Tuesday, October 7, 2014

So, if I met "the old me" today...

There are so many things I recognize about myself today that I would never have recognized years ago.  Back then, I was pompous and defensive.  Though good-hearted and soft-hearted, I was extremely insular and afraid - pretty much of everything - though I wouldn't admit it.

While I'm certainly not saying that since those days I've "arrived" at the top of some ivory tower, I am saying that Christ has taught me many things about His depth of love for me since then.  His truth has delivered me from the dungeon of self-loathing and evil commentary concerning the choices I made, sins I committed, and mistakes hounding me from youth.  His truth has untangled the knot of anxiety that restricted my breath.  Jesus Christ introduced me to a wellspring of love for Abba I never dared hope existed.

If I met the old me today, I'd see and understand the downcast, rejected girl I was, and I'd encourage this girl to lift her head and talk to me.  I'd approach her with tenderness and kindness, and I'd be careful about the words I used.  The old girl did not like to make eye contact; the old girl did not like to smile; the old girl felt so terribly rejected and abandoned she could barely form a sentence without second-guessing herself based on what she thought others might think.

There are still so many "old Sharons" walking around today; people to whom I can definitely relate; those my arms are willing and waiting to embrace because I've experienced similar pain.  To an "old Sharon" today, I want to demonstrate the unconditional love and overwhelming patience in which the Lord has bathed me.  I want to give what I got, for its fruit has been transforming me radically into the image of Christ ever since.  Change in thinking, change in believing, change in seeing and comprehending; change in loving and learning to forgive... life-saving change directly from the literal "body" of Christ, and from His earthly body - the true church.

Myriad hearts over the years have been willing to love me through the anguish of seeing the "uglies" within me.  God "assigned" them to my cause and filled them with His unconditional love and favor on my behalf, so that I had backing in prayer and encouragement along the way to realizing my true worth in Abba's plan and in His arms.  I was created to be His daughter, His sweetheart and Beloved, His Obedient One, His little girl and - by Christ's grace and Holy Spirit's power - I am all of those things.

The "new" me is free where the old me wasn't, the new me is tender where the old me was hardened, the new me is courageous and confident, where the old me was fearful and dejected.  The old me couldn't even lift her head to Heaven, but the new me is the ripened, delectable fruit of the Father's tenderness and mercy - given and received, bestowed upon and realized.  Hallelujah!

The Lord God Almighty is the Lifter of my head, and clinging to Him by His power - no matter what it costs me - has made ALL the difference.
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain..." (1 Cor. 15:10a)

"... fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."
(Romans 12:11b)