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Before You were Free

The other day, I had the privilege of spending some time with an amazing group of women.

They were gracious and funny; easy to talk to and comfortable to be around. It seemed as though I’d known them so much longer than the handful of minutes we had spent together before our conversations took a deeper turn.

As each one shared a piece of their story, it hit me why my heart felt as though I known each of them before.

Something in them looked just like something in me.

These women had stories of deep darkness and pain in their past. As they gave snippets of their journey towards healing, you could more than see their freedom. You could feel it.

One by one they shared their desires to help others find the hope and freedom they had experienced. Like me, they desperately wanted to use the story of redemption God had orchestrated in their lives to help others experience it too.

They were real. Some a little edgy (in the best possible way) and all were overflowing with the grace and mercy they were first shown by God in the midst of their struggles.

When I left that day, I was certain I had made twenty new friends who could be trusted with the hard things. I was confident any hurting soul that crossed their paths would be safe and experience a piece (and a peace) of Jesus. No judgment. No condemnation. But instead a radical kind of acceptance that can only come from someone who has felt it themselves when they needed it most, and deserved it least.

These beautiful women were effective in their faith, friendship and ministry because they lived and loved out of a place of gratitude for and recognition of what God had brought them through.

Not that they dwelt on their past, because we all know that’s not really freedom.

Rather, they saw it in the rear view mirror; its rightful place, knowing it neither defined them nor determined their limits.

I walked away better for having spent time in their presence and inspired to share this message...

Beautiful soul- if you’re hurting today, I pray you find someone like these women to share the hard things with. Someone who sees you for who you are underneath and in spite of your pain and struggles.

And if you’re reading this and count yourself as one of the redeemed...

To You, Lovely, Freed Soul, I encourage you to never lose your memory of what it is God has delivered you from. And to remember we are always a work in progress; mindful of what life was like before you were free.

Let the grace of His mercy soften your heart for the hurting. Let it make your presence a safe place for others to experience help and hope. As you ponder what that will look like, I humbly ask you to consider the following. These are questions that have helped me as I consider what is needed to walk with the wandering…

Dear Believer- What did you need before you believed God was for you and that He could be trusted?

What did you need to believe in order to accept that God is real?

What did you need to realize, in order to grasp that no matter what your past experiences, God truly, madly, and deeply loves you and grieves the pain you've been through?

And what did you need from professed followers of Jesus in order to lean into the kind of community you were created for? The kind that made a difference in your life?

Whatever your answers are- reflect those things to a needing and waiting world. Those experiences are what uniquely qualify you to walk with the people God will show you who desperately need your story to speak into theirs.

Just watch how powerful your scars become in the Hands of the Healer.

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