We just finished a short series at TrueNorth Church called “My Story.”  For two weeks we were challenged by how God uses the “story of our lives” as individuals to make an impact on those around us. We celebrated what God is doing in people’s lives and the life of our Church.

It’s easy to celebrate the wins and talk about how God uses our right choices and the good things in life. But the truth is, God wants all of “our story.” He not only wants the good parts that we can easily celebrate, but He also wants the ugly parts. The wounds. The hurts. The mistakes. God wants it all, and that is good news for us!

The psalmist reminds us that God forgives and redeems everything – the good and the bad…

“Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things…”

(Psalm 103:1-5 NLT).

The amazing thing about God is that He came to redeem everything – especially our wounds and mistakes! How do we position ourselves to realize the redemption that God has in the midst of our pain? May I suggest a few things that might help that process:

IDENTIFY THE ISSUE even though it’s painful. We all want to pretend that everything is okay and move on. But honesty is the starting point of healing.

ACKNOWLEDGE THE PAIN – even though it’s uncomfortable. Letting God know it hurts is ok and even healthy.

RELEASE THE BITTERNESS – even though it’s easier to hold it. Holding on to bitterness brings trouble. Grace and forgiveness brings healing.

EMBRACE THE TRUTH – even though it’s hard to believe. To believe that evil is in the scope of God’s plan is hard to accept. Remember He uses ALL things for our good and His glory.

CELEBRATE THE GOOD – even though it’s easy to overlook. Celebrating the pain of our past helps us cultivate a thankful heart to God and acknowledge that He is working in our lives.

Processing the failures and hurts of our past opens the door to God’s amazing grace. Don’t let the enemy gain advantage from your past! The mess of “your story” is what God will use to impact others and accomplish something great in your life.