May 12, 2010
Instead of Shame
"Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs." Isaiah 61:7 (NIV)
I turned and walked away from God in anger and disappointment. I tossed away the calling of ministry on my life. The Lord had hurt my feelings, so I left my faith to find a fresh path.
This happened during my twenties. With two toddlers climbing up my legs during the day and crying intermittently during the night, I was physically exhausted. Emotional turmoil began to disintegrate my marriage. My immature faith lacked the stamina to hold to God tightly. So, for seven years I wandered through sin, divorce, and miserable meanderings of my own making. It was a time of spiritual drought—the years of shame.
Although I walked away from God, He did not walk away from me. The Lord allowed me to experience life in the wilderness of doubt, but He was right there watching over me and waiting for me to return to the call of ministry placed on my life at age eighteen.
Eventually, I allowed myself to feel His presence in my life. Little by little, the Lord Jesus wooed me back to Himself. I remember the exact time and place that I felt Him whisper to my spirit, "Let's start over and do it right this time." I wept with relief and joy. I began to study the Bible and allowed it to change my damaged spiritual heart. This time it wasn't going to be head knowledge, but heart knowledge.
My faith was back on track, but I did not think my calling to ministry could ever be restored. Hadn't I traveled too far off the godly path? Surely, God didn't want me anymore in service to His Kingdom. Surely, He had more qualified daughters that could minister to others without the shame of a sullied past such as mine.
However, that is not how God thinks at all. The Bible says, "For God's gifts and his call are irrevocable (Romans 11:29, NIV). The Lord desires for us to move beyond the shame of past mistakes and into His calling for our lives. He will restore us to useful service in the Kingdom. It takes time and it is a process, but the Almighty God still has a plan for each of our lives. He intends to replace disgrace with rejoicing, so that we may show our world that we are living miracles.
Do I hear an "Amen"?
Dear Lord, thank You for having mercy on me. Display Your will for my life. Enable me to fulfill the gifts and call in my life, so that others will understand Your grace and mighty power. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Embraced by the Father: Finding Grace in the Names of God by Susanne Scheppmann
Thin Places: A Memoir by Mary E. DeMuth
Visit with Susanne on her blog
Consider the years of your life you feel might have been wasted. Reread and memorize Isaiah 61:7, today's key verse. Cast away your shame and look for your double portion of inheritance. Rejoice in God's mercy and grace.
Do I feel I have lost my chance to use my spiritual gifts?
How can I begin to use my spiritual gifts to display God's mercy in my life?
Joel 2:26, "You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed." (NIV)
Psalm 36:5, "Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies." (NIV)
Romans 11:29-30, "For God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience." (NIV)
© 2010 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 12 May 2010.