Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles.
If you think you are too important to stoop down to help another, you are living in deception.
Galatians 6:2-3 TPT
For many years, I completely stepped over this verse. All right, I’ll be honest—I completely went around it, giving myself a 10-foot clearance to avoid letting those words touch me in any way. The very thought of sharing my struggles with others simply didn’t align with my misaligned view of what it meant to be a Christian. I thought that being a disciple of Jesus Christ meant that I was supposed to put on my happy face, bury the struggles where no one would see, and then encourage others (who were honest about their struggles) to simply trust God’s plan when I wasn’t even doing that myself.
I had grown up in a good, Christian home so I really believed that I was a model of godly living—I read my Bible, had my quiet time, went to church, heck, I could even “discern” the muck in everyone around me (somehow completely overlooking my own self-righteousness) and completely avoided having any association with them because of it. Yep! I was golden—the protégé for what a Christian looks like—at least in my own head! It wasn’t until 2012 that God began delivering me from my biggest enemy: myself. In the summer of 2012, my husband and I made one of the most difficult decisions of our lives and chose to file for…bankruptcy. (All y’all thought I was gonna say something else didn’t ya!)
Christians don’t do bankruptcy—they do Financial Peace! Now, we love Dave Ramsey’s class and believe wholeheartedly that everyone should take it—our one regret is that we didn’t take it when we were first married before we ended up deep in debt. Anyhow, we had done Financial Peace, worked through the steps and tried desperately to do things right, but our finances were so upside down that it just felt like that the debt snowball was rolling uphill. Desperate to bring a change to our financial situation, we filed for bankruptcy. I was so ashamed!
I instantly felt myself under a heaping pile of self-loathing and shame. “GOOD Christians don’t do this!” was the message that was being repeated in my head. Honestly, I finally was beginning to understand how Adam and Eve felt after eating the forbidden fruit. Like them, shame was quickly making itself at home in my heart. I felt like I had disappointed God and everyone else. I mean, what would people think if they ever found out?!?! More importantly, God already knows so what does He think? Finally, I had to share with a few close friends about the bankruptcy. As I began opening up about what we were facing, I was surprised to find that they were willing to walk with me through the process. There was no shame, condemnation or guilt; there was only love and grace with these dear friends that God had brought into my life to set me free.
I began to sense God’s hand in our process. At one point even heard Him say, “If you can accept forgiveness through my Son’s sacrifice, why can’t you accept bankruptcy?” From that perspective, I understood that the bankruptcy process was nothing compared to the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for me at Calvary.
It is amazing when we begin to see life from a heavenly perspective—God’s perspective—it sets us free! When we realize that Jesus didn’t just willingly laydown His life just so we could be forgiven for our sins, He did it so we could be free—free from EVERYTHING!!! And it is finished—it’s done! That is the best news ever! There is absolutely no reason to live life other than standing on the truths and promises of God. Our partnership with shame, condemnation, fear, anxiety, etc. says that Jesus’ finished work on the cross wasn’t enough. When we buy into those lies from the enemy, we pound in another nail into His beautiful hands and feet. Ugh! That perspective opened my heart to what God was trying to teach me. I had been spiritually bankrupt, but Jesus delivered me from a debt I couldn’t even begin to repay. In the same simple way, He had provided the bankruptcy process to set us free financially once and for all.
Now that I have experienced freedom—not only from bankruptcy, but the shame and condemnation that initially came with it—I have shared my testimony with others who were struggling. It wasn’t just the bankruptcy either! As I began opening up, I was surprised to find so many people struggling with the same issues. We were bearing our burdens with one another and finding our faith was increasing. As God was bringing victories in every situation, we found ourselves rejoicing in one another’s testimonies and were given more hope for the next situation we were facing. It was powerful! Nowhere did I see this more evident than in the Women’s Bible Studies that I began co-leading.
In Fall 2017, I co-led my first women’s Bible Study and watched as the Holy Spirit moved (from the very first week!) in our group as we opened up about our struggles and our victories. We began to see the power of the testimonies first hand! It was beautiful to see these precious women, who were once strangers, become entwined in each other’s lives as we studied God’s Word. This is my third semester co-leading women’s Bible Studies and we’re still experiencing the Holy Spirit knitting our hearts together starting on Day 1.
God knits our hearts together so beautifully and what He’s creating is a masterpiece. Not for one moment do I believe that it is simply confined to our class, but I believe that it is what God is doing in this season as we completely surrender our agendas to Him and open up about our struggles with each other. It’s what I lovingly refer to as the “quilting bee”—we all bring our little piece of revelation to share with the group. God creates a beautiful masterpiece, as each piece is woven together with the power of testimonies. It couldn’t happen if we weren’t all willing to risk being vulnerable with each other.
I truly believe Jesus is calling His Bride, the church, to live a life of vulnerability—even as leaders—and extend grace to each other. It’s time for us to get naked and expose our hearts not only to Jesus, but also to each other. We need to come out of the shadows and allow God to illuminate every hidden, dark place of our lives. Do we have to share everything? Here’s what I tell the ladies in Bible studies, “Share as much as you’re comfortable.” I stayed silent for so long, I feel like I’m making up for lost time! Not really, but the heart of the matter is this: if you start feeling like I did (as I journeyed through bankruptcy) and listen to the lies of the enemy that keep you silent and isolated, the enemy has won. It’s sharing it with trusted friends that breaks the enemy’s stronghold over us and sets us free. And that, my friends, is the sweet, sweet victory through Jesus that He wants us to share with others!
PRAYER: Jesus, first, I thank you for the sacrifice that you made on Calvary. I realize that I owed a debt I could not ever pay. Help me always keep this thought in the forefront of my mind so no matter what I walk through I am reminded that it does not even come close to matching your magnificent sacrifice to redeem me. Forgive me where I have allowed shame to keep me silent. I now realize that there’s so much power in my testimony. I choose to release it—no matter how small—to stir other people’s faith and become part of their testimonies. Lord, give me courage to share and ask for help from those you have called me to do life with. May our faith be strengthened as we journey together through this season—not for merely ourselves, but so that the world may gaze upon your Glory. Amen