Thursday, June 21, 2012

unashamed


"Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces."
Psalm 34:5

i love the photograph above of my precious daughter.  clothed in white - and in the innocence of her childhood.  the gentle ocean breeze wafting through her hair and the radiant reflection of the setting sun on her little smiling face.  oh, this photograph.  oh, this verse.  oh, this is how our Father sees us.

every now and then again, i cross paths with someone seeking answers for their lives in the aftermath of divorce.  desperate.  hopeless.  shameful.  i know that feeling - those feelings.  i remember longing for someone, anyone to give me hope.  encouragement.  at the same time, i dreaded running into anyone and everyone because my heart was filled with such overwhelming guilt and shame.  i remember because i have lived it not once, but twice.  and the shame that has haunted my past knocks on the door of my heart frequently at the mere thought of it.  and so, i always listen, but i rarely have the right words to say.  who am i to give words of wisdom?  and then i'm reminded - not of who i have been, but who i am in Christ - and the hope he has given me to share.  all i have to give, is all he offers me: and it is hope that has been freely offered to me in the form of three words: 

God redeems divorce.
redeem: transitive verb/ 1 a: to buy back : repurchase; b: to get or win back; 2: to free from what distresses or harms: a: to free from captivity by payment of ransom; b: to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental; c: to release from blame or debt : clear; d: to free from the consequences of sin; 3: to change for the better : reform; 4: repair, restore; 5 a: to free from a lien by payment of an amount secured thereby; b (1): to remove the obligation of by payment; 2): to exchange for something of value; c: to make good : fulfill; 6 a: to atone for : expiate; b (1): to offset the bad effect of ; (2): to make worthwhile : retrieve.
sometimes many times, i need that reminder myself. and it comes, not through my words, but these below (via the church where the Lord first spoke them to me). it is truth that penetrated my heart. truth that transformed my life. truth that i am utterly dependent on. truth that has carried me through the darkest moments of my life. truth that remains truth no matter what you have walked through in your life or where you are standing today - or laying, as the case may be. He picks us up, muddied and face down in the pit of our sin and He clothes us in white. He takes us - even especially if we are broken. dirty. and yes, divorced even. He wraps us in His arms. His grace. His mercy. this is the beauty of the gospel. beauty that arises from ashes. by His love, we are transformed from hopeless to hopeful, loveless to adored, pitiful to immaculate, shameful to unashamed...

i reread this the other day and allover again, with each word, each beautifully penned phrase, the joy of His presence washed over me, casting the light of His love over any of my own private shadows of shame.  i pray that it does the same for you today: 
And this is the good news. 
Even if the marriage covenant in your life was broken in the past, be assured of this:  the ultimate marriage covenant is still intact.
Gaze upon a God who picks you up where you are,
not where you wish you were,
Where you thought you’d be;
or where you think you should have been
He picks you up daily where you are
and He carries on his covenant with you.
We cannot undo our pasts, but God can clear them.  And no matter what sin caused divorce in your life or what facets of your divorce were sinful, know this:  Your eternal Husband is always forgiving.  (2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:6-9)
Divorce is not the great sin, the unforgivable sin, the unpardonable sin.  Divorce is not beyond the reach of God’s grace; in fact, it is well within the reach of God’s grace.  [This doesn’t grant us a license to sin]; but know that you have an Eternal Husband who is great and gracious and merciful.
He always sustains, always strengthens, always provides for you and for your children with extra measures of grace that abound from heaven. 
Your Eternal Husband is always forgiving and your Eternal Husband is always faithful.
Praise be to God.
He will never commit adultery against you.
He will never abandon you.

No matter what happens in this world, Jesus never forsakes His bride. 

Never.

He never abuses you.
He always loves you,
And He always takes you back when you wander. 

He is always patient,

He always cares for you,

He always protects you,

And He always delights in you. 

Regardless of your past, whether you have been married once or fifty times, as a follower of Christ, the reality is:  you are His Bride.  Forever.

This is the gospel.

(source: The Church at Brook Hills: The Gospel & Divorce)

And this is the gospel that I will share. Unashamed. "For, I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes." Romans 1:16 NLT Love of My life


Look deep in My eyes
There you will find what you need
I'm the Giver of life
I'll clothe you in white
My immaculate bride you will be
Oh, come running home to Me.
~ Tenth Avenue North Lyrics

2 comments:

  1. Praise God for who we are in Him. I too am frequented from memories and thoughts from the past that try to haunt me. I do not give the devil a foothold. I ask the Lord for forgiveness and thank Him immediately for bringing my past sin to light so that I do have the oppportunity to ask Him to forgive me. thank you for sharing your heart.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment and sharing. We must replace lies from the enemy and the world with the truth of His word daily - especially when it pertains to WHO we are. We are who He says we are! :)

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