Condemned! Keep Out!

condemned 1

What does it mean to be condemned?
Condemn:
  1. Express complete disapproval of, typically in public; censure
  2. Sentence (someone) to a particular punishment, especially death
  3. Officially declare (something, especially a building) to be unfit for use
  4. Prove or show the guilt of
  5. (Of circumstances) force (someone) to endure something unpleasant or undesirable

Two years ago I was condemned.  I was a mess.  My life was falling apart.  There were filthy secrets piled up in my darkest corners.  My support walls were full of cracks.  The shades were drawn on my windows so that nobody could see into my life.  My foundation was crumbling from beneath me.  I was a person condemned.  All I needed was the sign telling everyone to “KEEP OUT!

There were two very sad facts about the fact that I was falling apart:

  1. I couldn’t see it
  2. I did it to myself.

I was wearing a mask.  On the outside I looked like this:

pink smiley

But on this inside, this is what was really going on . . .

urban-decay-11

I was lying to myself the whole time.  “This is just how my life is.”  “This is the best that I can expect.”  “This is what I deserve.”  “I am entitled to behave the way that I am.”  “Everyone pretends to be happy.  But nobody really is.”  “If I fake it long enough then the lie will become my reality.”

I was falling apart, and the more I crumbled the more I shored myself up with more lies, which led to more crumbling, which led to more lies.  It became a vicious cycle, and I couldn’t see a way of getting out of it.

But God has a way of sending just the right person at just the right time.  Had my person come earlier in the cycle than she did then she would not have been effective at her job.  God waited until He knew when my crumbling life was on the verge of collapse and He sent in reinforcements.  That woman sat down with me, and for the first time in my life somebody shared how to find redemption, salvation, restoration through Jesus Christ.

I have often wondered how I had made it so long without ever hearing what she shared with me that night, but then I remember that everything happens in God’s time.  Had I heard the path to salvation earlier in my life I probably would not have listened.  I would not have appreciated the words.  I would not have seen the depth of God’s love, hearing that he loved me, ME, so much that he gave his son for me.  But God waited for me to crumble to the point of near-collapse to show me the way to become whole.

It took me almost 2 years to finally fall down.  In the time between that woman speaking to me and the moment of collapse I continued my charade.  I convinced myself that I had found true salvation, but all I did was fool myself and put a band-aid on my my crumbling pieces.  So God sent in reinforcements again.  Last November my pastor preached a message that ripped off my band-aids.  Through my pastor, God showed me that though it was not the same mask I had been wearing two years ago, I was still wearing a mask.  God pulled it off and that very night, in my pastor’s living room, my condemned life finally and blessedly collapsed.

But out of the dust of that collapse rose a new woman, a woman who is being restored by God, a woman who is under construction.

I am still a mess, but when I get discouraged with the speed of my restoration I look at how far God has brought me from the person I was two years ago.  I made my life a mess, but God saw the potential under my mess.  He is cleaning me up one day at a time.  He removed my “condemned” sign and is making my life inhabitable again.  Because of God’s work I am no longer condemned.  I am being restored and made beautiful under the love and grace of God.

under construction

I am not yet the woman I want to be, but I am the woman that God wants me to in this exact moment, and He will continue His work in me until He calls me home.

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13, NIV)

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

Until next time . . .

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