“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Talking to my grandmother is one of the highlights of my week. I know her as Madea and love her very dearly; after all, she raised me and shaped me into the person that many of you know today. She taught me how to cook, survive, be a lady and to guard my “reputation.” We had our rough patches when I went through my VERY rebellious stage (another blog) and there were times when I disappointed her with my actions. She loved me still.
To me, my grandmother was close to an angel and it drove me bananas whenever I heard anyone try to talk down about her, even if it was my mother. She is a God-fearing, religious, deeply spiritual woman who has a tremendous amount of faith. I remember when she came outside with the holy oil to anoint my car after I first bought it. 🙂 She has raised at some point the majority of her 23 grandchildren and her house is a regular drop off spot for the pack of great-grands. We, the grandchildren, recognize that our Madea has her ways but we still would trade nothing for her. She makes us birthday cakes and gives her last to support us. I grew up watching her sacrifice so that we could have the basics and even a little more. She is the quintessential grandmother!
Unfortunately, the lady that I know and the woman that her children and older people from around town know are NOT the same. You see, some time before I made my grand entrance into the world and when I was too young to remember, Sallie Pearl was a DRUNK and a chain SMOKER. She was known for her alcoholism and her addiction to nicotine. I even have an aunt who was born so small that she could fit in a cigar box, as a result of her addictions. Her six children lived with her and various relatives as they were growing up and the majority became teenage moms. Her husband, my grandfather, was the same. We never met because he died from cirrhosis of the liver as a result of his alcohol consumption. It’s hard for me to imagine all of this because this woman that I hear stories about is just not the woman I know.
“…Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”( Isaiah 1:18 NIV)
Her road to forgiveness with her children was not easy but I thank God for the twins, Grace and Mercy. My grandmother tells me that when she got saved she asked God to remove the taste of cigarettes and alcohol from her and just like that He did. No special pills, patches or miracle drugs – just a simple prayer. She has been sober and smoke free since 1986.
Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. Though many love to bring up who she WAS, Madea’s past was the prologue to her future. After she stopped dating Jesus and began having a relationship with Him, she put down the bottle and picked up the Bible. He used her to take care of her grandchildren when our mother(s) became ill or were no longer able to. He used her to give us a strong foundation in Jesus and He has used her to touch other people’s lives through her acts of kindness and generosity.
Like my grandmother, many of us have pasts that are filled with things that are often times to shameful to talk about BUT God can and will use you too. As the saying goes, God does not call the equipped; He equips the called. You don’t have to believe me, in your quiet time check out His word:
- Jacob was a LIAR– Genesis 27:19
- Rahab was a PROSTITUTE – Joshua 2:1
- David had an AFFAIR and was a MURDERER 2 Samuel 11:3-27
- Jonah RAN from God (Read the entire book)
- Peter DENIED Christ Matthew 26: 69-70
- Lazarus was DEAD John 11
Thank You for showing us forgiveness and blessing us with grace and mercy. For the person reading this now, I ask God that You remove ANY doubt that they may have about their future. Let this EmpowerMoment reach them so that they will know that even they can be used for Your purpose. There is no sin too great that Your Love for us has not covered. Let us not run from Your calling but run to it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Today I EMPOWER you to walk boldly into your future. Despite what you may have done, who you may have been or what you didn’t do when you should have done it, know that your past was only a stepping stone to get you to the place where God has called you. Know that He predestined your past and your future. He has great expectations of you because He has already equipped you.
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Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is a small business co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. One of her favorite scriptures is Hebrews 11:6: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.