My shell collection is growing by leaps and bounds. I consider myself a seasoned conch shell hunter now so I will share my secret. Walk along the water line and look for the tip of a conch sticking out of the sand. Dig like crazy before the tide washes over you and I bet you will find intact conch shells. At least it worked for me.
I focused at first only on finding small shells. I already had a good collection of large conch shells. Almost as though God heard my unspoken prayer, a variety of small shells I had not seen all week appeared on the sand. And then, after I had gathered a pack full of small shells, God sent me more huge conch shells. I could hear Him whispering, "Be faithful in small things, and I will give you greater ones."
After shell collecting, on to kayaking. No catastrophes in my kayak today. Just pure joy. I didn't see any bald eagles, but I saw a lot of dolphins. I trailed a pod for about forty minutes and got lots of videos. I finally returned reluctantly to the dock, dead tired. Seven and a half mile beach walk followed by six miles of kayaking was enough to even do hyperactive me in. I considered bike riding in the afternoon, but decided to just chill out instead.
One of the moms I work with who chose life over abortion texted me while I was trailing the pod of dolphin. She prayed to accept Jesus as Lord with me recently. She was texting just to chat. I asked her how her new life in Christ was going.
"Challenging," she said. She is fighting discouragement because of her past. She sees more clearly how her life fell short of the standard she desires to uphold now.
I warned her, "Don't let your past or what others think of you drag you down. Keep in your heart that you are a new creation in Christ and His mercies are new every morning. He will bring you greater and greater desire to be what He designed you to be. But He does not condemn you, so try hard not to condemn yourself. You have a wonderful, eternal future in front of you. Let the past go, and look forward to the incredible joy of knowing Christ before you."
I hope that was good advice. I didn't feel she needed exhortation about sin but encouragement about who she is now in Christ.
It was not all that different from what happened on the beach with my shells. Start with the small, simple truth: joy that you have finally found Christ. Even a small drop of faith will grow and can eventually dissolve the enormous reservoir of doubt.
Then you can expand to confronting the sins that plague you, that plague all of us, and start annihilating them from your life. God never moves you faster than you are able. He starts small, and adds as you are able to accept what He has to teach you. If He expected us to deal with the magnitude of a lifetime of sin all at once, none of us would survive. He reveals as we are able to process...one small step at a time.
When we look back, we realize we have come a very long way.