Most of the dreadful things I have done in my life, I did before I was twenty. That is not to say I have not made mistakes since then. But that's when most of the big stuff happened.
Recently, I have reconnected with old friends. Friends who knew me then. People who were kind to me during my worst moments. We have lost touch over the years. If I am honest, I would tell you I have avoided them. Why?
The short answer is because I am chicken. And it makes me sad. You see, the only me they know is her. Make sense?
Think about this. Jesus said that a prophet was not without honor except in his homeland and amongst his own household. Please don't misunderstand. I'm NOT saying I'm a prophet. But the idea is that the people who knew you growing up are the least likely to believe God is doing something miraculous in/through you.
I've done a lot of rotten things in my life.
Once, my aunt came to visit. I acted like a monster. She loves me anyway. She forgave me. But you know what? She's coming again tomorrow to visit, and it seriously stresses me out. Because I feel like I have to prove I've changed. I feel like I need to perform. To show her I'm different now.
And that's unfair to both of us. Living in this mindset is not productive. I can't live my life now hanging on to what I was then. I can only embrace all God has done, and is doing. People really do change. I am grateful for that.
You may wonder why I talk about Him so much. I can't not. My heart is so full of Him, it just sloshes out onto every one I encounter. It's just exactly like being in love.
Matt Redman wrote a beautiful song that sums it up for me:
You mercy taught us how to dance
To celebrate with all we have
And we'll dance to thank You for mercy
Your glory taught us how to shout
To lift Your name in all the earth
And we'll shout to the praise of Your glory
It's the overflow
Of a forgiven soul
And now we've seen You, God
Our hearts cannot stay silent
And we'll be a dancing generation
Dancing because of Your great mercy, Lord
Your great mercy, Lord
And we'll be a shouting generation
Shouting because of Your great glory, Lord
Your great glory, Lord
By His grace, I'm not who I was.
He's given me beauty for ashes. Strength for fear. Gladness for sorrow. Peace for despair.
To Him be all the glory.