Confession is Good for the Soul

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
William Wordsworth

  I was not always as I am now. In truth I am nothing at all like I once was. Sometimes people need to hear that, else they place you upon some pedestal on which you are not worthy to stand.

 Today, as I write these words, I am a Christian, one who loves Christ, one who loves people, one that He has given the gift of mercy to, one that He on occasion uses to bless others, most especially those who are hurting.

 The irony of that does not escape me. That He would use ME for mercy? I sometimes roll upon the floor overcome with laughter at the thought of it. You see.......God has a sense of humor...........For I know who I once was.

 I grew up the daughter of a preacher. A poor man, a single father raising two children, working full time in a cotton mill, pastoring a church full time and always keeping some form of garden going,  he rarely had two nickels to rub together, nor much time. I fault him for nothing. He did a great job considering the hand he was dealt.

 Growing up, I wore hand me down clothes, some of them the most awful things you can imagine. I was teased a lot in school, never had many friends. Got into a lot of fights. And obviously as the daughter of a preacher, I went to church.....ALL THE TIME.

 While growing up in church I was allowed to witness the hypocrisy of people. I saw hate, I saw judgement, I saw people be downright mean....deacons, pillars of the church....a sham and a lie.

 I watched my father, pour his heart and his soul into the church, and watched him often be judged wrongly for it. Although he demonstrated great faith to us growing up, for the most part it was just his faith and his faith alone, rarely did it encompass the masses who attended church and sat under his preaching. To be fair, there were one or two along the way who did in fact demonstrate the love of Christ.

 I grew up pretty mixed up, pretty messed up. Seeking something that I could never quite lay my hands on. And I grew up very angry at God. I was angry at God, but I downright hated Christians. I called myself an atheist, which is also sort of funny as when anything bad happened (and it happened a lot) I would shake my hands at the heavens and curse the God of which I did not believe existed.

 Being raised on the Bible I knew it pretty well. I learned how to twist it, how to use it against those who (Lord help them, Lord forgive me) had the courage to try and reach me with it.

 I never did this with my father, I think in my heart I had too much respect for all the things I had witnessed growing up, the hardships he endured, how he tried as best he could to make things right......but I in truth thought him to be an old fashioned, uneducated fool.....although one I loved very much. LOL I expect my children most likely think the same of me now. God sure does have a sense of humor!

 I lived my young adult life under the principals that you needed to do unto others before they could do unto you, because I believed for the most part that people and circumstances always let you down.

 I owned a green t-shirt that I loved, it declared Me to the world, it was how I defined said "Proud Bitch". (Hope I am not shocking you too much here).

 During my time in the Air Force, a young Christian lady, whose name I cannot recall but whose face I remember clearly, had the great misfortune of being randomly chosen to be my roommate. She was hardcore, she loved Jesus......and I hated her guts.

 She would always invite me to church and to Bible study, and looking back on it, I admire her for her efforts, she was no coward. I once threw her up against the wall and told her "I hate your Jesus and if you ever mention him to me again I will ________". (okay, pick yourself off the floor now, yes I was downright mean and hostile then.) She told me "I am praying for you".

 I have so often wished that I could remember her name, so I could find her somehow and tell her how things turned out.........but her name is lost to me. I think God has enabled me to clearly remember her face for a reason. I am going to recognize her in heaven, and be able to go up and say "Hey! I bet you never thought you would see ME here?" It should be a delightful conversation.

 I was an angry person, a bitter person, a rather sad person. I expected the worst in people, and therefore never bothered to look for anything good in them. I had no qualms about hurting someones feelings, and lost no sleep at all for those I did hurt. I rarely let anyone get too close to me, and if they did, I tended to pretend as if I did not care about them, and I fully expected them to hurt me. Sometimes I hurt them first just to get it out of the way and behind me.

 A lot of people prayed for me, a lot of people tried to reach me, but it was not really until I had children that my eyes begin to open. I did not think it possible to love someone as much as I did my children. I loved my husband, loved my father, loved my brother, but on the day I held my first born son (and it happened again when I held the second one) I knew that there was nothing I would not do for that child. I would die right there on the spot. I could attempt things that had always terrified me, I could endure any hardship, any pain, any suffering, if it was for their benefit or protection.

 So when my oldest was a little over one year old, God called me, He opened my eyes, I saw myself for what I was, He reached down, removed the heart of stone I had lived with for so very long, and He replaced it with a new heart. Learning how to live with that new heart has been a process, a journey upwards. Learning how to lay aside judgements and prejudices picked up over the years took time, (and I am still in the process) but that day, so long ago, was the day He changed me.

 I am no saint, I am no wonderful, loving,thoughtful, kind person. Or maybe a better way to put that is the me you see now is all Him. Before Him there was hardly any love in me for anyone other than my immediate family. Any kindness, any grace, any mercy that you might see in me, any blessing you receive from knowing me, from reading something I wrote, any help you might receive from my ALL HIM.

 In His grace and in His mercy, He reached down, he took me who had done nothing but fight against Him, and spit on His people, and He changed me. By His grace and mercy (and I cannot help but think His sense of humor) He gifted me with a new heart, one of compassion, one of mercy, one that hurts and bleeds for others. He in His grace, allows me, from time to time, to be His hands, to be His feet, to be His is an honor I often take for granted, and an honor I often fail at. Not a day goes by that I do not fail it in some fashion.

 I confess that it bothers me sometimes, when people praise me, when someone says something positive about something I have written or something I have done. My heart screams at me......what about all the things you should have written and you didn't....what bout all the things you should have done and you failed to do them.......what about the old me that I still fight and struggle with at times !'s all Him or nothing at all. Only He makes it good. Only He can take a life that has nothing of value to offer to anyone, and turn it into something worthwhile. Everything else is vanity, everything else will pass away, only that which He does will last forever.

 Mind you I know people mean well. I know what they are trying to say, and it is appreciated. I just despise myself for any pride I feel towards anything I have done or accomplished.......because I recognize that without Him, I never would have made it this far. I would have been dead and in my grave long ago had He not had other plans for me. Had he not reached down and removed that stony old heart and replaced it with His.

 He can do that with you too, if you are willing. He can take all the hate, all the anger, all the judgements, all the hurt, all the sorrow, He can pluck a heart of stone right out of your chest and replace it with something wonderful. I pray that all who read this find the grace and the mercy that I have found.

 The song below is one that always, always, brings tears to my eyes. It is me. Like that old ugly green t-shirt that I used to love, the one that defined the old me, this song below defines the new me. I hope it defines you also, if not now, then one day, when He calls you.


Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head"
I remember, oh God, You're not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be

Because I don't have to be the old man inside of me
'Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I've got a new name, a new life, I'm not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, 'cause I'm not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, yeah, I'm not who I used to be
Oh, God, I'm not who I used to be
Jesus, I'm not who I used to be
'Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed