12.28.2016

Facing the Impossible

Whenever I’ve stepped out to do something I felt God calling me to do, the voices of criticism and condemnation have been there to greet me.

Early on in ministry the voices were loud and cruel: “You’ll never be a speaker.” “You are not wanted.” “Look at you. Do you really think God could use someone like you after what you’ve done?”

Sometimes I measured myself against other people. “She’s so clever. She’s so educated. She’s so connected. Who am I compared to all that?”

Gradually, I pulled away. I put up a front of perfection with carefully crafted words and a house and kids that looked just right. Polished on the outside — yet completely undone on the inside.

Eventually the Lord called my bluff.

I was simultaneously going through the books Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Victory Over the Darkness by Neil T. Anderson. Often I would have tears stream from my eyes while attempting to get through the lessons. But one day, it was more than just tears. It was sobs pouring from a chest so heavy with burdens I thought I might literally break apart.

Down on my face, I asked God to speak to me. What I heard in reply was one simple yet life-changing question: “Will you share your story?”

“Yes, I will share my story. The good parts. The parts that are safe and tidy and acceptable.”

But safe and tidy and acceptable were not what God was looking for. He wanted the impossible.

Totally impossible.

Absolutely impossible … in my own strength.

But God wouldn’t drop it. He met every one of my arguments with Scriptures about relying not on my strength, but on His.

He untangled my need for approval with the challenge to live for an audience of One. He helped me see where the voices of doubt were coming from and challenged me to consider the source. And, quite simply, He kept whispering He loved me over and over again.

The first time I shared my story was nothing but an act of absolute obedience. I kept my head down and my guard up. I expected the ladies listening to all start stoning me … especially when I got to the part about my abortion. The shame of all the abuse and rejection was nothing compared to the shame of my choice to abort my child.

I’d wept over that choice.

I’d repented.

I’d gone to God hundreds of times and asked for forgiveness.

I’d laid it down every time there was an altar call.

But nothing brought the redemption that this day brought. As I stood shaking at that podium, I shared exactly what and how God asked me to share.

And then the miracle happened.

When I finished and dared to look up at their reactions, tearstained faces were looking back at me. Mouths were whispering, “Me too. Me too.”

In that moment, I finally understood the idea that “what Satan means for evil, God can use for good” like Genesis 50:20 tells us.

Seeing God use the very thing that made me feel utterly worthless to help others changed everything. I was finally breaking free from Satan’s chains of shame and could see his lies for what they were.

In that moment, I felt victorious — not in my own power, but in the Lord’s strength and ability to use all things for good. Without that decision of obedience, I would not have been able to see how God wanted to work in the lives of so many women that night.

This is our heart at Proverbs 31 Ministries — to help women dismantle the lies of the enemy with the truth of God so they can walk in freedom. Because when one woman finds freedom, she is able to help countless others discover freedom in Christ!

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Comments

  1. Vee Spivey says

    As always, thank you so much for your transparency! For others to trust us we must share honestly. You are a blessing because you have learned from the L0RD how and what to share that will show women that, as we struggle, His strength is much more than the weakness that we have. When we shed light on our insecurities then God can be manifested in our weaknesses. Looking forward to seeing you at Union University in February!

  2. Debi says

    Thank you Lysa for this timely message. I too have had an abortion 46 yrs ago. Just looking for love in all the wrong places UNTIL I met my sweet,merciful,loving, forgiving Savior JESUS❤️️
    I’m leading a small connect group at our church, Wait and See by Wendy Pope, so excited!!
    I want to tell my story, we all have one, but I’m hesitant! I know that God will deal with me if He wants me to share.
    Thank you again for sharing your story

  3. Rose says

    Dear Lysa,
    Thank you for your honesty. I absolutely love your ministry and you. I believe with all my heart in that verse,” what satan meant for evil God meant for good…… Oh yes, many Christians love to categorize sin, how we love it when people sin differently than us. I too had kept my household neat and tidy, trying to control my children so that the church could not judge me as a terrible Mother and Christian, but God had other ideas, when my oldest attempted suicide 2 years ago, I felt such shame, such failure, but that son is now an incredible witness and testimony to others and has a deep deep compassion for the forgotten of society. Then when my youngest came to us and said he struggles with same sex attraction I thought I would die due to the shame and did not want anyone in the church to find out, but they did and my husband and myself have received nothing but compassion, support and love from many, but there are those Christians who categorize that as the worst, unforgivable, straight to hell sin there is. Oh how I have been humbled, stripped of dignity, but God is faithful and I claim that very verse for my youngest, “what satan means for evil, God means for good……These last 5 years I have grown more in my faith than all 35 before, I have learned to pray like never before, I have been able to weep and help others who suffer shame because of their own prodigals, and I know that I know my Jesus loves me and walks beside me! I believe with all my heart that my youngest will come back to Jesus. He has taken little, tiny baby steps, but I have learned instead of condemnation I must love him and continue to pray for him. Oh that Christians would truly understand that Jesus Christ the Son of God came into the world full of grace and truth!
    God bless you Lysa! You’re ministry has truly been a God send to me.

  4. says

    I love how God always meets our arguments with his scripture, his truth. And it speaks to the depth of our souls. Thank you, Lysa, for always being who God asks you to be. For letting us walk through your present struggles with you. As we do, we gain hope and a roadmap in some cases, to use as we navigate our own personal struggles.
    With gratitude,
    Karen

  5. Kendra says

    It’s great to read your story. I have been
    Through very similar things. Brought from a different place but the same in the struggle
    To overcome those voices that try to
    Keep you from the call of God and obedience. Please pray for me. I’m still breaking free and trying to follow His call!

  6. Constance says

    Thank you for being so vulnerable. Yesterday, God made me face the truth through a situation and it’s funny how there was such a cloud of lies that the devil had impressed on me. I almost wanted to stay in that whirl of hurt and lack of dependency on God. But I did the courageous. I asked a hard question that brought infinite peace as soon as the answer was received. It wasn’t the answer that I had hoped for for months, but it was God given and I now know that. He gave me such freedom today that I can’t believe that I lived without that. Thank you for being a great example to us.

  7. says

    Dear Lysa,

    Thank you for your obedience to Christ, for sharing your story(ies) so diligently. You encourage me to share my own, and with His help I try to do answer His call whenever I feel it.

    Today I’m feeling it.

    This may sound crazy, but I feel prompted to share specifically with you a struggle I am currently facing. As a fellow fast-food owner, I feel impressed upon that you will totally get it. This is the best, most direct contact I can find, so here goes. (If you’re just a fellow commenter like me, please bear with me.)

    November 24, 2015 my daddy suddenly and unexpectedly went to be with Jesus. No sickness. No warning. My healthy 60 year old daddy simply didn’t wake up. SUCH a long story has transpired from then to now, but I only want to focus on today’s paragraph…

    Momma and I spent the entire day yesterday beginning to clear out Daddy’s Sonic Drive-In. I say “beginning” because it is clear we will be there every day for at least the next week.

    I cannot remember a time that Sonic wasn’t part of my life. From potty-training to cup-box houses, much of my childhood was spent within the four brick walls of a Sonic. The smells. The sounds. The lights. It’s like an old familiar friend.

    In many ways, closing the current drive-in is much like dealing with another death. More emptiness. More darkness. More loss. It is extremely emotional and excruciatingly painful. But it is also for the best.

    Like death, this has not been our choice but rather something that has been thrust upon us. Closing this store closes a chapter of our life and demands we let go of yet another piece of ourselves.

    Daddy’s heart would break if he were here to see this, yet I know beyond all doubt he would lock the doors in a split-second if he knew it would free Momma. The stress of running a fast-food business is complicated and honestly, inexplicable; let’s just say Momma has struggled more than I can share. And though Daddy was seemingly built for this business, Momma was not. Sure, she can manage and direct like nobody I know, but the emotional burden of constant complaints and drama is a whole ‘nother story. The rage one can spew over an improperly dressed hamburger is beyond logic.

    Please know I do not share these things to gain your pity or sympathy; I simply want to share the weight we are bearing. I want to share it for two reasons:

    1. So you will pray as fervently for us now as you did the days following Daddy’s move to Heaven.

    2. So God’s glory and unending faithfulness may be known. He is at work, once again, making us more like His Son. And as promised, He will work all of this together for good.

    Honestly, I can’t NOT share our journey because God IS the journey. It’s similar to following someone more experienced through dangerous terrain. They tell you, “Watch where I step and then step in the exact same spot.” So what do you do? You keep your eyes glued to their feet, watching their every step, copying their exact movements. No looking ahead, no planning your next move. You focus on the next crucial step. Why? Because they know the way. They’ve either done it before or you know their abilities far exceed your own and you do not want to fall. Your life depends on how well you follow.

    And that’s how it is. Our lives right now totally depend on how well we follow. How close we stay to Him. How much we trust His abilities over ours. He’s been this way before and we are certain He is leading. We cannot look ahead or even imagine where He is taking us, but we have faith it will be good. Totally worth the journey.

    Please keep us in your prayers. Ask for His grace to allow us to do the on-the-ground work it takes to clean and sort. Pray for faith as we await a buyer and provision for our surmounting debts. Ask for His comfort as we face yet another chapter’s end. Pray for increased hope as we anticipate what He has next. And pray for joy that we may enjoy this step in the journey.

    ❤️Jessie

    “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
    ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-2‬a (NLT‬‬)

    • Camille Minor says

      I will pray for you and your mother, Jessie. Thank you for being so transparent and real! I pray that Jesus would be glorified even through this tough situation, and that some would come to know Him.

  8. Lillian Carpenter says

    Lysa, thank you for sharing this post. I have been battling with a decision for some time about writing a book. Then here come the negative thoughts: you can’t sit still long enough, nobody wants to hear it, will I hurt someone’s feelings, will I have all doctrinal issues correct, what will people think, and you know how you are hurt by criticism. This issue continues to come up, I hear sermons that speak to me about this, I am reminded of Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11, I have a need to share the joy I have with others, and I hear songs and other things that I think – oh, that would be good in my book.

    This post has encouraged me further.

  9. Holly says

    Lysa,

    I just came across your book, Uninvited, while online ordering some other resources from Amazon. I read the the tag line: Living loved, when you feel less than, left out, and lonely; and placed the book in my cart for check out. I have relocated to a new town after a 27 year marriage collapsed in divorce. My identity has been shaken and I have shrunk back from being my authentic self in this season. Thank you for this book, your vulnerability and especially your YES to the Lord. I am one who is benefiting. Thanks for giving me a hand up friend.

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