We stood hand in hand in a big circle around the room.
Over 30 women from different walks of life.
All with a story…..
Some with loss still waging war on their souls….
Yet they were grateful.
I stumbled into this group on accident.
I was asked to share a devotion at KARM’S Serenity Shelter.
I came away changed.
How these women press on is nothing short of a miracle out of GOD’S playbook.
My heart was so excited to return this month to celebrate Thanksgiving.
A precious sisterhood of women from our church have been going for months to love on this magnetic group. And yes my heart is now knit to these special women who have been serving faithfully.
We do simple activities, play games, eat, laugh and pray with them.
This month we took a THANKSGIVING tree to hang ornaments of gratefulness on.
It struck me it could easily be a TESTIMONY tree.
Reading the ornaments made my heart swell…..much like the Grinches crusty heart did when the “Whos” showed him unconditional love.
I find myself thinking about these ladies all the time.
We go to love and encourage them….
We come out loved on and encouraged.
They are so grateful we come.
It’s ever so obvious they love us too.
Cassandra came in late from her job having missed the opportunity to share what she was thankful for earlier.
As we stood holding hands for prayer to end our evening, she spoke with humble eloquence.
“I am thankful for a second chance. Ladies, we have all been given a second chance. Because we belong to JESUS, we get another chance at life. HE lives in all of us girls….HE is inside of us. I am so thankful for that.”
The humility in her voice as it cracked literally split my heart.
Earlier in the evening I prayed with four other ladies ranging in age from 20 ~ 55 years old..
The prayer requests were not of the material means….instead they consisted of….
Restored relationships and Salvation for their families….
Freedom from addiction for their families….
Requests for favorable results for upcoming educational testing, court dates, custody hearings.
They weren’t ashamed to share how long they had been sober…clean…..drug free.
I marveled in their humility wrapped in gratefulness.
Their stories are not pretty by any means….
In fact their stories are shocking to someone like me who lives in a bubble.
Yet they shared….unashamed of their brokenness….with ugly details….ugly facts….ugly consequences.
Transparency is key to humility.
Transparency is necessary in GOD’S eyes.
I can’t help but think about the ugly details in my life…the ugly facts…the ugly consequences.
I am not so brave to share such things with my sisters.
The LORD whispered in my ear…
“It’s because of your pride, Mel.”
Pride keeps GOD at a distance in our lives.
Pride breaks down truth.
Pride hinders the SPIRIT’S desire to work in and through us.
Is there a broken place in your life GOD worked for good?
Are you ashamed to share it?
When we hide our broken stories….
We deny GOD’S glory.
We deny HIS work in our lives….
We cheat GOD….
We cheat ourselves…..
This THANKSGIVING can we lay down the pride?
Can we allow GOD to work through our ugly, sordid brokenness?
Can we let go of the shame of our weaknesses and let GOD do HIS work? HIS will?
Can we ignore Satan’s attempt to silence our stories?
Can we start living transparent in JESUS CHRIST?
We keep too many struggles secret…..yet we probably all struggle with the same things…. doubt, greed, jealousy, hate, bitterness, lust, selfishness, insecurity ….and the list could go on and on.
In this 5 day series of THANKSGIVING I have challenged you each day to do draw closer to the GIVER by thinking different…being different…engaging GOD in a different way.
I can think of no greater way to start engaging GOD ….than laying down our pride and letting HIM have HIS way with our stories.
Instead of being ashamed of your places of brokenness…..
Be THANKFUL for the GLORY GOD has worked in your life….
And pass it on.
Start sharing what you have overcome…
What God’s done in your life that no one can see on the surface.
The truth will set us free…..
But GOD wants to use our truth to set others free as well.
Happy Thanksgiving friends….
May you engage JESUS in a way like never before.
To worship our LORD please click this link from the Elevation Worship Team. Ask GOD to give you the boldness to share the broken places in your life.