Today’s story comes from a woman I love with my whole heart. I’ve known her, or rather she’s known me, since I was a girl in my understanding. Probably more than I’ve seen her story play out, she has seen the intimate details of mine, which, to put it mildly, have been messy! Yet she has always made me feel like a miracle. She has always recognized and spoken to my potential, rather than my failures. She has always, through loving encouragement, made me want to be a better woman.
While she is older and much wiser than I am, she has given my budding faith room to speak to her own. She has always opened up her life and made room for me, and in that room, she has laid bare her journey and offered me an authenticity which has made me hungry for more. While she has much to teach, she has modeled for me a teachable heart, always willing to grow and be brought into more than she possesses.
I have seen this woman walk through things which have undone many other women. I have witnessed the doubts, the fears, the questions, the wandering of which she speaks. Never has she pretended to be something or someone she is not. Never has she faked her faith for my sake. If she felt the need to impress me, she has humbly refused to do so, and laid all of herself bare before me, choosing instead to model a womanhood which struggles rather than pretends to have it all together.
This, to me, is the deepest treasure of her story. Although she has indeed reached breakthrough in her faith, she did so not by way of pretense, but by deep anguish of the soul. She did not hide her struggle, but rather embraced it, and in that embracing, she has held up for us a perfect picture of the God Who is not hindered by our struggle. She has presented an honest portrait of the God Whose love does not judge us in our doubts, our fears, our deep wrestlings, but Who rather invites us deeper into His mysterious ways.
Her courage to accept His invitation has yielded great rewards, some of which cannot be measured in this life. There is a beauty and a contentment about this woman which are deeper than the words of story can convey, and which provoke people to a hunger God has invited the world to know. Without trying, she has become the invitation which God once held out to her. Spending time with her fills me with a joy and a desire to live more fully, because that is what God has planted inside of her to give the world.
I pray that, through her story, you will be drawn into the authenticity of relationship with God…that all pretense and fear will fall away, and you will become free to just live out your journey with Him, no matter the twists and turns and turmoil that may come with it. I pray that your goal would not be breakthrough itself, but rather God, Who brings the breakthrough. And I pray that, as you seek Him, as you go deeper in surrender to Him, you will discover, as she did, that He truly is so, so good!
“My name is Kelly, and this is my resurrection story…
Throughout my life, I’ve experienced seasons of wandering, seasons when it felt like I was walking and walking without ever getting anywhere. I was comfortable in my betrayals and sin, but there was always an aching feeling, something constantly pulling me toward a different direction. I chose many times to ignore it, but no matter what, that something kept pulling at me. It was relentless, never leaving me to be content with where I was. It was constant and steadfast.
My seasons of wandering have been spent in a place often referred to as the wilderness. The wilderness, for me, has been characterized by paralyzing fear. It’s not a place I’ve enjoyed or desired to stay stuck in, but in God’s mercy and love, the wilderness has been the place where I’ve encountered His overwhelming, unconditional, unwavering love, which I am so undeserving of. Encountering such a love, in such a place, has compelled me into a growth I could never have desired or accomplished for myself. Today, I am no longer bound by my past mistakes and failures. Instead, I am fully engaged in the journey of being a blessed mother, wife, sister in Christ, and forgiven child of God. I have come to realize, in my wandering and in God’s pursuit of me through it, that without Christ, it is impossible for me live with purpose.
Every one of us has a measure of adversity, and God himself has measured it out with His loving and intentional hand. There have been many time when, instead of rejoicing for all the good GOD has done and continues to do in my life, I focused only on the things that weren’t perfect in my life. I spent a lot of time clinging to and pursuing the idol of what I thought a perfect life would and should look like. In my vain imaginations, such a life would be free of adversity. What I have learned, however, is that adversity is the very thing GOD has used to keep my heart close to his.
Today as I write this testimony, I am in the middle of adversity. I am uncomfortable, but I’m not fearful. I have set my heart to not complain, because I’ve learned that complaining questions God’s sovereignty. “Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord.” Numbers 11:1. In earlier seasons, I would have asked, “Why do I have to go through this?” Why must I endure this when life goes smoothly for everyone else?” But in His love, God has brought me to a place and a season where I can confidently say that my adversity is not more than I can bear. It is measured and entrusted to me, and has been appointed to accomplish the eternal purposes of God in my life. This is my “cross” to carry, but this cross leads to glory. This suffering leads to beauty and the birth of new things.
So I have made, and will continue to make the choice to be thankful in all things. I have purposed to daily give thanks and acknowledge the goodness and grace of GOD, no matter the challenging circumstances I may be faced with. Faith grows in the soil of thankfulness, and thankfulness leads to a deeper trust in God. Although I wouldn’t choose my circumstances for myself, I am choosing to believe that God will here bring more growth which I cannot bring for myself.
I am growing, changing and moving forward daily by the grace of God, who lives and works inside of me. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that the heart which hungers for the will of God will be led and fed by the will of God. So I live with expectation for the amazing things that will come out of my challenging circumstances, because the same constant and steadfast pull which tugged at my heart from the beginning, still tugs at my heart today. And it is still beckoning and provoking me to believe in the goodness of God, and all of His plans for me.”