I haven't blogged with any depth in a while. It's easier to stay quiet with my thoughts because so often I second or third guess them. Every time I open my mouth, or set my fingers loose on the keyboard, I am reminded of all the areas I fall short of others, of what I want to be, of what God wants me to be. I fall short a lot. No, really, a lot. But I want to be private about that. I'd like to ask God to forgive me, in private.
My dearest old friend (you know the deepest friendship that goes back a while, it has nothing to do with her age) converted to Catholicism as an adult, after growing up Protestant. I am very much Protestant myself and am becoming more and more aware of how I don't even know what all that means, but she and I talk, real talk. Our conversations have been the deepest and sweetest and most life-giving, God-honoring conversations of my life. And recently I was thinking about the practice of confession and quite bluntly I am fully aware that I do not truly know what the word means to her, but my imagination runs wild with all kinds of my history and ideas of what that means. And my ideas of what I think she thinks are starting to shape what I do think and it's making me more aware of confession as a healthy Protestant act. (That was a messy sentence. Thanks for getting through it with me.)
I have been working my way slowly through the book AHA, by Kyle Idleman and getting increasingly uncomfortable. And I only recommend that book if you are willing to deal with a God moment that changes everything. I thought I was. When I asked God to reveal my sin to me I expected Him to do it in a much more abstract way. You know, Cami, you struggle with the issue of fill in the blank. Oh, okay, God, forgive me. Moving right along now...
No, there was nothing abstract about what He revealed. It was all a little too concrete, a little too specific, a moment when I made a sinful choice. That AHA moment was followed up with some sleepless nights where I tried to get out of the need to confess. Rationalizing. Minimizing. You get the idea. But the Holy Spirit was so not letting me off the hook.
So I confessed to an actual person. I confessed to something that I did more than a decade ago. It really truly is irrelevant how big or small the transgression was. (And I will let your imagination run wild and I won't tell you or even give you a hint of what it might be that I did, because it doesn't matter anymore because I have been forgiven.) I tracked down the one I sinned against and even though the sin was completely hidden, they had no possible way of ever finding out what I had done, I knew I would not be free until I confessed, asked forgiveness, and made it right.
I was shaking. I was ashamed to admit what I had done. But I knew that confession was what my soul needed. And I was surprised. Not by the merciful, grace-filled response. We Protestants are big on the grace and mercy. I expected that. Not by the freedom I felt. I had been so incredibly burdened that I expected immense relief.
I was surprised that when I confessed the surface transgression, God revealed the much deeper rooted heart sin. God used the act of confession to dig deeper and uproot some ugly.
There is an ugly mess that God is graciously pulling out of me, bit by bit. I'll be honest, sometimes it really, really hurts. If I am deeply honest, most of the time it's excruciatingly embarrassing. I think it is what others see when they look at me. But the freedom on the other side is really lovely.
This past weekend my family took me to fly a kite as part of my birthday celebrating. The most lovely part of the day was watching my youngest. Her freedom is the most beautiful thing in my world. Her hair was wild and crazy and she was enjoying every moment of her life.
There's still hope for me today, because the God of Heaven loves me!
I Have a Hope, Tommy Walker