I remind you, to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God."
My hope for this blog is to broadcast far and wide how great God is, but I am ashamed.
I only came to realize this today. I'm not ashamed to call myself a Christian. I'm quite proud of that. I'm not ashamed to proudly proclaim that I am a CATHOLIC Christian, whether others agree with the Church's teachings or not.
I am not ashamed to shout from the rooftops the wonderful way that God spared my life and allowed me to survive my Cardiac Arrest, which was nothing short of miraculous! Having received such an incredible gift should have me giving up my day job to stand on the street corners and tell every passing motorist that God loves them SO much. If they knew just how much God REALLY TRULY LOVES them, they'd park their car and spread the word with me! I'm not even ashamed to do that!
I'm ashamed of the other part. If I had hours to give my testimony, there are the other parts that we don't talk about in polite conversation. There are parts of ALL of our testimonies that we just kind of brush over or avoid all together because they require us to admit to the truth of the choices we've made. We have to admit that we are weak and broken. We have to admit that we have problems leaving the juicy bits of life alone. We have to admit that we have made horribly bad choices, and throughout the consequences of those horrible choices, God has loved us and held us and carried us through to a life we never dreamed could be so good. I'm ashamed to admit that I've chosen the wrong path again and again, knowing it was wrong and hurtful, but "I do what I want" was my motto, and no one (even GOD) was going to tell me differently!
I can't tell you how BLESSED and FORTUNATE I am to be where I am now, if you don't know where I was then! I am ashamed of who I used to be when I was so lonely, unloved and afraid, and turned to alcohol to numb my thoughts, and allowed myself to be treated like an object that didn't have any value. But if you don't know that part of my testimony, then the goodness of God's mercy is watered down. How can you know the depths of God's goodness if you don't truly know the depths of my badness? For God to save a Godly person isn't really why Jesus came here in the first place. He came for those of us who were drunkards and carousers, losers and lowlifes.
The really spectacular part of my testimony is that God saw fit to hold ME in His warm embrace. He let me feel how His pure love could heal and perfect everything within me. Then he sent me back to live it. He saved me, but he also healed me. I have nothing to be ashamed of, because I can now boast that God is loving and merciful enough to show compassion to the likes of me! I can't tell my story if I give in to shame.
God, I pray that you will give us all the strength to be honest so your true goodness can be known!