I have a platform to speak to teenagers about being changed in Christ. Jesus can pull them out of depression to break their chains and set them on His firm foundation. I spoke these words so boldly. I lived, breathed, and believed them. I believed it for the 13 year old girl on the front row with daddy issues. I lived it for the young single mom that I identified with. I think they thought I knew it for myself, but I didn't. I cried for them and forced out those difficult words to say: just for them. I didn't see it for myself. I clung to my chains like they were my life jacket and I was lost at sea. What would I be without them? 

 Right before I go in front of others to speak, one of my friends would come up to me and remind me saying, "Make them believe what you're saying. Be convincing. This is the only shot you've got with these kids. Mean something." I walked in these words and they echoed in my mind while holding the microphone. He was right. I only had one shot to make an impact in that moment. I didn't know what the next moments held for them. That could be their last chance to hear of saving grace. I couldn't step off that stage without knowing I did everything God called me to do. 

 I was attending a conference and this same friend came up to me backstage and told me something new. It shocked me and totally rocked me. I didn't realize it would change my life. He said, "Don't make them believe it. Don't convince them. It's about you right now. Make yourself believe every word you are saying to yourself. You need to believe it." 

 I wasn't made this broken. I wasn't made to be in this place while feeling sorry for myself. Yes, I was made in a fallen world but I wasn't created to be stuck. And that's just what I was. I was created to be more then capable, fully equipped, and aware of my strength. But since I stumbled around in the darkness, I couldn't see the light in who I am or Who put it there. I glimpsed it in others but I shook off the feeling that I could be something too. I doubted that I could be fully restored. I didn't believe that I can be fully alive in Christ right along side them. 

 I was too dirty. I held too much shame. I had too many balls and chains dragging behind me. They all seemed to be too much for me. But that's just it: they were too much for me. But are they too much for Him? If He can break their bondage and set their hearts to His new beat, what makes me any different? After all, I don't know their chains or what they thought God couldn't rid them of. So maybe we aren't that different in the end, but I'm just failing to see the strength to let go they hold hidden inside of me. 

 The only words ringing in my head are seven words found in Isaiah 43. 

 "Behold, I am doing a new thing."

 I didn't realize how important being new was, how important being alive was. I was convinced my burdens were too much. I continually fooled myself into thinking that I wasn't enough to be alive. I wasn't worthy of a new life or being alive. It wasn't possible because there wasn't enough to pull out of me and make new. There wasn't a single part of me that wasn't tarnished in some way. Compromising daily, I sat at the bargaining table of the enemy. I shook hands and made alliances with the very one who didn't want to see me at my best. He was determined to undermine, destroy, and burn me. With a heaviness in my chest, I would walk away from the table trying to feel nothing in my stony heart. 

 In an instance, God stepped in and said, "This is enough. You want to be free? Then be free. Do you want to be alive and have every single chain you're clinging to ripped from your grasp? Then let's do it. You and me. Right now. Don't depend on yourself. Depend on Me.

 It takes trust. It takes more trust than I'm willing to give most of the time. If I say that I trust Him but I don't surrender it all, I'm living a lie. It's time to let go. After all, you can't shake things up, change your surroundings, and dance on new ground if you're continually dead and shackles in your sin. 

- Caitlin // @caitlinthefearless 

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