What do you mean by "chains of sin"?
I'm careful to stay general with the details, but I've been open about the fact I was victimized as a child.
The first time I can recall anything about my abuse, I was very young. My victimization wasn't constant, because my victimizer didn't have continual access to me. But it certainly was enough to mess me up at a time when I was figuring out who I was. I was pigeon-toed. I had buckteeth. I had the hairiest legs in the free world. My mother wouldn't let me shave them for the longest timeand fishnet tights were in! Even though I did well in school, I had the worst self-esteem imaginable.
Many wonderful things happened to me as a child. I was loved. I was raised in the church. But I'm not convinced there's enough good to offset the devastation of abuse.
So what led you to Jesus?
My Sunday-school teacher would hold up pictures of Jesus, and he looked so nice. I needed a hero, and Jesus seemed like one. I'd lie on the grass, stare up at the sky, and wonder what Jesus was like. Even as a child, I fell in love with him.
After my freshman year in college, I was a camp counselor for sixth-grade girls. Early one morning, as the girls were sleeping, I sensed God's presence enfold me. There were no audible words, no bright lights. But suddenly I knew, without a doubt, my future was entirely his. You are now mine, he told me.
It took me a long time to break free from self-destruction. Yet even in those turbulent years, Jesus drew me back every single time. I couldn't stand anything that put a distance between Christ and me. I still can't. His presence is everything to me.
How can we experience that kind of passion?
By studying his Word. I tell women to pick a Bible study and fully participate. Do the homework. Get together with the other women. And ask God to light a fire for his Word in your heart. That's a prayer to which he'll never answer no. It doesn't matter whose Bible study series it is; if it has a sound approach to God's Word, for crying out loud, do it.
I love what it says in Matthew 13:11-12that to those who've been given kingdom secrets, he gives more. In other words, Jesus reveals himself progressively as we seek him. He becomes a glorious, holy addiction.
As you've taught on Daniel recently, have any insights knocked your socks off?
Absolutely. I was struck by the parallel between ancient Babylon and today. Babylon was a spectacular city, the center of commerce, not unlike our self-absorbed, consumer-oriented culture. Isaiah 47:8 talks about the daughter of Babylon saying, "I am, and there is none beside me." That's the mindset we're surrounded by today.