Sunday, July 3, 2011

Freedom

Some people write eloquently- I am not one of them.  Some people use mature, SAT-type words when they blog to sound more sophisticated- my vocabulary is not that extensive, so again, I am not one of these people.  Some people like to paint pretty pictures of the lives they live and paint an unattainable ideal while the rest of us ponder our lives and beat ourselves up for not living up to those expectations- so I may have done this a few times.  I think I used to be really guilty of this.  I wanted everyone to think I had it all together, but folks, let's face it- I don't.  I'm still very much a work in progress.  


A friend told me once that she read my blog and my posts on Facebook and it made her feel bad.  This, in turn, made me feel bad.  My goal is to minister to others- to reach out and encourage, but by "having it all together", I think some of my writing may have had the opposite effect.  So, here I am- I'm going to let a few skeletons out of this closet and let you all see a few pieces of me.  


When I was about 19 I moved in with some friends from my church and got a job about a mile and a half away that I was able to walk to.  While there, I was told I needed some better clothes to wear to work.  I didn't have any money, so I stole some clothes and shoes.  Yes- that's right.  I stole.  I was a thief.  I got caught and repaid my debt but it caught up with me.  A former co-worker shared this information with someone else and... well, let's face it- when you're from a small town, EVERYONE knows EVERYTHING.  So, my business became the business of others.  I never tried to justify it- I made a stupid choice and was forced to make up for the mistake.


Fast forward a couple of years.  I was living with some friends in an apartment.  At this time, my job was to clean for the family of one of these friends.  So once a week I would clean the house of my friend's parents to help earn income to pay the bills.  At the end of this season, I was accused of stealing from these people.  They had misplaced a few valuable items (which, later turned up- and not by my hand) and came straight to me because, you know- someone who stole once is officially a thief, right?  Wrong.  This hurt so badly, but it was also a consequence of the choice I had made a few years earlier.  


Try as I might, I wasn't able to convince them I had not taken anything.  They continued to spread the word- to pastors, to friends, to family... it got to the point where it felt awkward to be in the homes of friends because it felt like they, too would think I was a thief.  I stole one time... one time and it labelled me.  I tried to claim that verse "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" 2 Cor. 5:17 but my friends and roommates made the choice to believe the lies.  


A few years passed and I saw this woman- the mother of my friend.  She was the woman who had spread the rumors and lies to everyone I knew.  She walked up to me in a dark church parking lot and greeted me with a silent, long hug, and a kiss on the cheek.  It was as if she were- in her own way- apologizing for what she had done.  Her own choice had been no different then mine.  What I stole was physical, but what she stole was so much more.  She slandered me and revealed my past to others so that they might also believe I had stolen again.  She stole my life.  My integrity that I had worked so hard to rebuild.  Once I left the retailer, I committed to God and to myself that I would never allow myself to be tempted in that way again and since then- I have not.  I truly believe that God freed me from that label so that I might not be known and Christi, the thief, but Christi- child of God, mother to the millions (or 5...), wife to the Hottie, and so many other beautiful crowns that I wear.  


But I don't share that to say- hey, look at me!  I share that because I know at times, we have all worn hats of different kinds.  My label was thief.  Perhaps your label has been gossip, or judgement.  Perhaps it's coveting or adultery (yes, even in the mind).  It could be anything, but we've all struggled with wearing a label.  I've had so many that, at times I forget whose I really am.... I am His.  And if you aren't sure which hat you are wearing- or how people see you based on your past, let me remind you of this:   "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!  8 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.  So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,[e] so that we could be made right with God through Christ."


So just as I had been forgiven of my sin and was made new, I forgave this precious woman and have since had a wonderful relationship with her and her entire family.  What freedom forgiveness can bring!  




So anyway, I just thought I would share that with you tonight.  Again, I know it's not the best writing you've ever read, or the most sophisticated, but these words are mine, from my heart.  I know some of you are long time friends and supporters of mine and for that, I thank you.  Others of you do not know me and may never meet me this side of Heaven.  Thank you for reading anyway.  And if you don't understand why I write, it's very simple.  I have a heart to encourage people- people who are like-minded, people who are not like-minded.  I believe it's my job to bring God's hope and light into the world.  I know you may not like or agree with everything I write- and that's great!  I love feedback and I'd love to hear your opinions- even the negative ones.  If my blog is offensive, keep reading- one of these days I'm bound to write something you'll like, and if not, there are millions of other bloggers out there who are hungry for new readers.


I hope one of these days I can encourage each and every one of you.  Just know- you may not understand it, but I'm praying for you- each and every one of you.  Thanks for reading!  


No Longer I,


The Real Life Mom



3 comments:

Desiray said...

I appreciate how you shared your story with the world, I am a great believer that it's our testimonies that help others. So often we think that our story is bad and no one understand but in fact there is always some one who is worse off then we think we are. And so when we hear their stories it gives us hope...may you continue to share your stories and no matter where people find them rather facebook or twitter or google, give God the glory because He has a way of sending people our way.

Christi said...

Thank you so much for your encouragement Desiray! :) Your encouragement is so appreciated and you are a blessing indeed!

desiree said...

I have known you now for 15 years. We've all made mistakes believe me I'm the queen of them. The thing is you learned from it and you changed. I think it took me a million times or more of my mistakes to learn. Guess I'm a little more hard headed.
And in all the years I've known you thief or not, I've never seen you that way. That's something you did not who you are.
You are a huge inspiration to my life. You're not perfect. I know that. Lol. But you have a heart of gold my friend
I love ya! Keep blogging!