I've sought the Lord many times on whether or not to share it in its entirety here on my blog.
The main reason that I haven't yet is because I'm waiting.
Waiting on what, you ask?
I'm waiting like Joseph did.
I'm hoping and praying while I'm waiting, and I'm growing in grace (truly) and in the knowledge of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ while I'm waiting.
Joseph is such an amazing example in my life. He was deeply hurt by his brothers, endured heartache after heartache as a result of their decision to sell him into slavery, yet Scripture repeatedly says this about Joseph: "But the LORD was with Joseph."
With every trial, with every false accusation...the LORD was with Joseph.
We never know what other people have endured in their lifetimes, but I think that the older we get, the more we realize that most people have endured something.
The evidence of HOW they've made it through their heartaches is found in the fruit of their life.
Did they grow bitter? Do they live blaming others? Are they stuck in the past pains?
Or, did they entrust those heartaches and disappointments to the Lord?
Have they allowed their griefs to be what has driven them into a deeper relationship of abiding in Christ?
Anytime that I'm asked to speak before a group of women, I'm very transparent about what I've lived through...the sin of others that has caused such pain, as well as my own sinful choices before I was in covenant with Jesus.
My beloved friend Kay Arthur taught me the value of being real with people...I learned from her that by doing so, it frees others up to be honest about areas of their own lives that have kept them in bondage...areas that they need to surrender to Jesus Christ and be set free.
When I teach or share my testimony, there are always women who come up afterward and ask to talk. Or, there are phone calls that come in over the following few weeks.
The precious ladies open up and tell me their stories...stories of abuse; adultery; abortion; abandonment...and every time I think to myself,
"You use it all, LORD. You truly do turn ashes into beauty for Your glory. You truly do bottle every tear that falls. You are TRUE!"
It's an awesome privilege to have another woman open up to me and share that which has most burdened her heart. It's a gift to sit with her and pray over her, trusting and knowing that Jesus wants her free and gave His life to ensure she could be.
Ladies...please hear me on this. Those words whispered to you from another woman about her trials and heartaches are SACRED. DO NOT utter them to other people.
Be a Titus 2 woman...one from whom the younger women can trust and learn.
And if you're a younger woman, find some older Titus 2 women and let them pour into your life.
As I continue to seek God about when and where to share my testimony I will tell you this much...there are parts of it I've chosen not to share here, even though I know without question that it would give great hope to others who have lived through what I did.
Why? Because to do so might forever shut doors of opportunity for the Gospel to go forth to the very ones from my past who need it the most.
The reality for me is this...
Only through the power of Christ in me, I've forgiven without being asked to. Joseph did the same.
I'm praying for a day of reconciliation like God gave Joseph. It seems an impossibility to me, but I know that nothing is impossible for God.
I'm hoping for salvation for many in my family. Joseph told his brothers that God sent him before them to preserve life. I'm hoping for the same with these family members, spiritually speaking.
What an awesome thing to KNOW that while I'm praying, and hoping, and waiting...
The LORD is with me!
And not only with me, but His Spirit dwells within me.
If you're a Believer, a true child of God in Christ Jesus, His Spirit dwells within you also!
Thus, there isn't anything you can't forgive, because He will enable and empower you to forgive others as you have been forgiven by Him.
You can't live a life of true forgiveness and be in bondage to bitterness at the same time.
Much love to you tonight,
"The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them."