I was pregnant with my second child when I was removed from the nursery schedule at the church I attended. At approximately four months along, my belly was growing at a far faster rate than my first pregnancy. Though I wasn’t tiring out easily, the nursery director wanted to ease any discomfort I might encounter while taking care of babies and toddlers as their parents were listening to the preaching down the hall. While I felt a twinge of guilt at the extra duty the volunteers would inevitably encounter in an underserved area, it was a welcome reprieve from the Sunday morning routine.
Four weeks into my mini nursery-vacation, however, I was splashed with an ice-cold bucket of judgment that left me wondering if I would ever be worthy of my Jesus. A friend confided that the respite I had been given was less about discomfort for me and more about the discomfort of our small church. “How on earth would it look to have an unwed pregnant woman taking care of the babies in our nursery?” was the true reason I was asked to step aside in the role of nursery volunteer.
Yes…I was pregnant. And unmarried. I began having a relationship with the man who would eventually become my husband, and due to sinful nature, I became pregnant prior to any kind of wedding day. And just like that, the feeling of being worthless and unusable for God’s glory came rushing into my life. “What kind of example could I be for women now?” I thought. I was no longer able to fulfill God’s calling in my life to minister to women. I had ruined my ability to do so.
I cried for months over the torturous shame I felt. I begged God to forgive me over and over again. I mourned for the loss of my servant ability in the church, and I felt so far from Him. Yet little by little, I was finally able to drown out the lies of the devil long enough to hear these two verses my Savior was whispering to me.
He shall again have compassion on us; He will subdue and tread underfoot our wickedness [destroying sin’s power]. Yes, You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19 (AMP)
Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; Acts 3:19 (NASB)
Those verses are beautiful, aren’t they? I had forgotten that when true repentance happens, my sins are as far as the east is to the west (Ps. 103:12). They are thrown into the depths of the sea, having been given whole restoration in Jesus Christ.
That sin is not one of my finer moments in life, and I fully recognize that what I did was willful disobedience. But just as God commanded us to do, I repented and asked for His forgiveness. He granted me the grace I so desperately desired. There was no need to continue to live in the guilt and shame anymore. God could (and WOULD) still use me for His honor and glory.
Iron Porch is proof of this. God took this broken mess of a woman, full of mistakes and sinful nature, and molded her into a willing vessel for Jesus. His grace and love is just that sufficient. Any day that I doubt my calling, Jesus reminds me that the kind of example I’m supposed to be is the kind that shows our God is bigger than any sin or mistake I’ve ever made. And I’ll take that calling any day of the week.