A few years ago, one of the Proverbs 31 gals said something on the radio that really stuck. When talking about her faith-walk, she said she quit expecting perfection and instead focused on imperfect progress. (Paraphrasing from my imperfect memory. 🙂 ) Wow, there’s a lot of wisdom there, huh? And what a positive, growth-encouraging outlook! Today author of Winds of Wyoming and Winds of Freedom, Becky Lyles shares her thoughts on transformation, triggered by a book she read titled “Scars and Stilettos.”
Note: Becky is giving away a copy of one of her novels (winner’s choice) to one of y’all, randomly selected through the comments left on this post.
Transformation by Becky Lyles
I just finished reading an intriguing book titled “Scars and Stilettos–The Transformation of an Exotic Dancer” by Harmony Dust. If you haven’t read her story, I highly recommend it. “Scars and Stilettos” is not only a look into the broken hearts and lives of women trapped in a degrading occupation, it’s a great account of God’s love and healing.
Harmony experienced instant redemption when she became a Christian; however, she did not have an instantaneous lifestyle change. “Jesus healed my heart,” she writes, “but the transformation and renewing of my mind was a process, requiring action and commitment on my part. I had to replace old ways of thinking with new ones; lies with the truth. And when I found that painful memories and the wounds that accompanied them did not magically disappear, I enlisted the prayers and listening ears of my friends and sought the help of a Christian therapist.”
Harmony’s story is a good reminder to me that although God graciously gifts those who seek Him with immediate salvation (“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” Romans 10:13 NIV), he doesn’t always dole out “quick fixes.” I need to be patient with those who are “in process.” Actually, each of us is a “work in progress.” Our transformation won’t be completed or perfected until we step across heaven’s threshold.
The scripture verse Harmony was likely referring to uses the word “renewing.” “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2 NIV).
This gerund form of the verb “renew” (make new, regenerate, restore) indicates progressive, continuous action. Harmony had to commit to ongoing change. As she says, the journey is never over. “Be gracious with yourself and stay committed to the course. We are all in the process of becoming: becoming healed, becoming whole, becoming closer to God, and becoming all that we are created to be.”
She adds: “God is a gentleman. He never forces us to change or gives us more than we can bear. He walks us through this process one step at a time. In His strength, we are able to face our giants one by one.”
Thank God he doesn’t leave us to tackle renewal on our own. In 2 Timothy 1:14, Paul wrote to Timothy “With the help of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard what has been entrusted to you” (NLT). In Hebrews 4:16, we’re invited to “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it” (NLT).
One more: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NIV). Whatever your challenge, take Jesus’ hand and be encouraged by the words of an old gospel song.
Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, Lord, I’m worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home
Precious Lord Take My Hand
words & music by Thomas A. Dorsey
To learn more about Harmony Dust and Treasures Ministries, visit http://iamatreasure.com.
Winds of Freedom:
Winter storms blast across the Whispering Pines Guest Ranch, and a cold wind blows through Kate Neilson’s soul. Despite her pain, Kate’s well-being takes a backseat to the needs of loved ones: her best friend, who’s been ensnared by evil; her failing great-aunt, whose dementia care keeps Kate guessing; and Laura and Mike Duncan, whose ranch and livelihood are threatened by a land-grabbing neighbor.
Becky Lyles is a freelance writer and editor whose articles and stories have appeared in magazines and compilations. Her nonfiction books, “It’s a God Thing! Inspiring Stories of Life-Changing Friendships” and “On a Wing and a Prayer–Stories from Freedom Fellowship, a Prison Ministry,” are available on Amazon and can be ordered through bookstores. Her first novel, award-winning “Winds of Wyoming,” was released by StoneHouse in early 2012. The sequel, “Winds of Freedom,” debuted the summer of 2013. In addition to writing fiction and nonfiction, she serves as an editor and a mentor to aspiring authors and as a transition coach for women transitioning from prison to “the outside.” She and her husband, Steve, love living in beautiful Boise, Idaho.
Let’s talk about this! What are your thoughts when you hear the phrase, “imperfect progress”? What’s the difference between shooting for growth and aiming for perfection, and how might either goal affect our spiritual walk? Do you think you are more patient (have more grace for) others faults or your own? What are some things you do to renew your mind?