Kasey Van Norman spent most of her life believing her past was too scandalous to be significant to God. After years of hypocrisy and rebellion, God would use the very things Kasey spent her entire life running from; a broken childhood, public infidelity, and cancer diagnosis, to draw her to himself. With radical transparency, Biblical integrity, and humor, Kasey shares how God purposes our most painful relationships and experiences to give eternal meaning to our life. It’s a grace to welcome Kasey to the farm’s front porch today…
My compromise with promiscuity always began in the same place—the constant pull to be loved, accepted, worth it.
With every sexual encounter, it became more difficult to discern the difference between God’s voice of conviction and Satan’s voice of condemnation.
Conviction, healthy guilt drawing our sense of self closer to God.
Condemnation, unhealthy guilt dividing our knowledge of God from the knowledge of ourselves.
There is no compromise like sex to blur the differences between the voice of God and the voice of Satan. It’s the only sin the Bible says makes one turn on her own self: “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18 ESV).
I started every relationship not as a temptress but as a regular girl, a girl just like your daughter, niece, sister, mom, you.
That’s all I ever wanted when I numbed my nerve endings and shut down my brain for just a few minutes.
With every boyfriend, I hoped the same thing: “Maybe this is the one. Maybe this time I’ll finally . . .”
In every relationship, I only ever cared about the feeling you get right before sex messes everything up, the frenzy not of hormones but of possibility.
I felt it while dancing with Nathan before he swept my virginity of its feet. I felt it when I stared weepily into Pastor Bobby’s eyes the night I received my purity ring. I felt it every time a boyfriend smiled longingly at me or gently held my hand in the school hallway. I felt it at Christmas, the only day of the year my parents tolerated one another long enough to sit in the same room as a family.
I felt it in spite of my rage and shame, the possibility that God still wanted me. The still, small voice speaking to my heart, “Kasey, I want you. I choose you. You belong to me.”
But that was also the problem. God’s voice had become too still, too small for me to hear over my own—or Satan’s? I could never be sure.
Much like God, Satan also is not satisfied with a few shifts in our behavior. He wants his lie to become our truth, a real belief that manifests in our identity and changes our behavior from there.
But unlike God’s, Satan’s voice is not powerful enough to speak directly to our hearts. He is not tied to our DNA or woven into our image.
He is left only to formulate leading questions. And his questions are designed to confuse and disorient us, to isolate us long enough that our reality feels blurry, fragmented, and compartmentalized.
Satan can speak only to our what, the external pieces of our lives—words and actions, what we do and say.
But God will always speak to our why—our hearts, motives, beliefs, desires, wants.
A created being himself, Satan is allowed only enough power to point out our vulnerabilities from what he observes about us.
But God is the one who determines whether those vulnerabilities make us acceptable or unacceptable to Him.
Unlike Satan, who has access to us only through our behaviors, when God speaks, His words are attached to our hearts: “Living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12 ESV).
When God speaks, our hearts cannot help but be nagged, drawn, intrigued, or compelled to attention.
For only God speaks with the authority of eternity to the whole picture of our past, present, and future as it matters to heaven.
Voices are speaking to us even now.
One voice whispers a lie that divides our humanity and separates us from others.
The other speaks a truth that makes us wholly known and eternally accepted.
And while the voices’ message differs, they both speak the loudest in our pain.
We are never more keenly aware of the voices speaking to us than in our weakest moments: when we need, when we lose control, when we fall short of someone’s expectations, when we stand in front of a mirror and view our aging, sagging, frail, mortal bodies.
The more often we choose to listen to the voice of God in our pain, the more convinced we will become that God sees our weaknesses differently than we do. Not as embarrassing moments we need to dismiss or dilute with the mediocre ‘highs’ of this world, but instead, as useable material.
What seem like scraps to us are God’s best resources to prove His love for us once and for all.
For God’s purpose to be clear in our lives, we must get honest with ourselves about our darkest days, the days we want a buzz, need to numb, continue to do the thing we hate. Honesty acknowledges that there is both a victim and an offender within us, that “none is righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10 ESV).
We are all exposed before God, but who is telling you that?
You don’t have to be as hardheaded and stubborn as me to believe the voice of truth. Twenty years as a Christian, believing in God, but never believing Him.
No more still, small voice for me.
God was about to drop the mic on my wimpy, lukewarm faith. The fake me was about to get the buzz kill of her life.
And when she did, there’d be no doubt, for her or anyone else, whose voice was speaking.
Kasey Van Norman is a licensed professional counselor; specializing in Biblical construct of life story and trauma recovery. She is a speaker and bestselling author of the books and study series, Named by God and Raw Faith. Kasey is the founder of Northway Farms; a non-profit serving homeless women in her community.
In her new release, Nothing Wasted: God Uses the Stuff You Wouldn’t, Kasey helps readers discover how God uses the pain and regret of their past to bring purpose to their future. With vulnerability, sound doctrine, and humor, Kasey unfolds the brokenness in her own life, reminding us that a holy, sovereign God lovingly works, not in spite of our past, but through it.
[ Our humble thanks to Zondervan for their partnership in this devotion ]