About the Author

Former Bad Girl, grateful for the grace God offers. Happy wife of Bill, one of the Good Guys. Proud mom of two grown-up kids with tender hearts. Lame housekeeper. Marginal cook. Pitiful gardener. Stuff I love? Encouraging my sisters in Christ—across the page, from the platform, online, in person. Unpacking...

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  1. Your children are totally blessed to have you as a Mum.
    What an amazing God honouring, child honouring conversation to have. I LOVE this story ♡
    Whatever our past has been, the journey to freedom is always grace.
    This spoke so deeply to me and I’m not even sure why. I’m not a mum, not married and past 50!
    Bless you xx

  2. Oh YES Liz! Gentle. Honest. And brave. Helping them, and honoring our God, who can and does redeem and restore ALL things…Yes!

    Before our affair story was shown on video at our church two Christmases ago, my husband and I sat our kids down to share with them first. And even though it wasn’t the easiest, it ended up being a beautiful family moment. Because as we shared our failure with them, they realized without the failure, they wouldn’t have been born, and they saw how God had taken our mess and made it beautiful. Something only He could do.

    Sharing honestly and bravely with our kids is so important. Because one day, they’re going to fail too. And it’s so crucial for them to know from experience that they are not alone, that nothing can separate them from God’s love, and even their mistakes can eventually become blessings in the hands of our gracious and mercy-giving God.

    Liz, thank you for sharing your heart today. What a gift you are!

    • Love knowing you’ve walked a similar path with your kids, Jacque, and that God used your story and your honesty to help them grasp the truth of God’s grace. As each year went by I shared a bit more, then a bit more (you probably did the same), based on their ages and what I thought would be most helpful to them. It definitely opens a door to deeper conversations, doesn’t it? So grateful.

      Thanks for taking time to read and comment today, my sister!

  3. Liz,
    What a testimony your life is of God’s ability to bring beauty from ashes. So many of us have war-torn pasts, but our imperfect side is what most people can relate to and if they see that Jesus can not only dwell, but thrive in a sinners heart, well then there is hope for us all. Thank you for your beautiful story of redemption and the encouragement to be brave with our children.
    Be blessed,
    Bev

    • You’re so right, Bev, on every count. “War-torn” describes it perfectly. And there definitely is “hope for us all!” Have a blessed Easter, my new friend.

  4. Wow – I am struggling with this. My first marriage lasted two years, ending due to extreme life threatening physical abuse. No children came of that marriage. My second husband and I adopted two children together. They are five now and since the moment they were born I have wondered when will be the right time to share this part of my story with them. My fears are the same as the ones you listed. I am fairly sure they are still a bit too young to get this and at this point it would simply create confusion – I want to tell them the whole story, using the abuse as a lesson and that seems something better suited for them at an older age. I’ll continue to wait but your words gave comfort, knowing I am not alone in my fears.

    • You are definitely not alone, Kate. I think your decision to wait a bit longer is a wise one. Nothing is gained by confusing or frightening our children at such a tender age. But in the years to come, God will open the door for that discussion. You can trust him to prepare their hearts and to give you just the right words to say.

      Blessings on you and yours this holy season!

  5. Hi Liz, that was really beautiful. Even that much of your testimony is a blessing. My past doesn’t involve the exact same sins, but it does involve a whole lot of sins nonetheless. But God has done so much that you wouldn’t recognize me as the same person between today and a dozen years ago. Like you, He made me new. I’m so thankful – overwhelmed by His goodness and mercy!
    Hugs!

    • What a wonderful thought, to be unrecognizable! Love it, Jamie.

      Whether it was 32 years ago (for me) or 12 years ago (for you), his mercies are new every morning!

      Hugs back!

  6. {Kathy} Your daughter hit it! Sad…. Isn’t that what drives us to try and replace Jesus in our lives with empty promises and things that make us even more sad? What a testimony you are to how much moms must overcome and share with their children. I have learned a similar lesson — but far too late. I am learning to share a little more, a little sooner, especially with my daughter.
    We are only evidence of God’s grace and mercy. Our children need that in their lives. Thank you so much for sharing this story. May God bless you this Easter and those who hear your testimony.

    • She did indeed sum up my past in a word, and in so doing, gave me entry point I needed. How good is God?! Love what you’ve shared, Kathy: “We are only evidence of God’s grace and mercy.” YES. A blessed Easter to you and your family!

  7. I can imagine how hard it is to share with our children and yet, ALL things are new. Even in this Jesus works His good and love. I think our stories, though painful, can be of valuable lesson to our children. It’s great that you put that out here so other will do the same. You know what would be great… to hear from your children. Do they remember that day when you told them? Do they remember that church service? Do they think knowing has effected their choices later in life?
    God bless and what a great memory this Easter.

    • Here are the answers to your good questions, Hope:

      When I finished writing my post last week, I had my daughter read it, to be sure she was comfortable with me including her (I’ve always done this with any articles, posts, or books that featured our kids). Her response? “Wow, Mom. I don’t remember that at all!” (Come to think of it, I don’t remember much from when I was 8 either!)

      And yes, they have both assured me that knowing my story helped them make better choices. Though I really think having a great earthly father and a glorious Heavenly Father shaped their choices most of all.

      Faithful God!

  8. Oh Liz- Just beautiful, thank you for the courage to share your story and your example of being transparent with your kids. Oh Happy Easter day, all our sins are washed away. Clean in Him, white and pure- abundant grace, forevermore.:)

    • Love that word “transparent,” Katie. It’s always been the prayer of my heart to be as clear as glass, so people can look right through me and see Jesus, not Lizzie.

      YES, to “abundant grace, forevermore!”

  9. Love this so much, Liz! The power of telling our stories – in the right time, in the right way, to the right hearts – can break the chains the enemy tries to wind around us and change lives. Beautiful – just beautiful.

    • So appreciate your words of encouragement, Crystal. YOU know how scary it was for me to jump into these new waters. I should have known what an amazing group of sisters I’d have waiting for me, cheering from the beach and running headlong into the waves with me! THANK YOU.

  10. The thing I’ve found (my kids are now 21, 19 and 17) is those broken pieces of our lives are extremely valuable to our children. They see us with new eyes when they learn we aren’t perfect, and I think it makes the truth even more accessible.

    It’s a beautiful shade of redemption when we see our littered past pointing to Christ and his forgiveness and deliverance.

    And how wise of you to approach your children beforehand, choosing the words carefully to help them understand; and how wise of your daughter to understand *that* part of your life grieved you in retrospect.

    Also? Who can throw a stone around these parts??? 🙂

    • So right, Robin. No stone-throwing around here! Your words “a beautiful shade of redemption” just ring inside me. Please write a book with that title. And yes, our imperfection gives hope to others, so…why not our children too?

      Thanks for taking a moment to read, to comment, to encourage me. You set a fine example of how (in)courage works!

  11. Lovely Liz. My children are adopted and though they know much of their birth story, I have struggled to share the not-so-pretty parts of what I know about their birth families. Thanks for the hope of how Christ makes us new creations. We are not tied to our past!

    Latest blog post: Why comparisons are bad for you

    • Absolutely, Sara: we are NOT tied to our pasts. I’ve always loved the old adage, “Every day is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” So grateful to connect with you here.

  12. Thanks for sharing this. I love how you suggested remembering that in Christ all things are made new…to temper what we share with tender hearts and ears. It’s a good point. A few months ago I encouraged a friend to share her testimony with her teenage daughters. I don’t know if she has yet. But I will share this verse with her next time I see her.

    • Bless you, Sarah. I’d be honored to think my words might encourage another mother to take that leap of faith.

      One of my fears was that my children would use my past mistakes as a license to do the same foolish things, telling themselves, “Well, Mom did this. She’ll understand.” But (thank you, Lord!), they did just the opposite, My son once told me he knew he couldn’t get away with ANYTHING, because I’d spot it right away!

      I do hope my post will encourage your friend. Thanks for leaving a comment, Sarah!

  13. Wow Liz love, love your story! I started following you when I got your book: Bad Girls of the Bible that was 1999, I was at bible college at the time during my last year there I was raped and became pregnant now as a single mom often pray about what to say with my beautiful son and God always provides the words that I need to say .. Most blessed by your godly insight and wisdom.. I’m so glad you are out there sharing your incredible God inscribed story!!!

    • Oh, Lori, what a difficult journey you’ve been on. I’m so sorry. And yet, look at God, working through it all in such a redemptive, powerful way. And your beautiful son! A treasure. I’m so glad we connected across the page 15 years ago, sis. Amazing. Only God.

  14. This is so beautiful, Liz! I think it’s so great that you found the courage to share your story with your kids. My mom has some hurts and scars in her past, but I don’t really know very many details. When I was younger, I’m imagine she kept them from me because she was worried her lifestyle was too inappropriate for me to hear about, but now that I’m an adult, I sort of wish she’d opened up about it a little more, just so I could understand her better.

    I am so excited that you’re going to be a regular contributor for (in)courage!

    • My mom died when I was 23 and still deep in my Bad Girl lifestyle. Sadly, I was too wrapped up in myself to think about what my mother might have lived through when she was young. I would dearly love to know more about her, but missed the opportunity.

      So, if I may be so bold as to suggest…ask the Lord to open that door, then ask your mom what her life was like before she gave birth to you? She might be relieved to share it. And I know you would be blessed to hear it, as you say, to know her better. Praying as you consider it. And THANKS for sharing your story with me here!

  15. This hit me for a different reason than many others … as a former “Good Girl” (oh, how hard I tried to be perfect!!!) I can easily fall into the sin of being Judgmental. Your daughter’s word for your Before Christ life — SAD — reminds me to look at others with a gentleness that is not my nature. MY life before Jesus was sad, too — because though I had been taught He loved me and died for my sins, I was still trying to EARN His favor. Oh the JOY when I learned that His sacrifice was enough!! And I was accepted forever! And He would never leave me or forsake me — even if I failed at being a Good Girl!

    I vividly remember the first time I heard you speak at a Time Out for Women day at Mission Hills Church in the Denver area … and oh how grateful I am that I went that day! You have blessed my life in so many ways since then! And you help me remember God’s Amazing Grace each day. God Bless You through the very busy days before it’s time for Scotland trip!!

    • I just LOVE when God takes our simple words and applies them to each of our lives in different ways. And I hear you on the Good Girl thing. I spent the early years of my Christian walk still trying to earn his favor, not fully getting GRACE. How patient the Lord is, with all of us.

      And what FUN that you heard me at Time Out for Women near Denver! Great city, great event. I love that we’ve stayed connected, Susie. Much joy to you this spring and always!

  16. Oh Liz…this is just beautiful. The power of grace leads us to be brave. And I love that your story directly impacted theirs in such a positive way. “Oh my mom did all that stuff ages ago. Whatever.” Love it! That’s redemption right there. Thank you for sharing your heart with us!

  17. That’s a beautiful, tender story, Liz, and I just know your children love you to pieces, in part, because of your transparent love and pointing them to Jesus. I had had an abortion very early in our marriage, and it took many years for me to receive the Lord’s healing and forgiveness. The last piece of my healing journey was to tell my daughter. I asked God to protect her until she was old enough to understand (even though by then I was writing and speaking about it). Still, I greatly dreaded telling my daughter. One day, when she was 19, and Googling her author/speaker mother on the Internet to show a friend, she found an article about me, mentioning my abortion. She came running to me, angry that anyone would tell such a lie. At that moment, I had a choice to tell her the truth or deny it. After her friend left, with much trepidation, throuhg tears, I told her about my sin. Her tears and mine, mingled together, were the final benediction of God’s grace on that horrible chapter in my life. Not only did my daughter love, forgive, and accept me, like your children, she does not want to go the path I did. She is grateful now when I speak out for life. It’s best to share truth with our children, in God’s own timing. He will be there to shepherd us and our children, and He will bring victory!
    Bless you, Liz Higgs!
    In Him.
    Lynn Morrissey

    • Such a powerful story, Lynn. Of forgiveness from the Lord first and foremost, and from your daughter as well. Bless you for sharing it so vividly.

      My grown kids have both heard me share my testimony many times, and their response is the same: joy, not shame. Thank you, Jesus!

      • I have tears in my eyes, Liz. Thank you for yet more grace from God through you…….yes, yes! That is totally it….joy and NOT shame. Thanks for responding! And THANK YOU, JESUS!
        Lynn

  18. When they are adults, and inevitably make some mistakes or go through weaknesses or challenges of their own, they will remember their Mom’s story, who with God’s grace survived and thrived. You have become the light at the end of whatever tunnel they may face in the future. Lucky them!

    • Love it, Mary. I’m pretty sure the light at the end of the tunnel is JESUS, but I’m delighted to be there as well, cheering our grown kids on. Thanks for reading today’s post!

  19. thank you for sharing that! i, too, had to come to a place where their forgiveness was needed….and because the Lord is who He is…i have two amazing adult daughters, who have not only forgiven me, but gone on to be amazingly compassionate, life changing women of God…and have impacted hundreds…if not more…through their ministries of love…one in the capacity of an elementary school teacher… the other in serving the needs of young adults trying to make a fresh start in the world…(after giving many, MANY months in the slums of kiberra, kenya…just she and God!!!
    brag on my daughters??!! yup!!!! but mostly on God…who brought me through, and out, of soooooo many traumas and bad choices…to see the fruit of HIS labor in their lives!!!!
    God is good…and true…and honest. let’s be like Him…a little more every day!!
    God’s blessings as you continue to bear His fruit!

    • Who better to sing her daughters’ praises than their mom?! Forgiveness is one of the BEST gifts we can give to and receive from our children, that’s for sure. Easter blessings to you and yours, Tara!

  20. What a beautiful post, Liz! And great encouragement for how to share our past with our children so that God gets all the glory. Thank you for bravely sharing with all of us.

  21. I have a similar story to yours,Liz. I grew up in a very scary and condemning church environment. I thought that God was mean & scary, so I went out and did everything that I had been told not to do. There was not a drug that I didn’t do. My life was a mess for years. Praise God, He never left me. I have been clean and sober for three years. I am learning of God’s love for me.

    • Celebrating your sobriety with you, Karoletha! God is ever faithful, and he does indeed love you completely–exactly as you were on your darkest days, exactly as you are on your brightest ones. His love, her mercy are unchangeable. Amazing, isn’t it? THANKS for your honesty.

  22. Thank you so much for sharing this, and also to previous commenters who’ve shared their own stories and encouragements. My girls are very little yet, but I’ve often wondered how and when I will tell them about some of the struggles of my life before I had surrendered it all to Jesus. Hoping and trusting that God will clearly show them, when the time is right, how He turned my ashes to beauty!

    • I believe the Lord will show you when to tell, what to tell, and how to tell your dear children about those “sad” days. It really does give them hope, and shows them God’s love is REAL. Bless you, Katie, this Easter and always!

  23. Liz, this is just the encouragement I needed! About 2 weeks ago I had a similar conversation with my 10 year old son. It was so nerve wracking but God is sooo good and faithful! He honors truth!

    Thank you so much for this!

    • His timing never fails to steal my breath! I know he will use your honest confession to your son in marvelous ways, both in his life and in yours. As you say, “He honors truth!” So right, Vicki.

  24. I heard bits of my mom’s story of the years but wasn’t until I was 24 that I heard all of it. When she finally shared with me, I began to love my mom and Jesus more. Her story of redemption is so beautiful and so powerful. I feel more loved by God that He would rescue my mom and then equip her to share the Gospel with me. I think it’s so important to share our stories with the next generation. Our story is part of their story. I love that God came into my family the generation before I was born so that I was able to grow up knowing Him.

    • What a lovely way to honor your mother, Ali. She must be SO proud of you. Not because of your goodness (I wouldn’t lay that expectation on ANYONE!), but because of your faith in the One who is ALL GOOD. Your words will surely encourage others here. Thank you!

  25. Liz, I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. My mom had a before and after story, too, one that involved a nine-month term that she never actually admitted to, always ending my questions with, “that was before I was saved.” While I understand now, when I grew up as a pastor’s kid, I didn’t. I didn’t have a before and after, nor any of my siblings; all the sad, bad stuff we did occurred during our Christianity–and boy did we do it. Our identities are a mixed bag of rebellion, faith, forgiveness, failure, guilt all underscored by verses we memorized when we were growing up. There is a tremendous amount of brokenness in my family. While we are all responsible for our own choices as adults and how we respond to the open arms of Jesus’ grace even for sins willfully committed while we “knew better”, I can’t help wondering how much trouble may have been averted had my parents sat down and made themselves vulnerable as you recounted in your story. I have been honest and the freedom I have, and that my third-generation Christian kids have is so very…free. Sure, I still judge myself sometimes, my kids have even judged me, but truth and grace win the day. I have thousands of before and afters because of the shining promise in 1 John 1:9-10- when we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    • Love all you’ve shared, Alyssa. Ah, that “knowing better” thing. So get that. Then I read in Romans 1:20 that “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

      Hmm. It seems we ALL know better, whether we’ve been raised in a Christian home or not. Just shows again how amazing God’s grace is, to forgive and forgive and forgive. As you beautifully say, “thousands of before and afters.” YES.

      You’ve learned a valuable lesson from your dear parents: how to do things differently. And your kids are blessed because of it. This Easter and always, may we celebrate the FREEDOM of knowing Christ!

  26. Liz, again in thank you for your transparency. For showing me that my past is just that, past. It has been redeemed by the blood of my savior, Jesus Christ. A couple of my kids did follow in my steps but by the grace of God some of them are following Christ now. Your words of honesty and sharing with your children are so encouraging for those who are raising children. I never thought of doing that. The enemy can, and will if we allow him, wreak havoc with us about our past. We simply need to keep our eyes on Jesus and remember that we have been redeemed. Then he has no power in our lives. Thank you again and have a wonder Easter weekend.

    • So grateful you’ve read our posts today, dear sister. Your analysis of the enemy’s intent is quite right. How I love reminding him what a loser he is.

      Much joy to you and yours this Easter weekend!

  27. Liz,
    This post is beautiful! I welled up with tears as I read your words. I will one day have to face that same situation-sharing my story-& pray God will give me the strength, courage & right words to do so, when that time comes.
    Thank you so much for sharing! Your transparency is a GIFT of encouragement; to know that someone else faced the same situation & handled it with such poise & grace~God’s way!

    Love to you! ♥

    • Pretty sure no one has EVER called my actions “poised” or “graceful,” so I’m tucking those kind words in my pocket for safekeeping, Satin!

      The Lord will indeed give you what you need when the time comes. Praying for your peace on the matter until then. It’s in his hands!

  28. Hi Liz… I found this on a day when I keep thinking “where is God today”… “why do I feel like I have missed that mark and can’t get back”… tears flow easily and I am glad… cleansing, freeing, and allows my heart to feel…. what a blessing… I have always been open with my girls and will with the grandbabies… God is so faithful and true… I just wanted you to know I am sending the link for this page to a dear friend… She has suffered more than I could believe possible….. the death of one son, the ravages of alcohol on another, the death of a precious granddaughter at 13 months of age, a daughter who has fled pain her whole life in ways that have make her feel unworthy of great love but who has a son now… God’s blessing .. and in my opinion “affirmation” that she is worthy of great love! Just wanted you to know that God’s way of spreading HIS blessings of faithfulness and GRACE, move in directions we cannot even imagine. Your words (His through you) have always touched me deeply and I know.. I KNOW.. God has a plan for this testimony for my dear friend and her daughter! love you, Liz… thanks so much for sharing your heart!

    • Bless you for reaching out, Jennifer. Though we all miss the mark, we can definitely get back. As you say, “God is so faithful and true.” He IS. Thanks for sharing this post with your friend. So much heartache in her life! I hope she finds a little glimmer of light here to shine on her path.

      Easter joy to you, my sister!

  29. I love you. I love your heart and courage. God uses you to make me feel brave. God’s love, truth and grace sing a melodious chorus of, “Look what the Lord has done! Ta Da!!!!” Keep writing and sharing fierce faith walker!

  30. That took such trust in God for you tell your kiddos. Our daughter is almost 11 and we’ve been trying to tell her why my husband and I go to “meetings.” She grew up knowing Daddy was allergic to alcohol and it made Mommy sad..but now we need to shed some truth on it, bring it out in the light of day…. Thank you for your courage ♡

    • So unbelievably PROUD of both of you for going to those meetings, Kristin. Life saving.

      At 11, your daughter is probably ready to see a bit more of the bigger picture. You will know when. And God definitely knows! We can always trust his timing, his leading.

  31. Thank you, Liz. I have benefited so much from your writings and teachings over the years, and I very much appreciate your transparency. You have been an example and inspiration to me in many ways.

    • Sweet words, my friend. I’m thankful for this new place to share what God is teaching me, and REALLY thankful for those women who’ve been walking with me for many years…like YOU. Thanks, Judy, and happy Easter!

  32. Liz,
    I am so glad you shared this story. It is beautiful. I love the boldness of leaning on God while walking through a difficulty. What encouragement you bring. Thank you!
    Many blessings to you and your family.

    • I’ve carried this story in my heart for years, but never committed it to paper (or screen!), so it’s a special joy to share it here. Thanks for reading and commenting, dear Stephanie,

  33. Liz,
    Thank you for your transparency and for sharing your story with us. I think it was a brave and wise decision to share your past with your children. I am coming from the other side of the story. My mother has always been a loving and wonderful woman; however she has always had the persona of the good and perfect person. This was difficult for me growing up as I felt I needed to achieve the same level of “goodness” as she and it was hard for me to face mistakes that I had made. I am 44, the youngest of 3 children, and in the last 6 months, through amazing circumstances orchestrated by God, I found out that she had an affair and I am the product of that relationship. She never chose to share this with me. I took the information to her and talked with her about it. She did tell me the truth; but still wants to keep the secret. This is difficult for me as I have 4 additional siblings, whom I am in the process of meeting and starting to build a relationship with. God has blessed me with peace in this situation; but it would have been so much easier for me to have heard it from my mother. I encourage any parent to share their past with their children at the appropriate time. While parents should be Christian role models for their children, it is also a great lesson when a child knows the parent isn’t perfect just perfectly forgiven. Blessings to you and I applaud your courage.

    • Susie, it’s stories like yours that GIVE me the courage to speak the truth. I’m so sorry you’ve been asked to bear this secret, even among your own family members. And I marvel at the peace God has planted in your heart.

      At the Higgs house, I care much more about what my children think of Jesus than what they think of me. So, I live fully aware of my “wretchedness” (Paul in Romans 7:24 crying out, “What a wretched man I am!:). Hard as it is to speak the truth sometimes, it’s so much easier than trying to cover up a lie.

      Thanks for encouraging us with your words, Susie.

  34. Oh, dear Lizzie, I’m so excited to have you encouraging us at (in)courage! Your passion for sharing the glory of the Easter story in your life is what draws me back time and time again to your witness. May this sacred season be overflowing with the reality of the Savior’s presence in your life. Blessings my sister.

    • Julie, you always have just the right word to lift my spirits and remind me what blogging is all about: lifting up the name of Christ. Thanks for making me welcome in this new place. I’m already CRAZY about the women of (in)courage!

  35. The guilt of the past keeps us in bondage. The grace of our precious Redeemder sets us free. The “steadfast love of the Lord never ceases” and He has made us NEW in Christ. Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

    Thank you, Liz, for sharing your powerful testimony of God’s grace in your life.

  36. This is such a beautiful story to share. When your little girl said “sad” I just started weeping. So smart. So right. So many sad things before life in Christ.

  37. God ALWAYS blesses me through your words, Liz – whether written online, on paper, in an e-book, in a DVD or CD, or spoken directly in a conference, church, signing etc.!! And now through this wonderful venue also, (in)courage!!

    I SO needed to hear the words you spoke when I first heard you speak four years ago – this month!! Your words were confirmation that God could also use the “bad-girl” examples of my own past and the new creature I had become through Him – to reach others for Him. THANK YOU for allowing Him to use you to bless your sisters in SO many wonderful ways!!

    • You know, dear Bonnie, that it’s the joy of my heart to do so. Those 10 years in the pit were so hard, yet God has graciously used every one to reach our sisters who are still stuck there. He is beyond faithful. Hugs to you!

  38. So…wondering how to do the confession when the bad girl days came AFTER meeting Jesus, not before. That’s a whole other scenario I am struggling with.

    • Debbie, I read your comment earlier today when I was running around with my daughter (same daughter in my story, just 17 years older!), and I’ve been eager to get to my computer so I could offer you an encouraging word.

      I believe with all my heart that the sins you committed after you met Jesus are every bit as forgiven as the ones before. His grace doesn’t stop the day we say, as it were, “I do.” His grace, his mercy, his love COVER IT ALL.

      The truth is, I’m still confessing my sins to my kids. Not the ones from 30 years ago…the ones from 30 minutes ago. They may be less “colorful” than the ones from my Bad Girl years, but by God’s definition, they’re still sin. And, by his amazing grace, they’re still forgiven. I know. Wow.

      If you’re comfortable doing so, click on my name which will take you to my website. You can send me a private email through the contact page. I would dearly love to put in your hands a free copy (no strings attached!) of my book, “Embrace Grace.” It is the message of my heart. And I wrote it for you. No really. True fact. If you’re willing, I’d be honored to send it.

      Praying for you to know God’s complete peace on this issue of how to share the “after” sins. I get it. We all get it. Right there. With you.

  39. Your story reminded me of when my grandchildren asked about my mommy and daddy. My mother had a very sad story–my father was married and she wasn’t when I was born in 1951. I have a sister 5 years younger and my mother wasn’t married. I knew I had to talk to my grandchildren as I had talked to their parents 20 years before. As I began my story, both with their parents and then them, I wasn’t sure how to do the telling. But questions came, one would lead to another and another until the entire story was told. My grandchildren reacted as their parents had before, “grandma, you need to tell your story to other people. Other people need to hear that Jesus makes a difference.” Jesus does make THE difference, from the role of victim to victor. I truly enjoyed your story.

    • What a beautiful testimony, Randy! And how wise, to let the questions come, and then respond. Kids are far more comfortable with that style of communication. And you are sure to be providing what they truly need to know (and not TMI).

      God bless you for sharing this valuable example!

  40. Liz, this had me bawling at work. I heard you tell a story once about working with Howard Stern and how he encouraged you to get clean and sober…or did I read it? Hmmm, well anyway, I thought that was the bee’s knees. Thanks for sharing your story. The old has gone, the new has come! Hallelujah what a Savior!

  41. I have loved you, Liz Higgs, for several (seven) years because of your candor, honesty, and kindness, and I am so delighted to see you here as an incourage blogger! Your book “Embrace Grace” helped set my daughter, Marni, free from the same kind of life you were trying to explain to your kids in this post. A grace receiver always becomes a generous grace giver and you surely are. Keep doing exactly what you are doing for the Kingdom, our Father is very, very pleased with you! xo

  42. We have a Savior who redeems us and restores us, for we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! Praise God for His abundant grace and blessings!

    Enjoy having you at In Courage, Liz!

    • And I love being here, Kathy.

      “In Quiet Places” is such a lovely name. “Quiet” is not a word I’d ever use to describe myself (smile), but it’s a word I cherish, and a lifestyle I long for. Well done!

  43. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I too have a “sad” past. I’m still struggling with the fact that I’m forgiven. I love hearing the stories from women who “married their high school sweet heart” or “found Jesus in they’re teens”. But I need to hear stories like yours. Ones I can relate to so I know I’m not the only “really BIG sinner”. I love all the ladies at (in)courage along with several others who bring me encouragement through their words but your story today is a breath of fresh air for me. Thank you again and God Bless you.

    • So grateful, Louanne. I love those stories too, and that’s definitely the story I want for my children. But our stories–yours and mine–traveled a different path. And yet, here we are! Praise God for his mercy and grace poured over “really BIG sinners” like us.

  44. Liz
    It tooks me years to come to that place where Satan could no longer use my past. You have an opportunity to share with so many people and what a blessing you are. Thank you for being bold and courageous to do so. Trust me more people can relate to someone like you and the stories you share and the books you write. Stay strong in the Lord and may He bless you over and over.

  45. What beautiful words you have shared, Liz! I have been blessed by sharing the dark spots of my past with my kids. I have seen and heard them use me and my story of suicide attempts and depression to encourage others. Thank you for sharing your story to encourage other mamas. All of our stories attest and need to be told.

    • You’ve said it perfectly, Amy: “all our stories need to be told.” My heart aches to think of all you’ve been through, yet rejoices that God was with you through all of it. You are a trophy of his love, sis.

  46. “if you’re wondering how much of your past to share with your children, here’s my take, for what it’s worth. Be gentle. Be honest. And be brave.”

    Thank YOU Liz for being brave here and honest and gentle with us.

  47. I am so glad that we serve a God who makes all things new! Liz, I’m so thankful that you’ve been willing to share your story over the years. You have been an encouragement to many–including me.

    • Every time I think, “No need to talk about those Former Bad Girl days anymore,” God brings someone across my path who needs to hear about a Savior whose atoning death paid for her sins in full. My story is so simple, so common. Still, I’m honored to share it: “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe” Psalm 107:2.

  48. As always, I love your testimony.
    Sometimes we walk paths Gad plants for us, good and bad. He knows our sins before we make them like Jesus knew Peter will deny him three times on the day of execution. Jesus knows our hearts and our weaknesses.
    I’m saddened. I don’t see people calling sins a bondage but freedom. But a sinful life ties your hands and tongue.
    But there are others who see their own sins like a boulder sitting on their chest. Judah couldn’t live with himself. His sinful act killed him. But don’t we hit ourselves with stones as well?
    God’s using our ignorance and humbles us. But there is no reason to crucify ourselves.
    It’s not easy to be brave, but that’s what God wants from us, to share our testimonies, so others can see the light, so snowflakes melt in people’s hearts.
    If you’re the one suffering, who has seen the light, you’re one sheep Jesus picked up to carry. He didn’t want you to wonder alone.

    • This is a sobering truth, Anna: “He knows our sins before we make them.” And yet God forgives them the moment we confess them (1 John 1:9). Still boggles my mind on an hourly basis!

  49. Oh Lizzie, {can I call you Lizzie? 🙂 } I adore this. And what’s more, I *needed* this.

    So thankful for your valuable presence here in this community. You are a treasure. Much love!

    • Oh, yes, PLEASE call me Lizzie. And thanks for the warm welcome, Kristen. I’m already CRAZY about the women of (in)courage. You don’t just talk it, you walk it!

  50. For such a time as this comes your post and all of the beautiful comments that follow. I have kept an almost-published book in my drawer for years for fear of the damage of transparency. God keeps moving me closer to tell my story. Certainly, children, family members and others would be effected. I’m trusting God’s timing for sweet release. Thank you, Liz.

    • You are SO wise to wait for that release from God. I understand what gives you pause, and am praying as I post this reply that God will soon whisper in your ear “Now.”

  51. You, sweet lady Liz, not only have the gift of encouragement, you {{are}} the gift of encouragement. With each word you write, you shepherd. You mentor. You point our hearts to Him.

    “Be gentle. Be honest. And be brave.”

    These 3 attributes. I need them not only in those hard-stories-to-tell but in some hard conversations coming up. Thank you for your wise words. For mentoring {me} through your “yes” to Him.

    • So blessed we get to share this space together, sweet Renee. Some days (too many?) I’m not gentle AT ALL, I’m only partially honest (is that even possible?), and I’m anything but brave. Even so, God loves me, loves you, loves all his children. I will never get over the WONDER of that.

      Thanks for adding your voice today, beloved.

  52. O Liz, i’m so glad you shared this. I actually have a ‘glorious past’ of wonderful faith and much adventure trusting Jesus. My struggle is the present ongoing story! As long as I leave and my story weaves, the legacy is still being written. Your post reminds me of what I wrote to remind myself: start over at ground zero. Sit by the emptied-out tomb and wait till your eyes see differently… i hope you enjoy the post. It’s over at:
    http://www.jennihh.blogspot.sg/2014/04/beyond-well-lays-emptied-out-tomb.html

  53. Lis I enjoyed reading your story. It was very encouraging to me. Soft May Sunlight. By Tara Horsley. Soft May Sunlight warm my close in front porch Friday afternoon as my teenage sons playing ball outside as I sat on my porch watching them. You see before I met Jesus, my life was all wrong and sad but now I am very happy. I live my life for Jesus and happily serve Him at my house, with my husband,teenage sons,as a homemaker and working outside the home. I am very happy and glad to report that I still love God and always will. HElping them and honoring God who can redeem and restore all things that nothing can separate them for Gods love and I tell even their mistakes and sins will be forgiven. They can always be a blessing in the hands of our gracious,mercy,giving loving God always. It will be a lesson in there life. I tell that each day in the blessen eyes of God is all a new day.

    • Tara, one of my favorite passages captures your wonderful phrase, “all a new day”:

      Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
      for his compassions never fail.
      They are new every morning;
      great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

      Best. News. Ever.

  54. Liz,

    Wonderfully great story! It is important to share our story with others. Especially our children. They need to know that parents aren’t perfect, just forgiven and loved by a awesome God!

    Thanks Lizzie! Glad to have you here!

  55. HE never fails me. After a night of waking up too many times, praying, then turning back to the pillow, I stumbled to the computer before work must start (5 minutes and counting now) and wondered “Why no Lizzie lately?” You were stuck in my Junk mail (Heaven forbid!), and HE pointed me there. Your story wounds my heart and makes me sing all at the same time. Your children and husband are so blessed by you, as you are by them. My parents were alcoholics who never faced the truth about themselves and the abuse they wrought on my sister and me. My sins were and are altogether different but no less wrong: we break HIS heart over and over and HE persists in loving us. Easter every day! That is how we not only prevail but welcome each day as HIS blessing. This morning you, Dear Liz, were Easter in my eyes as I read your story. God bless you, again.

  56. Oh, Rebecca, I am SO sorry you had to grow up in such a difficult environment. My mother drank when she thought no one was looking, so I have a tiny sense of how hard that must have been for you and your sister. Yet here is our Jesus, taking us as we are. As you eloquently say, “Easter every day!” Blessings always, my friend.

  57. Liz,

    Wow. You’re such a gifted writer and your beautiful heart shines right through this piece. Thank you for helping bridge the gap between the past and present. I’m still feeling a bit raw and vulnerable about sharing my story with our boys (11 and almost 13), and the Lord knew I needed to hear from you.

    I’ve only recently begun to tell our boys the story of my past. It felt like a betrayal at first, like I was crushing their image of me. And I wondered if they’d feel like I’d been lying to them. They didn’t know anything about my blog, but one of my articles was about to be published in a book, and I wanted them to hear it from me first. It was one of the toughest conversations I’ve ever had and new layers of shame rose to the surface. I was a Christian during my darkest struggles (addiction, PTSD, and depression), so I was afraid they’d think God was impotent or wasn’t real at all.

    But over the past few months of them knowing more about the miraculous healing Jesus has done in me, I’ve realized those were just old fears and shame. Our boys are tender and sensitive and I can see them watching me a little closer now. But when frustrations come up, I’ve needed to remind them that I’m ok, that God’s healed me, and they don’t need to worry about me.

    I know it will take time for this new information to sink in, and we’ll probably need to have many more conversations about it. But I know God has a good plan for each of them, and it includes who their mother used to be…and who she is now.

    Thanks again for sharing. Blessings to you, my sister.