How His Grace Found Me:
What was your understanding of God’s grace say, a year or two ago?
A year or two ago I didn’t really give a lot of thought to grace honestly. The extent of how I viewed grace was probably the standard knowledge of being saved by grace, like by the cross of Jesus, through faith, you know, what they teach you in Sunday school about it and I kind of just left it at that I guess.
So tell us your story...
So basically my story starts off with me slipping, ever so slightly. But hey everyone falls sometimes, right? Problem with that was that I didn’t get up after slipping. Instead I just let myself fall deeper and deeper into sin. It started with hanging out with the wrong people to finding myself in a toxic relationship. All along the way, one of my friends (my college roommate who lived with me and saw all of this going on) pointed out all these red flags and I, being blinded by my sin, justified every single one.
It got to the point where I was so far down in the pit of sin that I couldn’t even see the point in living and I doubted the love of the God who made me and saved me. I can’t even remember how it got that bad, but sin can easily become blinders over your eyes, so I guess that’s how.
It was then that God used that same friend to open my eyes. She had people praying for my life that I don’t even know about. That’s why I’m here today, I think. She willingly came into my pit of despair and walked me out and back to Jesus when I felt too shameful and defeated to go to Him on my own. That’s grace right there – God reaching down and picking you back up Himself and even God using someone in such a way that it basically saves your life.
It’s completely undeserved favor. God is so good to us even when we’re at our all-time low. Those are things I had already known – God is good, gracious, loving, merciful, forgiving- but to experience His hand of grace like that was surreal. When I felt too far gone to ever be loved or used by God again, He showed me His grace was deeper – deeper than my shame, deeper than my sorrow, deeper than my sin.
Looking back, I feel silly sometimes when I think about the thought processes I had back then. But it just goes to show you that when you let a little bit of darkness into your heart and let it reside there, it will take you to places you never thought you would go. Get up when you slip, don’t keep sliding. How could I be so far down in sin and be where I am today? Grace. God’s grace.
How was God’s grace real to you because of all this?
Hebrews 4:16 says “Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Before all of this, like I said earlier, I viewed grace as the means by which we were saved, you know, through faith on the cross of Jesus Christ. Of course that’s absolutely accurate. However, through all of this I’ve realized there’s so much more to grace. It’s a continuous thing. What I mean by that it’s God’s hand of grace that helps us in our time of need, our time of struggle, our time of stumbling.
I’ve also learned that there’s no pit so deep that His love is not deeper still. (I think Corrie Ten Boom said that)...We’re never out of the reach of God. He gives grace upon grace like it says in John. Yes, grace saved me the day I gave my heart to Jesus, but grace also covers me daily, which I didn’t realize until recently. Our God is so good to us and always provides, even when the things we need are completely undeserved by our own merit, like His grace.
Anything you want to add?
I guess I just want to add that if anyone is feeling remotely similar to how I felt, know that you’re not too far gone. Sometimes we think because we are saved there’s no possible way we’ll make huge mistakes, but we forget that we’re human. Just because you’re saved doesn’t mean you won’t fall, sometimes even in huge ways, but remember how big God is.
He is a gracious and merciful Savior who will meet you where you are. His grace covers you even when you fail, so get back up, wipe the dust off your feet and run full force toward the God who made you, who loves you, and who can deliver you.
On the flip side, be conscious of others. Notice when people are struggling and be willing to let God use you to lift them up and to even walk through the valley they’re in with them until they remember who they are in Christ. Just let God use you however He wants.
Our God is incredible. Listening to Kristen tell this story continually reminds me that God uses these situations which might seem impossible to fix or change or get out of, but He is faithful to take care of us, and when we look back, we see His hand in the situation, even if we did not want to see it at the time. A huge thank you to Kristen for her honesty in sharing her struggle and the amazing grace of God that pulled her out of it!
I will add one thing, just in agreement of what Kristen shared at the end: be aware of those around of you. Notice the little things because they are the largest hints as to what someone could be going through. It sounds super cliché but it is important for us to pay attention to the other members of this Christian family. Encourage each other, pray for and with each other, offer advice if needed, and be a good listener. Point that person to Christ, repeatedly, every day if needed. They will thank you for it.
I hope this was encouraging to all of you, if you are in this situation or not. If not, pay attention and help those who might be. If you are, reach out to someone around you! I am always here to pray and encourage you as well.