A couple weekends ago I had the privilege of giving my testimony about Jenny’s death and forgiveness at church. I already had a short version written so all I had to do was lengthen it a bit. After some practicing and tweaks, I was ready to go.
My church has services on Saturday night and Sunday morning so I did the testimony during both services. I was allowed to have a small table set up with pictures of Jenny and copies of my book, for those who were interested.
The Lord blessed me with visits from numerous people at my table. Some had leftover tears in their eyes. Others had big grins on their face and others were noticeably sad. Whatever the look was on their face, I knew the Lord had touched them. I was thankful for that small glimpse into what He’s doing with this book. The message of forgiveness had an impact on many.
Later that week, I did my usual volunteer work. This volunteer work consists of teaming up with other women who love the Lord and want to serve Him by helping others.
The enemy doesn’t like what we are doing so he regularly attacks us at this ministry. This week it was my turn. What started out as a misunderstanding, quickly and unintentionally turned into a meltdown, my meltdown.
A co-volunteer said something that I misunderstood. As I tried to correct her, more misunderstandings occurred and things got out of hand. Soon voices were raised, personal space invaded, feelings were hurt and tears flowed. I gathered my things and started to walk out the door.
A battle raged inside of me the whole time. My flesh wanted me to leave and never come back while the Spirit calmly told me to slow down and think this through. The ‘left out’ and ‘poor me’ attitude the enemy fooled me into adopting earlier in the day, soon escalated into a full blown pity party. Every time God reminded me that He expected more and better from me, I quickly ignored His voice and continued to indulge my flesh.
Our God is a faithful God and He will not give up on us, just because we push Him away in sin. After I met with the other woman, said I was sorry and also said I forgave her, my heart still wasn’t in agreement with my mouth, so I continued to be hurt and upset. Even as I listened to the full plate my friend was experiencing, all I could do was focus on my hurt, my pain. I didn’t want to care about what she was going through. It was all about me and my hurt, so I thought.
Because of His great love for His children, Jesus, our Great Shepherd, gathered me back into His flock by continually bringing the words of my testimony back to me. He pointed out that I should ‘practice what I preached’ the weekend before. I needed to forgive and let it go. The ‘let it go’ part was hanging me up.
I was hurt. I was still dealing with the emotions of the anniversary of Jenny’s death. I was battling a cold. All those excuses were laid before the Lord. He looked at them, comforted me but told me again that I need to let it go.
Boy, I hate it when people use my own words against me. It’s even worse when God uses them against me. I have tried, but there really is no winning an argument with God. There isn’t ever a compromise, either. It is God’s way or no way and through the years I’ve learned that God’s way is undeniably the best way. Do I still test that at times? Of course, but I always go back to surrendering to Him.
What am I getting at here? A couple things, I guess. First is that no matter what testimony a person may have, they are still a sinner. Just because they speak on a subject doesn’t mean they have mastered it. Practicing what they preach will be a daily but doable challenge with the Spirit’s help.
Second, God is amazing. His love for us is indescribable. I cannot fathom why He loves me so much but I am thankful He does. He’s always there when I slip and fall. He picks me up, brushes me off, comforts me, forgives me, asks me what I’ve learned and helps me on my way.
No matter how we mess up, the Lord practices what He preaches. His love and forgiveness are always there, no matter how much we hurt Him. This is an example I want to follow every day of my life. No matter what my testimony, whether spoken in church or just in living my life – Lord, may I always practice what I preach!