I cringe when people ask me about myself. Ask me about my kids, I'll talk all day. Ask me about my job, same. So, when I was asked by a friend, "What happened to you?" there was that pregnant pause that turns awkward after a few seconds and someone fills it with something bland like, "So, what school is your grandson at now?" If I could rewind and go back I'd be able to answer now (I'm always better AFTER the fact). It might look like this:
Friend, after discussing different "religious" friends and where they go to church, looks at me and says, "So what happened to you?" (implying that I've changed churches and I am different than when we last met). My eyes wouldn't waiver and I'd tell her what happened. There's only one answer to that question: Jesus.
My transformation hasn't been overnight, but it's a marked difference in who I was to who I am. I was broken, just like you. I held tightly to shame, just like you. I wore the cloak of regret and it weighed me down, just like you. I felt unworthy, just like you.
So, what happened to me? Jesus pursued me, never gave up on me, and loved me fiercely- just like He does for you. I'm no different than you.
It started with one sentence. It was simple, but light burst through those words and pierced my soul.
"When you repent, and then continue to ask God to forgive you for that same sin, He is wondering what you are talking about."
Your slate is clean. He forgives. It's us who hang on to our sinful past, or shameful ways. I did, too. Then I realized that those small whispers of all my wrongs, those were NOT from Him. Those reminders of my shortcomings, my failures- not from God. I decided I wanted to hear more from Him and less from the world. I decided I was no longer a slave to my past. I decided to seek the face of the one who knit me in my mother's womb. I decided to surrender it all to Him, and ask Jesus once and for all to dwell within me.
My journey is mine. It's 42 years in the making. It's messy and beautiful.
Romans 7:4-6 says, "So my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit."
We are no longer controlled by our old ways, but drenched in the Spirit that lives within us when we surrender it all and lay it at the cross. What happened to me? I have been washed in the water, set free. I am a child of God.