By: Kimber Nettis
Have you ever walked into an old church and immediately you were in awe of the beauty emanating from the stained glass window? It was not something you had noticed from the outside of the building, but now suddenly, it is the only thing you can see? Our lives can parallel this example as well. Our lives can be filled with trials and mistakes that we have made. From the outside we look stained and dirty. Our lives can look like to us through no fault of our own. But when we let the light of God shine through us and through our lives, suddenly those mistakes, those things that have scarred us look different. When we have been redeemed and set free from our sinful past, when we go through a storm and keep the faith, those scars can become our strengths. Our life can be this beautiful shining image to those around us. It causes unbelievers to say “why are you so happy?” It causes others to see the transforming power of Jesus Christ when they say, “weren’t you an atheist, drug addict, liar, fill in the blank…” When we embrace our past and turn it into a testimony for Jesus, we look like that stained glass window once the light comes pouring in. Beautiful.
Isaiah 61: 1-3 says: The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
God can use those hurts and trials to help others. He uses our mistakes and life lessons as a shining testimony to his glory. People can see how God has changed us and made us into new creations and they will want what we have. Yes it was painful, yes we would probably never go through that trial again, but looking back we can see how God used that circumstance to bring us closer to him.
Our lives can still look like the stained glass window on the outside of the church- broken and dirty. We must not hide our pasts. We have to embrace what God has saved us from and allow him to change us. We must let him shine through. We must be open and honest with those around us so that they can see the miracle God worked in our life. When we do that it will be as if they walked into the big old church and all they can do is stare at the amazing stained glass display all around them. God can use your painful past in powerful ways. Embrace it and embrace Him!
Kimber Nettis is currently an active-duty Major in the U.S. Air Force. She graduated from Baylor University with a BA in Communications and recieved an MA in Christian Ministry from Liberty University. She and her husband Michael founded Armed to Worship Ministries, a non-profit that serves to organize, train, and equip a lifestyle of worship.