I still remember that night. I remember it because it was the first time I told God I was angry at him.
It was my freshman year of college, over five years ago now. I was laying in my dorm loft, staring at the ceiling in the dark as I was going to bed. I was praying, saying things that sounded very “Christian” and “theologically correct,” and suddenly something inside of me just broke open — “OK, this is ridiculous. You know what I’m really thinking anyway,” I said out loud to God. “God, I’m angry. I’m so mad at you, so upset with you. Why do I hurt so much, and why do I have all this pain?”
I cried as I began talking openly with Jesus about all the pain I was feeling, and I told him all of the things that happened that I was angry at him for allowing in my life. And you know what God did? He didn’t push me away. He pulled my closer.
God is big enough to take any emotion we can throw at him — he’s big enough and he can handle our rage, our pain, our honesty. In fact, he is a mighty counselor and desires to walk with us through whatever emotions we are experiencing — whether “good” or “bad.”
We are not comfortable with vulnerability. Our own faith lives and the world are holding their breath, waiting for something real and true to hold onto.
The loss of our vulnerability is tragic.
Is it easy to look our pain in the face and call it by name? Absolutely not. But, if we want to be free, we need to own our stories — if we don’t own our stories, they will own us. By being honest with God about where I was really at, I experienced so much more freedom, joy, and healing in my relationship with him. When I was no longer stuffing my “non-christian-feelings” in a suitcase, and started airing them out — God was able to heal them, and touch my hurting places because I was finally bringing them before him in the light, instead of hiding them in the dark.
We believe stories are powerful. Story can invite you into something bigger than yourself, encourage you and inspire you. That’s why Beautiful Mess Ministries has created Cultivate.
Cultivate is a space to share stories that invite us into the transformation God is doing in the communities around us. Cultivate will be drawing awareness to people and organizations that are changing the very world around them through the way they follow Jesus’ footsteps in the broken places. Testimonies of what God has done, what he is doing, and what he will do are reminders of the love, uniqueness, and power of the God we serve.
The enemy is defeated by the blood of Jesus and by the word of our testimony. Our stories have the power to overcome evil because our stories of God transforming our lives are stories of truth — and truth will overcome and defeat any lie in it’s path. When we speak our truth to God it allows us to feel fully seen by him, invites him into our experience and allows him to change and heal our hearts. When we speak the truth of the goodness of God, and share our “God stories” of transformation with others, we shares truths about who God is and how he cares for us. You never know who might need that truth in their life as a weapon to combat an experience they are going through, or a lie they’ve been believing.
Our stories and testimonies are keys to freedom and victory.
We will be sharing a lot of different stories and content here through Cultivate, and we are asking many people to contribute to this communications piece. Some things you can expect to be consistent: everything here will be real and it is meant to encourage you in your walk with God.
We see a disconnect in modern-American Christianity. Both these things exist: a hurting world and a comfortable church. We hope by sharing some stories and testimonies of people who are working to change the world around them, who are bringing light into darkness with their very presence, that you, too, will be encouraged to challenge yourself — wherever you are — to cultivate a Christ-like culture. See what we did there?
Cultivate is sharing stories to encourage you to take your place in cultivating a kingdom culture in the here and now everyday lives we lead.
“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story” (Psalm 107). Sharing our stories reminds our souls of the goodness of God and how he’s worked in our lives. Sharing our stories reinforces our freedom, and it just may hand someone else a key to their own freedom.
We want to use stories and testimonies to cultivate freedom and victory.