Baring your soul.
I recently read Sarah Jakes Roberts' memoir, Lost and Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life. In the very well written book, Sarah shares her journey from being a teenage mother at 14, a married woman at 19, and divorced at 23. The book is a nice balance between her life story, and some encouragement for those who have felt out of touch with God. Sarah is very honest and authentic in the memoir. She is not judgemental, and she acknowledges that her privilege is both a blessing and a curse. I am very proud that she acknowledged the privilege, though. I feel like she has been able to find her way back to God, even if not completely, but partly because she had the financial and spiritual covering of her parents, which a lot of teenage mothers do not have.
She had a home to return to when all hell broke loose on her marriage. As a teenage mother, her parents did not throw her out with her child. They took care of him, while she was able to complete her high school and they even sponsored her to college, although she later dropped out and moved in with her boyfriend.
On the other hand, the immense pressure in being T.D. Jakes’ daughter pushed her even farther from the church. She grew up feeling like the other members of her church had perfect lives, while she was dying on the inside. As the preacher’s kid, she felt like a means to an end. People only wanted to get to know her because of her father. So when she met someone who wanted to know her, and not her father, she was elated and jumped into a marriage that was riddled with infidelity and dishonesty.
There’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot since I read Sarah’s book, and it’s the burden on the christian to share their testimony with the world.
Hearing about someone’s salvation story is very exciting and encouraging. It assures us that God’s grace is always, always sufficient, no matter how far out we may have fallen. It assures us that God does not condemn us, but loves us back to the flock.
God’s grace is for all of us.
I have a friend who always gets particularly upset when people make it seem like those who have not been in “extreme” sin (adultery, fornication, murder, etc.) cannot understand grace.
I thought about this for the first time when I was reading a book where the church was being condemned. You know those things where people say “Oh, I expected to find a home in the church, but I felt judged.” Or when people say “Please don’t carry your holiness on your head and don’t wear your virginity as a placard.”
But one thing I always remind myself of is the fact that God sees purity and He rewards it. It’s simply another ploy of the devil for you to want to be cut deeply just so that you too can give a Mary Magdalene story. Not all of us will be like Paul, who had persecuted christians in his past. Not all of us will be like Matthew the Tax Collector, or like Zaccheus.
If the Lord has been with you and enabled you to live a holy and righteous life, first, I am excited for you
and slightly envious lol.
The best you can do is to praise Him, and not question why you haven’t had it more difficult.
Not everyone goes through difficulty and makes it out alive. Don’t feel like you’re less than worthy to preach the gospel of Jesus if you’re perceived as having had an easier life. People may say, “oh, how can you understand the effects of trauma, or abuse, or fornication, or adultery, when you’ve never been there before?”
Always remind them (and yourself especially) that Jesus was perfect, and He is the best example of love there is!
I don’t need to have felt your pain to minister to you. It certainly does help when I have, but that’s not a prerequisite. A sincerely compassionate and empathetic heart comes from Jesus, not from experience.
I really hope I made a good point in this post. I struggled to succinctly articulate my thoughts.