Letting Go of Guilt

Letting Go of Guilt

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

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Clinging to our past is drenching, isn’t it? It keeps us from experiencing the fullness of the present.

Sometimes we just need to let go.

Perhaps it’s pride from past successes, insecurities that we’ve allowed to define us, pain from hurtful experiences, or crippling guilt from our mistakes.

Is there anything from your past that you need to let go of?

I’d like to share a little bit of my personal story with you, and why I am learning to let go of the guilt and shame from my past. 

First, let’s consider the following scriptures.

“let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:22-23)

 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” (2 Corinthians 17-19a)

 

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

 

There is beauty in the letting go of our past. 

The source of this beauty is God and his love for us, his chosen and dearly loved children. In his great grace, he forgives our sins and offers us a life filled with hope and assurance in what truly matters.

He wants us to let go.

 

My girls and I often walk in our local arboretum. Recently we’ve been enjoying the changing leaves and crisp autumn air.

I believe it reflects God’s grace. He paints the trees such glorious colors as they prepare to let go of their leaves. They let go of their leaves in order to sustain themselves through the winter, and so that they will be able to produce new life. I’ve been pondering this and reflecting on my own story, particularly a chapter I haven’t been able to turn the page on. 

 

During one of our evening walks, I watched my daughters giggle and play. I soaked in the sweet thoughts my five year old was sharing with me. I gave recognition to the value and blessings in this season of my life, and I knew it was time.

It was time to let go.

If I was going to flourish in the here and now then I needed to let go of the old parts of my story that left me feeling insignificant, stuck, and unfit for kingdom work.  I wanted to embrace the new chapter God was writing.

The specifics of my guilt aren’t really that important. In our selfishness, we all give way to sin. We all have reason for guilt. 

Dwelling on our past or how we thought life was supposed to be is a useless waste of energy. We can’t go back and do things differently. We can however, look to our past and see how God has worked in our life. We can remember lessons learned. We can consider where God’s brought us, and look for ways to bring him glory here, in our current circumstances.

We can’t grow in the past, but if we let go of what’s holding us there we can grow in the present.

 

It’s easier said than done. Letting go of guilt is especially difficult when we are living in the consequences of our sin.

There may be other people involved, you might be dealing with mental health issues, regular health issues, or you might have suffered loss. You might have a cost to pay.

Through this, it’s important to keep an eternal perspective.

Yes, we have to deal with the results of our actions, but we don’t have to wear the shame as our label.

We can let go and grow!

Doesn’t that sound better than clinging to our past mistakes, and wallowing in our guilt?

Which response will cause us to be more effective for the Kingdom?

Life is certainly filled with hills and valleys and some people face more difficult times than others. These chapters are hard, but even in them we can serve the Lord.

The purpose of bringing God glory exists in all of our chapters, not just the easier ones.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

 

 

“Letting go” isn’t about forgetting all of our bad memories or ignoring what other people think about us.

It’s not even about feeling happy. It’s about letting go of our sin and guilt, experiencing the fullness of our salvation in Jesus Christ so that we might be fruitful. 

So how do you do this?

Well, I don’t have all of the answers for you, but I know a good place to start. Fill your heart and mind with scriptures that speak of the assurance of your salvation. The above scriptures are wonderful ones to meditate on and memorize if you are struggling to release your guilty past. 

Here is the truth, friend:

If you have accepted salvation in Jesus then God intends for you to live with joy and freedom.  Without Christ we were headed toward death, but with him we are forgiven of sins, made clean, and headed toward heaven!

So let go of your sin and guilt, and live in the light of your eternity!

 

 

 

**

If you have not received salvation in Jesus and you would like to know more about God’s life changing grace then please reach out to our Creating a Great Day team. It would be our privilege to talk about the Gospel with you. 🙂

 

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

Jayne M

Jayne Michener has been married for over twenty years to a "son of thunder" and is mother to two adolescent daughters, one delightfully immersed in nature and another humorous, artistic girl who is devoted to cats.The better days are spent developing Christian culture and character with the educational principles of Charlotte Mason in mind.The worse days are spent with lightly held sanity, tightly gripped coffee, and semi-vocalized prayer.She is on a journey depending on the Holy Spirit to guide her into all truth, whether unseen spiritual realms or earthly ventures, such as education, healing arts, nutrition, neuroscience, and art.Oh, and her children would be horrified if she did not mention that they live with two cats, Blacksmith and Beauty.
Jayne M

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I can’t control my mouth.  I’m a cynic.  I’m an addict.  I’m a victim.  I’m fearful.  I can’t change. 

These statements may echo our experiences, but if we allow our experiences and brokenness to define us, then we shut out the possibility that we can be restored to the glorious image of our Creator.

The First Step of Answering “Who Am I?”

“Who am I?” is the question that haunts us.  This question will tease our minds until we first answer the question that Jesus asked Peter:  “Who do you say that I am?”  Only when we answer with Peter, “You are the Messiah,” meaning our savior and deliverer, will we be able to hear the Lord’s answer to our question, “Who am I?”

Our identity is like clay, molded by experiences, relationships, and our responses to them.  This clay is vulnerable, especially in the impressionable young.  Sometimes, unguarded clay can be malformed or disfigured when touched by the gnarled hands of traumatic experiences, abusive relationships, and inappropriate responses to them both.

Laura Perry’s Transgender Lifestyle

For example, First Stone Ministries recently published the compelling testimony of Laura Perry, who lived a transgender lifestyle for eight years.  Laura grew up in the shadow of her hyper-stressed, “super-Christian” mother.  Her mom communicated the message that Laura was a nuisance, while she doted on Laura’s more quiet, compliant brother.  The intense jealously this bred, combined with being molested at age eight, and female problems in her teens, was enough that Laura threw her female identity into a deep cistern.

Laura began fantasizing about being a boy due to her intense hatred of her own gender.  She began to seek out sexual experiences, became addicted to pornography, and pursued sexual encounters with strangers.  A local transgender group then encouraged her to pursue her new identity, so she received heavy doses of hormonal therapy, a double mastectomy, and surgical remove of all female organs to fully become “Jake.”  Laura’s name and body were changed, but her deep depression and dissatisfaction stayed the same.  She recalled, “The outward cosmetic change had done nothing to ease my identity crisis.”

Transformations & Finding Their Identity

As Laura was transforming, her mother was undergoing a transformation of her own.  Laura’s mom surrendered her self-righteousness for an enticing faith in Jesus.  The two of them began to talk daily about a Bible study her mom was leading.  Then Laura heard a radio broadcast discussing the rising transgender issue.  She wished the host would return to more mundane topics, but instead the words spun her identity around like clay on the potter’s wheel.  She was reeling.

Two questions came to her in a vision from Jesus:  

“If you stood before me tonight, what name would I call?” and “Do you trust me?”

Taking Part in the Death & Resurrection

Laura affirmed her trust in Jesus by letting Jake die, a death that she mourned with deep, anguished sorrow.  In the dark night of her soul, she wept with painful grief for three days.  One can imagine Jesus with her in the tomb, waiting to guide the resurrection that was soon to come.

Leaving Jake’s clothes in the grave, Laura attended a women’s Bible study and encountered a love beyond anything she had experienced through a sexual partner.  Life and freedom were her resurrection inheritance, and in the light of love, her true identity was revealed.

Finding Our True Identity

Instead of gender reassignment surgery, do we let the Word perform identity reassignment surgery?  Do we have courage, like Laura, that allows the Lord to transform every aspect of who we think we are at the deepest level?

All too often, we identity with our sin and brokenness more than we identify with the image of God.  We must look to YHWH, the great “I AM,” to confidently answer the question, “Who am I?”

Our true assignment is to reflect the image of God in Christ.  Love calls us to identity with Him.

My Personal Babel and Making Much of Me

My Personal Babel and Making Much of Me

Meredith P

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Meredith P

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I’m pretty sure I would have been the one to lay the cornerstone for the Tower of Babel.

My Personal Tower of Babel

I didn’t always think this. In my blind pride, I used to read the story in Genesis 11 and think, “Good night moon! These people are really thickheaded!”

But here’s how I know I could have been the one to place that stone; I have thought to myself what they said out loud at Babel,

“…so that we may make a name for ourselves…” (Genesis 11:4, NIV)

I confess, I have wanted to make a name for myself.

I have craved all the glory for a job well done.

I have thirsted for all the recognition for doing “good” deeds.

I have hungered, above all else, for the love and approval of people.

Though these are broad examples, you can probably imagine some specific ways these general desires might manifest in my life or maybe even in yours.

The truth is, all of the craving and thirsting and hungering leaves me empty no matter how much I receive. And leaves me in shambles when receive none. This name for myself is a dangling carrot that is never caught, and like an addiction, always leaves me grasping for more. More glory, more approval, more…

It never satisfies.

It is exhausting.

But I know that an exhausted, unsatisfied, shamble of a life is not what Jesus means for any of us. He says he “came that they may have life, and hive it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV)

Jesus says there is more.

That more is this truth:

I was not created to have a Name.I was not created to have a Name.

In vain, I have searched the scriptures trying to find justification of building myself a tower; for making myself a name. It isn’t there.

But, I did find a Name. It just wasn’t mine.

“My name will be great among he nations from where the sun rises to where it sets… my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 1:11, NIV)

I found God’s name.

He says His name WILL be great.

One example in particular struck me hard. Jesus calls for God the Father’s name to be glorified.

Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:28, NIV)

I claim to be a follower of Jesus. What have I not been following Jesus in this? I’m struck with this discrepancy in my Christianity. The truth is that I have been so occupied elevating my name, that I lost sight of the only Name that is worthy elevation.

Searching the scripture, I found that everything I am and everything I do is actually for the glory of God’s name, not my own.

I am created for the glory of His Name.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16, NIV)

Not that the task of elevating His name is mine to bear with my deeds or my life. Oh no, God is not depending on my performance to make His name great. What trouble He would be in if He were to depend on me with my false tower of Babel building and other missteps!

It is freeing to worship a God who is so powerful, He needs nothing from me. He needs nothing from me, yet He offers me a place to work by His side. He is a God who gives and has no need to take.

Now that is One whose Name is worthy of glory. Not mine.

So, I have come to the point where I am earnest about tearing down the idol I’m pointlessly trying to build of making a name for myself. I’ve been asking God to change me. To crumble my personal Tower of Babel. And because He gives, God is changing my heart to not just want, but to actually crave to place God and His Name in the rightful place: glorified above all else. And I am enjoying the freedom that comes from it. 

John the Baptist is an inspiring example of one who did not seek to make a name for himself. Ironically, he did in a way have a name for himself. People came to him to be baptized and forgiven of their sins. He actually had his own disciples!

Then Jesus comes on the scene.

When people around John see that those who were his disciples are leaving to become followers of Jesus, they say, “…-look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” (John 3:26, NIV)

John replies, “I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him… He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30, NIV)

Now, instead of thinking what those at the Tower of Babel said aloud, “…so that we may make a name for ourselves…” I think I need to start thinking what John the Baptist said aloud.

“He must become more, I must become less.”

I’m trying to filter my actions and thoughts through this one question: How can I make more of Him and His Kingdom and less of me in this situation?

I am Free

With this in the front of my mind, I am free in Christ to serve Him.  Free from the weight of bearing a name that I can never obtain because I was not created to bear a name. I can just be me.

I am free to be nothing because He is everything.

I am free to fail because He has already succeeded.

I am free to be rejected because He accepts me.

I am free to be me, when I recognize God for Him: Glorious.

I am realizing that this is where my cravings, thirst, and hunger for a name will be satisfied. It’s not in trying to fit into a role I was not created for. Much like pants that are too tight, I’ve been uncomfortable in my misplaced striving to make a name for myself. But in starting to live to make much of Christ who loves me and you more than His own life, I feel as though I’m slipping into my favorite jeans. It fits well.

Cravings are ceasing.

Thirst is quenching

Hunger is fleeing.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35, NIV)

Jesus, I come to You and I place Your Name high.

Ah, satisfaction.

In what ways do you make a name for yourself over making much of Christ?

If you can’t think of any, ask the Lord to reveal to you if you are missing anything. I am asking Him that too.

 

Freedom through Christ from a Meth Addiction!

Freedom through Christ from a Meth Addiction!

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Jesus can set all of us free from the sins of our past and present even a meth addiction!

Freedom through Christ

Almost 3 years ago, I had the opportunity to meet and become friends with Beth.  Her redemption story truly glorifies God and shows how He loves us no matter what. Her story of being redeemed from a meth addiction show how God really can rescue us from the depths of darkness.

Now, Beth shares her past of enslavement and her rescue story to give hope to others who feel hopeless and worthless.  With God all things are possible including recovery and a new life in Christ.

Colossians 1:13-14

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

We want to hear about your “Freedom through Christ” Story too!  Email it to [email protected] so others can be encouraged by your testimony of Jesus’ greatness!

Beth’s Redemption from a Meth Addiction

My name is Beth and I’m in recovery.

December 2, 2008 I used meth the last time and pray daily it was my last time. I’ve been asked several times, why at 31, self employed very profitable business, two beautiful daughters 7 and 12, three bedroom home, new sports car and stable relationships with my family and some great friend I would ever try meth?

Why? Because it was offered to me. Because I had recently gone through a divorce. Because I was dating a drug user and tried to keep up with his life style for almost six months. Because my self esteem had always suffered.

They say if you try meth once you might be able to walk away from it. Try it twice and you’re addicted.
From that night on until December 2, 2008 I used daily. Unless I was sleeping which wasn’t often, or in jail, I used and I used a lot.

Click here to read the rest of Beth’s awesome redemption story!

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To contact Beth about speaking to your group, email her at [email protected]

Pruning Roses

Pruning Roses

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

Today, I pruned our rose bushes. This is not my favorite job, even at the best of times. It certainly is not my favorite while being eight months pregnant. Pruning is hard work–prickly, back ache-y, and tough.

Pruning is Necessary

And yet, any gardener worth his salt will tell you that you need to prune your rose bushes. Something happens, even though it seems backwards. That cutting and snipping–with those awful, sharp scissors–it seems merciful that plants don’t have feeling! It would be horrible to feel each clip and snip, to watch your former glory fall off, dead and useless to the cold, wintry ground.

But it does something wonderful for the rose bush. You see, not only does the rosebush grow back, it grows back fuller, richer, more beautifully. The rose bush needed to have its branches pruned, no matter how painful (for the bush or for the cutter) in order for the rose to be at its best and most beautiful.

A Parallel in Our Own Lives

Isn’t that how we are with God? John 15:2 says:

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

God knows exactly what we are capable of. And although pruning is certainly a better alternative to being thrown away, we know it to be painful in our own lives. When God’s deft, loving, and wise fingers prune me, it hurts. It hurts when sin must be ripped out of the dark corners of my life. It hurts when old, selfish habits must be relearned and bettered. When I must change my heart and my actions, it hurts. Because change is hard and often painful.

Pruning Sin from My Life Makes Me More Like Jesus

But I can also take hope. Just as I pruned my rosebushes, not with malice but with an eye to the future, with an understanding that it was for the bush’s best interests, certainly the Master Gardener, the Creator, the Almighty, will prune me with such thoughts. It may sting a little in the meantime, but in the end, I can be even more beautiful than a rose. I can be a reflection of Christ himself.

 

From Disaster to Delicious!

From Disaster to Delicious!

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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I now have a new favorite soup and it happened completely by accident. My dinner was nearly a disaster!

I had prepped all the veggies to make a chicken roast only to realize that I had waited too long to use the chicken…stinky!!  Truly stinky!!  So I thought I would salvage the rest and make a veggie broth and add a box of orzo for dinner.

Well, it sounded like a good plan until I tasted my creation and realized I had added WAY TOO MUCH PEPPER!

After I posted a “Save Dinner SOS” on Facebook, I headed over to Google to see what others had found.

I’m so thankful I asked my cooking friends for help on Facebook first, because they came back with the answers that saved my dinner and brought about this new favorite soup recipe.

Are you ready for this? The answer to too much pepper is

Lemon and Cream!Dinner SOS

 In case you’re curious, the recipe, which I’ll call Creamy Vegetable Orzo Soup, is super easy. Cut all the following into bite-size pieces:

  • 1 sweet potato or white potato
  • 2 onions
  • 4 ribs of celery
  • 4 carrots
  • 6-8 garlic cloves (minced)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • About 1 Tbsp Herbamare
  • Add all this to a large pot and saute everything above in coconut oil for several minutes to your liking.  (I typically saute them for 5-8 minutes so they are still a bit crunchy.)
  • Add water to almost full and then let simmer for 30 minutes.  (The longer the better flavor, but this night, we were hungry and needed to eat soon.)
  • Right before you are ready to serve add 2-4 drops of lemon oil or 1/2-1 full lemon juiced and 1 cup cream.  (I would recommend starting with a little of each and then add more as desired.)
  • Cook the orzo in a separate pot and add it to the big pot when the soup is ready to serve.

This dinner which was almost a debacle really got me thinking about our lives.

We start out with high hopes, but sometimes we get sidetracked by something that was not part of God’s plan for our lives.  Maybe we get too focused on money, our looks, or our job titles. Maybe we just leave God out altogether because we like our plan better than His.

Usually, veering off track brings heartache. Sometimes we feel like there is no way God could use us again.  We’ve made a mess of our lives that can’t be corrected.  That is an outright lie brought to you by the king of lies and destruction.

Don’t believe the lie! Just like my damaged soup, Jesus can take you right where you are and bring about such a new creation that the world will only be able to stand in awe of His handiwork.

jesus-can-take-you-right-where-you-are-and-bring-about-such-a-new-creation-that-the-world-will-only-be-able-to-stand-in-awe-of-his-handiwork-pinterest

We see this story over and over again in the restoration powers of Jesus’ healing hands.  Whether it was healing the demon-possessed man who lived in the graveyard or raising Lazarus from the dead, it’s the hope of a resurrected heart and a new life that has Him living at the middle of it instead of ourselves.

mark-5-19

Right now, hand over to Jesus whatever horrible thing you think God can’t clean you of. The truth is HE CAN and HE WILL!  All you have to do is believe the truth.  Jesus came to cleanse you of all your sins–not just a few, but ALL of them!  Now, that’s a recipe for hope and eternal life!

Embrace it and savor it.

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

When Imperfection Keeps Us from Jesus Moist Delicious Easy Crock Pot Dressing Frugal Meal Planning Getting Rid of Picture Perfect

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