I am an old woman. I am able to don my little, red hat with a purple blouse and not care what others may think about me. I am a rainbow and I come in colors everywhere! Even though I’m old and faded, I dress myself in beautiful colors and I feel beautiful. On the inside, where it matters, I am beautiful and I’m becoming more beautiful every day. In my mind’s eye, I see myself as I would have looked in this hat at twenty-three but not because I am delusional. When I was twenty-three, I would never have dared to wear a red hat. I feared whatever might cause people to see me. I didn’t want to be seen and I didn’t want others to know who I really was. The pain of my childhood taught me not to trust people and the method of survival I trusted to protect me from them, was invisibility. I was an expert at hiding and I know how to hide best, in a crowd. At that age I sometimes, dressed as boy. I even wanted to hide the fact that I was a woman. I had no self-acceptance and because I’d known so much unhappiness, I came to believe that if I could be someone else then things could be better. Jesus was new in my life then, I had joy but I’d only begun to grow into it.
Jesus revealed Himself to me in a pit of degradation; a very dark hole that I was accustomed to. It was life as I had always known it and it is a miracle (which I still don’t fully comprehend) that I was able to recognize Him enough to reach back to Him as He reached down to me. There was no religious or spiritual training in my childhood to prepare me to accept Him. I think it was His brilliance, as the true light of world, which inspired me to hope for something better. His light filled me, through my faith. I began to follow His light, as I made my way out of the darkness.
I knew nothing about Christian religions when I met Jesus. I knew I was broken, lost, and I wanted to die. I wanted the death I’d known since my birth, to get it over with and swallow me. I didn’t want to be tortured or know torment, anymore. Jesus revealed Himself to me and I understood that I didn’t really want death, I wanted life! I spent ten years alone with Jesus and my Bible before I seriously, began to search for a church to belong to. My search left me in utter confusion because they were all so different. I didn’t know which one to choose so, I chose one that focused on “separation from the world” because the desire of my heart was to hide. There I also, found people who taught me, through the dogma of their tradition, how to be someone other than me. I learned religious pretense. I stepped away from the close, personal relationship I’d previously, enjoyed and traded it in to try to win the approval of unspiritual, religious people. After-all, they claimed to be “multi-generational Christians, raised in the faith” surely they knew better than I, how to please God. What they taught echoed the wrong desire in my heart and if it were possible for the joy of Jesus in me to be snuffed out, my foray into religion would have done the job. I am blessed that joy comes with filling by the Holy Spirit and not through religious practice. Jesus was faithful in continuing to rescue me from the darkness that remained in my human nature and influenced my choices. Even the wrong-headed things I learned from legalistic religion, Jesus illuminated by His light and they became light, giving me a better understanding of Him and me. He taught me that I couldn’t go out of the world, not even by joining a certain kind of church. The world is in the church because the world is inside of human beings. The world even remains in me; though it is fading, as I learn to focus more intently upon Jesus. Because Jesus works in me, to conform me to His image while also, allowing me to become more Pam, I am in the world but not of it. That fact produces joyful, contentment in me. I feel safety in that contentment and I no longer feel the need to hide who I am, who I’ve been, or who I will be.
Because Jesus accepts me, I have learned to accept myself. Under His personal tutelage, I am becoming more the woman I was intended to be; before I was broken by my sin and the sins committed against me. I’m not a special kind of woman. I’m an old woman who’s known hardship and great, miraculous blessings. I’m only a human being. When I write, I don’t write about myself to offer myself. There is nothing special in me to offer anyone, apart from God. When I write in such a way, as to expose myself, it is offered in contrast to Jesus. I write with the intent of magnifying Him in my life, by contrasting Him to myself. Everything I am not, Jesus is. I am completed in Him. He is able to complete anyone willing to believe in Him and accept Him into their lives, in the same way. If God can have mercy on me, there is no one beyond the reach of the mercy He offers in Christ.
2 thoughts on “Pretense Tried To Snuff-Out My Joy”
“I think it was His brilliance” – perfect.
Sometimes, I hit the details too.:0) I’m more keen at noticing the inner details that motivate and move people. Sometimes, I get very caught up in expressing those details clearly and I miss the details that add sparkle. I’m a serious… Thank you, Jacob.
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