In Christ alone we can all be made new. For some of us, the transformation seems to come so easily. But for others of us, God uses hurtful, heart-wrenching times of struggle to speak to our lives. I find myself in the second category. I have believed and loved God’s Word since I was a child, but some of the concepts and promises of the Bible were just words on paper to me. I believed them, but they weren’t ingrained in my heart yet.
Oh, how much God loves us and works in our lives to bring us closer to him. Once, I had a chance to go on a trip to a city that I had never visited before—Chicago. This was a trip that I could have gone on with my dear, sweet husband. It would have been a great time, but I chose not to go. I chose not to go because I felt unlovable. You see, my sexual abuse not only affected how I felt about myself, but it was also affecting my relationship with my husband. I had shut down emotionally. I did not want to feel this way, but my emotional withdrawal had such a devastating stronghold on my life.
So I stayed home, and he went alone on this trip to a new and exciting place. I was home alone because I hated myself. I started feeling trapped and cheated. In fact, I started hating myself even more. My journal became filled with entries of how much I hated myself. I detested the way I felt, but I couldn’t find any relief or an answer. One of my journal entries ended with the passage, “I hate being defective.” You see, that is how I felt about myself. I was defective, I was not whole, I was not normal, I would never be free again, I was trapped. How those thoughts plagued me over and over.
I wept and wept. I called my husband and begged for forgiveness, and I wept some more. The pain just would not leave me. Later that night, lying on the couch alone, in the stillness and quiet of my empty house, I begged God for a word. Once again, God spoke to me and encouraged me. How thankful I am for His Patience and Love for me! As before, He used a song to speak to me. In his song “I Am New,” Jason Gray writes about living in the “shadows of shame” and not believing that there is a possibility of ever being able to change. That is exactly how I felt, as if this shamefulness was going to be my companion forever. Then in the lyrics I discovered a very important word: the word BUT. But God does not see me as I see myself!
Oh, what joy to know that God does not see me the way that I see myself. God sees me in a different way because He sees me as a new creation in Christ, accepted by Him even when I can not accept myself. One day I am going to be totally made brand new. But in reality I don’t have to wait. I can claim all of those promises now. Oh, how I needed to know that. How I desperately needed to claim all those promises in my heart, and to rest in that assurance. Thank you again, God, for reminding me of who I am in you.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (NIV). Are you feeling defective? Do you feel as if the ick inside of you will never completely leave you? Do you ever just hate who you are? Have you ever sabotaged your life because you felt unloved? Here are the promises I have for you: You are forgiven, you are Beloved, you are made in the Image of Christ Himself, you are Righteous and Holy, you are Reborn and Remade, you are Accepted and Worthy, and you are all of those things NOW. Let’s ingrain those truths in our hearts today. And let’s remember how God sees us when He looks at us—new, loved, and remade.
Blessings – Lisa