As you reflect on your life journey, do you have an event or a memory which would cause you to reply, “I can’t believe I actually did that?’

Now please know, I’m not talking about a “that” in a good way — like I can’t believe I ran that 25K race, or married that handsome guy, or had dinner with that famous author.

I’m talking about a “that” which still causes your stomach to drop, a “that” you would give anything to take back, a “that” which can still bring on heaps of shame if you are not careful and prayerful — even many years later.

Do you have a “that” in your memory bank?  

Personally, I often describe the day I accidentally overdosed on cocaine as my “bottom.” I still can’t believe I did “that.”

As a 26 year old single mom, I allowed the lure of the lie the cocaine offered — confidence, fullness, energy — to nearly rob me of everything — my life, my son, my freedom. Literally. The police made it crystal clear I was fortunate serious, life-changing charges were not filed against me.

Unfortunately — yet thankfully — it took nearly losing my life to cocaine addiction to bring my darkness to light — so that God’s healing and forgiveness could set this captive free.

But “that’s” not the only decision which troubles me, friends.

I’ve got a long laundry list of extremely poor choices, bad decisions, selfishly motivated moves which define the woman I was “before Christ.”

Including a night in a drunken stupor, as a twenty-something girl who knew better — I vomited all over my mom’s bathroom sink, only to completely pass out on her family room couch, leaving a less-than-lovely mess for my mom in the morning.

I’ve never shared “that” experience, nor did I ever plan to.

Why would I ever choose now?

This weekend I disclosed a secret opportunity I was invited to participate in. Friends, it’s an unbelievably God-sized occasion.

An international ministry I love and respect asked me to not only share my journey, but to join their panel of experts — experts including Joni Eareckson Tada and Ann Graham Lotz, to name just a few.

I cannot even stinkin’ believe it. Only God.

I’m not making this up. Promise. You can check it out here.

When I shared the news on Facebook, I wrote…

secret grief






A FB friend (& friend IRL) quickly responded…

Just curious Cindy, why do you say, “only God” so much? Isn’t it safe to say we “get you” and where your successes are rooted? How about if you just share and trust that we know? Your life is speaking and God is rewarding you. So I say, put it out there and don’t add any disclaimers.

I’ve thought and prayed about her questions for days. Why do I say “only God” so much?

Picture1Friends, here’s why —

  • Because I have not forgotten who I was “before Christ” — lost, hurting, broken, wretched.
  • I know of the many painful, selfish, foolish decisions I made on my search for love and acceptance.
  • I remember vividly the “labels” I wore every day — unloved, rejected, not wanted.
  • I truly believe if it was not for God I would be a living a wasted life of self-defeat and self-absorption, and chances are I would be in jail or a halfway house or dead.

But God.

Only God can give a woman with such a horrendous past —

  • new hope
  • new joy
  • new motivations
  • new life
  • a new heart, and get this —
  • a brand new reputation.


Only God.

Can I get a woo hoo?!



Friends, when I share “only God,” please know I’m sharing it not only for you, but also for me.

I don’t EVER want to forget the pit of pain and purposelessness God rescued me from — nor do I ever want to stop celebrating and sharing God’s redemptive, amazing, unfailing, unconditional love for everyone.

Regardless of what you have done.

Regardless of what has been done to you.

God loves you, and wants to have a relationship with you. Today.


John 3:16

Sweet friend, do you have a “that” in your memory bank?  

What if together we declared aloud, “That is NOT who I am!”

Instead, from this day forward, let decide our “that’s” will no longer define us, but in Jesus Name, we will allow them to refine us — making us strong, beautiful, powerful, and useful to Him.

And “that” is something ONLY GOD can do.



P.S. To learn more of how Jesus set this captive free, you may enjoy this short interview —

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