Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32
And thank goodness, because I was 23 before I became a Christian, and it only happened after I had hit a point in my life when I was at the “bottom of the pit.” I had grown up in a good home, with morals and values, and we even went to church, sometimes regularly, sometimes not. If you had asked me growing up if I was a Christian, I would have easily said, “yes.” I had Christian friends, was fairly conservative in my beliefs and hung with a relatively “good” crowd, but I didn’t have a personal relationship with Christ.
The problem with living a “Christian” life without a relationship is that eventually, life stinks. Something happens to mess up your perfect world, and there is nothing of substance to grasp onto.
That happened to me in college. I broke up with my boyfriend of four years, my roommate got married and moved out, and I was left floundering with no idea of who I was or what I was about. At the same time, I moved in with another girl who introduced me to the college nightlife.
All of the sudden, I had all these things available to me to try to fill the void that was there—alcohol and partying being my substitutes of choice. Soon, I got involved in a new crowd and completely left any conviction I might have had. I still believed there was a God, and knew pretty certainly that if I died, I was going to hell, but I didn’t care or understand how to change that. I graduated college and the Lord picked me up and moved me to the middle of nowhere in San Angelo, Texas. In a moment, all the things I had used to fill that void in my life were stripped away and I was left emptier than ever.
Then one evening I spent the night crying on the phone to my best friend while drinking a liter of wine…alone. When I woke up and saw the empty bottle facing me, I thought, “This can’t be my life.” It was in that moment when all the seeds that had been planted since childhood started to grow. I knew the answer…Christ. I fell on my knees and told the Lord that I was lost. I told Him how much I hated my life and how I wanted Him to change what I had become. There were no magic words that I said that evening, only a willingness to leave my life behind and truly follow Him. In return, I received a peace that I had never known before. I felt loved and secure and free for the first time in my life.
That was the moment my walk with Christ began, but at the same time, I still held on to all the chains that I had bore while I was an unbeliever. Chains that told me I wasn’t good enough or chains that held temptations to revisit my past life. Thankfully, Christ is about sanctification and every day that I grow closer to him, I am able to let go of some of those chains.
When I decided to write Shattered Rose (Book 1 in the Winsor Series), I knew right away that it would be different from any other Christian Fiction out there. My books are often written from the perspective of a non-believer so that, as a reader, you can feel his/her pain and remember the incredible joy and freedom when redemption is finally found. The main character in Shattered Rose is a shy, sweet, beautiful girl named Avery Nichols, who has been told her whole life that her worth and value comes from what she looks like and how others perceive her. Her low self-esteem leads her to make damaging choices with her body and heart. But like us, Avery is given hope when she meets a stranger who helps her see that her worth and value come from Christ alone.
God had to literally push me to my knees before I surrendered to him, and even with that truth, I still continue to struggle and make mistakes all the time. So, I wanted to give Christian readers a story where they could see that no matter how far we fall, no matter how much we struggle, or how disappointing we are to ourselves and to God, we are loved unconditionally by Christ.
Who would have thought that fourteen years later, God would be using me for His purpose? I am humbled and amazed every day. Along with being a pastor’s wife, God has given me this amazing ministry through the written word where I can reach out and touch those who feel as lost and undeserving as I did.
So I encourage all of you who are reading this, whether you know your purpose in Christ yet or not, not to allow Satan to use your mistakes and challenges against you. It is in our imperfections that Christ is perfect. It is in our weakness that Christ is strong. Go out and tell your own story of brokenness and healing. You never know when an “Avery” needs to hear it!
If you would like to know more about the Winsor Series and other books by T.L. Gray, you can connect with her on her website at http://tlgray.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tlgraybooks.
TL Gray serves as a pastor’s wife in Ennis, TX. She is a former military officer who felt the calling in 2009 to support her husband in full time ministry. Along with writing, she is a stay at home mom for three uniquely amazing children. She loves writing stories about redemption and real characters who struggle in this world. T.L. Gray is currently working on Book 3 in the Winsor Series which is set for release in January 2014.