Throwing Off the Guilt and Shame of the Past

A lot of times, I think the goal of my story is to be as clean and perfect and put-together as possible. That’s the kind of story, my pride thinks, that will leave a lasting impact. I couldn’t be more wrong. Those stories don’t resonate with people, because there are none of those people out there.

So it’s when I open up the messy parts of my story, the parts I sometimes wish I could erase, but through which I have found rich redemption through Christ, that I have a chance of leaving a lasting impact. That’s what I began to realize when I took the Ezer course in the fall of 2012.

It had been more than 10 years since the messiest stage of my life, and I had spent those years trying to forget it ever happened. As a high school and college student, I fell into a pattern of relationships where I sought intimacy, both emotional and physical, with other women. Sometimes it seemed so fulfilling, but all the time, if I looked just a bit deeper, I could see that I was in bondage to these relationships, and that they were clearly not healthy.

I felt ashamed because I already knew Christ. But I managed to justify the relationships to myself, or when I was convicted and tried to turn away, I grew weak and fell back into bondage.

Finally, a time came where God reached in and pierced my heart, to the point that I sought help from a support group for people trying to overcome same-sex attraction. I spent some intense time with God over a period of months, and received some wise and helpful counsel through the group. Eventually I came to a place where I felt victorious.

But then, as the self-perceived victor, I ran from the idea of letting this struggle be part of my story and my testimony, and tried to bury it deep in my past. I have a happy marriage now, and two children, but I also had a story that I wasn’t allowing God to use. As I worked through the Ezer course, I began to realize that I would not reach a place of full redemption and reconciliation until I could throw off the guilt and shame of my past, know completely that I was forgiven for the wrong, and then embrace that part of my life as a part of the story God’s given me to share.

My Ezer small group was essential in helping me reach this point, as for the first time in more than a decade, I opened up and spoke about this old struggle of mine. You build yourself up to believe that, when you reveal the shame of your past, your friends will recoil in horror. It’s a lie. Your friends, your sisters in Christ, will reach out to you with encouragement and love.

I don’t know what God will do in your life through the Ezer study, but I believe that if you open your heart up to him, he will work in a powerful way.

This is the last week to register for our fall study, Redeeming Sexuality, available on all of our campuses.  All women are encouraged to participate in this powerful study of healing, hope and redemption around the issue of sex and sexuality.  Click here for details and to register now.
~A Grace Church member