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“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

Thursday, March 17, 2011

IT'S ALL BECAUSE OF HIS AMAZING GRACE

O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thoughts afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. Psalm 139:1-4


Have you ever asked God to forgive you for something over and over and over again? Many will raise an eyebrow at that question, thinking perhaps my faith needs a tune-up. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes struggle with the issue of forgiveness. Please don’t misunderstand, I KNOW—I have sweet assurance—that God has forgiven me. But have gone through times of struggling to forgive myself for various things in my past. I finally came to grips with a particularly ugly demon with which I wrestled for about four years. I’ll not go into all the details here because that particular topic isn’t the theme of this post. In short, that issue was something far beyond my control, but I blamed myself anyway…(it’s a mother thing.) But last year I finally realized how offensive it is to Jesus when I refuse to forgive myself. If He shed His blood and gave His very life so that I might have forgiveness, then my refusal to forgive myself was like saying to Him, “Your blood and Your life wasn’t good enough.” I finally acknowledged how wrong I was to cling to that misplaced guilt and I allowed Him to free me, completely and forever.

So why do vivid memories of things I did years ago still parade through my mind and haunt me with regret? When these pictures manifest themselves in my mind’s eyes, I cringe within my spirit. I couldn’t shake those thoughts off. I KNEW God had forgiven me, and I’d released the guilt I’d been dragging around. So why would those memories not leave? I prayed, and asked God to please take those ugly pictures out of my head and wipe them from my memory. Then, maybe a week or two later, I’d remember something else, and think, “Why was I such a jerk? Why did I behave that way? Why did I lose my temper like that?” And those regretful things would rise up in my mind again.

Finally, this morning I was having my devotions—I use Sarah Young’s daily devotional book, Jesus Calling, side by side with my Bible. There I read a statement that so captured my heart, tears poured down my face. It said, “Trust Me (Jesus) enough to accept the full forgiveness that I offer you continually.” I read it again, and again. And then I squeezed my eyes shut and said, “But Father, why don’t those pictures go away? Why do the memories of those things for which You have already forgiven me keep coming back to me?”

No, I didn’t hear God’s audible voice speaking, but I felt Him whisper so clearly to my spirit, “Look child. Look at all those things I’ve forgiven. Look at all the grace I’ve bestowed on you. Every single one of these past regrets, as you call them, were opportunities for my Son’s cleansing blood to wash away the guilt forever. I don’t want you to take on the guilt and regret again when you remember these things. I want to show you how much you’ve been forgiven and how much I love you.”
God’s grace leaves me breathless. When He created me with a memory, it wasn’t so I can continually berate myself. It was so I could continually remember His awesome grace.

"The Lord will perfect that which concerns me. Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands." Psalm 138:8

Thanks for letting me share my heart.

2 comments:

Tracy said...

Thanks for that Connie! I too have been struggling with that very thing. I cannot let myself off the hook. I try to convince myself that it just can't be that easy. Thank you for the reminder, I needed it today.

Debbie Clark said...

Thank you so much for your blog. I also have been needing to read this.

Debbie Clark