10 years…a reflection By Miranda Pettit
Miranda is Hope for Wholeness Local Ministry’s Women’s Leader
August 2014 marks 10 years since I walked away from lesbianism and truly devoted my life to Christ. I’ve learned so much these past 10 years and I want to reflect on 10 scriptures that have strengthened me & kept me grounded in my faith. I hope you find these as encouraging as they have been to me.
John 8:36 – “If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.” No matter the struggles, no matter the feelings, no matter the debates…I am free. It is a foundational truth in my life. Temptations, feelings, struggles, etc. do not nullify or discredit the truth of God’s Word. Jesus set us free from sin, bondage, & sickness when He died on the cross. Because I know that truth, it empowers me to live in victory, allowing the fruit of the Spirit [Galatians 5:22] to flow out of my life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away. Behold, all things are new.” Not some things; not most. ALL. Another foundational truth that we have to know even if our feelings make us think otherwise. When we give our lives to Christ, our nature changes from a sin nature to a divine nature. We may sin, but it is not in our nature which is why the Holy Spirit convicts us when we do. We are no longer ‘sinners saved by grace’ but we are “reconciled to God through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault” (Colossians 1:22). We are holy & blameless, without fault, only because of the grace of Jesus Christ.
Joel 2:25 – “I will restore to you the years the locusts have eaten.” A friend shared that verse with me 10 years ago. At the time I thought it was a strange, but I have realized this verse on a greater level than I ever thought possible. Sin brings isolation, condemnation, & destruction. Like locusts, sin will eat away at your life until it becomes a wasteland with nothing but a remnant of what it once was: Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, & cost you more than you want to pay. But no matter where you find yourself – lost, alone, ashamed, or ravaged – God will restore & redeem. He will replace ungodly relationships with godly ones, unhealthy with healthy. This has been one of the greatest blessings in my life – relationships with other believers that have encouraged, challenged, & cultivated my spiritual walk.
Revelation 12:11 – “They overcame the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb & by the word of their testimony.” If you want victory in your life, don’t be silent. Don’t allow insecurity & fear of your struggle or past imprison you. I believe “overcome” here has a two-fold meaning: when we share our testimony, it empowers us to walk out our faith & it brings hope of overcoming to others. We are not strugglers; we are overcomers…through Christ & through our ability to rise above shame & fear and be vessels of honor to bring hope to those who are bound. There is power in the Blood of Jesus to help us overcome; there is power in our testimony to help others.
Jeremiah 50:2,6 – “Declare among the nations. Proclaim & set up a standard. Proclaim-do not conceal it! My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray.” This changed my perspective a few years ago. As I was preparing to speak at a church in the morning, the news of a prominent televangelist “coming out” came to me in a text message. I got discouraged & asked God, “What’s the point? Why does it even matter anymore?” I decided to grab my Bible & it opened to these verses. This was God’s message for me – & all of us. Regardless of society, government, religion, or others, we as believers are responsible to declare, proclaim, & set a standard for Christ. In Matthew 7:15, Jesus warns us about many false prophets who will compromise & deceive those who want their ears tickled with doctrine to accommodate their behaviors (2 Timothy 4:3). Like Jesus, we are to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37). We can’t allow other voices to drown out truth & lead His sheep astray without proclaiming the Gospel. It is their only hope. We have to be a voice, a voice “crying in the wilderness, preparing the way for the Lord” (Isaiah 40:3)
Psalm 39:7; Psalm 62:5 – “Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.” “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.” Hope for Wholeness affirms this truth – there is always hope. That’s our ministry name. For 15 years, I believed I was hopeless- my life or feelings couldn’t change. Over a third of my life was spent living by my feelings & believing that hope was designated for those who were better Christians than I; those who deserved it more. I didn’t want to embrace who everyone said that I was, but I felt like I had no choice. I placed my hope in my ability to change myself, not in God’s ability to transform my life. When we place our hope in Christ alone, we allow Him to work the miraculous starting in our hearts & minds.
Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” We should trust God & love people, not the opposite. When we place our trust in our Creator – the one who loves us more than anyone ever could, we know that He will never fail: He will never abandon us & He will always lead us into all truth (John 16:13). No one else can hold that position. No one else should. God is always for us; He is our Refuge, Strength, Peace, Joy, Deliverer, Provider, Healer, Father, Victory, Salvation, Hope, Freedom, Rock, Potter, Lifter of our Head, & everything we could ever need. Yes, we should love God as the First Commandment tells us, but trusting in Him is the foundation on which we build our faith.
Psalm 32…my fave Psalm. Specifically, verses 7-8: “You are my hiding place; you will preserve me from trouble; you will surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.” Slavery was once prevalent in the South with many using the Underground Railroad to escape to freedom. Slave owners would not allow slaves to talk for fear of rebellion, but they would allow them to sing. Unbeknownst to the owners, many of these songs were clues to freedom. They are called Songs of Deliverance. The chanting & repetition of choruses would help memorize pathways, star/planets, river/streams, etc., when slaves would finally get the courage to escape, hoping to find freedom at the end of the Railroad. This scripture is evidence of God’s instruction in our lives. He guides us to freedom; He teaches us through His Word, giving us the courage to go, hiding us from trouble. Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that God sings over us. He wants you free. He has a path, a plan, and a purpose (Jeremiah 29:11).
Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Right before this, the Apostle Paul declares, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Contentment is crucial to our Christian walk. Many want to hurry the process of change or speed up the journey to freedom. Parents are impatient to see their son/daughter’s life change; those who struggle want God to take away their struggle NOW. Phil. 1:6 tells us that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” We are all on a journey; we don’t need to rush God’s work-He is the Potter, we are the clay and should allow Him time to form us daily into His image. So don’t despise the small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10) because it’s in those small things where we learn faithfulness, obedience, trust, & love the way God desires. Pray for wisdom, discernment, knowledge, and strength for this journey, whether for yourself or a loved one. Learn contentment along the way, waiting patiently for God’s faithful promise to complete His task in His timing.
Romans 12:12 – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Our thoughts have tremendous power: we move in the direction of our strongest thought. So if you aren’t renewing your mind through the Word, praise and worship, and prayer, the battle of your mind will succumb to the enemy. You will be easily seduced & deceived by temptations and feelings. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says to demolish imaginations & every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ. You can’t have a negative mind & a positive mouth; you can’t walk in victory & live in defeat. We should align every word we hear and think with the Bible and toss anything that is contrary to our identity in Christ & the character of God. The truth of God’s Word will renew your mind & will set you free (John 8:32).
These and many other scriptures have renewed my mind and transformed my life.
These last 10 years have been some of the most amazing years of my life, filled with seasons of difficulty and prosperity, but tremendous blessing. To live free of shame, guilt, condemnation, and fear, and instead, full of hope, peace, and joy are indescribable. I’ve learned there are no shortcuts or quick fixes to freedom, change, or healing. God is more interested in equipping us for the journey than He is in removing our struggles. He wants our obedience, dependence, and devotion; ultimately, He wants our hearts. He will supply all that we need to daily deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. And we can follow Him wholeheartedly when we “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us in order to run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1). It’s never too late to start your journey because there is always hope in Christ.