#StainedGlassDec guest post by Caroline Greene
I met Caroline in kind of a strange way. We grew up in the same town, me a *few* years ahead of her, but we didn’t meet until a year ago — both living in Waco, Texas — a far cry from our hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. One of my favorite things about Caroline is the wisdom she carries at such a young age. I think you’ll learn that quickly in these words from her…
I dated a great guy my senior year of high school. Really. He’s a man of God who comes from a wonderful family. However, during the course of our short-lived relationship, he made some pretty hurtful mistakes, mistakes that scarred my heart and left me riddled with insecurities.
They hurt all the way through the very core of my being and caused anger to swell up within me, both towards him and towards God. This was not a part of my plan, so why was it part of God’s? Before we started dating, I had fasted, prayed, and sought guidance. I did everything right, so this relationship had to be right.
It’s funny how we believe that the thing we choose must be the right thing. Not long after, my certainty was turned upside down, and I felt like a fool. The feelings of deceit and betrayal were overwhelming, and I wanted desperately to reclaim the parts of my heart that had been forfeited and flippantly thrown away.
“God, why? Why this person? I felt so secure in my identity, and now it’s shaken. Is this what you wanted? Is this really your portion for me in this season?”
Friends, hear me say that your past mistakes and present circumstances do not define your identity. My circumstances had shaken me to the core, yet my identity remained the same. I was still a beloved daughter of the King. My citizenship was still in heaven. My God was still the same.
Not too long ago, I was sitting at a coffee shop in Nashville, Tennessee with my dear friend, Carolyn. Everyone needs a friend like Carolyn. Sitting with her, I believe, is sitting in on a glimpse of what heaven will be like. We were talking about the changing of seasons when she said something that has stuck with me since. She said that sometimes the lens in which we see a day can grow clouded by our present circumstances.
It comes when bumps in the road offset our balance. It comes when relationships are hard and we feel betrayed. The enemy can use the cloudiness of a season to drown us in storms of shame and to convince us that our identity is less than what the Creator of the universe tells us through His word. That cloudiness doesn’t change who you are or how God sees you. It doesn’t change your future, and it doesn’t rob your hope.
Is the lens through which you see this day clouded? If so, what is causing the fog? His mercies for you are new today. And as for that person who hurt you—His mercies are new for them today, too. Jesus doesn’t love you any less or any more than He did yesterday, and the same goes for the person that you love less than you did yesterday.
Through cloudy days, many of which surrounded that relationship I had in high school, I’ve learned to pursue peace. Because we are not defined by our past mistakes, we have the ability to pursue peace and extend grace. May we pursue it without expectation, knowing that we can only do so much from our end.
Extend grace like it’s nobody’s business—to yourself and to those around you. We all fall short, yet we have been extended an eternal grace that is all sufficient. Let us draw from the overflowing well of this grace and pour our portion out over those who are as unworthy as we are.
Be gracious, be at peace, and may the lens in which you see tomorrow allow you to walk in the abundant life that the Father created you for and the Son redeemed you for.
Caroline is a sophomore Corporate Communications major at Baylor University in Waco, Tx. She is also the founder of The Movement, a group of student-led, orphan-care service clubs in high schools across America hosted by Show Hope. When she’s not studying or advocating for orphans, you can find her frolicking around campus or cozied up at the local coffee shop with a good book. She has the heart of an old soul, and a spirit of childlike joy and wonder that is not only reflected in her writing, but contagious to her readers.