My brand new baby girl opened her eyes and stared up at me.
She blinked as she tried to get used to the light in the room.
I blinked trying to push back the tears that were threatening to fall.
She was beautiful.
She was tiny.
She was mine.
I was now a mom — a young mom. Nineteen to be exact.
As an unmarried teenage mother in the fall of my sophomore year in college, I wrestled with the idea of God’s love for me and an actual belief in God’s love for me.
A positive pregnancy test months earlier had set off a string of new realities in my life, one of which was a strong feeling of my own lack of worth. I had messed up. I had disappointed people I loved. I was on my way to being a mom in a season of my life that I was supposed to be finishing out my time being a kid.
I was no longer the “good girl”.
And I wondered, sometimes out loud, if God still loved me.
Pain mixed with a little shock, a ton of remorse, and lots of uncertainty left me feeling unlovable, unredeemable, and out of God’s good graces. It felt as if I had traveled to the ends of the earth and was there alone, in the dark, and in the cold. While I had always believed that God loved me during those days of new motherhood, I didn’t feel it.
But apparently during one of those lonely, dark, cold moments, I reached for my Bible and searched for reassurance of God’s love for me. All of my life I had been taught to believe that He loved me no matter what. I just wanted proof. I needed a reminder that I could rest in and rehearse so that I wouldn’t forget or doubt the reality of His love in my life.
I found one verse of assurance and wrote it down on a sheet of notebook paper. That one verse became two, then five, then over time became two pages of Scriptures that reminded me that God loved me. I kept those pieces of notebook paper with me at all times – folded up in my pocket or in my purse or in my backpack as I went to class.
Recently, I thought about those pieces of paper and dug them out of a file box. They were still intact even though they’d yellowed with time. I remember how difficult it was to accept God’s love for me when I felt that I didn’t deserve it.
But here’s what I was reminded of as I allowed God’s Word to remind me of the truth — God gave Himself for me to redeem me from every lawless deed.
The little ones.
The big ones.
Every single one.
I now know that whether we are a new Christian or even if we’ve been a Christian for awhile, we need his redeeming love every single day. But we must accept that love and live in light of Christ’s sacrifice for us. Sometimes that means walking with Him in daily obedience in small ways. Other times, that means accepting His love and forgiveness as we seek to recover from the consequences of our sin.
In either case, God’s work in us is a work of sanctification. He teaches us as we walk with Him and as we study the truth in His Word (John 17:17) what it means to be holy, set apart as sacred, and consecrated to His purposes.
We just have to choose to believe that His redeeming work is still at work in us — no matter how far we think we may have fallen. And as we believe and act out that belief, He changes us.
The key is to believe.
Believe that you are loved — because you are. (Jeremiah 31:3)
Believe that God redeems — because He does. (Galatians 3:13)
Believe that God will produce good works in you — because He can. (Philippians 1:6)
And regardless of what is in your past or facing you now in your present, believe that God is never ceasing in His grace, mercy, and compassion. The redeeming work of the cross is available to you and me each and every day.
Years later, that baby girl is now an adult woman with a family of her own. While I remember the struggle of my teens, it doesn’t define my life — the redeeming work of God does. My life is marked by His goodness, His kindness, His mercy, and His never-ending love. And I know without a shadow of a doubt that He makes beautiful the broken because I’ve seen Him do that for me.
Search out the truth of God’s Word. Choose to believe what it says over how you feel. Then act as if you really do believe His Word is true.
All For Him,
Chrystal Hurst is an energetic, fun-loving “girl-next-door” who loves to encourage other women in fulfilling their full potential in Christ. Chrystal firmly believes God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans that I have for you…” and she desires to help other Christian women believe and apply that truth to their lives.
Chrystal is a gifted writer, speaker, and worship leader. Being the eldest child of Dr. Tony and Lois Evans, Chrystal been surrounded by the Word of God her entire life. As a member of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Chrystal assists her mom in leading the women’s ministry and loves to encourage women toward a deeper relationship with the Lord. Chrystal has recently co-authored a book, Kingdom Woman, with her dad. You can also find Chrystal writing on her blog—Chrystal’s Chronicles—where she poignantly reflects her thoughts about her faith and day-to-day experiences.
Most importantly, Chrystal is a dedicated wife and homeschooling mother of five. She considers herself to be the COO (Chief Operating Officer) of the Hurst household. Chrystal and her husband, Jessie reside in a small town just outside of Dallas, Texas.