Before belonging to a church, I was fearful of being judged by their members. What would they think, and how would they treat me if they knew my story? If they knew my sins. Would they still smile as I walked in on Sunday and welcome me? Would they always pray over me and for [...]
All the parts that make up Jess, that make me me, don't fall to the wayside because I talk about God, how Jesus saved me or how the Holy Spirit flows through me – it highlights them. Growing up, I had the nickname Salt because I was blonde, and my cousin, a brunette, had the nickname Pepper. Imagine my heart swelling the first time I read Matthew 5:13-16 and understood what Salt & Light encompassed, that Salt means to "deliberately seek to influence the people in one's life by showing them the unconditional love of Christ through good deeds." This promise was spoken over my life without even realizing it. Why would I ever choose to deny that blessing?
We all talk about how Jesus ate with sinners, yet we choose which sinners we invite to our tables. We categorize the sins that are common to our own because those are more comfortable. We are all actively sinning each day. If not out of our mouths, then in our thoughts and our hearts. Yes, even you and me.
It took me thirty-eight years to understand that it wasn't so much that you didn't raise me as it was that you couldn't raise me. That there was a difference in ability rather than responsibility and that truthfully, choosing life, was the most important gift you could have ever given me. It was in that [...]
I want to be like the Samaritan woman. I want to drop my water buckets, run into town and tell the world about the man who went out of his way, in the heat of the day, meeting me at my lowest and chose me intentionally. A man who knew my whole story, and chose to cover me in compassion and grace. We deserve to be alive in and known for our transformation instead of our sin, for what we did AFTER, and who we BECAME. You deserve that too. So, go ahead and drop your buckets, cancel the well visits, find some shade and a few good people who love you first for all you are and all you are not. Allow God to use your story, to use your heart and shed a light to others around you that shame doesn't live here anymore.