Weakness is a Good Thing

23622376_10213016744707575_4939270649050233599_nAnnie Sotski: This is one spunky little momma!  She almost always has a smile on her face and sweet words to say.  I say “almost” because she also is not afraid to tell you when she is hurting.   She is willing to be vulnerable within her deepest pains and and widest valleys, sharing how God has rescued her through it all.  She does “momma” well.  Loving her husband and kiddos with all her soul.  She also loves others with all her soul.  Able to show love to them and walk with them with a steady arm to hold and gentle voice, reminding them WHO they can depend on.  She’s an oily woman too!  Loves those oils and natural remedies for everything.  I am blessed to call her friend and fellow servant.

Weakness is a good thing. John 3:30 says “He must increase but I must decrease.”

My name is Annie.  I had a plaque on my wall growing up that said it means “gracious one” but I had no clue what that really meant until recently.  I’m not sure we can give grace until we receive it.

Life as a child was sweet and protected. I always knew Jesus and even had many chapters of the Bible memorized at a young age. My parents raised me in the Word and I was baptized at five. I remember being filled with the Holy Spirit as a teenager. I spent time on mission trips and church camps and Bible study…all the things a Christian is supposed to do. BUT, I had to learn in many hard ways that I was just a jar of clay that holds the treasure and not the treasure myself. My pride had to die. All my righteous deeds were like filthy rags.

My testimony is a story of the Father’s grace and His patience as He has and continues to mold me into a woman after His heart. Like I said, God had a hold on me from a very young age. I never really knew what it was like to not believe in Him. I also learned early on to be independent and strong. Being the oldest of seven children with parents who raised us against the grain, gave me firm foundations and high expectations. I had dreams of saving the world. Combine the pride and confidence and knowledge of what was right and true and I was destined to fall. Hard. Even my spiritual gifts are knowledge and discernment. Not using them the right way makes me a judgemental know-it-all. Thankfully, Jesus started working gradually and he sent people and circumstances to chisel and mold.  My mouth got me in trouble many times. At one point, mom had me write down and memorize James chapter 3. Oh the deadly poison of the tongue! My youth pastor sat me down and taught me that words hurt and relationships are far more important than being right. It has taken years to fully understand and apply that.29511477_10213980157632296_7086713042562182451_n

Even when I started to control my tongue and outward pride, I had a habit of trying to fix people. Friends, college roommates, boyfriends… all became my projects to save. Two big relationships happened within a couple of years apart in my early 20’s. My college roommate/friend decided she was in love with me. She saw me as her rescuer because of how much I had done for her. I was engaged at the time to my first husband and thankfully he was my way out of that relationship. My marriage then ended in divorce several years later because my ex-husband became mentally ill and left because he couldn’t handle the responsibility of marriage and fatherhood. I had tried to fix him, too, and the guilt was overwhelming. By 27 I was a single mom without friends. I had to move back in with my parents and start over. Even though I was angry at God for a time, He never gave up on me and has used the brokenness in my life. He didn’t let the bitterness, anger and calluses stay, but I had to see that He was the saviour, not me.

Fast -forward to now. I have come to the realization that I have a long list of broken relationships. Not just the two I mentioned. Some from trying to save people in my own strength and not being able to. Some from conflict and differences of opinion that I was too inept at working through. Some just from God’s grace in protecting me. It is a hard realization. I have spent many hours on my knees in repentance and prayer. I have prayed Psalm 51 with intention, even using hyssop like king David did. I want to move forward in the call on my life to love people in whatever way that looks like. When Isaiah saw the Lord in his holy temple and cried out because he was a man of unclean lips, the angel touched his lips with coal and said “your sin is atoned for.” (Isaiah 6) My sin is atoned for. I have to put the past behind me, but that means working through many painful memories. Your sin can be atoned for, but the damage can still be there, even hidden in your physical body. Thankfully, God is the gracious one, not me. He is faithfully patient and consistently kind. Release and surrender to Him are my choices. I am willing to go and sin no more.15844228_10210353186120275_7538725651364315894_o

Recently, a friend prayed that those old injuries and memories causing damage would come out. God has brought me through a cleansing process that has included my spirit, my emotions and my body. I had real breakthroughs with some physical pain and emotional blocks because I worked on them together as He brought to mind the past. I could deal with old hurts that had been buried in a gradual and complete way. Part of the process is what lead me to see the string of broken relationships. What has been amazing is that God has now given me opportunity to heal and restore some of those relationships. He is creating a new pattern. It isn’t even as hard as I imagined it would be. When the joy of the Lord is your strength, you can easily part waters and move mountains.

Now, I am working with a young lady that isn’t a Christian and mentoring her through some very difficult times. I have good boundaries in place and know I can’t save her or be her Holy Spirit. I’m just here to be Jesus’ hands and feet and intercede in prayer for her. That’s quite a change from 20 years ago when I walked out my door to save the world. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has sent me to bring good news, bind up the broken and proclaim liberty to the captives. (Isaiah 61) The Truth is what sets people free. All I have to do is abide in the Word and know the truth. (John 8) Now I am a sower of the Word and people can call me Annie, “gracious one”. I bring grace because it was given. I’m just a transparent jar of clay that holds a treasure beyond compare. May I overflow to all around me.

Lord, I am grateful! I am grateful to not only provide for my physical needs but you provide for my emotional needs through other women like Annie.  Help me be that for others.  Amen!

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