin, allowing His solution, is the entire basis for releasing the redemptive power of the Cross. Period.

The only thing I might want to be upset at myself for is refusing to take this gift. For me to somehow imagine that I “should be…if I were any kind of Christian”, diminishes the sacred purpose of the cross and thinks far too highly of myself.

It is a choice of humility that says, “I’ve played judge and jury far too long. I’m weary of it. You alone have authority to judge and prosecute. I’ve been dragging around what has never been mine to carry. I’m done fighting this one by myself, foolishly imagining You don’t care enough or have the power to redeem every one of these failures. Either You are God and can fully vindicate, validate, redeem, protect, exonerate, defend, make me blameless, or this whole thing has been a cheap carnival magic show. I’m done with the trite contention that I’m just too failed to be forgiven by You or myself. I’m done demeaning what you did for me. Forgive me for this arrogance most of all my dear God.”

When Paul says in Romans 8 that no one gets to bring a charge, condemn, or separate us from every fiber of His unfathomable love, included in that “no one” is us!!

This all sounds good and well-until you do the one thing you thought you’d never do. The really big one. The one God lovers don’t do. That’s when we may have to go through that dark night of the soul to discover whether we’re convinced the shed blood was that powerful.

No, this does not excuse my sin. Yes, I will need to make things right with those I’ve wronged. Yes, I will need face the reality of what I’ve done, along with the consequences. But there are two things I must not do:

*Refuse His complete, absolute forgiveness and unchanging assessment, love and affection.

*Refuse to accept His complete acceptance, fellowship and delight after what I’ve done.

 

For these, as noble or pious as they might sound, actually deny the efficacy of what Christ did for us.

He has no need of such rehearsal of shame. That day is over. You are free. You are right on time. You are deeply, always precious and front row with Him. And this new life within you will never want to take advantage of it, given the chance to live in it. This magical, all encompassing love, when risked and trusted, forms the basis for real, beautiful, stunned worship.

The Cross was that powerful, your God that incredible.

John-one of the three amigos, part of the ever-growing tribe of grace

Fellow strugglers, thank you for journeying with me….. He is calling us deeper, and invites us to journey with Him and experience His wild grace…..and His gentle voice to us today says this:
“Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me, See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me. (Song of Sol. 2:10-13)