You might be surprised to hear that my answer is me. I am someone that I have to choose to give a second chance to just as I have to choose to give Casey a second chance. The only difference between us is that my life and choices haven’t been plastered all over the media, haven’t been witnessed to in a courtroom, haven’t been examined and talked about by millions of people and yet….
For many years I have struggled to forgive myself for the things I have done, the mistakes I have made, and the lives I have likely helped mess up. I struggled to accept that grace, forgiveness and redemption were things that applied to me. I was beyond those things. I didn’t deserve them nor could I earn them and therefore they were ideas that applied to others but never to someone like me who over and over screwed up in big ways. “Never beyond” was a concept that I could not grasp when looking at myself.
I am a woman who has had more than one “slutty phase”. I am a woman who was unfaithful to her husband. I am a woman who allowed hatred and abuse to infiltrate my home and who allowed my children to live in that environment for years. I am a woman who spent her way into almost unrecoverable debt. I am a woman who yelled at her children just for existing, for requiring more of me than I could give them, for the bulk of their lives (they are now 11 & 9, the yelling ended about 2 years ago). I am a woman who has stated belief in certain ideas and morals only to turn around and act completely opposite to those. I am a woman who has wallowed in self-hate and self-doubt.
I am a woman for whom NEVER BEYOND is my reality. I will never be beyond the reach of the One who knew I was going to do all those things long before I was born. He knew I was going to need grace and forgiveness and set about making sure it was ready and available to me by dying on the cross and taking all of those horrible things I have done on Himself, wiping the slate clean before it was even written on. It has always been much easier for me to extend grace and forgiveness to those who have hurt me, who have hurt others, but never has it been easy to accept it for myself. Yet GOD, who is absolutely perfect, HE extends it to me. If He can look at me and see these things and if HE can consider me never beyond His reach, His grace, His forgiveness, how can I not forgive myself?
Who have I given a second chance? Myself. I have given myself the opportunity to write a different story, a different ending, by accepting forgiveness and grace for myself from the author of grace, God. And I am a vastly different woman now. I am now a woman who is waiting for marriage, who has become picky about who gets to have her heart. I am now a woman who intends to do whatever it takes to remain faithful to the man I may someday marry, no matter what life brings our way. I am now a woman who has taken a stand against abuse and hatred and is building a home in which love reigns supreme, where God is central. I am now a woman who is climbing out of debt and is regaining control of her finances. I am now a woman who is talking with her kids, who is enjoying them and loving them, who misses them and looks forward to being with them. I am now a woman who stands firm in her beliefs and convictions and moral ideals and when moments of weakness come, when I feel myself wavering, I know where to turn for help. I am a woman who no longer wallows.
God is taking my life and writing a different story than the one that has come before now. He's writing a story of redemption, forgiveness, grace and hope. God is writing a story with my life that declares there is no such thing as beyond, that no matter how awful your life has been, how horrible the consequences of your choices have been in your own life or the lives of others, YOU ARE NEVER BEYOND GRACE. YOU ARE NEVER BEYOND FORGIVENESS. YOU ARE NEVER BEYOND A SECOND CHANCE. And the freedom that comes when you accept that is beyond words. Before you will ever be able to truly see others as being never beyond, you must first see yourself that way…because no matter who we look at we will always be able to see a part of ourselves in them. And if we are seeing ourselves as being beyond grace and second chances we will never be able to extend such to others.
So who could YOU give a second chance to?