In the past, I have heard many conversations about grace, testimonies, and so forth, but I have not truly seen a raw and vulnerable story for quite some time. Last night and today, I decided to sit down and begin writing who I am, my story, and every single thing that was laid on my heart in the moment, and I have written eighteen pages in the last twenty-four hours, and I just got done to write this very post here. After I post this, I am aching to get back to my journal and begin writing more and more, for I am pouring my heart out, and it feels amazing to be raw, vulnerable, and open without limits about the unending love and grace of Jesus.
Sadly, we don’t see those raw testimonies as much, and it’s disheartening.
Where are the I am a broken and unworthy sinner, but I am saved by grace stories?
Where are the, “I was addicted to alcohol” testimonies?
Where are the, “I was addicted to drugs” testimonies?
Where are the, “I was deep in the shadow of death” testimonies?
Where are the “I was addicted to porn” testimonies?
Where are the “I was a slave of the world” testimonies?
Where are the raw, broken testimonies of the redeeming power of Jesus Christ at?
I yearn to hear how a person drank from the well of the living water as they were dried up bones living in such dirtiness of their sin. I yearn to look into a person’s eyes and see the path they have walked, and I yearn for a person to pour their heart out about how God is amazing, about how God has brought them out of the shadow of the valley of death and has placed them onto solid ground, and I yearn to hear about the struggles and battles that do not meet the eye.
None of us are perfect, and we can try to be perfect as much as we want, but we will always fail and fall, for Christ was the only perfect person to walk the earth. The reality is, is that no one is perfect, instead we are far from perfection due to being born with sin.
In fact, we are messy.
Every single one of us.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Our hearts are dirty, our flesh will seek what the Lord calls bad, our hearts have sinned, and our sin has placed Jesus on the cross. None of us are pretty in our sinful state, but the glorious thing about grace, is that Jesus died so that our ashes could be turned into beauty.
“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23
The walk that we as Christians walk require us to bear our cross, for being a Christian is not easy. We have to deny what we want, we have to fight temptation, our feelings, and so forth, and we have to fight a world that is against God while also being a light on a hill. Whoever said that the narrow path is easy does not truly walk on it, for if the narrow path was easy, then Jesus would not have said that only few walk it.
Jesus suffered in public, Jesus was beaten in public, Jesus was mocked in public, and we should share our stories with shouts of praise, for Christ died for that brokenness. Yes, you will struggle as a Christian, and there will be moments where the struggle is so great that you cannot take another step, but Christ has declared victory in your life, and with His strength, He will keep you afloat.
Now, I can personally attest that I have kept silent on my story for a long time, for I, too, was afraid of what people would think about me, and it was holding me back. I have a story of grace, redemption, and I have a story as to why I am pro-life, (which is my adoption story, and you can read here,) and this can truly show God’s mercy and glory, yet here I was holding it back to due to fear, but no more shall I do that.
No more trying to “fit into the perfect mold,” and no more hiding the wounds that Jesus died for, because I am a woman saved by grace, and I will share my story, and no one will victimize it or call me anything less than what I am, for I am a child of God, and nothing can say different.
The world wants us to be “victims,” and I am against that ideology. I am not a victim, no one in Christ is a victim, for we have been rescued from that fate, and we have been adopted as children of God by grace. Yes, I have a story, but guess what? It isn’t my definition, for who I am is rooted in Christ.
We are not defined by our stories or our brokenness, for we all have stories of redemption and grace, Just because you have battles, it does not define you, for if you are saved by grace, your identity is in Christ, not sin.
“And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness
And of Your praise all the day long.” Psalm 35:28
It’s time we start sharing our tender stories of brokenness, it is time that we begin by saying, “I am not that perfect Christian, and I never will be,” it’s time we begin saying, “I am a sinner who is saved by grace, not by my works,” and it is time we stop allowing the past or our brokenness to define us, for we are more than the pain of our stories, for we are worth more in the eyes of Jesus.
Noah was a drunk,
David was a cheater,
Rahab was a prostitute,
Paul was a murderer of Christians before Jesus met Him on the road to Damascus.
However, they were all redeemed, they all laid down their sin, and they all bore the name of the Lord, and they were no longer defined by those sins. When we think of David, we think of a man after God’s heart, not a cheater. When we think of Paul, we think of his letters to the early churches, not a murder, and when we think about anyone that loved the Lord within the Bible, we think about their dedication to Christ, not their sin, because their identity was found in Christ, and Christ washed their sins clean by grace.
“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36
When Christ sets you free, you are free indeed, and no sin, battle, or transgression of the past is your definition, so share your story with someone, be a light, and do not worry about perfection. This was a lesson I had to learn, and it had taken me some time to learn it, but I am not “Christina the “broken woman,” but I am Christina, the woman saved by grace, the woman justified and redeemed, and that person is you as well.
No, our walk with Christ is not easy, we all can attest to that. The entire point of picking up our cross shows that the walk is not easy, for the cross is heavy, but His grace and presence is so sweet, and our eternity with Christ in heaven is worth carrying 1,000 crosses, so it’s time we begin conversing about brokenness and our stories.
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”” Revelation 21:4
Our eternity with Jesus is worth fighting our battles, and our eternity with Jesus is worth every struggle, battle, and every valley we may go through, for though we will struggle and sin, the end of our destination is sweeter than the wide path, for the narrow path leads to the kingdom of heaven where sin has no reign and is not allowed.
It is time we allow raw, genuine, vulnerable, and broken testimonies and conversations to happen, for we are all broken people who have stories of grace, and when we place faith over fear, nothing can hold us back from the hope found in Christ, so let’s bare our stories, let’s publicly show our cross carrying, and let’s stop the perception of “Christians have to be perfect,” because the fact is, is that we are Christians because we aren’t perfect, not the other way around.
However, though we are not perfect, this does not give us the excuse to do as we please, for grace was not meant to be cheapened or lesser in value. We must fight our flesh, for our flesh is against Christ, and we must fight the world, for the world is against Christ. Though we may sin and fall short of the glory of God, we must not use grace as an excuse to walk the wide path, for the wide path leads to destruction while the narrow path leads to Christ.
I will forever love genuine and honest conversations, for Jesus’s death was raw, it was public, and He was in His most vulnerable state as people watched Him die on a cross. People watched as Christ died for us, people laughed at Him as He cried out to God, people mocked His glory, and people waited for the moment He took His last breath.
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57
That was the most vulnerable moment of Jesus; the public humiliation that He faced. He did not die in private for only a few eyes, but He died for all eyes to see, and He was made a spectacle of laughter, jokes, and mockery, so if Jesus can die, be beaten, and be mocked in public, then let us share our stories of grace and redemption in public, for Christ died so that we could publicly live in His grace, joy, and victory.
Jesus died for our shame, and we should never let anything make us feel shame for being saved by grace. No matter how “bad” it may seem, no story is “too broken” for God, for He turns ashes into beauty, and He makes beautiful things out of the dust; therefore, let us begin sharing those raw stories, let us begin to break down the walls, and let us all remember that it is “grace, not perfection,” for Christ died so that you could live in His presence, so let the raw, honest, and vulnerable conversations begin, for you never know who you will impact with your story.