This morning as I was reading my Bible and writing in my prayer journal, I could not focus. So instead of praying I started flipping back through prayers of years past. And I was startled to read this from February 2006 (forgive the grammar):
Lord honestly I look at my life and think - how could God use me, so mired in my own sin? And I am scared, almost terrified that your going to kill one of the kids or take us through some horrible ordeal to sanctify us. Is that warped? God, I still don't trust you, and I'm sorry. I'm scared of what you are going to do to me. I think of Jeremiah about the plans you have, plans to give a future and a hope, and I think, oh, that's heaven. Heaven is our future, and Jesus is our hope; but Lord, I do not look forward to anything -- except visits from relatives, nap time, and the possibility of moving from Boone.
Wow. I would like to take the Me of 2006 in my arms and just give her a big, long hug, because she is one depressed, frightened little soul. Nowhere in that prayer does she "grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ..this love that surpasses knowledge -- that you maybe filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (Eph. 3:19) No, I was convinced that God was out to get me, and that life this side of eternity was hopeless.
It amazes me that during this time I was counseling and discipling college girls and being about the ministry when inside, I was quietly waiting for God to drop the hammer. And I probably gave those girls good counsel because I knew the good news of the gospel and could explain God's grace and forgiveness to anyone who needed it, but the truth was only in my mind and had yet to take root in my heart and soul.
The reason I tell you all of this is because that prayer, though so sad to read, was a source of encouragement for me this morning. For get this: I am not who I once was. I no longer believe that God can't use me because of my sin, because I know that Jesus has taken it away, so far away I couldn't go get it to use as a testimony against myself even if I tried. And not only can He use me, but He loves me. He loves me with a love that "surpasses knowledge" and invites me to "taste and see that the Lord is good." (Psalm 34:8a)
He was with me through those dark times of doubt and self-loathing, and He is still with me now. And so I can say today with good ol' King David (who had his fair share of dark times):