April 20, 2010
Mary DeMuth, She Speaks Conference Graduate
"For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God."
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (NASB)
I didn't know that when those older boys pinned five-year-old me to the earth, my backside poked by brambles, that someday God would choose that frightened little girl, sexually abused for a year, to shame the wise. But He chose a shattered me.
I didn't know that as my childhood home filled with drugs and unsafe parties, God would rescue weak and scared me. But, eventually, He salved my fears.
I didn't know that as I ran from other predators, the boys' marks on me like a beacon, I'd someday limp into the arms of a Savior. I felt debased, unworthy, ugly, dirty, ruined. But He welcomed me.
I didn't know that as my earthly father slipped from this earth, my Heavenly Father stood nearby, open armed. Though my earthly father's death left me fatherless, my Heavenly Father didn't orphan me. He grafted me into His family.
I didn't know that as I considered different ways to kill myself in junior high, as I faced a third parental divorce, that Jesus' own beautiful death provided a way of new life for me. He rescued me from taking my life.
I was all the things the apostle Paul wrote about in today's key verse, and then some. Neglected, needy, pained, lost, small, frightened. And yet God took those negatives and beautified them with Himself. That's the great paradox God brings to all of us, no matter how "easy" or hard our upbringing. It's not that we're strong and sufficient and wise, it's that He is.
Perhaps you've looked back on your past and shuddered. Perhaps you've questioned God about why He'd allow atrocities in your life. But consider this: God gets the most glory in the life fully surrendered to Him, and it's hard for a self-sufficient person to submit. He does the most work in our helplessness. (See 2 Corinthians 12: 9, 10).
Our weakness and frailty are not merely places of desolation; they are dance floors—holy places where the God of the universe is allowed to freely move in our lives. Our own lack allows for and welcomes this sacred dance where God's talent outshines our capabilities, where only He receives the glory.
Will you lay down your past today? Will you trust Him with the mess, the memories, the mayhem? If you do, He will take the marred pieces of your life, reassemble them, and make you fly. So you (because of Him) can shame the wise.
Lord, I confess I've seen my own injuries as reasons to blame you and keep You far from my heart. I'm sorry. Help me instead to see my weaknesses as a place where You can demonstrate Your strength. I welcome You into the painful places. Do something new and miraculous. I don't want to be embittered. I want to be free. And I want to give You all the glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
The Mom I Want to Be: Rising Above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future by T. Suzanne Eller
Find a trusted confidant and share your story with her. Confess ways you've pushed God away. Ask her to pray for you so that you can allow God into the painful places of your life.
Journal a prayer to God about your difficult memories. His shoulders are big enough to carry your authentic, raw words.
Ask God to specifically guide you to Scripture that speaks to your past. Write them out, put them in your purse, and memorize them.
Look back on your life. When have you felt closest to God? The most distant? What were your circumstances at each time?
In what ways are you afraid to surrender your past to God?
How can you choose today to believe the truth that God's strength is stronger where you're weak?
Isaiah 43:18-19, "Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." (NAS)
2 Corinthians 12:9-10, "And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong." (NAS)
© 2010 by Mary DeMuth. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105