God doesn’t want us to live in shame. He died to free us from sin and it’s pervasive effects like self-defeat, self-loathing, and guilt. If we’ve trusted in Jesus for salvation, our past, regardless how sinful, no longer defines us. He does! The old is gone, dead and buried and the new has come. This is an undeniable, unshakable truth, one most of probably recognize intellectually. Learning to live in that truth, however, as my guest today illustrates, can take a good deal of work and prayer.
Learning to Move Past Shame
By Sarah Foust
God took my broken self and made me new. He made ugly, stained pieces beautiful again by helping me release my past.
Most people look at me today and see a Christian wife and mother of five. I go to church regularly. I returned from my first mission trip in May. I quit my job to become an Inspirational author. I try my best to spread the good news of God’s love and forgiveness in everything I do.
But they don’t see the person I used to be.
I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of.
During high school I had two friend groups. In one, I was co-captain of the swim team and president of Future Farmers of America, with a perfect GPA and headed for Valedictorian. In the other, I was a newbie who hadn’t been drunk or dipped tobacco, and they wanted to “remedy” those situations. I soon found myself lost in these two different social mazes. I wish I could say I chose the good influences.
But God sent someone to help lead me to the right path. My husband and I were close friends in high school but didn’t begin dating until I was 19. One of my biggest holdups was that he was a church-going, Bible-believing Christian. You see, I’d always believed God existed. But I didn’t have a personal relationship with Him. The idea that He could know me inside and out was intimidating.
Before long, I agreed to go to church, mostly to see what it was all about. I didn’t expect it to change or affect me. What a blessing those first services were. By my fourth or fifth Sunday, I finally shoved aside the shame and the pride and accepted Jesus as my personal Savior.
Though I know God forgave me the instant I turned to Him for salvation, forgiving myself has been much harder and more labor-intensive. That took years of prayer. Then, during a snowstorm some time, failures assaulted my mind more heavily than normal. I allowed myself to go down that bumpy, guilt-ridden road until God reminded me of my salvation.
I went into the front yard and listened to the quiet swish of snow falling onto the grass. It sounds a little strange, I’m sure, but I made a mental hole in the front yard and buried my past. From then on I was able to release the horrible memories. Any time new ones surface, I add them to the “hole” and let them rest. Not to hide or hide from them, but to let them go. I hold a “funeral” for my sins. I no longer had a need to rehash those details, because God had already thrown them far from me.
I’m incredibly thankful that God allowed me to release my past mistakes. I’m not trapped in a cycle of reliving those memories anymore. And God is giving me such blessed ones to take their places.
Have you forgiven yourself for your past? In what ways has God brought you to a deeper level of freedom?
Get to know Sarah:
Sara Foust writes Inspirational Romantic Suspense from a mini-farm in East Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and their five homeschooled children. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Tennessee Mountain Writers. Her debut novel Callum’s Compass won second place in Deep River Books’ 2017 Writer’s Contest. Sara finds inspiration in her faith, her family, and the beauty of nature. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, camping, and spending time outdoors with her family. To learn more about her and her work or to become a part of her email friend’s group, please visit www.saralfoust.com. And make sure to connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
Ryan Jenkins’s fiancée was murdered. He couldn’t protect her.
With the death of her brother, Kat believes she is unworthy of love from anyone—even God. When a good friend elicits a promise that she will stop living in the past and then leaves her clues to a real-life treasure hunt, Kat embarks on an adventure chock-full of danger. To find the treasure, Kat will have to survive wild animals—and even wilder men. Can she rely on Ryan, the handsome wildlife officer assigned to protect her . . . without falling in love?
Ryan swore off love when his fiancée was murdered, but feelings long-buried rise to the surface around Kat. He volunteers to help with her treasure hunt, vowing to keep her safe. Together they venture deep into caves and tunnels . . . and even deeper into the depths of their unplumbed hearts.
If today’s post encouraged you, make sure to watch out for Wholly Loved’s 7-week study titled Becoming His Princess, which they’ll make available (video segments, group discussion questions, and “at home” lessons) for free. Coming this winter/spring.)