The past. We all have one. Some of ours may be a bit more "colorful" than others. I have to admit to a bit of a rainbow myself. Yep, I've got a past full of mistakes of all shapes and sizes, bad choices, and seasons of falling flat on my face in a nasty mess of horribly lacking faith. But...I have a Savior whose sacrifice has covered my past, removing it as far from me as the East is from the West. I choose to walk in that grace, that forgiveness--to believe Him and trust that He keeps His word. I choose to trust that He is enough.
So what do we do with our pasts once we are forgiven, once we have been delivered? We extend grace, love, and mercy to others, just as it was extended to us. Use the ugly to make your little corner of the world more beautiful. Did you get pregnant in high school? Go love and support a scared, stressed teen mom. Have you overcome an addiction? Give real help and mercy to someone in the throes of their own struggles. Were you guilty of condemning others, mired in graceless judgement? Go be there for those in the fringes, without a place to belong. Be Jesus...grace, mercy, kindness and true empathy.
What do we not do with our pasts? Wallow in them or let them control our present. Don't believe the enemy when he tells you that the hard times are punishment for your shortcomings. See this for what it is--a big, fat lie. His desire is for you to walk in defeat, but you already have victory...you've only to claim it, walking into a new future.
My heart has been heavy these past few weeks for some of you struggling so and allowing your pasts to affect your present. This quote from Graham Cooke spoke volumes to my heart. I hope it touches yours as well.
"Whenever God gives freedom, it is always implicit that the freedom He gives you can be given to other people. You go around setting other people free from the very thing that you were victimized by. God comes into your life and He turns the areas of abuse into areas of ministry and significance. He gives you a calling in the area where the enemy tried to strip you of your identity or even kill your life. Your testimony is the beginning of your ministry!"