Encouragement · The Hurt Christian · The New Christian

Letting Go Of Shame- When Dark Secrets Come Out

I would like to start this post out by saying I do not have all the answers on the subject of secrecy and shame. There is more to be said and considered. I encourage you to seek counsel from a grace filled Christian if you need help in this area of your life.

There was this sin I committed as a teenager that was very, very terrible. I didn’t have the courage to confess it to even the closest of friends and instead, I kept it hidden inside the darkest corners of my heart… where it would never become exposed. When friends would jokingly bring up ‘dark secrets’, I would laugh it off and say I didn’t have any. But inside of me, the memory of my action would always creep its way back into my heart and into the forefront of my mind.

Along with the memory came shame. I “knew” God had forgiven me. I really did. I had apologized to him in secret a million times over…. and yet the memory would still show it’s painful face weekly, sometimes daily, and I  would shudder at the mere thought of my mistake and shove it as far back as I possibly could.

This was a burden of mine for 10 years. 10 YEARS people. That’s a long time. What’s even  worse? I got married and KEPT THE SECRET from my husband. Wanna talk about shame? I know the feeling well.

Once I got married, I would justify this “un”confession because I believed God had already considered it gone.(He did by the way, I just didn’t really know it)  I would close my eyes, visualize the sin upon the cross of my savior, and feel temporary relief. I would yell at the accuser and remind him that I was clean in Christ. But no matter what I tried, I still felt the pang of secrecy, and shame had become a regular part of my life.

I also believed the lie that if I ever DID tell my husband, he would no longer love me or see me the way he once did. What would I do if he looked at me in disgust? This scene would replay over and over in my head, and I would recoil with a new found determination to never let that happen.

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And then…

Grace. Can I show you another corner of grace?

I was in a women’s bible study and the topic was on shame. This bible verse was read:

James 5:16a

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

I had confessed my sin in front of God, but I still covered the nakedness of my sin in front of others. In doing so, I wasn’t allowing grace filled Christians to re-iterate the truth of the cross.

That night something clicked. I knew that if I walked out on this scripture, the accuser was no longer going to have this area of my life. Why? Because what happens after confession before grace filled Christians isn’t disgust.  It’s grace that brakes down walls of shame in mere seconds.

I was afraid, but I was ready. I was ready to watch my savior kick the devil in his face while I held his hand.

So that night, I confessed to my grace filled husband.

That same night, the chains of shame fell off.

My husband so gracefully took me in his arms and reminded me of my savior.

He was proud of me, not disgusted. He cuddled me that night a little harder as I cried tears of relief. It was out. The dark secret was out. And as SOON as it was out, it evaporated into thin air.

Thin. Air. It was like the devil had lost his firm grip in an instant. That shame went right where it’s supposed to go, the cross of our savior.

Gone. 10 years of shame, gone.

The devil has since TRIED AND MISERABLY FAILED at bringing up my past sin that it’s almost laughable.

There is freedom in walking out the uncomfortable verses of God’s word. There is grace that shows up when you’re ready to jump off the cliff. There is mercy and love and forgiveness and help when you decide it is finally time to not let the devil have an area of your life anymore.

If you have shame and you have never shared your ‘dark secret’ with the family of God (who understands grace,) I would encourage you to consider that verse in James 5. Read it’s context, pray, and seek counsel. God is ready to show you that your shame doesn’t belong on you, you beautiful child. God is ready to use the cross of Christ as a permanent eraser on whatever dark secret you hold**

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The week after I confessed to my husband, we went on a vacation together! Added bonus.

 

 

 

 

**Friends, if you don’t confess, you aren’t going to hell. When you confessed Christ as Lord and believed God raised him from the dead, he paid for your sins….. past, present and future. (Eph 1:7, Rom 4:25, Rom 5:6, Rom 10:9, Heb 10:12, 1 Jhn 2:2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hurt Christian

From The Christian: To The People We’ve Hurt, “We’re Sorry”

I’ve mistaken my past zeal for “spirituality”.

I knew the RIGHT way and the RIGHT word and I had the RIGHT knowledge and the RIGHT answer to not only my problems, but also yours.

I looked at you and saw a mistake, a sad case, and I wrote you off in my book. I would listen TO SPEAK OVER YOU, not to understand you. I rolled my eyes and placed myself above you. I spoke evil of you and had opinions of you and would join myself with others who felt and thought the same.

Than worst of it all, I tagged “God” on my doings. I used him as my reason, my excuse, to hurt you over and over and over again.

I see now that I wasn’t too far away from re-living the actions of those who used Gods name to burn down ‘the witches’ and ‘the barbarians’. I wasn’t far off from those who killed in God’s name. I wasn’t far off from those who separated and segregated and diminished and discriminated.

It hurts to write those words, but it’s true. I used Gods name to practice my own sort of evil. Maybe I never whipped or stoned or used a gun, but I used my words, and the bible says that it is in words which hold the power of life and death. And I spoke death. Ouch.

So, here is the first step to my apology: I am sorry.

I am sorry for not listening to you.

I am sorry for judging you and labeling you as anything other than who God has beautifully made you to be.

I am sorry for giving up on you and telling you “YOU JUST NEED TO BELIEVE GOD’S WORD”

I am sorry for gossiping about you.

I’m sorry for acting like a “know it all”

I’m sorry for shoving my relationship with God down your throat.

I am sorry for using the perfect and healing word of God as a weapon and a tool of destruction.

I am sorry for making you feel less than you are.

I am sorry for thinking I am better than you.

I am sorry for freely voicing my opinion and than using God to make it a fact.

I am sorry for not seeing you.

I am sorry for making an open display of all your sins, and than turning around and covering mine.

I am sorry for not opening up my life and allowing you in.

I am sorry for not giving my resources or time when I had plenty,  in your time of need.

I’m sorry for blowing you off because you visibly or audibly shared your different faith.

I’m sorry that when you were handed a devasting event that caused the biggest pain you’ve ever had in your entire life,  that I made the pain worse by my hurtful, hurtful words and actions.

Forgive me. Please oh please, forgive me. Not only for you, but for me. Allow me to try again, allow me to accurately represent Jesus and what he was about.

Will you stay with me?

Please believe me when I say that the bible can be used for healing and restoration of relationship. The bible can be used for displaying the kindness and goodness of God. The bible can be used to speak truth into our lives and show us we are worth something, enough for God to sacrifice his only son. The bible can be used for restoring lost faith and to those who have given up on the whole “Christian Thing”, all is not lost. Let God do the work in your heart, not me.  Just give him another try.

Let me represent Jesus to you, in the only way I know how, by relying on Him and the Holy Spirit. I do not promise I will not fail. Jesus never failed. He was ALWAYS love, only used his words in love, ONLY healed, ONLY restored, ONLY gave hope.

God, I pray for those who I have hurt. I pray for those who have been hurt by your children. God, please help them see your goodness in spite of us. Please help them see how much they are loved. Show them the more than abundant life you have promised for them. Show them how good it feels to walk in your ways. Heal them, restore them, protect them.

In Jesus, who died and rose again for our justification and redemption, amen.

The New Christian

Do We Know Jesus?

The past 5 months of my life have been nothing short of life giving. This past year, I was in a worship service singing about and for Jesus, and at one point in the service, I broke down in tears.

Why? Because I realized I was singing about a man I barely knew and was just beginning to know.

Yes, know.

This man on whom I have staked my entire life on, and I barely knew him.

And so, I have been on a quest of discovering Jesus-the man on whom I have believed since I was a little child. I want to “know* the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3)

                                                                                      (*For my Greek scholars out there, ginōskō 

Jesus, for a long time, has always been my man of yesterday. (Heb 13:8). Not my today. Waiting for my forever.

Jesus was (and still is) my salvation,  my foundation, my redeemer,  the one I was to be with on the day of his return.

But what does it mean to know him, right now?

Just by reading him? Studying him? Memorizing the verses of his teachings? Preaching the message of the cross?

I never just read and studied about God- I also chased after him with my heart. I sought to experience God.

But I was afraid to experience Jesus, because “blessed are those who have not seen me, and yet believe” John 20:29

Anybody else relate?

Today I am learning what it means to know him.

 Now, when I chase after God, I also chase after Jesus. 

He is the first and the last, after all! (Rev 1:17)

So- here are a few verses that I have considered, when it comes to knowing my Lord. I hope you get blessed as you consider these verses too.

Because yes, he is your salvation.

But he is also:

Your Good Shepard. ( John 10:11-14)

Your Vine (John 15:1-5)

 The Overseer of Your Soul (1 Peter 2:25)

The Head of the Church (Eph 1:20-23)

Your intercessor (Romans 8:34)

With us when we are gathered in his name (Matthew 18:20)

Your Mediator (1 Tim 2:5)

Our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Is 9:6)

God with us, Immanuel ( Is 7:14)

God’s image, and his exact representation (Hebrews 1:3, 2 Cor 4:4, Col 1:15)

Can I just say that this is a SHORT list of who Jesus is and what he is doing? Please don’t stop there, because….

We are called to fellowship with God , and Jesus Christ, (1 Cor 1:9. 1 Jo 1:3)

My encouragement for anyone out there, is to not be scared of Jesus….. and

ASK God to show you who he is to YOU, right now. I’m doing that, and it’s breaking down years of built up walls.

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Get To Know Rosie

Whoops! A baby in the bathtub (Jojo’s birth story)

Josephine Clare was born on a Tuesday at 4:20am, January 28th, 2014.

Two days prior, the electricity went out in our little apartment …. and I had a total meltdown. I will not forget the intense passion I was experiencing while sternly reprimanding Ben he needed to get that fixed and he needed to get that fixed ASAP.

Even though my due date was two weeks away, I needed to make sure things were safe. It was the middle of winter AND I have a 15 month old who needs light and warmth and food and all that good stuff that’s sorta dependent on ELECTRICTY.

And oh, you know, would if we had an emergency birth at home and we couldn’t see a darn thing? That would be traumatizing (Little did I know…)

Poor Ben! How tortured he was throughout that day. He was my dumping ground of all of my emotions and fears and exhaustion. Side note….I am SO thankful for a husband who takes the punches tenderly, leads me gently, and buys me Chinese in those less than fine moments. I don’t even remember what he did to get the electricity running again but I think it was something so simple like flipping a break switch… I know, sorta embarrassing when I look back on it.

The next day, a Monday, I remember being a little extra lazy while trying to plan our meals and the weeks activities. I wish I could remember what else I did that day but I just don’t.

But what I DO remember is that Monday night, after Luke (my son) was asleep, Ben and I snuggled up on the couch, watched a show, and ate popcorn. At one point I remember saying with a smile,

” wouldn’t it be so crazy if I went into labor TONIGHT?”

to which Ben replied so nonchalantly,

“yeah. but your due date is two weeks away, Ro. It will probably be at least another three before the new baby is here. Babies often come late.”

And I agreed. And we went to bed.

Now its 2am, and I wake up. And for about forty minutes or so I just laid there while what I thought I was experiencing Braxton hicks (fake labor pains).

But they didn’t go away. And that got me excited.

So much so that I began to wonder, ooooooo…..what if I actually am in labor???? So I got up, grabbed my laptop, and headed towards the living room to sit on the couch.

So at around 3 am, I am googling labor. But its 3 am guys, and I am also wondering if maybe its just a good idea to go back to sleep. I have a toddler to take care of in the morning, you know?

Looking back, I don’t know how it all happened so fast. At one point I went to the bathroom and had one of those major signs (and you veterans know what I’m talking about) that told me YES, I was definitely in labor.

So I woke up Ben.

“Hey Honey, I’m definitely in labor! But you can go back to sleep. Just wanted to let you know”

Than I texted my mother in law who promised to be there for childcare purposes so Ben and I could go to the hospital when it was time.

Than I sat back on the couch and it just came. Those really really REALLY bad LABOR PAINS. Enter curse words.

Ben came out of the bedroom and I was pretty happy because I was ready to tell him, “hey…this actually hurts pretty bad and they are sorta close together so maybe we should go to the hospital right about now

Ben was understanding. He made sure that his mom was on the way and told us we could start packing our things so we could be ready to go to the hospital when she arrived (she lived about 45 minutes away)

But as the minutes (or even seconds) went by, the pain was getting worse. It was the “I DO NOT THINK I CAN HANDLE THIS” type of pain. And I remember my midwife telling me a while back that when that pain is happening you are usually in transition.

But Ben didn’t think so. In his ‘trying to be understanding but a little frustrated’ voice, he said something like,

“Hey Honey, I think you just need to work through the pain and be patient. I think that if you are having a hard time now, you really are just making it harder on yourself for later. Try to relax, let’s pack”

But I couldn’t pack. I really couldn’t. I was laying in bed thinking this pain was totally unbearable. And I became in charge.

“Babe, we need to go NOW. LIKE, WE NEED TO GO NOW

For some reason I didn’t have pants on (I know, odd part of the story).

Ben was frustrated (it is the middle of the night, you guys)

But he pushed through it. There was a little back in forth in our bantering that yes you may be right that I’m in the beginning stages but also maybe the baby is coming right now and we need to get to the HOSPITAL NOW.

So Ben helped me put on pants and right after that I felt like I needed to go to the restroom. And as I sat down to go, my water broke.

“BABE. MY WATER BROKE. CALL 911”

I remember reaching down and feeling THE HEAD. And at that moment I just remember getting this overwhelming “let’s get this done” attitude. I hopped in the bath, turned on the water, and literally couldn’t help the urge to push.

Ben called 911.

7 minutes later, Josephine was born as Ben so carefully helped her out. Ben cried. I wanted to make sure she was alive. A few minutes later, a myriad of random firefighters/ems workers/and Ben’s mom! arrived.  It was hectic. It was snowing. We were rushed via ambulance to the hospital. And it was the most beautiful/surreal experience holding sweet Josephine in my arms and wondering, am I dreaming?

My labor lasted a total of 2 hours and 20 minutes. A few days later we received the tape to our 911 call. It’s probably my favorite 7 minutes of recording I’ve ever listened to.

 

So sweet Josephine, you wanted out. You wanted to make your presence known. You said, “HEY! I’M HERE!” and you’ve been that way ever since. You are passionate, and we are passionate about you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hurt Christian

Self Esteem

Self Esteem. Terrible thing sometimes, isn’t it?

At one point in my life I had very, VERY low self esteem. I was scared to DEATH to hold a real conversation with anyone because they might see too far in. Why? Oh, so many reasons, friend.

 I was sin conscious, fat, and not funny. I hope this doesn’t come as a shock, because,

have you ever thought those things about yourself, too?

I thought FOR SURE others saw and said the same.

At my breaking point, my self esteem was SO low that I knew something needed to change. And in different words, I asked God to help me value myself. 

Have you ever heard the words, ‘In Christ?’ 

I did. My whole LIFE I heard those words. They sounded nice and made me feel better about myself in the moment. But I hadn’t really experienced the freedom that comes in knowing I was worth something because of Jesus. 

But after I had poured out my broken heart in broken prayer, God began to show me tenderly what it means to know that I am highly valued, loved, sought after, treasured, and worth it.


Where does your self worth come from? Have you thought about that before, consciously? Like, really thought about it?

In the following words  I want to bring to light where the enemy likes to place your self worth in. Will you stay with me?

Your Worth isn’t in your mistakes.

Your worth isn’t based off the number you see on the scale or in how well your clothes fit.

Your worth is not in your stretch marks, your smooth skin, your glowing face, or your yellow teeth.

Your worth isn’t based on your high profile job, or on your inability to get one.

Your worth isn’t in the money you make, the car you drive, or the status you have.

Your worth isn’t based off the square footage of your house, your zip code, or how well you keep house. 

Your worth isn’t based off of your bad breath, your funny jokes, your kind nature.

Your worth  isn’t based off your intelligence, in how well you can hold a conversation, or in how many friends you have.

Your worth isn’t based off of how much you smile, or how happy you are, or any emotion you might be feeling at the moment.

Your worth isn’t based off of how much you sin or how many people dislike you, or how many thoughts a day you have towards God.

Your worth isn’t based off of how spiritual or how carnal you act. 

Your worth isn’t in how other people view you, or even how you might view yourself. 

Your worth is in Jesus. In what He did, for you.

Please don’t slap him in the face when he is trying to tell you that he loves you.

Many others are hurting because they believe they are nothing. There are many, many others who think they are something apart from him.  
 John 1:12 (ESV)
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God.
Romans 5:8 (ESV)
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 Cor 6:11 (ESV)
And Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
 
1 Cor 3:16 (ESV)
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you?

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Friends, you are worth it. You were worth Christ giving up his life. 

 

Encouragement · The Hurt Christian

Rough Mornings

This morning was so rough that I thought that the world was coming to an end.  (It wasn’t, by the way…sleepless nights can make you feel terrible things! Young children, ya know!) 

But do you feel that way at times? , Where the fiery darts don’t seem to be slowing down, or where the “to do” list doesn’t seem to have an end? 


Psalm 69:1-2 ESV

Save me, O God,
    for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths,
    where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
    the floods engulf me.

This morning I was feeling that way, and I was feeling like I was completely incapable of handling any and all ‘grown up’ stuff. I wanted to trade places with my 2 year old so I could just be little again… please, someone change MY dirty diaper, hug ME, and tell ME it’s all going to be OK. 

Than I had a minute somewhere in the whirlwind and began to pray.I sounded a LOT like a 1 year old who is learning how to communicate.  

Whiny and unclear, with lots of one word sentences. 

It was in my prayer where God asked me to remember that I was HIS little kid. He gave me memories of when I was just so little. Memories of not yet walking, french kissing my dog, jumping in leaves and being burdened free. 

And he asked me to be little again. Little in my own eyes, little in my own strength, little in my own wisdom. God reminded me that it’s in those moments of complete weakness where you can rest your weary head on his strong shoulders. 

And as the morning continued to demand of me, I became more burdened free. And then, it stopped being about ME, and became more about HIM. He gives strength without measure. He gives insight into your day. He asks us to come to him, no matter our state. 


Are you burdened? Take a minute and remember you are little. 

2 Corinthians 12:9

ESV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Psalm 18:10 ESV

The name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe.

The New Christian

If Jesus Showed Up.

Have you ever been asked this question,

“Would Jesus approve if he showed up?”

My response used to be feelings of fear, guilt, and shame. Let me give you a short synopsis of my thoughts….

No.

He’d be so disappointed in me reading this tabloid magazine. I need to be reading the bible more.

He definitely wouldn’t approve of me browsing through facebook. I need to pray more.


He wouldn’t approve of me yelling at my kids. I need to be more patient.

He wouldn’t approve of what I talk about with my friends. I need to speak more of Gods word.

He wouldn’t approve of my tendency to be selfish. I need to give more.

He wouldn’t approve of how I use my time. I need to seek God first more.

He wouldn’t approve of my carnality. I need to walk in the spirit more.

I could go on and on and on.

In short, I’ve got the stamp of UNAPPROVAL.

Oh man. IF you say you haven’t been there, you’re lying.

Do you know how I know that?

This world is SO DESIGNED for you to KEEP WORKING at BEING GOOD ENOUGH. BE MORE. DO MORE. PRODUCE MORE.

This world is so designed at saying its OK to make mistakes, but THAN POINTING THE FINGER WHEN YOU MAKE THOSE MISTAKES.

But here’s the craziest thing EVER, Jesus says and will ALWAYS say, “I approve”

How? How is that even possible?

Did you know that if he showed up right now, in whatever you were doing at the moment, ( And even in your WORST MOST SELFISH MOMENTS, no joke) He’d want to reach out and show you his love?

He’d want to wrap his arms around you and give you a big hug?

He’d want to show you the nails in his hands and the thorns in his head that he got just for you?

He’d want to intercede for you and tell you ‘be not afraid, only believe?’

He’d want to spend time with you, show you God?

He’d want to show you how worth it you are to him?

He’d want to wipe away your dirtiness, and he’d wash your feet, kiss your face, hold you and not want to let go.

Friend. You are worth it. SO worth it. You are approved.


You are desired.

You are accepted.

You are worthy.



Romans 6:11 (NIV)

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.



I’d like to leave you a link to a host of verses that expound on you who are (not based on what you do)


http://mercyme.org/my-identity-in-jesus-chirst/