2013 was an exciting, terrifying, fun, fulfilling and mind-blowing year for me. There were some awesome personal accomplishments like running in the Super Spartan and Savage races, some rewarding professional accomplishments, but most importantly this has been a year of growing closer to my Heavenly Father. Through that growth, He has dealt with me on some very personal, very deep secrets that I have kept hidden and suppressed for many years. He has walked with me and carried me through a journey that I didn’t even know I needed to go on. Through this journey, He has revealed many truths to me, strengthened my relationship with my husband, brought me several beautiful ladies who have become lifetime friends, and so much more. God undoubtedly had a plan for this year in my life to mold and shape me into who He needs me to be to do what He needs me to do.
You see, God has a plan and a purpose for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11) – it is up to us to receive His purpose and answer the call He has on our lives. He uses each of us in different ways and allows us to combine the talents we have with the gifts He has given us for His glory. It is recognizing what God has given us and putting it to use for Him: using a great singing voice to lead in worship, understanding God’s Word and teaching it to others, genuine heartfelt care to bring others in and make them feel welcome and safe, the ability to connect one on one in counseling, etc.
(Side note: J. Warner Wallace published an article this week talking about the difference between talents and gifts. Check it out to learn more: The Difference Between “Natural Talents” and “Spiritual Gifts”.)
I have also learned this year that God doesn’t waste a trial or hardship in our lives. He uses trying times to teach us truths, to prepare us for something that may happen in the future, and even to help others who may be experiencing a similar situation. This is where God has led me over the past year. He gave me clear instruction to “make my mess my message”. And what a mess it has been!
And here I am now before you about to do just that – make my mess my message. But more than that, I truly believe that God uses our messes to reveal Himself to us. I am not saying that He causes our messes to reveal Himself to us, but rather He uses the situations we have gotten ourselves into (through our own decisions) to give us glimpses of His grace, mercy and love.
The beauty of God using the messes in my life to reveal Himself to me is that I have SO MANY opportunities to see Him – in other words, I’ve had A LOT of messes! I didn’t always recognize Him in my mess, but when I reflect on those times in my life, I can now clearly see His imprint. He rescued me from harmful relationships and circumstances. He blocked me when I was heading straight into a destructive situation. He carried me through the day when I didn’t have the strength to move forward on my own. My Savior never left me, despite my despicable self during those times. Now that I recognize where He was during those times, I know where to look to see Him when I go through difficult times today – helping me to rest in His presence and trust that He will see me through it.
I have a story to tell (My Mess) and God has a message (His Message) through it. I will share my story with you through a series of blog posts and each post will be categorized as either My Mess or His Message (although many of them will have glimpses of both!). I will take you through this journey that I have been on and show you how God “bestows… a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair… “(Isaiah 61:3).
What I’ve learned:
- God has a purpose for my life – I have to listen to Him to hear it and understand it
- God gives us spiritual gifts to use to glorify Him
- God will not waste a trial – He will use every situation, even when I have made a mess of things
- God uses our messes to reveal Himself to us
- What talents were you born with? God created us, so talents were given in our bloodline and were originally from God as well.
- What gifts has God given you? Gifts are given after you accept Christ – and may complement your talents – or may not.
- How are you using your talents and His gifts to glorify Him?
- What mess(es) have you made?
- What truth does the Lord want to reveal to you through your mess(es)?
- Are you listening to Him?