There was nothing unusual about the way that day began. But I was about to ask an arena full of women the unthinkable question.
I was headed to the airport and then to speak at a women’s conference. I was getting into my car and felt compelled suddenly to stop. That’s when it hit me. I was on the edge of a holy moment. The voice of God was speaking in my spirit.
In that moment, I had the strangest yet overwhelming desire to stand up taller. I’m only five feet four inches tall, so that’s a tough call. But I straightened as best I could. I felt like I was receiving military orders. I sensed I was being called to fight in a new way. I didn’t know what it all meant but I embraced in that very moment whatever God willed.
The next day, I was scheduled to speak and as I looked through my notes, I wondered if I should change my message. So I spread out my notes and prayed.
“Here I am Lord. Thank you for the scars that have brought me closer to You.”
I was 30 minutes into a 40 minute message when I recognized that I should shift the conclusion. I’d planned to invite women to respond to God and come to the altar, but what I sensed was not the sort of altar call I’d ever given. I paused knowing that God was pushing me in this new direction.
So, I asked the audience the unthinkable question.
“Is there anyone in the audience who has ever attempted suicide or been plagued by suicidal thoughts like I’ve been? If so would you join me in the front?”
I had never shared that part of my personal journey. Not until now.
I will never forget the next few minutes. Women began to pour to the front of the stage. I stood with tears coming down my cheeks. Some were teens and some where in their seventies. There were hundreds and hundreds of them.
I thought back to when I thought I was the only one, the only Christian who struggled. All these long years of pain…… but here we all were and the thought struck me: We were not alone. We were together sharing this holy moment.
Something rose up in me on that stage and my five-foot stature felt like it stretched to six feet.
I asked God to shine His light into our darkness.
I asked Him to bring hope into despair.
I asked for truth to penetrate the lies we believe.
I declared the final two verses of Psalm 27 over all of us:
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 ESV
As I spoke, something became crystal clear. When we try to hide our wounds and scars, all those things we believe make us less lovely, we make fear and shame the stronghold of our lives.
But when we bring our wounds to Christ, when we out our secrets and shame, we make HIM the stronghold of our lives. He uses our wounds for His purposes. He makes something so beautiful out of our scars. And He wants to do that for you today.