A study to know our Savior and to embark upon his goodness
If you are interested in embarking on the entire study, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in embarking on the entire study, please email me at email@example.com
Sister, you’ve made choices in your life you thought you’d never make. The enemy wants to whisper sweep lullabies of shame over you. You wake up each morning clothing yourself in this shame because, after all, isn’t it what you deserve? You live, move, and breathe shame. None need to force you to wear the scarlet letter because you’ve taken initiative to put it on yourself. This is it, this is the place you will die … the place of shame. Yet, the more you read and know Jesus, the more he keeps being everything you never thought and nothing what you thought you once knew. His word keeps calling you out of shame and into his freedom but you don’t know how, you don’t know what that means (Romans 8).
You see, Satan wants your life yet God wants to give you life (John 10:10). Satan calls you Shame and God calls you Beloved. Abortion, adultery, divorce, broken relationships, destroyed testimony … Sister, Satan calls you by your sin but God calls you by your name. You are fully known by your creator and, if you are His, no longer is your name Shame but Beloved.
Aren’t you tired of letting the enemy rule your life and steal your testimony? Aren’t you tired of being tired and beat down by your sin? Woman of God, you are a daughter of the King and this is your heritage, so with some audacity and power of God, call Satan’s bluff. Enough is enough. He has picked on you for far too long. You have a testimony to tell and it’s time to throw that noose of shame off your neck, move freely in the Spirit and tell about God’s goodness in your life until he calls you home or he returns. This is the year of the Lord’s favor! As you read Isaiah 61, claim it over your life, you kids life, your family’s life, and let His words pour over you and breathe life into your dead bones as only His word can.
Love you, Maria
Isaiah 61 : The Year of the Lord’s Favor
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.
My name is Had. You may know me, but you may not know my new name. You may have no idea what I’ve been through because I do my best to look the same. I am scared to death of you. I used to be just like you. I once held my head up high without propping it on my hymnal.
I was well respected back then, and I even respected myself. I was wholeheartedly devoted to God, and if the truth be known, somewhere deep inside I was sometimes the slightest bit proud of my devotion. Then I’d repent … because I knew that was wrong. I didn’t want to be wrong. Not ever.
People looked up to me. And life looked good from up there. I felt good about who I was. That was before I was Had. Strangely, I no longer remember my old name. I just remember I liked it. I liked who I was. I wish I could go back. I wish I’d just wake up. But I fear I’m wide awake. I have had a nightmare. And the nightmare was me. Had.
If I could really talk to you and you could really listen, I’d tell you I have no idea how all this happened. Honestly, I was just like you. I didn’t plan to be Had. I didn’t want to be Had. One day I hadn’t, then the next day I had.
Oh, I know now where I went wrong. I have rewound the nightmare a though sand times, stopping it right at the point where I departed the trail of good sense. The way ahead didn’t look wrong. It just looked different. Strange, he didn’t look like the devil in the original scene. But every time I replayed it, he dropped another piece of his masquerade. When he finally took off his mask, he was laughing at me. Nothing seems funny anymore. I will never laugh again as long as he is laughing.
If only I could go back. I would see it this time! I would walk around the trap camouflaged by the brush, and I would not be Had. I would be Proud. Was that my old name? Proud? I can’t even remember who I was anymore. I thought I was Good. Not Proud. But I don’t know anymore.
Would you believe I never heard the trap shut? Too many voices were shouting in my head. I just knew I got stuck somewhere unfamiliar, and soon I didn’t like the scenery anymore. I wanted to go home. My ankle didn’t even hurt at first. Not until the infection set in. Then I thought I would die…
The infection is gone. He (God) put something on it and cleaned it up instantly. As he inspected my shattered ankle, I kept waiting for Him to say, “You deserved this, you know. You’ve been Had.” Because I did and I know and I have. He hasn’t said it yet. I don’t know whether He will or not. I don’t know how much to trust Him yet. I’ve never know Him from this side. My leg still hurts. God says it will heal with time. But I fear I will always walk with a limp.
You see, I wrestled with the devil and he gave me a new name. Had.
*This is not the ending of this story, or yours.
Have you ever been in such a bondage of sin that you didn’t even remember how to find enjoyment out of things that are good?
I’m sharing with you some scribblings I wrote back in 2010. This was the year I truly surrendered my life to the Lord. In my surrendering, I was scared and doubtful because I fed too long on things that nearly destroyed my soul. It was in this surrendering that this list (pictured below) was birthed. I made a list of “holy hobbies” (go ahead, laugh … my mom did) to remind myself of things I once enjoyed and trained myself to enjoy them again. These are things that I could do that wouldn’t lure me back to the things, people, and places that had nearly destroyed my soul. I knew what “hooked” me so I stayed as far away as I could because, even as a surrendered Christian, I didn’t trust myself near those things, people, and places. You see, I now knew what the human heart was capable of and had the smarts to NEVER even peek around the corner (praise GOD!). I was a new creation and even though I didn’t feel it, God’s word said so and I was ready to do different. So, I relearned what it meant to enjoy life without destroying my soul (read the full story here).
I’m not sharing this list with you to be cute or funny because, quite frankly, nothing about this time of my life was cute or funny. I’m sharing this list with you to show you just how deep my depravity was (so much so that I had to write out things I could enjoy without unraveling again). In addition, giving a real life picture of what “dying to self” looks like (Galatians 2:20), and that you can never be too far gone for Christ to not redeem and restore (Isaiah 61).
Girlfriend, it may be the silliest, childish thing you’ve ever done (like writing out a list of “holy hobbies”) but if it keeps you from a pit of sin, separated from God, and living in a life of shame, you go for it because the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17) and if you are His, you are free indeed (John 8:36)!
Great Follow-Up Posts:
I’ve spent much of my life having an idea of who Jesus was and found great satisfaction in being known as the “good girl”. I went on living this way for years until one day I didn’t. I made a public decision that dethroned me of my “good girl” title. The effects of that decision created a wave of bitterness, anger, and resentment that came crashing down. Judgement sounds hammered loud from others and left scars of hurt. One public mistake changed the way I was viewed, talked about, and befriended and, because of this, my hurt turned loose. I was out for blood only to realize it was the Devil who was out for mine.
As I tried to hide my hurt, I built up walls of bitterness and judgment for a certain group of people: Christians. Like the prodigal son, I left to go and feed my flesh most everything it desired. The deeper I got into this bitter way of life, the more addicted to my bitterness I became. You see, I started out angry at Christians only to find out that the true anger and hate I had was toward myself. I fed on things, did things that only proved I was worth hating. I thought I was satisfied until I became bored and then it happened- it didn’t happen overnight but when it did it was abrupt. I was hit hard with conviction from the bitterness that became me, of the things I had done. As the reality of the things I had done came crashing in, I realized I didn’t know who I was anymore. Suddenly, I became tormented with these thoughts:
“What have I done and who have I become?”
If you’d ask me years prior to this, I would have told you I have been a Christian since I was six years old. The truth is, it wasn’t until this particular season of life that I truly surrendered my entire heart to Jesus. For the first time in my life, I saw the condition of the human heart apart from Jesus and was in tears by his ability to love me still, desire me still, and choose me still. At the point of thinking I had failed to the point of no return, he saved my life. For the first time, I stopped trying to be “good” and just accepted that he loved me at my worst.
In the summer of 2010, I finally learned what the human heart is capable of apart from Jesus, and I’ve never been the same since. It was that day I realized, I may not know what the future holds but I know one thing and that is: I NEVER want to be separated from God like that again. I haven’t left Him since that day and His word continues to prove he is more amazing than I ever thought.