Rewriting the Story {Part 1}

I was a baby believer, seated in a circle of women, my hands clenched tight in my lap, as I listened to their tales of renewal, restoration, and salvation out of the pits of despair. Their testimonies spoke of transformation the likes of which I had never experienced—the former washed away, the new rushing in, and life never being the same again.

I counted across the bodies as the circle closed in and my turn drew near.

There was a brief moment of temptation to dramatize my conversion. Could I insert a dark alley, a scandalous choice, some incredible rescue from a life set far apart from Christ?

I knew enough to know that lying wasn’t the best lead in for my salvation story.

Life didn’t feel that much different to me after than it did before. But, just because I was “good” before I knew Christ, didn’t mean I was better off than any woman in that circle.

Over the years I’ve come to realize that I was worse off.

While God redeemed them out of former sins, my “goodness” continues to haunt me to this very day. The people-pleaser, perfection seeking, prone to worry, fearful to fail variety of sin is not quite as easy to shake.

We each have a story of how we found God (or how He found us). As I’ve reminisced over my spiritual birthday, I’ve come to realize that my real story, the one that speaks of the power of Christ in my life, isn’t born out of my beginnings.

My true testimony isn’t about how I came to Christ, but instead why I’ve stayed.

That’s been the real work of faith.

Giving Him my life first was easy compared to the day in and day out battle of surrender. The God who swept me off my feet nearly twenty years ago is the same One who has kept me standing, but He sure looks different to me.

Then, God seemed austere and aloof. I knew I needed to come to Him to make things right. While in my mind, my “rights” seemed to vastly outnumber my “wrongs”, it just made sense to me that if Christ was willing to give His life for me, I ought to give mine back—I owed Him that.

I spent those first few years trying to pay back a debt that I won’t ever repay.

And then my heart caught up with my head. God became MY God.

He moved from a book of rules, right vs. wrong, and black vs. white to love, relationship, and genuine intimacy.

Honestly, those two gods still battle in my mind. And I think it’s that small version of god that keeps so many people at bay. The ones who fail to see my God who loves relentlessly, forgives lavishly, and desires earnestly to draw near to us.

They see law instead of grace.
They see manipulation where there is friendship.
They feel distance while He is whisper close.

That’s why our stories, the real stories bathed in honesty and a visible heart, are so important. Not necessarily the volumes on who God was to us then (though no one will steal that from us), but the stories about who God is to us now.

Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives … it’s written with Spirit on spirit, His life on our lives!
2 Corinthians 3:3,6 MSG

Who He is when you hurt. Who He is when you wonder.
Who He is over piles of laundry, with kids fighting in the back seat, at the job you don’t like, in the doctor’s office, standing over a casket, staring down the feared unknown.

Who is He when life feels hard? Who is He when faith feels harder?

Those are the stories we have to tell …

About how He reaches into the everyday and meets us exactly where we need Him—in our weakness, in our frailty, in our never good enough goodness. About how He conquers rules and law—how He reduced Himself down to our level on the cross and keeps Himself there every single day.

How He understands that we don’t understand and that we are simply flesh yearning for Spirit but constantly missing its mark.

Because after twenty some years of walking with God, that’s the story I need to hear – and the one I’ve committed to tell. That I haven’t arrived and I shouldn’t expect too this side of heaven.

That the days will still be hard, faith will always be a fight, and the gods will continue to battle inside me because God is still fighting for me until we can finally be home together one day.

rewriting the story

The years have proven that my wrongs will always outnumber my rights and that the Only Way to undo them is to give my life to Him every single day. 

The real story is not about what He did, but what He continues to do … and why I still believe Him for it. Why I always will.

** Linking up with the beautiful blogging communities and the friends of my heart, Holley GerthMeredith BernardKristin Hill Taylor, and Jennifer Dukes Lee.

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18 thoughts on “Rewriting the Story {Part 1}

  1. This is beautiful! The day when God becomes “MY God,” is a life-altering day. Forever. My story is similar to yours in trying to repay a debt I couldn’t begin to. We can live out the faith He’s places within us, and keep sharing Him with others. I’m glad we can encourage each other as we do so in this faith. Bless you for sharing more of your story! Much love.

    1. Having that personal relationship with a God of grace does make all the difference…knowing that He loves us without condition and that we don’t have to try to earn that love. I’m so glad we can encourage each other too, Julie. So glad you visited today. Have a blessed week ahead.

  2. Can I tell you that I get a few blogs that come to my email and my intentions to always read them but alas I am not able…but today, I had to read yours. Spot on! And words I think so many need to hear who are struggling with sitting in those groups wanting to have that BIG moment. I could say so much but I will simply say, Thank YOU!

    1. Aww…how blessed am I that the words made it to you and Thank YOU for choosing to read them. It’s my heart that in telling my story it gives women the power to tell theirs no matter how big or small it feels…or they feel! Thanks for your encouragement. Blessings to you!

  3. “My true testimony isn’t about how I came to Christ, but instead why I’ve stayed. That’s been the real work of faith.” –> YES, yes, yes. I love all you words here, but these lines? Such power and encouragement. Our faith stories matter. I am so grateful for the way you share here. xoxo

    1. It’s so funny cuz when the Lord gave me those words (while I was brushing my teeth!) I wondered if I could say them…or should. But it’s truth…that first moment of faith was right and good and I’m so grateful God got my attention, but it’s the 1000 moments of faith after that are the real truth of His work in my life. So glad the enemy didn’t snatch the words! Grateful for you, friend and your faithful encouragement!

        1. Lol…and in the shower and when I vacuum…maybe it’s because I’m still and focused and God’s just gotta nail me with them! And if I don’t write them down…poof, gone! 😄

  4. Oh I love this! I think we forget that just because we’ve had that “moment” doesn’t mean temptation and bad choices won’t follow us still. Thanks for sharing this, it’s beautiful and encouraging!!

    1. Thank you, Rachel…so glad you were encouraged! Oh yes, those temptations and bad choices lurk around every day don’t they?! Thankfully the Spirit is with us always and gives us the power to fight…for Him, with Him.

  5. Beautiful, my friend! Thanking the Lord for your testimony. It resounds in my heart and I am sure in many others. Keep writing and reminding us that God is finished with us yet!

  6. I found you via the Coffee For Your Heart linkup. I love the line where you said it wasn’t about why you came to Christ, but why you’ve stayed. Very well said.

  7. Tiffany, you tell a familiar story. I was always a good girl growing up, but then I made some really bad choices. I’m a pretty good mixture of both worlds… But still struggle with rye reality that I don’t have to do anything for Him to love me… Nor have I done anything that can can keep Him from loving me. And you’re right, working this faith out is so much harder now than it was in the beginning. One of my pastors said that exact same thing in a good Friday service during baptism. I love your heart and your words and the way it comes through in your writing. I’m glad we’re in this working out faith together. xo

    1. I struggle there too, Meredith … His love is one of those GIANT things that feels like we’ll never quite get our small heads wrapped around. I’m so grateful He loves us in spite of our ability to understand…and yes, in light of our ongoing mistakes! I’m so glad we’re in this together too – it just makes all the difference. Love you, friend. xo back at ya!

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