Dad (Pastor Hoffman) was preaching today and something he said reminded me of my position in the here and now and where it is that I came from.
He was talking about how last week one of the brothers in our church gave up his cigarettes to the altar. He stepped forward, after nearly 4 decades of addiction, chose to trust God as the strength to set him free and the steadfastness get him over the physical and habitual obstacles so many who suffer with addiction face after they set their minds and hearts on being free. It was beautiful. It was inspiring. And his faith, his sacrificial faith in the Lord encouraged another member of our family to affer to do the same.
This week she struggles. Dad was talking about how awesome it was that God had set our brother free and that she also had committed to allowing God to free her as well. She capitulated. She didn't want it said aloud. I remember that feeling; not wanting to risk laying my failure at God's door. I sympathize, I really do, and I have encouragement to give her. I too was bound, I too dealt with the fear and shame. I too suffered with addiction. Cigarettes, drugs, alcahol and more. But I hesitated. I thought about what to say, but I said nothing.
Too often as a Christian, a woman who is living my faith, not perfectly, but because of and through His grace, I look at my life now, the goodness and blessing that is evident, and feel others will not trust that I understand their suffering. I am afraid they will not see the sincerity in my heart for their pain and my genuine desire to share only what God has given me, not what I read about or "expect" them to believe. Self-doubt clouds my testimony. Not doubt in God, He has already proved Himself to me. It is doubt in my lawful right to help another tortured soul. Maybe it is demonic oppression seeping into my thoughts. Maybe it's just fear of being rejected. I don't know, but to those things this is what I have to say;
I did not begin here. I used to live in darkness. I was as desperate for as I was afraid of the Light that would be my freedom. I did not begin...here. The fact that I am here is glory and praise to God alone because, He is the one who saved me. He is the one who set me free. He, Jesus Christ the Son of God is my Hero, my Father and my Friend because I did not begin here.
To my sister who is struggling...Hold out! Don't give up....help is on the way :)