ENCOURAGMENT FOR TODAY: A Story of Falling and Getting Back Up by C. Turner
HERE’S A STORY FROM A BUDDY OF MINE. THOUGHT IT MIGHT OFFER SOMEBODY SOME ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TODAY.
I was always the good one. Always the voice of conscience. My friend Jane and I used to joke around all the time, I’d say to her, “You’re the girl I want to be!” and she’d say, “You’re the girl I should be.”
Janie was always pushing the envelope. At 14 she lost her virginity to her boyfriend who lived across the street, she spent her weekend drinking, and could care less what the rules were. Like I said, she
loved to push the envelope but I feel like I’m painting a bad picture of her. Jane had (and still does have) a beautiful heart. Despite the fact that she could care less about “being good’ she was constantly encouraging me to stay on the straight and narrow and always more than willing to give a helping hand. I think we both lived vicariously through each other. She had a wild adventurous side that I longed for and I was the good girl she wished she could be more of.
But I digress. You see, as I was and still am known as “the good girl.” I started to relate more and more with “the good son” in the story of The Prodigal Son. I would hear stories of people straying way far away from the Lord, coming back to Him, and getting some incredible blessings! Blessings like job success, a husband, or even kids. I started to get really bitter. “Lord, why is it that I’m doing what
you’ve called me to do and I’m still single, still working my way up the latter, and still have no children? Two of which are my top dreams! It felt so unfair and my dreams seemed to be so far out of reach.
Last year I started to feel disgusted with the good girl roll. I was over it. I quit going to church, stopped reading my bible, started dating this guy, and started lying to those who were close to me. Although I was disgusted with the roll, I still craved to keep up that same image, if that makes any sense at all. Allan, (the guy I was dating) and I would spend way too much time in his room. We started out just watching TV, which turned into making out, which eventually led to sex. At first I was excited, then reality hit me and I freaked out to say the least. What if I was pregnant? Did I want to spend the rest of my life with him? Many questions racing through my mind. You see, no one knew about Allen and me. I was so ashamed about our relationship and how quickly it progressed. No one knew we were even together. Can you imagine every one’s surprise if I one day showed up and was suddenly pregnant and single (in their minds?)
I was living a secret life, no one knew anything. Praise the Lord I wasn’t pregnant, but despite that blessing we kept messing up. I would always enjoy it in that moment and in hindsight regret it.
I told him this all the time. He’d say, “I’m sorry, it’s my fault. I’ll do better, I promise.” But when the moment would hit and I’d remind him of this he’d always say, “Just one last time.” It never took much to convince me otherwise and he always played this to his advantage. Is it his entire fault? Heck no! I was probably as devious if not more as him. There were those times were he would be the one reminding me, “Babe, I thought we were going to do better?” I knew his buttons just as well as he knew mine.
I never felt so far from God in my life. I was hiding from Him and those close to me, and it was eating at me from the inside out. I had to break the silence. I was so ashamed that I emailed a friend. “Elaine, I’ve lied to you. I’m so sorry, but here’s this life I’ve been keeping from you and everyone close to me.” She came over that night. She sat on my bed and I laid my head in her lap and sobbed for hours. She simply stroked my hair and said, “Its ok. I still love you.” She didn’t say much else. And that was exactly what I needed. That night, she loved me with God’s love, unconditionally. Sure she was disappointed, but she was there for me and still loved me despite my sin. She was nothing short of a God-send.
After letting it sink in for a couple days that my secret was out Elaine and I met again. She encouraged me to tell my mentor Victoria, and a couple days later I did. I was terrified. What was she going to think? Here she was the leader of the woman’s ministry at church, had let me lead a small group and then find out about this secret life. But, like Elaine, she listened to my story and with loving eyes told me she loved
me, and wanted to castrate Allan. She encouraged me to seek counseling and to also join her small group (they were discussing the Narnia books by CS Lewis) as an icebreaker to getting back in church. A lot happened in between that time to what I’m about to tell you, but I’m getting anxious to share the good stuff!
My first night at the Narnia discussion group I was surrounded by women I didn’t know. Victoria was the only familiar one. Something happened that night that I will never have words to describe. To put it in layman’s terms God showed up. For the first time in months I felt the presence of God. Please understand that I’m not one of those Christians that say, “God told me” all the time. In my opinion that is a very sacred thing and something not to be messed around with. With that said that night I felt like God was tenderly pulling me to Him and saying, “Baby girl, I’m still yours. And you are still mine.” It was an epic moment and the beginning of my life coming back to God as the prodigal daughter.
Any of you readings who relate to this story in some form or fashion, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way that I hope will encourage you.
1. Your past is your past. Nothing can be done to change it, and nothing can be done to hide it. I’m not saying flaunt it. I’m saying let it be a part of your story which is always your past.
2. There is healing when your humble. (Humble means having a right view of yourself, seeing yourself through God’s eyes) Nothing more, nothing less.
3. Not everyone needs to know your story, a wise woman once told me, “Your story is the most intimate thing you can share with someone.” I believe this wholeheartedly.
4. You… Are… Precious. No matter what you’ve done/are doing, you are precious. You are the only you that there will ever be and there is a reason for that.
5. The reason? God has a calling on your life and only you can do it to the ability, quality, depth, care, and passion that He wants it done with. No can do what you’ve been called to do better than yourself. Don’t go chicken on God and use the excuse of your past.
6. God equips the called. He doesn’t call the equipped. Let that sink in. If he’s called you to something, He will give you the means to do it.
7. Do not think yourself above sin. You will eventually set yourself up for failure.