Breaking Your Chains

I used to live life in heavy chains of guilt and shame.  I remember one day in particular.  Addy and I went to McDonalds after getting her dad’s drug test results.  She was 18 months old and had no clue what was going on, other than she got to play and eat ice-cream.  I, on the other hand, needed a public place so that I could breathe and make sure I wouldn’t fall apart in front of her.

I remember feeling so lost that day.  I was a believer, I had recommitted my life to Christ, yet I felt such overwhelming crushing bondage.  The Bible teaches that we have freedom in Christ, so why did I feel such death upon my life?

Satan whispers in our ears that we are alone in our shame, alone in our grief, alone in our guilt.  There couldn’t be anything further from the truth.  Look around at the people in your life.  They each have a story.  It’s probably a juicy, drama-filled story that you’d never believe in a million years.  It is also through those stories that Christ’s glory shines the most.

The recognition of guilt and shame is the first step.  Turn that feeling, that emotion, over to God.  Pray over your shame.  Pray over your guilt and grief.  Fully give them over to God from your heart.  Take them off your “I feel” list and put them on God’s “I redeemed” list.  Then each time the thought of you being ‘less than’ (shame, fear, guilt) arises, instantly call it out, stop it dead in its tracks, and turn it over to God.

Christ has already conquered Satan by Jesus’ death and resurrection, don’t give him any ground in your life.  Call a spade a spade, call a lie a lie.  You are loved, redeemed, delighted in, rejoiced over, precious and honored.  You are my brother and sister in Christ and I am honored to do messy life with you.

**Note: Great resource that was incredibly impactful for me going through guilt and shame from my divorce was Recovering Redemption by Matt Chandler.  Here is a link to the book (you can also get used ones for around $4) and his videos are free on YouTube.  It is such an incredible life changing study.  Everyone needs to do it.  I’m currently completing it for the 3rd time. 🙂

Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Romans 8:1 – There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 43:25 – I, I am the one who blots out your transgression for my own sake, and I’ll remember your sins no more.

Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the devil.

James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Bent Pages

Recently a chunk of pages in my bible got bent.  It was in my bag, pages side up, and stuff was put on top of it which bent a bunch of pages.  The ugly kind of bent, not the pretty “I use my bible a lot” kind of bent.  Like right down the middle of the pages big ‘ol chunk bent.  I hate ugly bent pages.  Maybe it’s just my neuroticness (is that a word?) but it makes it look less valued, less desirable, less perfect, in my mind.

I’ve tried to make the pages flat again by setting heavy books on top of it for a few days.  Didn’t work, still looks all bent up.  I thought about the clothes steamer (and the iron) but was worried the pages would disintegrate from the water and heat.  My pages will never be the same again.  The chunk in the middle will always have the appearance of folds and bends and messiness.

My life is full of bent pages too.  Bad decisions, permanent consequences.  Lots of messiness.  Failures.  I tried so long to flatten the folds in my life.  Hide them, cover them up, pretend they didn’t exist.  Overcompensate because of my guilt, my shame, my fear.  It was a failure.  I wasn’t a failure, but my cover up, “I don’t want to admit my failures” was a failure.

Today I stand before you free.  Free from the guilt of divorce.  Free from the shame of a child out of wedlock.  Free of fear of what others think of me.  God set me free.  He gave me hope in a new life.  He gave me joy in his everlasting love.  He gave me mercy in salvation through Jesus Christ his son who died on the cross for me.  He gives me grace in His daily blessings in my life.

You can have the same freedom, the same grace, hope, love, joy, mercy.  Turn the pain over to God.  Literally hand it over to him.  Fall down at his feet and surrender all.  Your pages will never be unbent but they will be made perfect in their imperfection.

2 Corinthians 3:17 – Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

John 3:36 – So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Galatians 5:1 – It is for freedom that Chris has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Acts 13:38-39 – Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.

Isaiah 61:1 – 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.