Monday, February 22, 2010

For Anyone Who Thinks They're A Saint...

Philippians 1:6
He who began a good work in you will carry it into completion…

I met Tanya last year during one of our visits down into the project housing one Saturday morning.  Tanya is a 17 year old African American girl.  She’s had a hard life.  Most likely, you wouldn’t even believe me if I told you some of the difficulties she’s been through. 

All that to say, there was something special about Tanya, something behind her loud-mouthed personality that rang with genuine passion.  Something behind her tough exterior that exuded with strength.  There was something, just something that drew me to her.  Tanya and I began a really unique friendship.  We started hanging out on a regular basis and little by little she began to entrust me with the pages of her life’s story; some pages sad, some exciting, and some that made me sick to my stomach just hearing about. 

One day last year, outside of her downtown neighborhood, in my car parked on the side of a one way road, Tanya decided that she needed something more.  Right there in my car, she and I prayed, and she gave her heart to Jesus, and her life to the will of God.  It was a beautiful moment, a moment I will never forget. 

I saw Tanya this weekend.  My husband and I took her out to lunch to catch up with her and spend some time with her.  We had talked over the phone, but I hadn’t seen her in over two months with the business of the holiday season. 

As we talked, she told us the stories of how she is changing her life around.  She’s making decisions to take school seriously, to quit the drug addictions that have been holding her back, to focus on restoring her self-esteem and body image, and frankly, to stay away from the friends that had once held her back.  She’s learning to control her anger and forgive.  She’s learning to love herself.

She told me once, “I never really knew how to care about myself til I met you and you showed me how to care…”

Please don’t get me wrong.  I’m not a saint.  And most likely, neither are you.  I’m realizing this more and more and that is the purpose of this post.  So many times we get fooled into thinking that only certain people have the “gifts” of reaching out…as though doing God's work has something to do with us.  I am here to remind you that that is a blatant lie.  I did nothing for this girl but lead her to true Love…and each and every one of us is called to that.  Because at the end of the day, ministry has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with God.  HE is the one that must work in hearts and lives. 

Beyond ALL our gifts and ALL our love, what I’m amazed by is the fact that in two months….I had absolutely nothing to do with this girl’s spiritual growth and maturation.  I wasn’t even aware that it was happening.  It was entirely, completely, 100% the work of God’s spirit in her life….God’s spirit, who entered her heart a few months ago one evening on the side of the road.  God’s spirit who comes with power, reminding us that He is the one who started this…and He is the one who will finish it.

He who began a good work will see it to completion.  Read that.  Get that.  Understand that.  You who may doubt the salvation of your loved one, you who may cry yourself to sleep for fear that your son, daughter, husband or wife will never know the love of Jesus, you whose faith is wavering because you are not seeing the kind of changes you wanted to see…He who began a good work will see it to completion. 

Let down your pride, and put down your human expectations.  This is not your work and it never was.  The only thing asked of you is obedience….the rest is entirely up to Him.  Let him do His job because, I guarantee, the end result will be far more glorious than we could have ever dreamed.


  1. So beautiful. And such a testament to how God works in the lives of those around us. What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing. =)

  2. Debbie
    This is my first time visiting. Hello. You have quite a ministry here and you speak the truth. It is all about Jesus and His work in you. As we read his Word it becomes alive and active in our lives exposing sin, convicting about Truth and making us aware that we are nothing without Him. I am thankful, though, that you chose to follow Him and that you have allowed him to use you in this way. He has begun a good work in you and it will be interesting to see what else he does through you, Tanya and all those who decide to open their hearts to the King - Jesus. He is in the people changing business. God bless and keep you. Roland W Carpenter

  3. This is really great. After all, reaching those in need and showing them the love of God is what being a Christ follower is all about. I especially love what you said in the last para... "Let down your pride, and put down your human expectations. This is not your work and it never was. The only thing asked of you is obedience….the rest is entirely up to Him. " Thanks for giving me some more to think about. :)

  4. Philippians 1:6 is by far one of my most treasured verses!
    Thank you for this post, Deb!

  5. Crystal, thanks for reading and for your encouragement! It is so awesome to see God at work in the lives around us and in our own lives....

  6. Brad, I'm glad you enjoyed the post....and happy to hit on one of your favorite verses:)

  7. Deb, thanks for's something we need to always keep in mind that it's his work not ours....I think we put too much pressure on ourselves sometimes, honestly. Thanks for your kind words and for your support!!

  8. Roland, thanks for visiting my friend....and thanks for your words of encouragement!! It is exciting to see what God is going to do, and it's even more exciting to have the opportunity to be a part of it....its easy to miss out when we are doing our own things. Thanks again for reading and for your support!!

  9. Deb, thanks for your thots. There is an axiom, "Don't TELL me what a friend I have in JESUS until you SHOW me what a friend I have in YOU." I think you epitomized that for Tanya.

  10. this is a great story! thanks for sharing

  11. Z, Very truthful saying...thank you for your thoughts!


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