"Mom, did you ever use one of these?"
Kennedy held up the cigarette lighter in the car and asked me that question this morning. She'd never understood what those "things" were and asked why people used them. When I explained they were cigarette lighters, she thought that was weird that car companies would put that in as an accessory. I agreed. And then the question came..."Mom, did you ever use one of these?" I knew I had to be honest.
My kids know I used to smoke years ago. I usually smoked only when I would drink alcohol (but I drank often). Man, of all the lies I fell for in my life, this one is just incomprehensible. What did I ever see in it? It smells bad, it discolors teeth, it's a waste of money, it's bad for me and anyone who was around me...I can't honestly think of anything good about this habit but I was so blinded that I couldn't see it. Thank God He opened my eyes!
I'm honest with my kids about many of the things I used to do "B.C." (Before Christ). Sometimes I hate talking about it because I'm a completely different person now. It comes up occasionally, though. I can't evade it, but I am learning to use these moments as a time to really teach my kids about God's amazing grace - and how we are all trophies of that amazing grace of His!
When I became a Christian, I became a new creation because of Jesus Christ. That's such an important lesson to learn as a believer and it's one I want my girls to understand. And the earlier the better! So I explained to them that I refer to my "old self" as Fleshlie (smile). Fleshlie made some bad choices and still tries to get me to make bad choices, but she doesn't have power over me. Jesus does now (that's what being Lord means!) Kennedy said her "old self" must have been named Sinnidy. Peyton said she must have been Hate'in. We laugh, but it's a powerful picture of our old vs. new creation.
Why is this such a big deal to me? Well, let's just say the person I used to be, although I was a friendly person, was not exactly a picture of morality. I was actually quite insecure and the fact that I made some horrific life choices made that matter so much worse. Maybe you can relate to this? I had absolutely no respect for myself because I was living two lives. My friends probably didn't respect me much, either, because I was a chameleon. I was a different person at church than I was when I was with my friends. I was straddling the fence - big time - and I was getting splinters. If I went to a high school or college reunion, many of the people there would have a hard time seeing me as anyone else other than that person I used to be...but God sees so much more!
I'm not proud of who I was, but I'm so very excited to say that in spite of all of that, God loves me and uses me to share His truth with others. He uses my past sins and mistakes to refine me and they no longer have the power to define me. As a result of what I've been through from the consequences of some of my choices, I can totally relate to others who are struggling with the same things. I get it. I've been there.
So...back to my story. How did I respond to my daughter's innocent question, "Mom, did you ever use one of these?" I simply said: "Yes, the person I used to be - Fleshlie - used one of those before. But not the person I am now!" She smiled big.
I think she gets it.
Do you get it? Are you still allowing past sins to define you or will you allow God to use them to refine you? Walk in the truth of who you are and don't believe the lie that your past defines you! Beth Moore said it best, "You cannot amputate your past to step into your destiny." It's true...we cannot hide our past. But why would we want to? How, then, would people be able to see the amazing miracle of God in your life? Only He can take something the world would consider unworthy and make it a trophy of His grace.
2 Cor. 5:17....Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!