when shame becomes changed by meeting grace

 

It’s a comforting thought to know Jesus understands us completely and can see into the depths of our soul. Though we might feel shame at what He will find as His gaze scans those deep, dark layers we prefer to keep hidden from ourselves and others.

During my long weeks of obscurity, hidden away from the blogging community, resting physically, I’ve been very aware that only God really knew and understood the sheer weight of weakness, worry and weariness of mind, body and heart I was struggling with. And only He held the key to recovering deep soul peace and restoration in every way.

I was grateful to be able to work through my need for grace without an audience. I was thankful that God not only lured me gently away from busyness but also knew just when I would be well enough to slowly reenter the public arena again.

Shame becomes exponentially multiplied when our guilt is laid bare and dark deeds are made public. So I’ve always had a certain sympathy for the woman caught in the act of adultery, driven unceremoniously through the streets for all to see.

The Pharisees watch carefully, hoping to trap Jesus into acting unwisely. The crowd also hold their breath as they wait to see what the Messiah will do. He pauses, takes His time to react. And when He does it takes all by surprise, as Jesus reveals the forgiving, merciful heart of God, the way He graciously answers our shame and pain.

An unwavering light

His kind, limpid-liquid gaze brushed mine

like fine, pellucid pearls glowing

lantern-bright—a steady, unwavering

light—reading the depths of my soul

 

He didn’t recoil; rather, he looked

with love, compassion, deep understanding

as though he already knew everything good

bad or indifferent there was to know

 

And I barely lifted my head, kept my

sight glued to ground, where I had been

so carelessly thrown, used to feeling shamed

by those whose eyes scathingly sought mine

 

Yet this Man stooped down, wrote silently upon parched

dusty ground, spoke in surprisingly soft, gentle tones

which carried the authority of God Almighty

making cowards of others—drawing gratitude from me

©joylenton

The wonder of it all is that Jesus still works in human hearts like this. His forgiveness, mercy and grace are rich and free, paid for by His own spilt blood at Calvary. And it brings us up short, as we see our need to follow Christ’s example by being loving, compassionate and merciful toward others.

My friend, you and I are precious to Jesus, oh so valuable and definitely worth dying for in His eyes. Let’s reflect on the weight of glory in that thought, and on such tender compassion rendering us speechless, or issuing praise from us.

“Of course, no one believed in people more than Jesus did. He saw something in Peter worth developing, in the adulterous woman worth forgiving, and in John worth harnessing.” Max Lucado ‘God Is With You Everyday’

It’s time to start again

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A blank space. Yawning gap. Untrod pathway. Virgin page.

How to fill it.

How to begin.

How to create again.

A mind can seize,  thoughts stall and falter at the first hurdle.

A break has been taken and getting back on the horse feels scary.

What if…

I fall flat on my face?

Slide into mud and slink away ashamed?

Only…

Here there is grace.

Here I can breathe soft and easy,  inhale deep of Holy Spirit inspiration and pour it out, exhale slow.

We canter into this race against the clock but we leave our reservations behind.

This isn’t about coming first or even putting on a good show. No perfectionist preening allowed. No ribbons, medals or honours given.

This is about being available. Showing up. Being ready to participate.

And I know the audience will be kind. Will cheer any effort to join in, even if I’ve been out of action for a while and limbs are stiff.

So here goes, five minutes of unedited, as it comes, straight from the heart to the page writing.

Are you ready for this slow runner, this outsider to start, to begin again?

‘Begin’

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Leave your yesterdays behind

rise bold into a dawning day

As sun tips its filtering rays

over the horizon and grace

drips long and slow into

every crack and crevice

this is opportunity…

To begin again

To be set free

Forgiveness covers all our sin

and hope and joy are found in Him

We’re slowed down, stalled,

stuck fast, sidetracked,

but will never claw

our yesteryears back

Let dreams be birthed

Let sighs escape

Let creativity be worth

the effort it may take

Scrap and crumple

scrimp and save

but get those words

down on a page

For they are barren

inside your head

and what’s been dreamt

should now be said

Give them life

ignore the pain

It’s time to write

Begin again…

©JoyLenton2014

Linking here with Lisa-Jo and all the other brave and beautiful writers for #fiveminutefriday You are very welcome to join in. 

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A new identity

believe who we are in Christ ~ PJ file image

 

Letting go of our past and embracing the future can feel like a step too far.

It’s all we know. Our one certainty is where we’ve come from. Where we’re going to is another matter entirely.

Hearts quake and courage fails. It’s hard to believe for what we cannot see.

Leaving our Egypt behind to enter the Promised Land feels unsafe, dangerous even.

Questions rise to our lips ~ “What if?…” rules. Where is our ‘brave’ when we need it?

How different is it when God calls us to believe who we already are in Christ but we hang back, uncertain, doubting?

Such is the battle I’ve been facing as I attempt to live pre-approved by God.

Those dirty rags of sin and shame? They cling close as weeds, strangling hope and choking forward momentum.

Yet, we are clothed in new garments as believers in Christ.

His death and resurrection to glory paved the way for us to be arrayed in a robe of righteousness.

A Divine exchange took place at the cross ~ our sin, sorrow, shame, sickness and pain for His mercy, grace,  forgiveness, healing and restoration.

God already sees us as perfected, beautiful and whole in Christ. The hard part is seeing, accepting and believing it for ourselves.

Maybe a glimpse of the future we have in eternity will help.

Here’s a link to ‘Casting Crowns’ song, ‘Wedding Day’ which speaks of how we are the Bride of Christ, wearing white, pure and spotless in His sight.

And this is  a prayer whisper God spoke into my life recently. My hope and prayer is that it will bless and encourage you too.

What helps you to feel more secure as a new person in Christ?

Do feel free to join in the conversation below.

prayer whisper image

‘Prayer Whisper’ ~ ‘New Identity’

Let go of the shame and reproach that sit heavy on you. I have taken them from away. You are washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. My robe of righteousness covers you. It is enough, more than enough for all sin.

Do not grieve over your sin each day; consider them dead. They have been covered by grace, mercy and forgiveness. Instead, look up; look to the Son and be radiant. Bask in My Love-Light.

You wear robes fit for the child of a King. Those stinking rags of filth and sin do not fit who you are any more.

Reach out each day for My grace. Embrace your new identity in Me and clothe yourself with garments of praise and thankfulness. I have taken all reproach from you. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Pick up the mantle of mercy and wrap it close around you. Remember My loving arms encircle you at all times. There is nothing you can do to make Me love you less; and there is nothing you can do to make Me love you more.”

Linking here with Holley, Rebekah and Jennifer as we seek to encourage your heart with a word today and tell His story of love, mercy, redemption and grace

girl wearing robes fit for the child of a King ~ PJ new identity file image pin