On Being Clean

clean /klēn/  adjective 1.free from dirt, marks, or stains.

CLEAN: It’s the latest buzz word. Clean eating, clean/ minimalist lifestyle, detox cleanses, juice cleanses, and just around the corner: Spring cleaning!

Over the weekend, my girlfriends and I, along with 3,400 other precious ladies, attended the Abundance Asheville women’s conference. It was a life chanryan-moreno-99460ger for me, as these events so often are. On Friday night, Natalie Grant brought down the house as we closed the night with her concert. We danced and clapped the night away! (Hooray for wearing a Fitbit to the concert! Who knew one could walk over 3,000 steps while standing in the same spot, right? Dancing: it’s one of my most my favorite ways to worship!) Halfway through the concert, Natalie sang a beautiful ballad she wrote for one of her close friends. Natalie’s friend came to visit one evening, sharing with her some deep pain that stemmed from sexual abuse in her childhood. Her friend said she just didn’t know what to do with all these feelings of dirtiness that were weighing her down. Natalie had no idea that her dear friend was carrying around this burden of shame. When her visit with her friend was over, Natalie wrote “Clean.” She shared with us that she wrote this song quicker than any of her other songs.

As I listened to the song, I was overcome–OVERCOME–with the mighty, matchless love of the Holy Spirit. (If I wasn’t such a germaphobe, I may very well have been prostrate throughout this song!) As Natalie sang, I thought about my jaded past, the mistakes peppered throughout my late teens and nearly all of my twenties. I thought back to the years of shame, uncertainty, and sadness that I saw every time I looked in the mirror. Even after being saved in 1995. God loved me all those years ago, even before I was born! He didn’t love me MORE when I asked Him into my heart, when I asked Him to make me CLEAN. His love never changes. I just finally became aware of His love when I asked Him to be my Lord and Savior.

Yet even in my early years as a Christian, I didn’t fully grasp or accept this cleansing love Christ offered. In my heart, my mistakes seemed too many and too deep for me to fully lay down at the Cross. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-40s that I came to truly live in His light, to allow His cleansing love to wash over me and wash out my guilt and shame. He forgave my mistakes long ago on the cross. But until I was willing to walk away from them and no longer carry them in my heart, I wasn’t living the full life He purposed me for.

Oh, sweet Sisters! How I pray that you, too, lay your baggage down at His feet!

Don’t make the same mistake I did: holding on to this sin or that hurt, thinking you have to have it all together before you can fully surrender everything to Him.  That’s one of the many lies the enemy wants you to buy into. Don’t believe that lie! Just don’t! Christ loves us, messy lives and all. He loves us regardless of mistakes, regardless of flaws, regardless of it ALL! His cleansing isn’t based on OUR works or what WE try to fix. It’s all in the surrender, in the grace. For it’s in the complete surrender that we are able to live in freedom; free to live in the light of His grace!

Take it from a former baggage-carryin’ girl who learned the hard way: we are no surprise to Him. And he loves us no matter what!

Lay it all down, everything! You’re worth it, Ladies! Live that clean life He gave you when He was on the cross. Let YOUR new buzzword be CLEAN, too! (Link to song here.)

“There’s nothing too dirty that You can’t make worthy. You wash me in mercy. I am clean.” (c) Natalie Grant | Clean

3.12.16

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