It was two in the morning. My day had been filled with valleys and peaks that brought exhaustion to my soul, and tears to my eyes. I felt empty and defeated. I had driven myself down a dark path, and was beginning to feel the potential of consequence taking rest over me. Worry, anger, self-doubt. These crept in. They resided. I felt so heavily burdened, with only myself to blame.
It was in that moment, at two in the morning, I reached out to a friend, who showed me much more grace than I deserved. When she heard my tearful voice over the phone, she got in her car and came to me. When I know I’ve brought destruction on myself, I resist this type of grace. I know I’m undeserving. I feel so deep in my guilt I normally push everyone away. But this friend pushed her way back through my forcing opposition; and came to my rescue.
We sat on my porch for over an hour talking, crying and praying. I was at a loss. I had been proclaiming myself as a Jesus-following, grace-filled, redeemed individual who had secretly created a miserable identify for myself. However, no one knew. And no one truly had to know. That’s exactly what went through my head when I felt so alone in my shame.
‘If I don’t tell anyone, its fine. I can just move on. I messed up, but no one has to know. God, You forgive me right? Of course You do. Thank you!’
So I had been sitting in the silence of my shame for almost a month. But that’s exactly where Satan wanted me. To remain in my silence alone, afraid and awfully aware of my transgressions. Though I told God I was sorry, it was in my outward verbal confessions that night on the porch when I truly heard a verbal response of His grace.
That night on the porch, I confessed my sin to my friend. It wasn’t a sin against them, nor did it even indirectly involve them. But I confessed it. And in that moment freedom arose, my spirit lifted, my heart felt light and my ears heard the words of grace and truth: ‘You are still you. You are still loved.’
That moment, more than any other, taught me that God gives us community for more than movie nights, hiking partners and bible studies. God gives us community for deeper, life-giving purpose. God gives us community to be the bridge we need to reach Him when we can’t find our way, or when we can’t imagine paddling against the current and crashing waves by ourselves.
My friend heard my tears and ran to me. That’s Jesus.
My friend heard my sin and spoke love into me. That’s Jesus.
My friend saw my despair and prayed over me. That’s Jesus.
So when you feel alone, and ashamed and too fragile to let others in, don’t believe the lies that silence is the answer. God has provided a Church, a Body, His Bride to support you. You have brothers and sisters who are waiting to speak life into you; to speak God’s truth into you.
So do not sit in your sin, but create avenues for confessions. Allow God to give way for grace to overpower the guilt, and reside in the redemption. And remember that restful redemption is your story. It is my story too. Let us never believe it is too far away to reclaim.
Go and reclaim it.