story from the field

Submitted by Paula Horst, One Step Ministries

 
PaulaAugust2017.JPG

Lin’s sweet voice harmonized so beautifully as the worship team opened the Come to the Well Retreat, singing “Come As You Are,” the same song we have always started with.

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You're not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
 

An invitation. To come out of hiding. To come broken. To be real. To lay it all before Him. If we come to Jesus any other way, He cannot meet our deepest needs or heal us. And He really wants to.

I watched Lin bring high praise to her King three times, before each session. I watched Marti share her testimony of brokenness and redemption. I watched as the pairs of women walked together, opening their ears and hearts to one another. And I watched as Lin told her “real me” story in session three, in front of everyone.

She came out of hiding to bring glory to God by telling of His wonderful works.

Here is what she shared:

The ‘real me’…
struggles with depression...
struggles with anger...
struggles with insecurity…
pride…
shame…
loneliness…
discontentment...
and so much more.

The ‘real me’- to be honest, is a complete wreck. I am an ugly, horrible person behind a pretty, smiling face. What a hypocrite, you say, right?

Well here’s the thing that I want you to know!

All of those things are indeed very real spiritual and physiological struggles that exist in my life due to living in a broken and fallen world. However, it is because of the grace of God that when you look at me, it’s not what you see, and what’s more, they ARE NOT WHO I AM. You don’t see them because they are covered by His beautiful grace, so that when you look at me, it’s His glory and grace you see. So, I want you to know, if you look at me and see anything good or lovely in me, that’s not me either—it’s God’s grace you’re seeing. Because I can assure you that I, on my own, am not lovely in any way—But HE is, and His light can shine through me, in spite of me!

Why do I tell you this? Because I want to be honest about who I really am. I don’t want to put on a mask and pretend everything’s perfect in my life. And, if by chance you do look at me and think I’ve got it all together, I don’t want you to think that’s me either. I’m truly a broken, ugly mess; I’m a sinner and so unworthy… … … BUT for the grace of God, through me, in spite of me!

Every woman present was stunned by her testimony. We were stunned by the description of her very real struggles on the inside. Because what we saw on the outside was a put together, sweet girl. We were stunned by God’s goodness and grace in her life. Everyone was awed by God’s wonderful works, all because Lin took off her mask.

 
But you are God’s chosen treasure—priests who are kings, a spiritual ‘nation’ set apart as God’s devoted ones. He called you out of darkness to experience his marvelous light, and now he claims you as his very own. He did this so that you would broadcast his glorious wonders throughout the world.
— I Peter 2:9
 

All praise to His glorious name!