Genesis 33 reminded me
of loving act of forgiveness.
You see, I once lived in poverty.
During childhood, I was extremely poor.
I often did not have a safe home to call my own.
And yet, God would always provide.
Someone would be kind,
and step up to the plate -
there always a person
who would give me the shirt off their back.
I thought this was love -
but then I realized that their behavior
was actually an expression
of kindness and compassion -
which don't get me wrong
is totally great!
But so many times, things would happen.
The kindness that they could give
would eventually come to an end.
The amount they gave was attached
to what little they had,
or the impact of my being there
effected their own home.
You see, from my experience
people are willing to give
as long as it does not really affect them -
I mean - right at their core.
If my presence
subjected their spouse or their children
to having to endure "less" or my "mess"
then they did not always open their door.
I can’t say I blame them -
because I have done the same.
But love -
I mean true, unadulterated love
that is a whole different thing!
From my experience, I fully believe
that the ultimate form of love
can only be obtained
from laying your life down
for another person’s gain.
I mean 100% of giving up
every single thing you have
for the benefit of them.
For me, this concept of love
has only been obtained through Jesus -
and his unconditional forgiveness
to love me right where I am.
This has been the way
that I have come to understand
the purest form of love -
this is the way I came face to face with God.
There is no greater love
that I have ever known
than to be fully forgiven
for the wrongs that I have done -
to God, my husband and to my children.
Guilt - it’s an emotion
that we often label as “bad,”
but the truth is - it’s the proper emotion
tied to living in sin and going against God.
Guilt is the emotion that springs forth
the fear of the Lord.
now that is the emotion
I have most struggled with the most -
living a life trying to hide behind figs leaves
for the humiliation I have caused
and the sin of another person's behavior
that has stuck onto me.
Shame is the companion emotion
to those thoughts and behaviors
that we are not proud of.
Guilt and Shame
often trigger Judgment and Blame -
because it’s easier to point the finger
than to look deep inside.
Guilt and shame
are natural emotions
that were given by God -
triggers provided to humans
to let us know that something is wrong.
It does not matter
if the wrong is done
by us or someone else.
The thought or behavior
is outside the will of God.
Guilt and shame
should trigger a healthy response -
to look to Christ, the perfecter of our faith -
the author of Life.
We must repent for the wrong
that has been done (to us or by us) -
and seek refuge in God.
many of us look to ourselves
and continue to blame and judge
instead of repenting to God.
This is what I call internalized pride.
In my opinion, this form of pride
is just as bad as arrogance,
but it's been turned inside out -
because we stop trusting God
and instead believe in ourselves.
Can you imagine
carrying so much pride?
Can you imagine
being so overwhelmed
by what has happened
outside of the will of God?
Can you imagine
guilt and shame being so strong
that they weigh you down?
The weight of guilt and shame
can become so internalized
that they lead to generalized anxiety,
major depression and thoughts of suicide.
Well my friend, that is where I was,
in 2016 when guilt and shame
finally caught up with me.
I came to a place where I had enough!
I finally said, “I am done."
"How could God love me
when I could not love myself?”
The passage of
“love your neighbor as you love yourself”
did not apply to me.
How could my husband
or my children or those that I love
forgive me for all the bad things that I had done?
How could I face another day
when I had done so many things wrong?
This is the moment
when I had to trust God.
I had to endure. I had to heal.
“Does he truly love me
even though I have sinned against Him?”
Does He really love me,
the way He loves everyone?"
I had a friend say,
"Are you so special that you alone
can not accept His blood?"
Was I going to cast off
the most loving thing He did -
to love a broken woman
for the things she did wrong?
During my childhood -
He fed me.
He clothed me.
He showed me so much love.
He made a way when there was none.
Was it even possible
that God could love me
after I had abandoned Him?
Was I the kind of wife
that He wanted to keep around?
The real question was,
Could I get over the wrong
that had been done to me?
Could I get over the hurt
of being neglected as a child?
Could I forgive the men
who took advantage of my innocence?
Could I forgive my mother
for doing so many drugs?
Could I stop rationalizing and making excuses
for my choices of wrong-hood?
Could I stop pointing my finger
with judgment and blame?
Could I finally come to the cross
and lay it all down?
Could I trust God enough
to throw all my fears and failures
at His blood -
instead of taking it into my own?
Could I pick up my cross and lay my life down?
Could I forgive the wrong done to me?
Could I shake off
the guilt and the shame
that was heaped onto me?
Could I expose who I am
and patiently wait expectantly?
Could I stop running and hiding
and accept “come what may?”
Could I trust and believe Romans 8:28 -
“that all that happens to us
is working for our good
if we love God
and are fitting into his plans.”
Was it even possible that God could take
a broken husband and broken wife,
and put them back together again -
more securely than before?
Could a husband forgive
his wife’s debauchery?
Could a wife forgive
her husband’s harsh tongue?
Could a marriage survive joint adultery?
Could we stop blaming each other
for what had gone wrong?
Could we take personal responsibility
for the things that went wrong?
Could we continue to live with accountability?
The answer was YES -
With God, anything is possible!
He heals the broken hearted;
He restores the wayward soul;
He gives us a new name to begin again.
This is my story -
and it all started with a heart change
based on brave exposure
and humble vulnerability.
This is my story
and how I learned to abide in God,
and let Him abide in me.
I have learned
that God is not looking for perfection.
In fact, He knows that human perfection
does not exist.
If it did, He would not have come.
God knows we are living
in the valley of the shadow of death.
He is sovereign and saves us with His blood.
I have learned that love is not
what I used to think.
Love is actually about sacrifice,
humbleness and vulnerability.
Tomorrow I will write about
Jacob’s name change.
Today I wanted to write a story of my own.