Because of Christ..

Because I am filled with joy, motivated by love, and redeemed, I know that I am free. Because I shook free of the chains clinging to my frame and now run, I know that I am free. Because Christ gave his life and took the weight of my sin, I know that I am free. Praise Him!
My Lord allows me to do as the woman in John 8 did and leave my life of sin, without condemnation. He not only suggests that I don’t look back at my mistakes, but commands me to flee them (Gen. 19:17). For me freedom in Christ is justification, transformation, and redemption.
I used to grope in the dark for some semblance of meaning and happiness. I dwelled in darkness, I purchased the counterfeits placed before me, and I loathed myself because I had allowed the sin to become my name. Then, He entered and interceded for me. In His glory I shed the layers of my sin like an onion peeling back and blossoming into a flower — an impossibility made possible only through the love and blood of Christ. Glory to Him! Now, I get to walk forward in the Spirit and live as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). I have a chance to be who He created me to be, and have real relationship with Him every day forever. Freedom.
I was reminded of what this looks like practically as I sat amidst a mountain of covers in my cabin bedroom located in [somewhere] Alabama. It was the third night of camp and I was reflecting on the teenagers that I had seen worshipping, that I had formed relationships with, and that I had watched question, learn, and move in the Spirit. Suddenly great joy swelled inside of me and I began to audibly laugh. Spontaneous worship in the form of prayer spilled from my lips as I marveled at His grace. I had spent the week leading others towards Him, through Him. I never would have thought that I could do this a year ago.
Just one short year ago I was still carrying boxes and boxes of shame. Even after what I had considered rededication I had not surrendered all of my shame. I held onto the hurt. The fear had sunk its hooks far in my heart, and I had begun to believe that I could not be truly redeemed. Rather than soaking in the healing only He can provide, I attempted to stuff my sin further and further into my heart. I believed that if I could hide the shameful places in my life I could force them to fall away. I did not realize that I was actually planting the sin, watering it with my shame, and harvesting it in the fruit of my actions. Enter a downward spiral. Enter months of searching for happiness in all of the wrong places. Enter a loss of identity, confusion, and rock bottom. Then enter intervention.
God’s hand was upon me the entire time. I have no doubt of this. He was chasing me, looking for me as the father awaited his lost son (Luke 15:11-32). So, when I began to seek, He opened his arms wider. He drowned me in grace. He overflowed me with His presence. He whispered words of comfort to me; he brought back my joy, melted my cynicism, rejuvenated my dreams, and redeemed me. Even when I didn’t want to believe I could be forgiven and I brought my mistakes to Him sobbing again, and again He said “Daughter, I don’t even see what you are so worried about. It’s already gone”. Now I can serve, love, write, live, and dream as a new creation. That is freedom. I promise, you are never too far. Praise Him, Glory, Giver of true freedom through grace. Praise Him. Jessica Auville