"It feels too good to be true that we could be welcomed, wanted and valued even though we fail and are broken. And yet, the truth of the Gospel is just that. We are broken and God wants to come and fellowship with us."
My friend Tracy wrote that and I read that in a lesson called "Brokenness" in the Journey Guide by Open Hearts Ministry. I heard her teach this lesson when I attended The Journey this May and it was pivotal as I moved through my week there. The tears I had that day were huge and global. I cried tears for a part of my story where I had never been able to extend kindness to. And more so, I broke an agreement with evil that day that I had clung to for years. That lesson and that very day has been monumental for me as I have pressed forward in my relationships, but more importantly in my relationship with God.
Tonight I am teaching the very same lesson for our local groups here in San Antonio. In preparing to share some of my story, I have been sitting here for three days - incredibly humbled at the thought of how God is using this broken woman.
I am weaving my own story into the lesson about Jesus' relationship with His disciple and friend Peter. Satan had asked to sift Peter like wheat, and Jesus only prayed that He his faith would not fail. Peter denies Christ and later we see Jesus extending grace to him, not allowing what Peter had done to define or disqualify who he was.
As I've sat with this story, I found that I could identify a lot with Peter. I have felt sifted. I have denied Christ. I have hid and returned to my old ways after realizing my own failures. I have been dumbfounded at Jesus offering me life and grace. And in relating to Peter, I've been able to draw near to Jesus in ways that feel new for me. And maybe they felt new for Peter too after the encounter he had Jesus. Even though Jesus knew Peter had denied Him, there He was, offering him a meal, friendship, forgiveness and telling him that not only did He want to use him to feed His sheep but that He wanted Him.
The story is so beautiful that it's brought me to my knees. Because Jesus didn't only do that with Peter. He's done that with many believers over the years. And I've experienced Him doing that for me too. In looking at my own story of brokenness and the roads that I traveled down apart from God, it's clear that I wouldn't be anywhere today without His goodness and grace.
I feel as though I should be many other places, maybe even dead, because of my past and how I've lived my life at times. It feels like I should be somewhere else rather than speaking about brokenness and where God has met me in my own.
But here I am. Because the Gospel really is that good. It's not too good to be true - it's good AND it is true! I really am that loved. And I really am that accepted by the God of the universe, the Creator of this world and the Savior of my heart.
And if it's true for me, it is oh so very true for you too.