Some time ago, I shared on social media about a new job God had swung the doors wide open to. I was excited. He had so clearly opened my heart to acknowledge my dormant desires and passions. He had graciously provided for hours that allowed me to still be present daily for my girls, when they got home from school. And I even knew the employer from a former job.
What I didn’t share was what God was up to behind the scenes. Before I was accepted to the position, God challenged me to step out in faith with my podcasting. To seek funding for a soundcloud platform that wouldn’t be dependent upon my new income. God provided in a beautiful way, strengthening my trust in Him. But deep down, I was glad of the cushion my new job would provide, the independence it would give me financially.
So, when it became clear that I was not able to cope with my new job as the weeks progressed, I at first clung tightly to it. I tried to be strong. I wasn’t keen to lose my financial independence and nor was I keen to “lose face” with the other school moms I had proudly been telling about my new job, finally feeling like I belonged in their midst. But then, in the midst of deep humiliation as my weakness was used against me, I finally let go. But even in this surrender, I still tried to cling to my worldly worth, seeking to deny my weakness, blame and defend myself, when there was no need to.
In the midst of it all, God reminded me of the words He had spoken to me that first propelled me forward to seek, apply for and accept my new job. Two Scriptures:
Psalm 16:5 ESV
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
Proverbs 16:33 ESV
The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the Lord
and words from a book, Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson (p.165, p.168):
“Part of the reason Nathan struggled to speak his desire in the first place was because it was risky. What if it didn’t happen? What if he failed? What if the pain of disappointment was more than he could bear?
But here again, humility offers rest. If we are submitted to God’s hand, even our unfulfilled desires can be fruitful because our unfulfilled desires can be the very things God uses to draw us to Himself.”
“If we limit ourselves to working only when the signs are promising, if we only plant when everything is perfect, we limit our ability to see God at His best. When we limit ourselves to working when the time is right, we reveal that we are still clinging to the notion that success is dependent on our choices and our ability to control outcomes. We are still relying on our ability to make all the right decisions. We are still counting on our calculations and plans to foresee all possible eventualities. But what if God can grow Mrs. Clovis Richards’ beans in a pile of unattended dirt? What if God can bring about good things without us? What if grace is true?”
It’s then I saw they were words for my now. I had wanted financial security. I had wanted independence. I had wanted to boast in my strength. I had wanted to be highly regarded in man’s eyes. I had wanted to fulfill my unfulfilled desires in the world. But God wanted me to surrender my “pile of unattended dirt.” He wanted to expose my need, my deeper unfulfilled desires and draw me closer to Himself there. To shine His grace within me: the free and unmerited gift from above.
Proverbs 19:21 ESV
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
But, at first, I didn’t want grace. I wanted strength and acclaim. I was angry at my humiliation. I was angry at the way I had been treated. But slowly, I realized my anger and unwillingness to receive mercy in my time of need went much deeper than the job I had just quit.
You see, my employer almost immediately responded to the wrong done to me by disciplining the person concerned, sending a signal that this was unacceptable behavior. And my colleagues had responded lovingly, even empathizing with me. I had opened my mouth, inviting others into my humiliation, and rather than agree with the harm done to me, they had encouraged me to speak up.
But when my weakness was used to humiliate me at my old church, I had kept my mouth shut.
Now, as God brought that old situation to mind, He challenged me to acknowledge it as wrong also and to stop justifying it and brushing it aside as my just deserves.
When I finally brought it into the light, writing about what had been done to me at my old church on my blog for the very first time, something strange began to happen. A heavy layer of shame lifted and I began to weep and weep and weep.
For the first time my heart deep down agreed with the truth. I acknowledged fully that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I realized that it deeply hurts my Maker when I minimize the pain done to me and justify wrong done to me. He showed me how I was holding tight to the shame of my past, clinging to my unworthiness, by receiving man’s words as truth. So, He invited me to hear His response to my accuser:
Luke 15: 32 NLT
We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”
I realized that me speaking the truth was beautiful to my Savior because it acknowledges the unfathomable sacrifice He made at the Cross to call me and the one who wounded me, His.
Romans 8:33 (ESV)
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
It’s then I saw that keeping my mouth shut not only keeps me bound in shame but also prevents grace from fully flowing toward myself and toward the one who hurt me. To forgive fully is to feel the pain of the sinful actions toward me and to acknowledge them as wrong. To receive grace in my weakness is to fully acknowledge my need and my inability to be the person I wish I could be. It is to relinquish my wish for perfection and embrace the stunning gift of grace. The gift of my Savior’s scars that declare my own scars healed, whole and beautiful to Him.
So, I can stop trying to hide my weakness and instead allow my scars to tell the story of God’s grace in my life. Of Him pouring out His favor on me right in my humiliation. Of Him defending me, speaking truth over me and lifting me above the enemy’s every attack. Of me discovering just how precious I am to Him. So precious that He set me apart, sending me outside the camp, through my weakness birthed in trauma, to declare the wonderful Good News to those living in darkness. The Good News of a God who never ever turns His back upon His children.
And you know what? Those school Moms? They surprised me, responding in love and compassion when I shared my weakness with them openly.