"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20 (NIV)
Whenever I've stepped out to do something I felt God calling me to do, the voices of criticism and condemnation have been there to greet me. Early on in ministry the voices were loud and cruel. "You'll never be a speaker." "You are not wanted." "Look at you. Do you really think God could use someone like you?"
Sometimes I measured myself against other people. "She's so clever. She's so educated. She's so connected. Who am I compared to all that?" Gradually, I shrank back. I pulled away. I put up a front of perfection with carefully crafted words and a house and kids that looked just right.
Polished on the outside, yet completely undone on the inside.
Eventually the Lord called my bluff. I was simultaneously going through the books Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Victory Over the Darkness by Neil Anderson. Often tears streamed from my eyes while attempting to get through the lessons. But one day it was more than just tears. It was sobs pouring from a chest so heavy with burdens I thought I might literally break apart.
Down on my face, I asked God to speak to me. What I heard in reply was one simple, life-changing question: Will you share your story?
"Yes, I will share my story. The good parts that are safe and tidy and acceptable."
But safe and tidy and acceptable were not what God was looking for. He wanted the impossible.
Absolutely impossible ... in my strength.
God met every one of my arguments with scriptures about relying not on my strength, but on His.
He untangled my need for approval with the challenge to live for an audience of One. He helped me see where the voices of doubt were coming from and challenged me to consider the source. And, quite simply, God kept whispering He loved me over and over again.
The first time I shared my story was an act of absolute obedience. I kept my head down and my guard up. I expected the ladies listening to stone me ... especially when I got to the part about my abortion. The shame of childhood abuse and rejection was nothing compared to the shame of my choice to abort my child.
I'd wept over that choice.
I'd gone to God hundreds of times and asked for forgiveness.
I'd laid it down every time there was an altar call.
But nothing brought the redemption that day brought. As I shook at that podium, I shared exactly what God asked me to.
And then the miracle happened.
When I finished and dared to look up, tear-stained faces were looking back at me. Mouths were whispering, "Me too. Me too."
In that moment, I finally understood the meaning behind Genesis 50:20, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
Seeing God use the very thing that made me feel utterly worthless to help others changed everything. I was finally breaking free from Satan's chains of shame and could see his lies for what they were. In that moment, I felt victorious—not in my own power, but in the Lord's strength and ability to use all things for good.
My saying yes to God gave others the courage to say yes to Him as well. Burdens were lifted. Lives were changed. Hidden secrets were touched by grace. It's a beautiful thing when women say yes to God. In what way is He calling you to say yes?
Dear Lord, thank You for making the impossible, possible. Thank You for taking every event in my life and using it for good. You are worthy to be praised. I want to follow Your plan for my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond: What has God placed on your heart to share with others?
Be intentional in encouraging someone with a compliment, positive note, or text message today. The Lord wants to use our words in our own lives, as well others'.
Power Verse: Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (NIV)
Taken from What Happens When Women Say Yes to God Devotional © Copyright 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. Published by Harvest House Publishers. Eugene, OR. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
© 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org