glorious chains.

The Sunday before last I had an unbelievable day with God.  I am trying a new discipline where Sunday is not only a day of rest, but a day to fill up on God’s word and breathe in his wisdom and truth.  In the evening I was listening to a message from a church that I follow online.  The pastor led us to the first chapter of Philippians where Paul is speaking about his imprisonment.  He specifically quoted this scripture:

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.  As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.”

{philippians 1:12-14}

As the pastor read Paul’s words, I experienced a significant moment of impact.  Paul said that it was “because of my chains,” that “most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.”  With those four words, because of my chains, my heart skipped a beat.  I turned to my journal, where I have my inmost prayers, ramblings and thoughts scribbled out. I flipped through my prayers of the past two years, and as I read each prayer I could imagine the exact moment when I wrote it; what I felt, what I was thinking, and sometimes even exactly where I was when writing it!  As I compared those prayers to my prayers today, and my emotions then compared to my emotions now, I came to the glorious epiphany that all of my chains had purpose. My chains {of utter brokenness, of a lifelong battle with insecurity, of deep wounds of feeling worthless, of relationship heartbreak…} have not been for nothing; they hold purpose not just to grow me into the woman that God desires for me to be, but to serve to advance the gospel of the Lord. 

On Tuesday last week I attended my church’s college age ministry called Vintage.  I usually don’t attend, but last week I decided to join my friend who is part of the leadership for the program.  Since I’m not a regular attender or a small group leader, I wasn’t sure why I was there.  It was for college aged individuals, and I’m past college. {gosh I’m getting sooo old.}  But the entire night throughout worship and the message I kept praying for an opportunity to speak with some students, I was pleading with God to use me where I was at to help someone that evening.

As the program went on the Holy Spirit moved in a breath-taking way.  Everyone could feel the denseness in the room, you could feel God’s Spirit moving in between each student and permeating every heart in that place. It was absolutely indescribable. That feeling of the Holy Spirit only prompted me to pray more for the opportunity to speak truth and encouragement into some girl’s life.

After the program my friend {the one that I came with} offered for me to join her in an all girl e-group {basically their version of small groups}.  Beautifully enough the leader of the small group had each girl spend time writing down specific things in their lives that were coming between themselves and God.  When the time was up for writing, the girls were instructed to break into groups and open up with each other about what they wrote.  I had no idea what to do at that moment! {For the first time in a long time I felt like that lost student who has no idea where they belong!}  My friend started heading toward a small group to lead, and with the quick scoot of her hand, directed me to do the same with another group.  A little apprehensive at first, I gathered three girls together and we formed a little circle of trust.

From there, I cannot explain what happened. {in an amazing way!} These girls opened up like I have never seen girls open up before. {maybe another time I’ll talk more specifically about the struggles that we all discussed} What was even more magnificent was that each one of those girls was experiencing a struggle that I have been in the process of recently overcoming!  I was able to humbly speak to them, not only from the trenches of being in the midst of that battle, but from the perspective of what it takes to claim victory over it!  It was the first time when I felt like I could speak one hundred percent from the place of experiencing and claiming victory over a specific area of my life. I simply cannot describe the feeling that I felt after that group ended.  I felt like I was on cloud nine, so full of purpose, so excited about life, and so elated to share my journey with more young girls!

In that one evening I saw that it was because of my chains that I was able to speak truth and wisdom into those young women’s lives.  I saw that my chains were not to hold me down, but to prove the strength of God who could easily break those shackles.  In a matter of one hour, I was able to speak truth that took me years to unfold in my own life, and release it over these young women. As I walked out of church that evening, I was so thankful for every bruise, every heartbreak, every beat down and every scar, because it all brought me to a place of victory where I can now share truth with other girls who are enduring those same battles.

 I want to encourage you in this moment. 

You may be in the midst of your chains; still struggling to free yourself from bondage.  You may be losing hope, you may be drained of strength to continue in your battle.

But I must tell you; your chains are not in vain.  Your chains are not meant to hold you down, but to be turned into your profound story of freedom and victory!  The mess you are enduring now will later turn into your message to proclaim. 

If one thing keeps you fighting today, if one thing inspires you to continue pressing on, may it be that one day your chains will serve to advance the gospel.  One day you will be able to speak truth, wisdom and encouragement into other people’s lives who are held captive to the same chains.

Keep fighting the good fight.  Keep pursuing victory.  Keep your eyes on freedom.

Your chains are not meant to break you down, but to build your life up into a story of freedom and victory that will impact others.  

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One thought on “glorious chains.

  1. Pingback: the clench. « Laura's Blog

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