i almost got a tattoo the other day.
i was still up in the air about what i was going to get. it was between a cross on my neck and a word on my wrist. i was this close to getting it. i even signed my life and health away on the papers, but there was something burning deep inside me that was telling me not to do it. i don't know if it was the dude about to tattoo me looking at me like i was an idiot for asking a lot of questions before he imprinted something on my body forever, the dogs circling my feet, the lack of sleep, or maybe the forever-ness of it all? no one can be really sure. i think i will make it into the tattoo shop six or seven times, and leave without one, before actually leaving with one. i'm okay with that.
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a week or so ago i sat around a fire with eight other women and we shared our stories. we shared where we came from and how God captured our hearts. we shared about the hard times, the good times, and how we have come to know Him. one of my favorite things that was said that night was spoken by one of the most beautiful woman i'll ever know.
she started off her story by saying this: well, i'm a work in progress… living on grace. you know what, my friend? so am i. and so is she over there. and her, and her, and her. and He's not finished with us yet. isn't that the sweetest news you've heard all day? He is not finished with us! today is a new day.
the really amazing thing about this night, and hearing all these stories, was that each and every one of us are so incredibly different. our backgrounds, our families, our ages, all different. heck, our religions and our churches. different. where we're at now in our faith journeys? different. but all the same. our God? our Savior? our precious Jesus? the same.
i think back to a younger me, maybe a high school me, sitting in that room. would i have seen Jesus so clearly in each of these women as i saw Him that night? would i know that these differences or preferences of worship were just that? and that our hearts all belonged to Christ and we were all gripped with the very same love? i don't know. but, i do know where i am at now. and i know what He has taught me and i know everything i felt that night. and it was Him. it was all Him.
it came time to share my story and i did just that. i shared bits and pieces of my parents backgrounds, how they came to know Christ, my wonderful childhood, a couple boy-friend-ships (that's friends with boys that aren't your technical boyfriends…ya heard?) that weren't my proudest moments. i told my friends that i remember being a little timid about sharing my testimony when i was in highschool and i heard others go up and tell theirs before me. these people would speak of radical transformations for Jesus. that He pulled them out of the PITS of despair. and would you just look that their life now! it is NEW. it is sparkly, shiny, and transformed for Jesus. and praise Him for it, to God be the glory.
but i do remember, at one point, those many years ago, feeling like i didn't have much to share. that because i didn't have that much waywardness going on in my life my story might not have been as good? and don't get me wrong. i made mistakes. i make mistakes. every. single. day. but, for the most part, when i look back on these past twenty six years… i have loved Jesus all along.
now, i see this all more clearly. i see His hand over me, my choices, and my decisions. it was not ME keeping me from different paths i could have taken. it was HIM. i need Christ's forgiveness just as much as someone who might be struggling with things that i have never even thought about, things i have never even touched. but, i need Him all the same.
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redeemed, it will say across my wrist one day. i have been set free my sin and been given grace that i'll never deserve. Jesus Christ has redeemed me. He has taken my old life, my messy, sinful heart, and made it new. my life is new in Him!