Our former Lead Pastor asked me to talk at Church in The Park in 2014. Two weeks later, my grandfather died. Two months later I was diagnosed with breast cancer…
Have you ever walked in to a crowded room and felt completely alone? The fear of people finding out just how truly broken you are inside keeping you from saying even a simple hello?
I won’t lie, being asked to do this today brought out those feelings – who would want to hear from me about loving other people? Was I the right one for the task? Has Pastor Jeff finally lost his mind? I asked Heidi…she’s looking in to it.
When I came to Epiphany Station just over a year ago, my best friend and I had been searching for a place to call home. We were both very curious about the “Love God. Love People. Period” mission statement.
I knew I loved God…that was easy. I was less sure about how to love strangers and very doubtful that they could ever love an outsider such as myself. What if they found out that I am an alcoholic, that I am less than a perfect Christian? Would they ever be able to love somebody as myself?
What I learned very quickly was that each of us is broken in our own ways. As I took a position with creation station, I learned what we all know…children are not shy. Children openly share their brokenness and expect that they will still be loved. As I taught them that God loves them no matter what, it dawned on me that I had to learn to practice what I preached. I knew I loved God, but how could He still love me after all I had done in my life?
The answer was shockingly simple, God knew me before he formed me in my mother’s womb; He knew that I would struggle with depression, that I would become a cutter in highschool, He even knew that I would spend years thinking of ways to end my life. He still loved me so much, He gave His only son to die for my sins.
As I began to share my story I was amazed that instead of being shunned, I was embraced…almost as a crying child. I learned that not only do people care, they understand. People are willing to love their neighbors as themselves. I began to feel a part of a community that is exponentially bigger than the sum of its’ parts.
I learned that each struggle I faced could be used to help others learn that they are not unlovable.
My name is Debbie, and THIS is my Epiphany!!