I spoke at the midweek meeting of our church senior citizens about my work today. But mostly I spoke about how since I was a little girl I’ve had a passion for justice and how that has been refined over the years (from when I thought putting dead eels in the bed of someone who had bugged me at camp was justice). And how God has led me through the most extraordinary circumstances to keep me aligned with his heart for the oppressed and the fatherless.
I asked people to care and to be heartbroken.
The older lady leading had a verse for me at the end, and she gave it to me along with some daffodils.
‘I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.’ ( Jeremiah 29 v 11)
I left the building marveling at the fact it had gone well and that as I’d told my story to the gathered group I’d seen afresh the hand of God in my life.
But as as I walked to my car I suddenly felt ashamed and dirty and sullied. I felt like I shouldn’t be holding the flowers. I wanted to drop them on the ground. I wanted to disappear. ‘You shouldn’t be talking to these people about God using your life for his purposes. These people who don’t know what you’ve done. Who don’t know that you won’t be at the church meeting tonight to decide whether or not to call a new pastor, because the last one they called broke your heart and almost brought your marriage to an end. You shouldn’t be here.’
The tears stung. I was shaking.
Shaking because the devil pounces like an attacking lion. He doesn’t always sneak up and charm you like a snake. He just knocks you to the ground and starts to devour you, hoping that he’ll get to the jugular before you remember that you are actually carrying within you the power of the one who defeated death itself.
Just in time I remembered. I remembered to look up. I looked at the cross on the top of the church.
No, I said, those are lies. I do not need to be ashamed. I’ve been washed clean. I’m not dirty.
I said it again.
I am not ashamed.
I know who I am and whose I am.
I know that I am redeemed. I know that I have been forgiven
I know that the arc of God’s purpose in my life has never faltered even when I have.
I know that being in that church building, testifying to God’s heart for the marginalized is the space I was supposed to take today.
You will not grind me down. You may bruise my heel but He will crush your head.
Now go away and leave me to live a good story. A story of justice and forgiveness and grace and mercy. A story of broken hearts and a father’s love.
A story of God.
This post is linked with Messy Marriage a blog which I have just discovered and am very glad to have found.