Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Biggest Lie About Surrender - Guest Post & Giveaway

Hey Friend,

For the past several weeks I've posted about a must-read book coming out, written by my good friend and writer, Jennifer Dukes Lee.  It's entitled, "It's All Under Control".  

Her book truly spoke to me because I am a life long member of "Control Freaks Anonymous."  In her book, Jennifer debunks the myth that I bought into for so is possible, good even, to always try to be in control.  Ha!  

I've since learned that fear drives the need to be in control and when we move aside and let God take the driver's seat and truly learn to trust, then we are set free to walk in the freedom He wants for us.  

In her book, Jennifer challenges us to let go of our "busy" life in order to take hold of our "best" life.  Sound familiar?  I now give you Jennifer - as sweet and real as her picture - in a guest post and yes a Giveaway!!

Please give Jennifer some lovin' in the Comments and be entered to win a copy of her new book!  If you don't sure to pick up/order a copy from your favorite bookseller.  Available September 18th!!

The Biggest Lie About Surrender – and Why You Can’t Afford to Believe It

If you asked me five years ago, I naively would have told you that I didn’t struggle with control. I mean, seriously— as long as everything went exactly the way I hoped, I was totally flexible.

It’s not that I wanted to control other people. Mostly, I wanted to control myself. If I ever had high expectations of anyone, it was of me. I wanted to present the self-assured, together version of my whole being. Which means I craved control over my face, my emotions, my body, my food, my words, my house, my schedule, my yard, my future.

My preference was a tidy, predictable, safe life where no one got hurt, where my kids remained in one piece, where there was no pain for anyone ever again, amen.
I said I trusted God but had reached the point where I realized I actually didn’t.
As a Jesus girl, this shocked me.

Clearly, my old systems of coping weren’t working: My desire to obsessively orchestrate my whole life was burning me out.

As a mom, I heard myself snapping at my kids. As a ministry leader, I knew that I was functioning within my call, but I didn’t feel fulfilled. I was tired, even after a regular night’s sleep. And I found myself zoning out during conversations with my husband, because I was mentally making lists of everything I needed to get done.

In short, I ran out of gas.

Maybe the empty tank was God’s way of bringing me to a dead stop, so I would finally pay attention. It worked. God got my attention, and maybe he’s trying to get yours too.

Imagine that it’s you who’s run out of gas. Maybe that doesn’t take much imagining after all, because like me, you’re tired of trying to hold it together. You want to keep it all under control, but things aren’t working out the way you planned.

When you and I began to follow Jesus, we relinquished control over our lives. But because we suffer from the chronic condition known as being human we constantly try to steal that control back.

My wake-up call happened when I realized that the battle for my heart was regularly being fought inside the tiny squares of my to-do list.

I began to ask myself this question: “What are the things that, if they were taken away, would shatter the identity I have created?”

Was it my work? My calendar? My efforts to shield my children from pain and suffering? This urge to always say yes?

For me, the answer was: “All of the above.” I was trying to be the CEO of everything.

Jesus delivered a sobering reminder: You will never know if you can trust Me if you don’t give Me the chance to prove it.

I recommitted myself to a life surrendered to Jesus’ plans for my life. But something felt … off … when I considered what surrender truly meant.

I accidentally bought into a weird idea that surrendered living meant mostly that I needed to “do less.” Yet that was unrealistic because so much of life clearly couldn’t be opted out of. People depended on me. I had kids to feed. A house to manage. Books to write.

Most people can’t simply fire their lives and move on when it gets too chaotic. We can’t stop managing a household, cancel all our appointments, and spend the rest of our days on a floatie in the middle of a lake.

Here’s what I began to learn: Surrendered living is much more than “doing less.” It’s being more of who God created us to be.

Yes, I totally need more chill in my life, and maybe you do too. But here’s the full truth about surrender:

Surrender doesn’t come with some unrealistic demand that you are suddenly going to stop being the incredibly brave and brilliant woman that you are. Real surrender appreciates God’s remarkable design in you.

Do you know what a wonder you are?

You don’t settle. You are the sort of woman we can count on to meet a work deadline, organize a food drive, take in the neighbors’ kids during an emergency, drive your coworker to chemo, counsel a friend at 3 a.m. by text message, keep track of everyone’s appointments, and make sure we’re all wearing seat belts before you drive us on the three-day adventure that you single-handedly arranged.

We need you. We need take-charge, charitable women like you as doctors and nurses in operating rooms where details like “proper disinfectant” matter. Let me tell it to you straight: If you have an inner control freak, I’m hoping you’ll let her bust loose like nobody’s business if someone I love is on your operating table. We need responsible women like you to control all the bleeding.

We also need you in charge of schools, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies. We need rock-star women like you to show us that surrender isn’t “lie down in a pile.” It’s “march forward like a warrior.” Sometimes surrendering to God will require you to do the hardest work you’ve ever done in your life: take in another foster child, fight for your marriage, kick cancer where the sun don’t shine, or refuse to capitulate to the persistent drubbing from Satan.

Girl, listen up. We count on you. You are a woman fervently devoted to God’s calling on your life, not only in your work but also in your relationships.
Of course, as Carrie Underwood will sing to you, Jesus is definitely taking the wheel. But make no mistake: There are times when he’s going to ask you to do some driving.

Don’t think of Jesus as your chauffeur; he is more like your driver’s ed coach. He’s there to teach you His rules of the road. Friend, do not fear the wheel. You have been equipped to drive—and Jesus is beside you when you steer the wrong way. Hopefully He will pull the emergency brake if necessary, and I’ve personally put in a request for roads lined with padded walls.
 The windows are rolled down, the music is cranked, the tank is full, and there’s something that looks like freedom on the horizon.
Out on the open road, may you feel the reassuring love of Jesus. On this journey toward surrender, you’ll discover that, at last, it really is all under control: God’s.

BIO: Jennifer Dukes Lee is the wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, and an author. She loves queso and singing too loudly to songs with great harmony. Once upon a time, she didn’t believe in Jesus. Now, He’s her CEO. Jennifer’s newest book, It’s All Under Control, and a companion Bible study, are releasing Sept. 18th! This is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right―yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic.

Adapted from It’s All under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee, releasing this fall from Tyndale House Publishers.

Together with Jennifer - She Speaks Writers' Conference

If you'd like to win a FREE copy of "It's All Under Control", leave a comment below and you'll automatically be entered in the drawing to win a copy of this wonderful book!!  Contest open until September 30th, 2018.  Winner will be notified by email.

Be blessed.....

Sunday, August 5, 2018

When Will God Answer My Prayer?

Hey Friend,

I know it's been a LONG time since I've written.  My work with Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. is a full time job.  My other full time occupation has been hanging out in the waiting room of the orthopedic associates' office that I visit with great regularity.

If they had punch cards, and with every visit you got one punch, I would certainly be entitled to one free surgery by now.  I've chatted with the UPS man who lugs those massive boxes to all our front doors and whose back has finally given out.  I've commiserated with the cleaning gal whose knees just can't take the hard tile floors anymore.  I've listened to the young soccer player who is healing from his second meniscus tear, but wants to be able to be a starter his senior year.

I've been doctored by the knee, the foot and ankle, the spine, and the pain management docs.  All of them are excellent, but the pain still persists and I cry out, "How long, O Lord?"  This is going on six years of prayer.  I'm afraid to ask, "What next?"  One silver lining blessing, is that I have developed a sincere compassion for those who have suffered for many years with chronic pain.  I've learned that it can be debilitating physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  

If you know someone who suffers from fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, neuropathy, ongoing mental illness, or any other form of chronic pain,  please don't offer the obligatory, "Let me know if there's anything I can do,"  just do it.

Back to my initial question, "When will God answer my prayer?"  In my case, "When, God, will you heal me?"  "How long, O Lord?"  

There is a great mystery to prayer.  What about this scripture:

John 14:13-14 King James Version (KJV)

13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
I believe that this is not simply prayer that mentions Jesus' name, but prayer that is in accordance with all that the person who bears the name is.  It is prayer that would carry forth the essence of what the work of Jesus is all about.  Prayer in accordance with the heart of Christ.
When Christ was all alone in the Garden of Gethsemane and He literally poured tears of blood, He prayed:

Luke 22:42 New International Version (NIV)

42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Christ's Spirit groaned because He did not want to face an excruciating death on the cross, but yet His earnest prayer ends with, "Yet not my will, but Yours be done." 
If Jesus' most heartfelt petition before God ends with, not my will, but Yours, how then should we pray?
I like how my writer friend, Michele Morin phrases it:
But if God were just a vending machine, there would be no need for relationship, and this is what our hearts truly need from the living God."  (Michelle Morin)
God isn't just some kind of giant vending machine that we press D4 - "I'd like healing for my disease."  or J7 "I'd like a better job." or A2 "Please let my marriage be saved,"  and out pops an answer (that WE desire) to our prayer.  
We might ask for M&M's and get cheese crackers instead.  Why?
I believe Michele is's more about the relationship than the answer.
There is a third scripture that speaks to coming before His throne of grace:
I have asked so many times to be healed from these physical impairments, but I have received, instead, so much more.
I have felt God's mercy as He has beckoned me to climb into His lap and shed my tears upon His shoulder.  He has been faithful to never leave nor forsake me.
I've experienced His grace.  He has given me patience and courage to withstand the pain, abide in Him, and wait patiently and expectantly for what He will perform.
Most of all He's given me Himself.  On days when I can't walk or move much, I can be in His Word.  When I can't be busy, I can be still and pray.  When I'm not distracted, I really sense His presence with me. 
On good days, I praise Him with a grateful heart.
I know what it is to have a relationship with my Lord.  Perhaps it's the pain and my prayers that have brought me to this point?!
Perhaps the answers to our prayers is that God gives us so much more than the limited answers we ask for.  
He gives us His time, His mercy, His grace, His gift of salvation, His love, His faithfulness, His peace, His goodness, His tenderness, His kindness.....
He gives us Himself.  
So as to why some answers are quick, slow, "wait," "yes," or "no,"  I don't know.  That's why God is God and I am not.  Therein lies the mystery.  
But this I know....God always answers when we ask....

Dear Heavenly Father,  Forgive me for when I simply want my way when I come to you in prayer.  Help me to come before your throne with a humble and contrite heart.  I praise and thank you that you ALWAYS hear and answer my prayers.  Give me confidence to trust that You know what is best for me and to want Your will above my own.  Thank you for the gift of your presence that you offer.  Keep drawing me into relationship with You as I wait on You to answer.  Enable me to accept your answers with grace and peace.  In Jesus name I ask and pray, Amen.
What about you?  Is there a prayer that you have been praying for a long time?  Are you seeking your will or God's will?  What do you think He may be wanting to tell you as you await His answer?  Might He have already answered your prayer? and if so How?  What has God taught You about prayer?  Will you share?
Be blessed...

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

When You Get Knocked Down

Hey Friend,

I began rifling through the basket of miscellaneous "stuff" on my desk.  I was looking for my vacation plans to go hiking and sightseeing in the Canadian Rockies.  This trip has been in a planning folder for quite some time.

In the past five years I've gone through pain, surgery, and rehab from five surgeries.  In just the past year, I've had two surgeries, shingles, pneumonia, a bad fall, and recurrent joint pain.  I thought I was just getting things under control and could really consider planning this trip my husband and I have been wanting to take. 

Friday, I experienced trauma to my back.  It felt like a jolt of electricity going up and down my spine.  I've been experiencing severe pain, headaches, and Sunday I could barely move.  After seeing an orthopedic spine doctor, the triple MRI is scheduled for Saturday.  

As I write this, I think it sounds like a made up list.  How could this many freak things happen to one person?  I've cried.  I've held pity parties.  I've gotten angry at God, myself, and no one in particular.  

Ultimately, though, these struggles have sent me running into the arms of my loving Heavenly Father.  I have learned that I can crawl hopelessly into His lap and cry on His shoulder and He will hold me like how Jesus holds the lost, helpless lamb.  

I believe that struggle leads to surrender and in that surrender we find the sweet spot of our faith. 

I am blessed to have a very sweet and compassionate friend named Lisa.  Lisa is a "Chronic Migraineur".  What is that you ask?  Lisa suffers from chronic migraines that will force her to her bed for hours or for weeks.  

Sights, sounds, smells that wouldn't bother the rest of us can push her over the edge.  She lives with chronic pain....all the time.  Yet, Lisa has been such an inspiration to me because she doesn't let the pain rule her.  Yes, she has had to define her new "normal", but she doesn't let the pain and discouragement and ultimately the enemy get a foothold.

Her determination to revel in the good days inspires me.  No matter how many times she gets knocked down, she still gets up again.  It reminds me of this simply obnoxious, yet inspiring song from the 80's.  The song is by a group called Chumbawamba and the song is "I Get Knocked Down" - otherwise known as the "Tubthumping" song??  Here is the chorus:

We'll be singing
When we're winning
We'll be singing

I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never gonna keep me down
I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never gonna keep me down

The chorus is repeated many times throughout the song and if listened to, will get stuck in your head.  

What if we let this chorus get stuck in our heads:

Romans 5:3-5 New International Version (NIV)

Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Or this chorus:

Romans 8:37-39 New International Version (NIV)

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a]neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Or perhaps this:

Romans 12:12 New International Version (NIV)

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
There are so many people out there who suffer from chronic, debilitating pain....fibromyalgia, migraines, neuropathy, post accident/trauma pain, mental pain (depression, anxiety), PTSD, the list goes on and on.
These people are the unsung heroes.  They may look okay on the outside, but suffer tremendously on the inside.  
Ironically, these are some of the most faith-filled and compassionate people I know.  There is something about the crucible of pain and suffering that ushers us into God's presence. 
I believe if you spend enough time in God's holy and compassionate presence, it's bound to rub off on you.  
I am so thankful for the love and compassion of friends who have suffered and whose love and compassion have been poured out on me.  In your pain, you have allowed God to make you a blessing to others.  
Though your pain may not be seen by others, it is seen by God and He truly cares.  He is there....crawl into His lap and just be loved and know you are enough in whatever condition you come.  
Dear Heavenly Father,  we thank you that You are the God of all comfort.  We claim your promise in John 14:18..."I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you."  Be with those who are suffering physically and mentally with chronic pain, Lord.  Let them know that they are not alone and that you are always there with them.  Don't let discouragement, fear, and doubt get a foothold.  Keep the enemy at bay.  Give them victory in their thoughts that though they may go down to the mat, they can rise up again in Your strength and power.  Yours is the victory.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
This post dedicated to all those dealing with chronic pain and illness.  May you be abundantly blessed....

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Friend Only God Can Give

Hey Friend,

I was moving hummingly through the grocery store.  I was happily casing the aisles, looking for things I may need, but had forgotten.  I swung my cart around the end cap and started down the cereal aisle, and there she was. 

She was engrossed in looking at the cereal and comparing it to a coupon, but I knew it was her from her profile.  My stomach immediately began to feel sick.  My happy mood dissipated and was replaced by a need to run, or cry, or both.  

I quickly swung my cart around and hurried out of that aisle and darted down a couple aisles to make my get away.  I didn't like the feelings that were engulfing me.  I wanted them to stop.  What do I say if I run into her, I thought??

It was almost eight years ago, to the day, that I last saw her.  I was sitting in her office and she was chiding me for shirking my responsibilities and not performing well in my job.  

Earlier that day, my preschool teaching partner had left our room to make some copies.  One of the cherubs in my class, in complete innocence, asked a question that triggered a welling up of tears that wasn't going to stay in.

"What's Mr. Bev like Ms. Bev?" she queried.  Her eyes searched mine.  She didn't know or understand what divorce was.  She didn't know the personal hell I was going through.

"Excuse me," I said and slid around the door jam to my open room to a place just outside the door where they wouldn't see me cry.  The hot tears burned down my cheeks as I tried to gather myself to step back into the room.  

At that moment she came down the hall.  "What are you doing outside your room, Ms. Bev?"  she asked with disgust.  "You KNOW there needs to be one teacher in the room at all times." 

At the end of the day, as I sat crying in her office, she told me that she was letting me go.  It was obvious to her that I had too much going on in my personal life to be an effective teacher.  There was no compassion in her expression.  She simply told me that I could collect my things and that today was my last day.  

She had no idea how desperately I needed that job - even the little bit it paid.  I didn't have a husband and as of that day, I didn't have a job. In one fell slice, she had effectively taken me to the newest low in my life.  I was depressed and I knew there wasn't much lower that I could go. 

In a week, I will be going to a farewell open house for a woman who was clearly God's gift to me in what I walked through.  In fact, she is the one who inspired the name of my blog.  She read God's Word with me that spoke of God's great love for me.  She reminded me that one person does not determine my worth - my worth and identity are only found in Christ and He had already deemed me worthy....worthy of dying for.  She countered the attack on my soul.

She held my hand, looked straight into my eyes and reminded me of what I had forgotten - that I was God's beloved daughter and He delighted in me.  She encouraged me that no matter what I walked through, it only mattered that I walked well through it with God.  Walking well didn't mean stoic, it merely meant that I kept walking and holding His righteous right hand.

God gave me Jan, and He also gives me the gift of the Holy Spirit.  I think the Holy Spirit sometimes gets little respect.  He is our inner Guide - God's gift to be with us always to guide, give wisdom, enable us to discern, to groan for us when words won't come, to comfort, to counsel, to be our advocate, and to literally be God in us.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Believe it or not, I am actually thankful for my old director.  Ultimately what she meant for what, I'm not sure, God used for good.  I am thankful for the loving words, prayers, and hugs of comfort from my counselor, Jan.  I am most thankful for the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Though people will come in and out of our lives, as believers, we KNOW the Holy Spirit will always be there and will never leave us.  We all need an advocate and what an awesome job God does in giving us exactly what we need.  
What about you?  How has the Holy Spirit been an advocate, a counselor, a comforter to you?  How have you seen His working in your life?  Does is bring you comfort to know that no matter what type of people come in and out of your life, the Holy Spirit, who truly loves you will ALWAYS be there for you?
Be blessed.....

I truly am touched and appreciate those of you who have asked where have I been?  Am I okay?  
To answer your question, I was feeling overwhelmed with carrying out my full time work as the head of a non-profit foundation, while trying to keep pace of writing for my blog once per week (5 years straight of weekly blogs - not bad).  
I was stressed and burning out quickly.  Enter some major dental work, a bad fall, and just needing to take some time off.  I guess you could say I simply let the ball drop.
I've been praying about what I should do...stop writing?  Write occasionally?  I don't like that I don't have time to visit the wonderful blogs of others out there in this blogging community.  
I don't quite have all the answers. I love writing and I do feel led to share what the Lord puts on my heart.  I can't keep up the pace of writing and reading that I have been. this point I will post as I am able.  That may be once a month or some other interval - I'm leaving that up to God.  I probably won't be able to get around to visit my dear friends' blogs, but will continue to lift you up in prayer.  
If you haven't ever visited the website of the non-profit ministry I head up, I invite you to do so.  In 5 years we've grown from serving a handful of orphans and impoverished children in the Middle East to having a school that offers a safe haven, an education, and most of all the love of Jesus to 72 children (and still growing).  

Monday, April 23, 2018

Breaking The Shackles of Shame

Hey Friend,

The message in church this morning was on "Freedom in Christ".  The scripture the message was based on was Galatians 5:1-12.  For this post, I want to focus on that with which Paul comes out of the blocks:

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  (Galatians 5:1)

Being the "word nerd" that I am, a few things stand out about this statement.  

1.  To"free" is a verb - as in: Christ died to set us/me free. Christ freed me.
2.  "Freedom" is a noun - as in: Christ bought my freedom.
3.  "Freedom" is a state of being - as in: Even though Christ died to set me free, I have not lived in freedom.

I have been a Christian since I was thirteen, but there have been periods in my life that I have not lived in the freedom for which my Savior died.  I have lived, instead, bound by the shackles of shame and guilt.

When I was diagnosed with having depression and OCD (an anxiety disorder), I struggled with falling under the category of being "mentally ill".  I felt such shame and guilt.  I believed that I couldn't cope as well as others because of a flaw in my character or perhaps it was because my faith wasn't strong enough, or I wasn't trusting God enough, or praying enough.  

None of which was true, but the shame and guilt that comes with the label of being "mentally ill" can be hard to shake.  We NEED to erase the stigma, but that's another post for another day.

When I took my wedding vows...I meant them.  I KNEW I would be married until death us do part.  I believed that divorce was a sin and that God hated divorce.  When my husband and I separated, I did everything in my power to reconcile because I was not going to be one of "those" whose marriage failed.  

We reconciled for ten years, but then I had to live with a label that I never thought I'd have to live with.  I was divorced.  I cannot explain the shame, humiliation, sense of failure and guilt that came with having to say that I was divorced. 

To make matters worse, the process affected my work performance (and I needed that job as a single parent), and I was let go.  More guilt, more shame, more embarrassment.  I was never the one to be let go.  I was the one who excelled, and did well at most tasks I tackled.  To say this was a low blow would be an understatement!

Guilt and shame come when pride becomes an idol.

Back to church this morning.  My husband and I sat beside a delightful couple we did not know.  Before the service started, we were carrying on the usual introductory banter.  After lobbing some questions back and forth, Diana asked, "Do you have any children?"  "Yes, two," I immediately chimed in, "but we're empty-nesters."  "Oh really," Diana smiled, "How long have you been empty- nesters?"  Without even thinking about my response, I said, "Which time?"  We all started to chuckle and gave each other some knowing looks.

As the Pastor went on in his message, I realized I wasn't really so glib about my response.  We'd had some rough stretches with my children.  We'd watched one go down a very prodigal and destructive path and turn away from the church. Both have had their own share of issues that make potty training look like a walk in the park.  It's hard to launch adult children into the world these days.

I realized as the words entered my ears and traveled to my heart, that I was once again living shackled to shame and guilt.  

I have asked myself too many times to count, "What did I do wrong that my children have had to struggle so? Where did I mess up?  Could I...should I have done something different that would have changed the course they'd traveled?"  

The past shackles of shame that God had enabled me to shed had been put back on.  No one put them on but me.  I have been living in my own self-induced prison cell.  Christ died to set me free, but I have been living in guilt and shame.  I question the job I did in parenting.

Have you ever been driving down the highway when the person slightly ahead of you stops driving in their lane and starts taking up their half of the middle?  And then, the nerve of them, they start encroaching on YOUR lane?  I don't curse, but I will yell (as if they can hear me), "What the heck are you doing?  Stay in your own lane why don't you!!"

I realize that I haven't been driving in my own lane.

I've been trying to drive in my grown children's lanes.  

I've been trying to control, and fix, and give advice, and solve, and somehow make it all easy and better.  

I've forgotten, somewhere along the way, that my identity is not based on them and I don't have to feel shame and guilt if their lives are not picture perfect.  Their lives are just that....their lives. 

My identity is solely based in Christ.    

Their identities are solely based in Christ.  They were God's children before they were mine.  He's got this.  He's got them and He loves them even more than I do.

I am not responsible for the trials they've faced and the decisions they've made.  (Repeat to self ten times)

God will use their trials to build their testimonies, just like He used my trials to build my testimony.

Was I a perfect mother?  No.  Was I a good mother?  I tried my best, and when I screwed up, I asked God to fill in the gaps that I'd left.

For freedom Christ has set me free...not so I still have to wear the shackles of shame for anything.  The price has been paid for sin - intentional and unintentional.  Christ's body has been broken and His blood spilled, not so that I would stay shackled to shame, but so that I could live in the freedom for which Christ paid His life.  

Will you join me in letting go of whatever guilt or shame you've been holding onto?  Will you join me in running, dancing, skipping, rejoicing that we don't have to pay the price with feelings of guilt and shame because the penalty has already been paid?  Don't you and don't let the enemy strap on the shackles that have already been broken off.  

I carry a little picture of a person walking on the beach.  This is the saying that goes with it:

"Christ was perfect for me.  I can walk in freedom."  

Jesus, for FREEDOM You have set me free.  Enable me to stand firm and to walk in that perfect freedom.  Break these shackles of shame as they are not from You.  Amen.

Are you wearing the shackles of shame?  What would Jesus have you do with those?  Do you believe that you are forgiven?  Given that Christ died for you, how would He want you to live?  What shackles of guilt and shame need to go?

Be blessed.....