Charm School? There is no such thing in the Ozarks where I grew up! Any charm gained came from the instruction of parents, the influence of more cultured friends, and the patience of teachers! Even then, the grace of hillbilly girls is a far cry from the refined debutant!
A few years ago, I was reading The Jesus-Hearted Woman by Jodi Detrick, where I saw the beauty of Christian life through the words of Corrie Ten Boom. I recorded two quotes in my journal and then began pondering my own life. I’m hoping to be brutally honest and open with you as I share this directly from my journal. Let’s start with the two quotes.
Page 31 – Corrie Ten Boom – “Every experience God gives us, every person He puts into our life, is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
Page 28 – “Gracious confidence means I take the gifts God has placed in me and develop them as fully as I can, in every way I can.”
Then, I journaled: “Sometimes I do wonder what is ahead for me. The college, the church, Tom and I, England/USA, my desire to write and publish a book, and to build a little house someday. I know I am where God wants me right now. I am serving as He would have me to serve. I also know He is answering prayer, providing, and comforting my fears.
Last night I noticed another of my insecurities. The image of the refiner looking into the pot of silver is not one I have ever personalized. I see it in my mind, but I am only watching. I do not see myself in the pot. When I try to, I grimace because I feel all the dross churning in my heart. Dross of fear, hidden thoughts, prejudices, insensitivities, and intolerance, subtle disobedience, and insincerity. I am confronted with my humanity and my spiritual anemia.
I recoil and go back to my safe place as an observer. But, I want to be that beautiful Christian. I want my Saviour’s pleasure and smile—his approval. How is it that I can osculate between confidence and fear, assuredness, and insecurity? Am I double-minded? I don’t think so. Am I unstable? Hardly a definition that would be used of me.
Yet inside is a child—a fearful child. I need God’s hug. I need to hear from His Word—the source of all my strength, comfort, and confidence. And, I need to focus my thoughts on truth—not self-focused evaluation.
If and when things need to change in my life, my loving Father will not hold back. He will tell me straight up, and I will hear Him clearly. Then, I face the choice of obedience.
Mully-grubbing in self does not produce health in my life. Better to recognize that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing. True. But the life which I now live is not lived in the flesh but in the Spirit.
That old dead man may still cry out for attention, but the new man takes precedence. Greater is He that is in me – Praise God!”
To me, that is where the actual beauty and charm of Christianity is revealed—in a life surrendered to Christ and walking in the Spirit. There is a gracious confidence, and a consideration for others that lifts up our Lord drawing them to His beauty.
In this time of uncertainty, let us take heart in the certainty of our Saviour and remember the words of Corrie Ten Boom - “Every experience God gives us, every person He puts into our life, is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
We are the people He chooses to use – Lord, let us, in all our weakness and vulnerability, be tools in your hands! Prepare us for the future you have designed.
Tom M. Jones