I grew up in an independent Baptist church, I learned all the Sunday School Characters, the children’s choir songs and shame. Yes, I said shame. Although, I was in church from the time I was 5 years old throughout my life I was testing the waters of the world. I felt the rules and regulations that were being expected of me were way too much for me to ever obtain so I thought, why bother.
I remember sitting in the hallway at my childhood home and fighting with my dad insistently saying I don’t want to go to church tonight. It’s too cold to put on a dress; I’ve got homework, etc. etc. The excuses were numerous.
At the age of 16 I decided that I knew what was best for my life and I ran away from home and got married. Oh yeah, wow, there is freedom in that statement for me. You see, I lived so many years of my life chasing the pleasures of this world only to be left with guilt and shame. So over the course of my young life I learned how to hide many things in secret places so that no one would know about my sins. No one would know about all of the partying; drinking and drugging and must I add the many men.
Later in years when I married a good man and came to Christ and I learned to hide and pretend that I had this wonderful perfect life so I hid this secret shameful life that no one must know about. After all, my new husband was a preacher and if people really knew what kind of life his wife had years before who knew what kind of damage that could do to him and damage it did do. To make a long painful story short, my amazing God lovin’ husband was told that because of my past that He could never be in ministry other than driving the church Sunday school bus. Wow! I did that to him. I ruined his life, or so I thought.
Many many years down the road I was growing closer to my Jesus and falling deeply in love with His heart and learning what He is really all about. Here’s one lesson I have learned from this time in my life. In Matthew 12:43-45 we read about satan seeking a stronghold. I was allowing the enemy to come into my Jesus cleaned life by keeping my past a secret because of all of the guilt and shame that I felt and I allowed the enemy to gain a foothold into my life. I learned that whatever you hide in the dark Satan will use it to harm you; however, you must expose it to the light to allow God to heal it and remove it.
I learned the impactful meaning of John 8:36 – If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Listen friends what strongholds does the enemy have hanging over your head? I encourage you to take some alone time with our wonderful merciful creator and sustainer and take him into those secret places that have become a stronghold that if left alone the enemy will destroy us with.
Two and a half years ago, I stood in our café with a packed house and with God’s voice saying in my ear; it’s time my child. I have come to set you free. I grabbed that microphone and gave my testimony. And one link at a time the chains that had held me for over 20 years came clanging to the ground. That day I learned that Jesus’ blood is enough! His precious blood that He shed for me is enough to cover absolutely anything I have ever done. There is power in the blood, there is freedom in the blood, and there is salvation in HIS blood!
Sisters, let me encourage you today that if you have anything holding you back from becoming the woman God created you to be, I encourage you at this time to take it to the cross and allow those chains to be broken. It’s time to deal with the things that are in our lives that keeps the river of living waters from flowing in and out of our life! Be encouraged.