I remember the overwhelming confliction of being renewed, yet not knowing what to do with that truth. I remember feeling the conviction of who I was now -- a child of God -- but not sure what that meant. I had been saved by God’s grace alone, but I was alone, without community. I pushed through the next year stumbling over that reality.
The person I was trying to leave behind was caught up in the reckless allure of immediate satisfaction -- like many of us -- and chased holiness with worldly definitions. My mind was warped with toxins from rebellion and desolation. A tormented way to live. But is that not truly the world we live in? The flesh we fight? The sin we were born into?
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Jesus met me in that dark pit. This is what I knew: for by grace you have been saved. But I didn’t understand what the next step was. What was I supposed to do?
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ’If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24)
The craving was there. The desire was there. But the passion to take this newfound grace-filled identity and make it useful was often met with defeat. Met with more questions and more wandering. It wasn’t until a year later, after I moved back home and got plugged into a church community, I started to truly see. A woman took me in. She prayerfully considered who I was and my place in her life and then invited me into it.
She intentionally pursued my heart with a kind of capacity I didn’t know existed. She poured into me the gospel and held me accountable for my thoughts. With patience and grace she walked me through the structure of this thing called faith, taught me the tools and, most importantly, lived it all out in front of me. I was a part of her family. I found a community of faith. I witnessed firsthand the daily walk of a believer, and then the daily walk of a wife and then a mother and a leader. Her vulnerabilities, past and present, were open to me. I remember feeling safe and loved despite the dark history of my previous identity. She guided me through it all.