Last week was self injury awareness day, and for me that was a day that holds a lot of importance. For years I struggled with self injury and it will always be something that shows a great testimony of God’s power in my life that I have been freed from it.
On that day last week, and for a few days after, I was reflecting a lot about how great God is and thinking about all that He has delivered me from. Sometimes I go about my life as it is now and I forget about the things I used to struggle with. I forget about how much pain I was in as a young girl and teenager and how lost I was. I forget about why I loved Jesus so much in the first place and why I want to be in ministry. That’s something I think that a lot of us who feel called to ministry face.
Because of the great work God has done in our lives we feel so strongly that we want to help other people experience what we got to, but somewhere along the way we forget why we wanted to be here in the first place.
We’re going along and doing what we think God wants us to do but we forget why. And then, we face a difficult day or season in our ministry, or we encounter a person who is very lost and we can’t face it with the same love that we should be able to. We look at that mountain in front of our ministry and we aren't sure if we want to keep serving. Or we look at that crazy teenager and wonder what they're thinking and hope someone else takes them out or invites them over because we can’t believe the choices they make and we don't want to deal with a lost cause.
I found myself in this spot the other day. I was looking at a situation, and thinking about a person and my thoughts were hopeless. I didn't want to try anymore and I was sure that nothing would change.
Then I started thinking back on my life and all that God has done and I regained hope. I thought about that 15 year old girl who tried everything in the book from cutting to drinking to boys, all to try and numb her pain.
I thought about that girl who struggled with those things for years, and who didn't want anything to do with church. That girl who was mad at God because of the things she went through at home. Then I thought about that girl who eventually went to a youth group, and eventually raised her hands to songs in worship…then who fell back out of church and started partying and living in sin again. Who fell back to old addictions that called out to her.
And I thought about the God that still pursued me relentlessly and how I ended up at the church I still call my home today.
I thought about how I fell in love with Jesus and started saying no to all of my old habits and addictions and April 20, 2014 when I got baptized. I thought about how God called me into ministry and how privileged I am that God made a place for me to serve and lead. I thought about the woman I am today and how vastly different I am from that 15 year old girl that on the days I forget all of this, I would call a lost cause.
So my heart for writing this to all of you leaders today is this: don't forget to remember.
Don't forget to remember where you came from, and where you were. Don't forget to remember what God rescued you from and brought you out of. Don't forget how amazed you are at the difference in yourself because that is what makes us able to do ministry the way we need to. That is what makes us able to see the potential in each child, teenager, woman, and man that we will come across as we serve.
Remembering is what will help us love the way we need to love, and stay constant in pursuing the people that God has called us to pursue. When we remember all that God has done, we will face ministry and life itself with new eyes and new hearts and what God will do from there will be more thanwe could ever imagine. And if we do that, there will be countless other people that will be able to look at their lives and remember just like we can. I know at least for me, that is why I serve.
So every day I will try my best to not forget to remember.
Epeshians 2:1-13 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.