Thursday, June 26, 2014

Good....

 My new friend Kate asked me to share a part of my story on her blog Sweet Goings, but its far removed from my life so for the sake of sharing all of me with my friends and family I thought I'd share it here too. But you my friends get the unedited version which includes tons of run on sentences and improper grammar.Hopefully you can still see Jesus in there. Here it is...

Some of the best stories start with "In the beginning" and mine is no different, but my "in the beginning" starts at 35 with God speaking over me "It is good" just like he had with everything He created. However for the first 34yrs I felt I was anything but good and wore labels that had been applied to me by others, but mostly by myself. I wore whore, worthless, damaged, used up, failure, useless and crazy written out in scars across my arms, hidden under this new facade of faith that believed in Jesus, but didnt believe in the whole, beautiful gospel...

grace, forgiveness and redemption for others YES but not myself

And although I now wore mother and wife as my most prized labels, even playing with the idea that I too was redeemed I still battled with once a year breakdowns, leftover from a hurting past. Breakdowns that followed familiar patterns..

1. Freak out over something small that felt big
2. Scream and fight with the one person that loved me in spite of me
3. Feel the weight of my foolishness and be overwhelmed by the shame that I was destroying my family
4. Agree with what I was hearing in my head that I was failure, turn inward, hide in room and cut away at the tension and hurt til blood fell and I found some relief
5. Then hide it from the kids, friends, family and start another year of pretending I was ok
This sad pattern that had been played out since my teens; although with more desperate, outright attempts at taking my own life in my earlier years carried the same underlying theme...I deserve to be punished because I'm not good enough.


But on a day in August 2008 (my in the beginning) something happened that changed it all.

It started out the same, do steps 1-5, tell the kids I was sorry for the fighting and go on with our day in hopes that they would forget and so would I. So we packed up for the day with plans to go far from where I might see someone I knew, but made a quick stop at the store where God stepped in to say "no more" and the sweetest little girl who I had come to know working in the school called my name, ran up to me and proceeded to tell me how only weeks earlier she had witnessed a shooting at her church that left two dead. Here I was, with a relatively perfect life, hiding a self inflicted wound, standing before an innocent child that was faced with something completely horrific, mustering up whatever words I could.."Im so sorry, just remember that although there are so many bad people in the world, there are so many good also"

And then..

This girl,who I'm pretty sure was Jesus in the flesh, reached up and put both her hands on my cheeks, looked me in the eyes and said...

You Nicole, you are good!!


Just like that God came in and began my story anew, writing over all my labels with one word, GOOD!
The one word that I and I was pretty sure everyone else would never use when referring to me. The one word that couldnt possibly be applied to this girl that had given herself away far too many times, the girl that had hurt and been hurt, the girl that had cheated, the girl who had taken far too many drugs and drank far too many beers, the girl that stole, the girl, now a woman, that lost control on an almost daily basis and threw out harsh words that stung the hearts of the ones she loved the most. Not me!! But He in all His mercy, saw something else. He saw His creation and He was declaring it good in spite of the evidence. He was whispering, "You might not forgive yourself but I do. You might think your worthless, but I see your worth reflected in my blood, You might think your beyond saving, but its already been done."


Now I would love to tell you that in that one moment I was healed of all the hurt inside, but it was just the beginning of the story. A story that started in a drug store with child veiled hands and me coming out to my waiting husband and kids in tears, reeling at what I knew without a doubt was as close as Im going to come to a Moses encounter with the God of the universe and feeling completely undeserving and uncomfortable in this new name. Then the next day me walking before my pastor and friend with arms outstretched, cuts revealed, nervously saying "I dont know whats next, but I dont want to live in the dark anymore". Two days later I would start a year and half journey of counseling that uncovered deep, deep shame and wounds I had yet to let see the light and heal. (Thats a story for another day!!) In the 6yrs since Ive faced those same hurts again because shame is very sneaky, but for the most part I live in redemption, live in radical self acceptance that is born from one truth...

My Jesus, who is trustworthy and true, declared me good!!

He said that I am good because by definition good is something made right, good is something beneficial, good is something to be desired, good is something approved of. All things that because of Him I am.

And today my worse scars are covered with a reminder to bestow on God (bless) all the worship and praise He is worthy of. A reminder to remember all He has done for me and a testimony to anyone who finds themselves caught up in the lie that they are beyond God's reach.

These scars that I was once ashamed of have become my greatest treasure outside of Jesus because they tell of His love. They speak of a beginning that will find its end in eternity with Him.

Him, that loved me scars and all.

And that my friends is good. Really, really good!!


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