Tag Archives: new creation

Trusting Him in Transparency

Originally posted in October of 2013.

I’ve heard it said many times before “us women have to wear so many hats.” Why don’t we change the word, hats to masks? Isn’t that what it really means anyways? I know that’s not how it’s taught, but isn’t that what we as women tend to do? Generally when this term is used, we change our personality based on the “hat” we’re wearing at the time. We act one way at church, another way at home, at the office, out with the girls and when no one is looking.

I used to call myself a chameleon, because I changed my “mask” to suit whatever situation I was in, so that I would be accepted. I used to believe it was a good trait…I was a people person who could fit in anywhere, taking the verse “becoming all things to all people” (1 Corinthians 9:22) way too far AND out of context!

Fast forward: After six years of being single, I felt I was finally ready to re-enter the “dating scene!” I had completely put my trust in the Lord to protect my heart and to choose the right guy for me. I vowed to be the real me-right from the start, genuine. It was important that I portrayed the new me accurately, because I didn’t want to fall into the trap of “taking it up a notch or down a notch” to get a man’s attention, as was the habit in my old lifestyle. My desire was to be loved for me, not some mask I created to be accepted. Thanks be to God, I was a whole person…not a “half looking for another half, trying to make a whole” – I was a whole person looking for another whole person to share my life with, not willing to settle for half of God’s will for my life or even three quarters of it – I wanted His PERFECT WILL!

Not long after mustering up the courage to join an on-line dating site, the Lord brought my attention to the man He had chosen to answer my prayers with. Matt lived nearly five hours away, which forced us to get to know each other long distance. Early on, we exchanged several emails and texts in which I shared pieces of my background, a basic summary.  It wasn’t long before Matt starting asking for details. Despite having told my story on countless stages with hundreds of people in the crowd, I found myself afraid to tell this audience of one.  I feared that the specific details of my past would be “deal breakers” for this promising new relationship.  One night, over the phone, I answered Matt’s questions. I told him… “Matt, I gotta keep it real with you- I know that being vulnerable with you means risking you rejecting the real me, but this is where my trust in the Lord will win over my fear.”

In anticipation of his response, my fear rose, my heart dang near pounded out of my chest and I braced myself for the worst possible outcome. In my mind, I could already hear him say: “Whoa…Michelle, uh…ya…we get along really well and you’re really cool and all, but ya…that’s just too much for me to handle. I don’t think this is going to work out between us.”

He never answered that way, in fact, he responded with, “Wow, you have been through a lot. I can’t even picture you in that lifestyle. I am so proud of the woman you have allowed God to make you into. Thank you for doing the hard work to get healthy. I am so blessed, because of it.” You see, Matt and I have very different pasts. There were SO many details from my past I was obligated to share with him, and he had only about three to tell me! I wanted him to like me so much, but I wondered if a guy “like him” could fall for a girl “like me?” The answer: YES, most definitely YES! You see, despite the choices I made in life, I remained God’s creation and He approved of me and so did the man He had prepared for me.

My faith in the Lord grew to a deeper level when I decided to be the real me and put away the masks I would wear to impress people. A true woman of integrity where my insides matched my outsides, deciding to wear the same “hat” no matter where I was at or what I was doing. Hiding behind the masks to “protect myself” did feel safer, but it wasn’t real. It wasn’t me. What helped me the most was to remind myself that God hand crafted me and loved me for me, right from the beginning, so if God approved of me, then why shouldn’t I?

“If God is for me, who can be against me?” Romans 8:31

DSCF0037

But I Feel Like…

Two years after choosing to live for the Lord, I still felt like a slut. Despite having been forgiven of my past sin,  it was a struggle not to think of myself as a “slut dressed up like a Christian!” I lived with THAT label for so long that it had become my identity. I also l struggled with inappropriate thoughts and desires, which made THAT label more believable. Although my life on the outside looked completely different, it still felt true. I wasn’t having sex or dating, and I hardly made eye contact with men because I was working hard at kicking the addiction. I didn’t dress or act like a slut anymore and I was even teaching purity to young women on a daily basis.

Here’s the bottom line: my feelings were lying to me! I had a habit of dwelling on those negative thoughts and allowing them to permeate my life. Those thoughts made me FEEL unworthy, FEEL fearful of losing my salvation, FEEL inadequate to minister, and FEEL fearful that I might never experience a Godly marriage. However, the TRUTH is that Jesus destroyed that label and gave me a new life with a new identity! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ she/he is made new, old things pass away; behold a new creation.” 1 Corinthians 5:17

There comes a time when you have to make a choice: Are you going to continue basing your identity on how you FEEL, or on the TRUTH of who God says you are?

Brand New

Trying to be strong, I kissed my boys goodbye and watched them walk towards the parking lot with their grandparents. My heart sank, as hot tears streamed down my face. “Here’s to you boys. I’m doing this for you, because you deserve it.” I softly whispered to myself.

As I turned around, the front office lady firmly held onto both of my shoulders, looked deep in my eyes almost to peer into my soul and said “Michelle, I’m so glad you’re here! You are making the right decision. I don’t care who you WERE before you walked through this doorway, I don’t care what label you HAD out there or what people HAVE said about you! God says you are a NEW CREATION, old things pass away and behold a NEW CREATION,” as she pointed to the threshold of the doorway. Tears now pouring from my eyes and down my neck, as I sobbed in this strangers embrace…

I didn’t understand at the time what those words REALLY meant, but they rang in my ears and in my heart for the next year and a half, as I completed drug rehab. Her belief in the word of God and the conviction in her eyes, as she boldly proclaimed the truth, gave me the assurance that I was in the right place at the right time.

Fast forward 7 1/2 years, I now live a brand new life. That scripture used to be just words that someone else believed, but now they are my reality.

Therefore, if anyone is IN Christ, he is a NEW creation; the old has gone, the NEW has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17