Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘freedom in Christ’

Forgive.pngMy heart didn’t want to believe the painful truth of the words he spoke. Not my child. Not this unbearable, unthinkable trespassing of an innocent soul.

I felt rage swelling in my chest against the one who had caused all of this—a malevolent, murderous rage born of maternal instinct and sin-sick imperfection. He was responsible for the lost years. Years steeped in misdirected anger, self-soothing sabotage and grief disguised as defiance. He deserved a punishment unlike any other. If he had been standing in my living room that day? I would have gladly been the one to execute the sentence.

It’s frightening to confess the depth of my brokeneness. Admit to the ugliness. Disclose the depravity.

But, is it possible that you can relate to the desperation of a mother rising up fierce and unforgiving to protect her child? Perhaps you are the precious one who has lived through the fire of something that seared your soul? A pain now so raw you doubt your ability to forgive?

Friend, you and I are incapable of forgiving in our own strength. Only through the healing, hope-giving power of Jesus will we discover the ability to release the burden of our heart.

Choosing forgiveness is an act of obedience. Jesus didn’t suggest that we forgive; He commanded it.

Love your enemies.

One simple, beautiful phrase that evokes ‘Amen’s’ and head nods when those offenses we’re asked to forgive are small or insignificant. But, when the wound is as deep as a well in the desert? When the pain pulses and pounds like a jackhammer tearing at flesh? Are we expected to forgive those hurts?

Love your enemies.

Jesus didn’t tell us to love our enemies when it was convenient or easy. He didn’t pencil in a provisional clause; an if-then statement that alleviates us of the responsibility to forgive.

Love your enemies.

 And, I imagine myself in the crowd surrounding the tree while the sinless Christ pours forgiveness from His soul like the blood spilling from His wounds.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

 Love your enemies.

My sins alone would have nailed Christ to the cross. If I had been the only woman to have sinned, He still would have born my stripes. Chosen death that I could live. Offered himself for the enemy.

If Jesus loves me that much? Gave that much? How can I refuse to forgive another?

And you, Friend? Are you willing to set aside the millstone of unforgiveness for freedom today? Trust Jesus. He’ll do the heavy lifting.

Three ACTion Steps to Help Move from Unforgiveness to Mercy

Admit to the bitterness and anger hidden in your heart. (1 John 1:9)

Choose obedience. Deciding to do otherwise only leads to division in  relationship with Christ. (Matthew 6:14)

Trust the Father. He is both loving and just. (Romans 12:19)

 

Peace and blessings,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

The day we trusted Jesus, we were set free from bondage.

I didn’t know her, but the vulnerable thoughts she’d penned pierced my heart.

I realized where I was stuck. I was stuck in jealousy–wanting the childhood she had. Wanting. Wishing. But, not having.

She spoke of jealousy, but what I heard in those words? Grief. Yearning. Broken-hearted longing. If I had to guess? This woman, like so many, grew up in dysfunction.

She may have been raised in a home with an empty pantry and only harsh, angry words to nourish a girl’s hungry soul. Hers may have been the home other children politely refused to visit because they’d heard the shouting and cursing seeping from the walls in the dark of the night. Or, she might have been the child shivering beneath the covers because the heating bill had been neglected in favor of another bottle of her stepfather’s favorite whiskey.

If that is part of your story? I. Am. Sorry.

Something is terribly broken in a world where children grow up with hungry stomachs and hungrier hearts.

You can do something different, dear one.

And if we are honest, we all might admit the truth…

Even the best families are dysfunctional. While not everyone experienced a childhood without a father or cleaned up after an addicted parent, we all know this one thing.

Our. Parents. Were. Not. Perfect.

And, of course, neither are we.

[bcc tweet=”So how do dysfunctional, messed-up people break the chains of familial bondage? Is it even possible to rid ourselves of unwanted habits that have hitched a ride from one generation to the next?

Yes, but not our own power. Instead, we can turn to the one who is All-Powerful.”]

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…(Isaiah 61:1)

But to begin moving in that direction? We need to recognize the hurts and habits that moved into our marriages and families uninvited. Call them out. Denounce their destructiveness and invite the Holy Spirit into the walls of our homes and hearts.

Unabated sarcasm? Angry outbursts? Shutting down? Shutting out? Whatever the sin. Name it, friend, and He will begin to unfasten the chains.

Invite His correction. Accept His instruction. Trust His direction.

There isn’t a stronghold that can stand when we invite the Helper into our sin-created, self-mandated cage. The walls of resistance are shaken, doors burst open and we step into the light of freedom the moment we admit our weakness. Click To Tweet

There may be times we wander into the dark den that once held us captive, but we don’t belong there. Remember,the day we trusted Jesus we were set free from bondage Click To Tweet. The door stands open. Let’s trust Him enough to step across the threshold.

In His love and grace,

Tammy

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Shame has no place in lives covered by His grace.

The girl’s comment penetrated deep. My eyes darted to and fro as I shoved my large, 1980’s glasses up the bridge of my nose. Brushing a loose strand of my Dorothy Hamill wedge into place, I turned away from the knowing looks of the other children and heat burned the tips of my ears.

Your parents had to get married.

Lifting unsteady fingers, I gnawed at an already uneven nail and dipped my head in the presence of the other children. The lunch line seemed dauntingly long as the other little girl snorted and turned back to her tittering group of friends.

I wore embarrassment and shame as much as I did the pair of yellow gaberdine slacks with grass-stained knees and turtleneck shirt the rest of the day. How did people know I was the unplanned result of teenaged impulse? 

Later, mother assured me, “You were never a mistake.” Still, I couldn’t help but wonder what  others thought. I imagined parents of my childhood friends murmuring…judging…accusing. Schoolmates poking fun at the child who forced a shotgun wedding.

I felt responsible. Embarrassed. Almost apologetic. Why? Because I existed. I breathed air that might have belonged to another, worthier person. The heaviness of guilt settled large and unmoving–a burden too heavy for an unequipped child.

I carried the unnecessary weight of shame for years, keeping it hidden as I moved into young adulthood where I hid behind laughter and educational attainment. Carefully put together outfits and a confident stride.

Still, shame resided in the hidden corners of my heart. Mocking. Accusing. Indicting.

You’re still just a girl with a broken past. If only they knew the truth about you; who you really are.

Scripture tells of a woman who knew the pain of shame. For twelve long years she’d lived as a social outcast, desperately seeking a cure from the hemorrhaging that tore up her insides as effectively as it did her reputation. Women were considered unclean when they bled and she couldn’t help cringing at the whispered comments and dismissive glances.

This woman must be a terrible sinner for God to have cursed her this way. It’s her fault. Women like her are worth less than nothing.

But, she’d heard of the man they called Jesus. His miracles. His compassion. His love. Could he possibly set her free from the burden of her shame? They said he’d be returning by boat to Galilee today. Gathering her things, the woman hurried out the door before she changed her mind.

Not far from home, she noticed a crowd of men, women, and children jostling one another in their attempts to get closer to the man near the front, the one they called Rabbi. Slipping into the fray, she stretched out a shaking hand–certain that just touching the Nazarene would make her whole again.

It was a mere whisper of a touch; the fabric of his cloak barely skimming the tips of her fingers, but Jesus stopped short. “Who touched me?” he questioned. For so long she’d tried to go unnoticed. To hide behind her timidity. This moment, though, required more.

Kneeling at his feet, she confessed to touching him. To trusting him for healing. To the pain she’d suffered and the hope she now had. Her shame was gone. Because of him it had been eradicated. Eternally terminated.

Perhaps you, too, struggle with the burden of shame. Some may tuck it carefully behind their introversion or extroversion while others hide behind parenting accomplishments and bumper stickers proclaiming their child a straight-A student. More than a few of us hide behind happy, shiny Facebook posts, successful careers, or the right house in the right neighborhood.

But, Friend, God’s daughters can come out of hiding and step into his presence. We can claim the promises of scripture, knowing that his death and resurrection have cleansed us. Freed us. Healed us.

[Tweet “Shame has no place in lives covered by his grace.#powerofgrace#freedominChrist”].

 

Blessings,                                                                                                                                          Tammy

tellhisstory-badge

<img src=”http://www.lorischumaker.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Moments-of-Hope-Thursday-Blog-Button-1.png” alt=”LoriSchumaker.com” />

Tune-In-Tursday-Badge

 

Read Full Post »

Adjusting the volume, I pressed the black button on the panel’s surface.  The tremor in the woman’s voice struck a chord as words filled the lonely space in the car.  “I always thought I had to prove myself–to convince Him that I took my faith seriously.”

A series of images played in my mind–family members, friends, church acquaintances–and I wondered.  How many women are striving to earn God’s stamp of approval?  Attempting to love God by doing more…serving more…being more.

hands-407389_1280

If you are that women, dear one, please hear the heartbeat of God in these words.

God loves you–just as you are.  Nothing you do will convince Love that He made a mistake in choosing you as Daughter.  No action on your part can separate you from His life-giving, freedom-imparting, grace-conferring love gift.

Eliminate the mental checklist of do’s and don’ts.  Discard the heavy baggage of comparison.  Step into the throne room of Agape and embrace the liberty of a love large enough to see the true you.  You created in Hs image.  You dressed in Jesus’ innocence.  You loosed to live as a woman in relationship–not rules–with the Lover of your soul.

 

Scripture for Reflection:  

I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.  (Romans 8:28-29)

Read Full Post »

Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;   

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray— I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;              

My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

We are shaped by the past–not defined by it.  Beholden to our memories–yet not held captive.  Molded by our experiences–but free to become more.

Consider Moses.  Born a slave, he was raised as a prince.  Then, in a moment of rage, he earned the unsavory title of a murderer.  Fleeing from his past, Moses hid in the desert and–in the most desolate of places–discovered God. That was the moment that changed everything in Moses’ life.  Instead of being embittered by life’s twists and turns or stymied by unforgiveness, guilt, or shame Moses was transformed.

He was no longer Moses the Prince nor Moses the Murderer.  Instead, he became Moses the Delivered.  As a man whose purpose had changed from one of self-preservation to one of God’s glorification, he began living afresh–sustained by his Lord, certain of his mission, and impassioned by the freedom found in Yahweh.

We, too, can share in that purpose and freedom–regardless of our past.  Despite hurtful memories or difficult situations.  We can become More than we are today–because of His redeeming power and matchless grace.  There is freedom in Christ, dear friend.

Scripture for Reflection

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,[a]
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed.”

Luke 4:18  (www.biblegateway.com)

Read Full Post »

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody,  I think that is a much greater hunger,

a much greater poverty than the person  who has nothing to eat.

Mother  Teresa

“Did you believe the lie?”  I asked.  Surveying the room, I knew many of the women did–and probably still do.  But on that day I wanted to press into the truth–Christ came to remove the burden of those who are laden down.  He came to release those shackled by the chains of expectation, perfectionism, and human attainment.  He came to love the abused, the fatherless, and the unloved.  Christ came to provide freedom.  Have you claimed that freedom yet?

If you haven’t taken hold of it, today is the day.

Believe in His love for you.  You are His beautiful and precious child–“fearfully and wonderfully made”.  (Psalm 139:14)

Believe in His ability to release you from the memories or sins of the past for “His mercies are new every morning”.  (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Believe in His redemptive power and promise of a beautiful forever–“No eye has seen,  no ear has heard, no mind has conceived  what God has prepared for those who love him”.

Believe the truth, dear Friend.  Claim freedom today!

 

Recommmended Reading

Product Details

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: