When I Look in the Mirror and Hate Myself {Anchored Souls Series}

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To continue our Anchored Souls series, I am honored to welcome my friend Kristi Woods back to the blog. I felt an immediate connection to Kristi’s writing when I discovered we shared the same struggles with the gypsy life. What I love about Kristi’s writing voice is how she isn’t afraid to approach topics that are raw and real. She opens herself up for the sake of others, and it is a true blessing. Please welcome her today as she shares about a vulnerable experience about self-hate and a Spirit-moved transition in her point of view.

When I Look in the Mirror and Hate Myself

I look in the mirror.

The eyes ~ they’re too big at times, too squinty at others.

The mouth? The pencil-thin lines cause a cringe.

Oh, and those thighs? Girl, I was ready to get a new pair, like yesterday. What was God thinking?

I hate the refection in the mirror. I hate me.

And so I stamp myself “not good enough”.

Thighs ~ NOT GOOD ENOUGH

Smile ~ NOT GOOD ENOUGH

Eyes ~ NOT GOOD ENOUGH

And the list goes on.

Life plods along, a daily battle of me vs. me.

And mothering? A whole heap of “I’m not good enough!” jumps on the pile. Crumbs, spilt milk, kids’ decisions, and my own indecision fly the banner high.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Meanwhile perfection sits by and cracks a smile.

But one day Prince Charming swoops in, and in the blink of an eye, He whispers words that resonate. I hear their trumpet sounding deep within, although nary a sound hits the airwaves.

Love Yourself.

(Gasp!)

What? Is that You, God? Are you telling me to love myself?

The words sink in, but my lips remain in gasp formation. How could I walk this soil for 40+ years, never truly loving myself?

A verse in Matthew dances to life.

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:39 NIV

A revelation hits.

God, if I don’t love myself, how can I truly love others?!

I gasp again, nervous at the thought.

Truth reveals a battleground. Not Good Enough is its name. Perfection is its game. And deception rides with a vengence.

What simply seems to be a battle with thighs is truly a war against evil.

Muster your gear, girl!

The view clears. The Holy Spirit offers eyes that see.

Works, not God, birthed the awful reflection. There was no grace, no mercy, no love of Jesus, just me bashing the magnificient creation of God – me.

I became my own worst enemy. Perfection and deception waged their war. But this was a new battle. After all, Jesus is Lord.

I stand at the mirror. The same eyes, mouth, and thighs await. I touch my face. This time I choose not to see what’s wrong, hateful, and simply not good enough. This time I do indeed see perfection – my Father’s perfection. It has nothing to do with me or my works. It’s all about my Creator.

That’s what a douse of Truth will do.

I see His magnificient handiwork all over me. And it’s good.

Psalm 139:14 forms on my lips, its words thread with my own in a triumpant overtone. I look at those eyes and the cadence of words begins to bring me into step with truth.

“I praise you, Lord, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Oh God, Your works in me are wonderful. This I know full well.”

I repeat it again – each time I study the girl in the mirror. I bring truth with me and speak to the reflection, whether I feel perfect or not.

Deception, meanwhile, sits alone.

I no longer see me and my work. I see Jesus, all He has given, and love’s overflow pouring over me. My Creator’s work dances to life. And it is good.
i-praise-you-because-i-am-fearfully-and-wonderfully-made-your-works-are-wonderful-i-know-that-full-well

 

I share this today, knowing there are others in the heat of this same battle. I get you, my friend.

You’re not happy with the reflection in the mirror.

You feel like a failure as a woman or mother, hating the works, accomplishments, and view you see.

But consider the reflection a deflection of truth. Call it what it is: a lie.

Uncover the truth and you’ll see a wonderfully made woman: you.

Behold the magnificient work of our Creator: you.

It is good.

Grab Psalm 139:14. Use it as your sword, cutting through the nonsense darkness offers. Shed a little “Light” on the subject. I’ll be speaking truth into my mirror as well.

And feel free to grab this prayer:

Father, Your love is enough. Thank You for pouring Your love over me. Forgive me for believing lies, not You. Open my eyes to truth. Your work in me is wonderful. Help me know this full well. I believe You, Lord. Thank You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Kristi Woods is a writer and speaker passionate about seeing women walk deeper with God. She clicks words of encouragement at http://www.KristiWoods.net regularly and is published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions as well as on Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today and on various blogs. Kristi, her retired-from-the-military husband, and their three children survived a nomadic, military lifestyle and have now set roots in Oklahoma. Connect with Kristi here: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

When You Need to Give Thanks for God’s Love {Anchored Souls Series}

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To kick off our series, I’m thrilled to welcome my dear friend Betsy de Cruz back to the blog. Betsy has a gift for explaining God’s word in a practical, easy-to-understand way. Her words have prompted me to dig into scripture with fresh eyes and apply new techniques when studying it. I know you will be encouraged by her words about gratitude today.

When You Need to Give Thanks for God’s Love

Do you ever wonder what on earth God is up to? Life brings constant change, doesn’t it? Just when you think you have things figured out, God surprises you again. The unexpected hits you, and you wonder what to expect.

Last summer my family and I returned home to the Middle East after nine months of living stateside in an unfamiliar city. We could hardly wait to get back to “normal” life. We looked forward to the best tomatoes ever, summer peaches, olive trees, hot glasses of tea, hugging and kissing our friends on the cheek, and laughing for the pure joy of it all.

What we didn’t count on was culture shock all over again, a family member’s struggle with depression, political violence, and a national state of emergency.

When life throws you for a loop, it’s hard to give thanks in the transitions you didn’t plan.

You lose your job, or watch your child lose a friend to an auto accident. Deep inside, you wonder what God is doing and if He cares. And you ask all over again, “Are you there, God? Do you really love me?”

Sometimes it’s hard to believe, let alone give thanks.

If you’re struggling during this Season of Thanks, how about returning to the simple truth?

when-you-need-to-give-thanks-for-gods-love

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

We know this verse forwards, backwards, and upside down. We’ve heard it so many times that it goes inside one ear and out the other. I can hardly read it without remembering Sunday school in Fort Hancock, Texas. Miss Malloy said it was the Bible in a nutshell, so we painted “John 3:16” on pecans. Only I wasn’t that artistic, so I ran out of room after “John 3,” and the flower I tried to paint on my pecan got all smudged.

Today I read John 3:16 for the 967th time, but God impressed the words on my heart.

For God so loved the world that He gave…

God is love. It’s his nature to love. He loves you and me desperately. He loved us so much that He gave. He poured out love for us at the cross. When life shakes us, we can hold on because we have a love to hope in. In the fiercest storms, we can rest because we have a love to remain in.

We can give thanks no matter what because He’s already given His Son.

Here’s a Bible journaling exercise:

Write John 3:16 down, substituting your name for “the world” and “whoever.”

Read it a few times. Believe and receive it. Rest in it. Give thanks for it.

Lord, thank you for loving me. Help me to feel your love resting on me just as tangibly as I can feel a sweater on my shoulders. Your love covers me. It protects me and keeps me warm. I receive it right now. Help me remember today I’m dearly loved. Help me to love others well.


Betsy de Cruz headshot

 

Betsy de Cruz enjoys God, life with teenagers, and dark roast coffee. Betsy’s passion is to encourage women to get God’s Word in, so their faith can spill out, even during life’s bumpy moments. She and her family live in the Middle East. Most days she feels privileged to live overseas; other days she wants to pull her hair out and catch the next plane home. You can find Betsy at her blog, faithspillingover.com , on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

 

3 Truths to Remember When You Think God is Disappointed in You

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I replayed the conversation in my head, wishing I’d responded differently. Why did I get so defensive when others didn’t see things my way? Instead of trying to see the other person’s point of view and finding a common ground, I’d put up a wall between us. Sure, we remained polite to each other, but there was an unspoken tension that kept our conversations short.

I knew I needed to bring the matter to God. I needed wisdom and guidance, but every time I tried to pray, I couldn’t utter the words. How many times would God listen to me? With every step I took forward in my relationships, faith and goals, it seemed I always took two steps back. I was sure that God was tired of hearing about the same problems on repeat.

So like the invisible wall between me and my loved one, I built a wall between myself and God. I convinced myself he didn’t want to hear from me. I convinced myself he was disappointed in me and was done helping with my issues, complaints and worries.

Isn’t it amazing how we project the shortcomings we have as humans onto a holy, perfectly loving God? We face hurt and rejection in other relationships, so we persuade ourselves that God will turn his back on us too. We are disappointed in our own shortcomings, by our friends and our family members, so we think God is disappointed too.

For years I felt this way.

Will you continue reading with me? I’m sharing over at iBelieve about what God showed me and I’d love to have you join us there. Click here to read the rest of this post.

An Open Letter to the Mom Who Feels Invisible

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When I was growing up, I wanted to be one of two things- a writer or an interior designer. I love to string words together and tell stories, but I also love creating a warm, welcoming environment. I get a vision for how everything will look when a room is put together and hunt for just the right piece to complete a look.

Right now I’m in full fledged nesting mode and the interior designer in me is making herself known. I feel my internal clock counting down the days until baby Elise’s arrival, and scour countless websites looking at wall decals, valances and quilts.

My emotions soar back and forth between being stressed and elated.

I know she won’t spend her first days noticing the decor. But I also know at this stage of her life, I am expressing my love for her in one of the few ways I know how. Each stroke of the paintbrush on the wall is me saying, “We’ll be ready for you, girl. This place will be your home.”

The other day as I was surveying her room, I felt a little nudge in my spirit. I almost ignored it, but it was persistent.

You know I’m preparing a place for you too, right?

I answered without giving the question much thought. Of course I knew that. It says it in right in scripture. But I knew God wasn’t asking me to recite verses. He was getting to a deeper issue. A heart issue.

I was falling into the old, familiar habit of striving again. But I wasn’t striving toward the goal of Christ Jesus. I was striving to earn something, like I wasn’t enough. The weight of hundreds of responsibilities was crushing me, and I didn’t feel like I measured up.

Words never intended to hurt made me feel defensive and emotional. Sure, my hormones were raging but something else was raging inside too. A deep need to be seen and heard, to be acknowledged and not forgotten.

At times I wanted to scream, “Don’t you see me here? Don’t you see how hard I’m trying to be a friend, a sister, a wife and a mom?”

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And as I stood there in the room we will bring our daughter home to in a few weeks, I knew what God was saying.

I see you, child. You are not invisible to me. I hear you. You don’t have to earn my love. Just rest in it.

Perhaps you’ve felt the weight of striving lately. Like there’s some invisible measuring stick between you and eternity, and you are constantly trying to reach one step higher. And higher and higher.

Perhaps you think there’s no way you’ll ever be the person God wants you to be, or the person you hope to become.

Can I tell you something? God already sees you. You don’t have to make him notice you or wave your hands in wild abandon to make him notice the heart you pour into your home, your community, your life.

He loves you so much he’s preparing a one-of-a-kind place for you. Just you. And it will be better than any nursery or family room designed by a top-notch HGTV star.

It will be perfect.

Think about the love you feel when you hold your child in your arms today. Then multiply that love by eternity. You won’t even come close to the way he feels about you.

 

Linking up with these communities: #ThoughtProvokingThursday

When Grief is Great and Words Are Weak

the one thing to remember when grief is great

Today we’re saying goodbye to one of the oldest members of our family. She doesn’t wear human skin or express herself in many syllables, but she’s loved just the same.

She’s the four-legged kind. A blondie. A dear friend named Coco.

She and our other mutt brought my husband and I together thirteen years ago with their mutual love for walks and chasing furry creatures. And as they say, well, the rest is history.

Since I’m pregnant and rather hormonal the realization that our companion is dying hit me rather hard. But I believe during those hard seasons God often speaks the loudest, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

As my husband wrapped his arms around me and my round belly this morning, I said,

“It’s amazing how God speaks to us through our animals.”

I’d been observing our two girls over the past couple of days. Our other dog, Zoe, knew something was up and her disposition had changed. She’d become more affectionate, more calm, wanting to be near us often.

One day I let both of them out on our back porch while I cleaned. After about a half hour, I peeked through the window.

Will you continue reading with me? Today I’m sharing over at Purposeful Faith about grief and how often words are weak. You can read the rest of my post here.

when grief is great and words are weak

Linking up with these communities: #ThoughtProvokingThursday

When Your Plea for Compassion is Met with Silence

when your cry for compassion is met with silence

“I find that people often expect too much from people and too little from God. Only God can be God & people can only be people.” –Christine Caine

I expected empathy. I expected nods of affirmation that I wasn’t alone in my struggle, a warm exchange of words after leaving my heart lying there on the floor.

What I didn’t expect was silence. But it’s what I got.

Immediately, I wanted to retract my words. I wished there was a delete button, but this wasn’t a hasty post on Facebook. It was a plea for comfort, and there was no taking it back.

Instead of turning to the One who knew me best, I sulked. I sat in the recliner eating dark chocolate, robotically scrolling through pictures on Instagram. I retreated to my pit of gloomy thoughts and self-pity until, like any good Father, God gave me a swift kick in the pants to snap out of it.

I realized I’d been looking to others for the peace only God can give. I realized I expected too much from others who were struggling to find their way just like I was.

Most people see only a reflection of the person we truly are, but God sees our whole being.

He sees the imperfections, but he also sees the person we are becoming. He sees the struggle, but he also sees the refined, beautiful masterpiece on the other side of it.

I turned to the pages of Genesis and found the story of Hagar. A woman who felt forgotten. A woman who was obedient to her master, Abraham, even to the point of conceiving a child for him a child out of wedlock, and was then shunned for it. (Genesis 16:5-6)

As she ran into the wilderness to find solace, she thought no one saw her or knew her pain. But God did.

plea for compassion

He not only knew her ache, but he knew the blessing waiting on the other side of it. He came to her in her weakness and her vulnerability, and told her what she needed to hear the most.

He saw her. He knew her. He wasn’t going to abandon her or shun her.

His encounter with Hagar impacted her in such a profound way that she gave him a new name: The God Who Sees.

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Genesis 16:13 NIV

Friend, I don’t know what you’re going through today. I don’t know who’s disappointed you or made you want to lock away all your secrets, vulnerabilities and struggles so that no one can ever see them or judge them.

But can I tell you something? God sees. He sees your heart, scars and all, and he loves it just the same.

Don’t write off friendship or authenticity. Both are sacred, crucial elements of this thing called life.

But remember there’s only one person who sees us completely. Come to him with your scars, and let him bathe you in the healing salve only he can provide.

 

*Linking up with these communities: #TellHisStory

An Open Letter to the Woman Who Thinks She’s Disappointed God

an open letter to the woman who thinks she's disappointed God

The Google search phrase makes me catch my breath: Is God disappointed in me?

I feel a stabbing in my chest. I want to grab the person by the shoulders, look her in the eyes and say, “No. No, sweet sister. You can’t disappoint God. You are his daughter. Once you are in Christ he clothes you. He takes off your rags and exchanges them for his robes of righteousness.”

But I can’t. I don’t know who you are or what your day holds. I don’t know if you are knee deep in laundry or diapers, wondering if you’ll ever feel like yourself again. Perhaps you’re holding on to the last fragment of hope in a marriage or wondering if your son will come home after the fight you had this morning.

I write this letter to you in hopes that the truth of this message will sink in. I pray it will trickle into your subconscious and you will recollect these words when the lies of the enemy threaten to overtake your thoughts.

First, let me say I have been where you are. All too recently.

I have felt like God was looking down at me saying, “Seriously? You expect me to still listen to you after that?” I have carried the weight of guilt on my shoulders for a harsh word uttered at my children and a shopping indulgence I knew I should have avoided. I could go on. He knows the entire list.

And yet despite my guilt, he beckons me. He sees the work he’s doing in me, and how far he’s brought me.

He sees me for the child I’m yearning to become. That I am becoming.

He who began a good work in me is faithful. (Philippians 1:6)

woman who thinks she's disappointed God

Yes, there are sometimes consequences and yes there is discipline but he never shuns. He welcomes me with open arms, the same way he welcomes you.

I’m in the second trimester of my third pregnancy, and I am consumed with all things baby. I’d forgotten how much it changes your perspective, knowing there is life being created inside you.

Last week I went in for a prenatal checkup and for a brief moment, the doctor had trouble finding the baby’s heartbeat with the doppler. My heart sank. I silently pled with Jesus to bring that rapid, steady beat and after I changed my position on the table, there it was.

I could have cried. It gave my soul sweet rest and I wanted grasp the doctors hand, keeping the instrument on my belly a bit longer as I absorbed the rhythm.

His love is like that, you know. Like a steady heartbeat, beckoning us to come to him. 

For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

Malachi 3:6 ESV

Even when we can’t feel it or think he’s far away, he’s right there loving us through our doubt. It is constant like my miracle’s tiny heart, giving us rest. Giving us faith to trust in what we can’t understand.

As crazy as it may sound, I heart it last week. The swooshing, rhythmic beat that eluded me for a slow moment of panic gave me confidence in his unchanging adoration.

It was as though he was saying, “Even when you can’t see me or feel my presence, I’m right here. The love I have for you doesn’t change.”

Once you come to him, he has the same adoration for you. Despite your flaws. Despite your shortcomings.

Stop striving to gain his love and rest in knowing it is yours. Stop striving to serve him and delight in knowing him.

 

GIVEAWAY:

Congrats to Lorraine Reep! You are the winner of a copy of Suzanne Eller’s new book, Come With Me. I will be contacting you regarding shipping. Congrats!

Why You Shouldn’t Withhold Your Encouragement

Don't Withhold Your Words of Encouragement

I’m a sucker for a good Hallmark card. Don’t make fun. This Mother’s Day with the pregnancy hormones raging, I may have gotten a little teary-eyed as I was reading mine.

It said exactly what I needed to hear. Greeting cards have a way of doing that, don’t they?

You pour your heart and soul into this family

And it shows.

It had been a rough week. As we received notes home from our son’s teacher about his recent difficulties staying focused, I questioned the causes for his change in behavior. I questioned my abilities as a mom and whether or not we’d be able to handle a third child.

I knew as the last weeks of school wound down it wasn’t uncommon for kids to lose focus, but the feelings of defeat still followed me. Especially after the second note in one week. It didn’t appear as though our conversation had helped.

Sometimes when the stresses of life pile up, we need a reminder. And I thank God that Mother’s Day greeting cards aren’t the only time my husband gives me one.

He tells me he sees the love I pour into our family. He lets me know my labor is not in vain. But as I remembered the lines his card, I wondered.

How often do we let those words of encouragement and affirmation go unsaid? Are holidays and cards the only time we say the things that matter, or do we tell the people we love how much we care?

I recently watched a video that had gone viral on Facebook. It was about regret, and talked about how people nearing the end of their lives here on earth didn’t usually regret the things they did.

They regretted what they didn’t do.

why you shouldn't withhold your encouagement

The video talked about pursuing our dreams, very carpe diem in its message. I was moved and inspired.

But the type of regret the video didn’t talk about was things left unsaid. Words of love left unspoken. Words that say, “You matter, you inspire, and you’ve made a difference in my life.”

Not just in a greeting card, but spoken out loud.

I thought about how often God has blessed me with people who moved and inspired me, but I didn’t tell them. I thought about the people in my life who have passed, and wondered if they knew what they meant to me.

They say actions speak louder than words and I believe most of the time this is true, but you know what? Our words matter. They can breathe life into a soul who needs it and turn thoughts into movement.

But we have to speak them. Instead of simply thinking good thoughts about someone, we have to say them out loud.

Words of encouragement never spoken are like thirsty seed. They have the potential to give life, but they don’t.

Tell someone she matters today. Tell her you see her and notice the love she pours into her work, her family and those around her.

You may never know how much she needs it. You may never know the life you bring with your words.

 

Linking up with these communities: #RaRaLinkup, #IntentionalTuesday

When Loss Invades {Rays in the Storm Series}

rays in the storm series

To kick off our Rays in the Storm series, I am thrilled to welcome my friend Christine Duncan to the blog. One of the things I love about Christine’s writing is her bravery. She tackles tough topics and gives her readers the only hope that withstands the most turbulent storms of this life: Christ. She has been a source of continual encouragement to me over the past year, and I know her word will encourage you as well.

When Loss Invades

I had been robbed again.

It was the third time that week.

Invaded, and as usual, I never saw it coming.

And quite frankly, I needed it to stop.

The losses were stacking up and I was feeling it acutely.

Because the same thing had happened the week before, and the week before that, and well… I could go on.

When losses pile up around us, we tend to forget what we have gained.

Or maybe that we have gained anything at all.

I was not even up against an ordinary thief. And I know some of you might be wondering what I had done to encourage being robbed over and over.

My own body, my brain, takes it upon itself to rob me. I have lived with Dysthymic Disorder for nearly 30 years, or chronic depression as some would know it. And I can’t begin to list the things I lose to it, week by week.

Sometimes they’re small things. Robbed of the ability to recall a name. Sometimes sentences in front of me don’t make any sense. It’s pizza again for dinner because I’ve been robbed of the notion of how to cook or put separate ingredients together. A simple walk to the mailbox too big to accomplish, my reasoning, and energy, and strength sapped from me while I wasn’t looking.

It all gets stolen from my day in random, unknowing little slips.

But other days.

All too often my Dysthymia steals important things, and I’m down for the count.

A good friend’s wedding day taken from me, because of an unexplainable anxiety attack. A restful getaway much saved for by my sweet hubby, about to be sabotaged by my moods and my brain. Misfiring neurotransmitters taking over and stealing away joy, romance, rest, and even hope.

Often robbed of communication, left with stumbling, angry words for no reason. Big tasks that I can normally pull off no problem, suddenly wrenched from my brain, and the body retracts from itself, and energy is zapped, and despair put in the place where reason used to rule.

On a physical level, constant loss begins to wear you down. Insomnia flares. Phantom pain settles in. Limbs feel like they will always weigh a ton and a half. Common colds can feel life-threatening.

On an emotional level, you see the loss now every day, whether you’re having an episode or not. Emotions either run high, or disappear completely. Enter the zombie. You feel exhausted just trying to look normal to friends and colleagues. You don’t want pity or coddling. You just want to make it through.

But on the spiritual level. I want to give us hope and good news!

Maybe this would be where the loss would invade everything the most severely. But instead, this is where it stops. The loss can end here. Because we live within the One who ended loss on the Cross.

I can say with absolute certainty that we serve a gracious and loving God who cares about our loss.

Christine Duncan Guest Post Meme

A good God. I hope I can make this clear.

“You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your loving-kindness and Your truth will continually preserve me!”
Psalm 40:11

We serve a God who understands loss, and knows that when we are filled up with all of His grace, and His mercies, and His goodness, loss cannot lodge itself inside us for good.

“For I am the LORD your God, Who upholds you, who says to you, ‘do not fear, I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

The King of the eternal life supplies us with life support.

For the weary. For the downtrodden. For the suffering.

And His loving kindness lifts where loss wanted to put us down.

And His goodness and faithfulness restores where the rugs of life were yanked out from under us.

And His never-ending grace is our complete gain.

He becomes my life-force. Depression has to bow to Him. Hardship has to bow to Him. Mental health must bow to Him.

Loss must submit to the Giver.

His grace pulls at our loss and gives space for new health. In Him. His grace at every turn supplies space for holy joy that cannot be quenched. In Him. The Word says that He delights in us, because He rescues us. I say amen and hallelujah.

Be my Gracious Rescuer, Oh Lord.

And restore what was lost.

You don’t have to have what I have to understand these feelings. Your thief might be loss of another kind. A battle of another kind. A circumstance of another kind.

Whatever the loss, we give it to the Gracious Rescuer. The Grace-filled Restorer of our faith.

And when loss appears to invade everything, rest assured that our everything lives fully in Him.

And it’s there that every loss can become our blessed gain.

 

Christine Duncan Bio Pic

Christine Duncan is a mom, wife, and Canuck with a passion for blogging.

Precepts & Life Preservers is where she has tried to build a safe place for believers to find solace from their own oceans or battles with depression while celebrating the faithfulness of the one true Life Preserver.

You can also find her hanging with her family, her Nikon, and the ladies at WIMM Canada.

4 Truths to Hold Onto When You Think You’ve Let God Down

when you think you've let God down


One weekday morning several months ago, I woke up to a familiar tune. In my grogginess I realized my husband had personalized the alarm on my phone.

He can be sweet that way sometimes. He knew the words of Tenth Avenue North’s By Your Side held a reminder I desperately needed. A reminder that his grace covers me, that I don’t need to strive to attain his love.

I’d fallen into the old, familiar habit of running again and the lyrics of the song washed over me like raindrops on arid soil.

Why are you striving these days

Why are you trying to earn grace

To where will you go, child,

Tell me where will you run

Where will you run?

We have a tendency to run from what we don’t understand, don’t we? We can’t comprehend how God could love us despite all of the mistakes we’ve made and the times we’ve messed it all up, so we fight it.

We struggle against his grace when all He wants to do is wrap us in it. (Tweet that)

I tend to fight Him most when I feel as though I’ve let someone down. My people pleasing tendencies lead me to believe I have to be everything to everyone, and when I can’t, I assume God must be unhappy too.

Right? I mean, surely. It makes perfect sense. Um no, and therein lies the problem. Because God’s grace doesn’t make sense.

God doesn’t expect us to please every single person in our life. He simply wants us to abide in his love.

When we quit striving to understand his grace, we can finally accept it. (Tweet that)

We can lift our hands and simply say, “Thank you. Thank you for covering me even though I don’t deserve it.”

Today, let’s not forget that faith, by definition, means trusting what we don’t fully understand. It means putting our hope in what we don’t see, but will one day behold completely.

4 truths when you think you've let God down

Here are four truths to hold onto when you think you’ve let God down:

  1. God’s approval has nothing to do with the approval of others. (Tweet that)

Others may turn their backs on you, walk away, or gossip. Do you know who endured similar ridicule and abandonment? Jesus. Paul says it best in Galatians:

“If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV

  1. God’s approval has nothing to do with your good works.

He paid the price on Calvary. Do you think he would have endured the nails if there was something you could do to pay your own way? The good works we do are works He planned. (Ephesians 2:10) His Spirit empowers us, not our own strength.

  1. God’s not going to let you go. He’s placed his seal on you, and his seal is eternal.

Once you accepted Him, he placed his Spirit with in you. That’s his seal, friend. (2 Corinthians 1:21) It’s a deposit guaranteeing when Jesus Christ appears, he will look at you and say, “She’s mine.” You can grieve Him, but God will always go after his wandering sheep.

  1. God doesn’t look at your past sin.

Once we confess it, he remembers it no more. (Psalm 103:12) Not because he can’t, but he chooses not to. He gives you a fresh slate, made clean by the blood of his precious son. So why do we continue to dwell on sin he’s already forgiven?

Friends, when we soak in the truth of God’s love, it changes us. It strengthens us to stand firm against the lies we hear every day and the attacks of the one who wants to defeat us.

Let his grace permeate your defenses today. And when it does, thank Him for the victory we have in Him alone.

 

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