Every time I heard Laura share her story, I knew there were others who needed to hear it too. Others who felt her guilt and shame. Others who need the joy of their salvation restored. Others who need to hear God say “I love you. You are my child.”
Maybe you are that one today, or you know of someone. May you be encouraged through Laura’s story, sharing the message of God’s designed love for each of us with others.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:36 (NIV84)
As a four-year-old little girl kneeling in our living room, I knew exactly what I was doing when I asked God to forgive me for my sins and to help me to have a relationship with Him. I knew that I couldn’t be good enough on my own. I knew that I needed Jesus.
Though I gave my life to Christ that night, it would be a long time before I dealt with the unworthy feelings that led me there. When I thought about God and my relationship with Him, my life was overwhelmed by two words: Guilt and Shame.
Guilt for everything. Guilt for things I’d done wrong on purpose. Guilt for things I’d done wrong accidentally. Guilt for things I should have done, but hadn’t. Guilt for times I felt guilty and didn’t trust the work of Christ in my life. I was ashamed of my talent because I was afraid of pride. I was ashamed of my body because I didn’t treat it like a temple.
When the Bible talks about Adam and Eve after sin, it says, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Genesis 3:7)
If I’m honest, the first twenty or so years of my life in Christ were about realizing how very naked I was, and trying my best to make a covering for myself. I covered myself in works. I covered myself in prayers of repentance. And I did something else. I ran.
Inside, I cringed to open the Bible to find another place where I wasn’t measuring up. I was convicted every time I went to church. I just couldn’t take it anymore, and I started to buckle. I made a choice to just disengage from God. I just gave up.
One night, I felt so guilty about not having been in the Word, I opened it up to a familiar passage in Matthew for no particular reason. Then I saw it:
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!“ (Matthew 7: 11)
I thought of my beautiful children. Even I, in all of my sin, wanted to love my children.
I heard God say to my spirit, “You are my child. I LOVE you. I already know who you are and what you are afraid of. I don’t need you to pay me back. Let me teach you how to live. Let me give you good gifts.”
God knew I wanted to live for Him. He knew I had failed, and He still wanted me. He still wanted me to sit and talk to Him.
That night, the joy of my salvation was restored to me. I still fight guilt and shame, but I have the experience of victory on my side, and I have a Father who loves me, especially when I’m not good enough.
Receiving God’s good gifts is Living Deeper Still.