Beauty from Ashes – Sarah’s Story
I became a Christian in my early twenties but didn’t really have an understanding of what this meant and it had little impact on how I lived my life. I got married and had a son but the enemy knew exactly what to do to get me off track and it happened pretty quickly and involved an old boyfriend!
Once I went off track things got a bit wild. I drifted along living an increasingly ‘party lifestyle’ at any cost. This involved at times drinking too much, making wrong choices with guys and on occasions making unsafe choices with no regard to my health, either emotionally or physically. My choices were often driven by whatever made me feel happy ‘in the moment’, loved, popular, and significant in the eyes of the world and those around me.
I lived a selfish and self-indulgent lifestyle that brought only temporary satisfaction, and ultimately led to the breakdown of my marriage. I moved in with another man, taking along my beloved son from my first marriage. The guy I was living with became my husband and we decided to make a fresh start in a new city with my son (he had also been married before and had two children from his marriage).
But, I continued to shut God out and tried not to think about Him. We went on to have a son together and unbelievably our son kept asking about God and if we were Christians! He persisted in asking to go to church and even said he wanted to get baptised! So, I started looking round for a church thinking it would just stop him asking!
Around the same time somebody I worked with invited me to church. It turned out that it was the same church that our son’s school held their carol services and where our son was keen to attend. My husband and I plucked up our courage to visit the next Sunday and have been attending ever since!
Let’s just say God showed up and he had been waiting for us, not with condemnation but with jubilation and grace.
I knew that I had made a mess of things in my old life and that I could not go back and ‘clean them up’. I also knew I had done damage to other people along the way. But, realising that I was a new creation and forgiven for all the mistakes I had made and that God now saw me as righteous because of His son Jesus was overwhelming and still is. This was a free gift to me and all I had to do was say yes to Jesus, absolutely incredible!!
I started a new life, where I made choices based on what God wanted me to do that would have kingdom significance and things started changing for me.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
The deep, dark, ‘hidden’ feelings I had from my past were still there however. At times it felt like people could literally see my past in me, or that there was a banner over my head declaring my sins. I found it hard to make eye contact in case people could see the depths of me; I believed that they would be shocked if they really knew the truth about me.
In September 2014 I started an amazing training course called TSM at The Kings Arms Church in Bedford, UK. God slowly and gently revealed to me that I was living in shame about my past and I was letting it keep me locked up, in chains, held back, feeling disqualified and living without fully understanding who I was and the authority I carry as His daughter.
Once I had a revelation of this he removed the coat of shame which I had become accustomed to wearing and put on my royal robes, as the chains holding me down were broken off. For me this was the beginning of a transformation and really the start of living in my new identity as the ‘Daughter of the King’.
But, as if this wasn’t brilliant enough, God wanted to use my mess to help others!
It has become my passion for me to see others set free from shame, disappointment and disqualification! He is letting me partner with Him in this and I am beyond excited to see what is going to happen.
“And provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them 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. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendour.” – Isaiah 61:3