We attend a non-denominational church whose worship music style is very contemporary, or that to which we like to refer as “rockin’.” Yesterday was a particularly wonderful set of music that really struck my heart in a way it hadn’t in quite a while. Likely, the problem has not been with the music, but with there being a lot of me and my mess blocking the way.

So, as I realized that, it was interesting to me that the thrust of the music, and the sermon topic itself, was about living with regrets. I’m not typically one to live for an extended time with regrets, although I do find myself ruminating on past mistakes a little longer than I should, or becoming fixated on hurts I’ve suffered at the hand of someone else. I know I’ve been forgiven, or have offered forgiveness, but instead of living in the freedom of that, I’ve been known to walk back there and feel sorry for myself. It’s not healthy, I’m here to tell you.

As the music played on, one of the songs was interjected with an old hymn (and as much as I love the rockin’ music, my heart THRILLS at those old beauties).

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

This is my story. This is my song.

Really, there are so few of us that really grasp a hold of our story, our diabolical choices and heartbreaking screw ups, choosing instead to bury them deep and run as far from them as possible. The thing is, though, that everywhere we run, we still have mud on our shoes from that burial spot. How can a story that we are so ashamed of, and so horrified by, actually be our song?

Throughout the rest of the service, I kept thinking of a couple of precious friends of mine. One lost her child to abortion many years ago. It was a secret shame of hers for quite a few destructive years, as she kept piling on the dirt to keep it, and the pain it carried, buried as deeply as she could. But one day she gave God her story, let Him dig it up and restore the wound that was left gaping, and then He gave her a song. She’s been singing that song for over 30 years, and now has one of the largest crisis pregnancy centers in the country, and a widely used curriculum for post-abortion healing.

Another friend committed a serious crime and went to prison for a few years. She had to leave her family to serve that time, and put them through incredible trials and hardships. Most families would have cracked and broken under that kind of pressure, and hers certainly came close a few times. But they all persevered. She went in as a believer, and came out a BELIEVER. I’ve never seen anyone – anyone – turn all the past pain of her life, and her own terrible choice, into such a bold and beautiful song.

I could go on. The Lord has allowed me the privilege of seeing His amazing healing hand on the broken, myself included. I have a virtual chorus of friends and acquaintance singing, without reservation, and allowing their story to free others instead of binding up themselves. But you know what? I also see masses of people with mud on their shoes.

Your story, as dirty and despicable as you may find it, can be turned into a song to help free others. You don’t have to live in regret, or, like me, even go back for a visit. It may be cliché, but it’s true: Life’s too short. Just like my friends you can find freedom and move forward, sharing it with the world.

And that right there is some Blessed Assurance.

(And considerably better than leaving muddy footprints everywhere you go.)

“And they overcame [satan] because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11 NASB

“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Mark 5:9 ESV

“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”Matthew 19:26 ESV

And we know that God causes everything to work togetherfor the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 NLT