Dark Clouds of life gather, but God says, Guilty No More!
(on a Colorado walk last week with my Nathan boy)
Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
II Corinthians 3:5-6
The dark shadows played upon the window of my bedroom, as the sun set over the mountains. The darkness seemed to match my mood. I remember this day clearly because I felt trapped and wondered if I would truly make it through the rest of the years of my children being at home.One more move, teens in the house and a little girl who wanted to play with her beany babies, and a hormonal middle-aged mama who was worn to the bone, made for catastrophe.
There were many such days through the journey of motherhood and the fingers pointed at my heart accused me of the inadequacies and failures in my life.
Today, I am writing all the sweet mamas who are in this place and feel alone—as though they are alone in their feelings of guilt.
A sweet mama wrote me a facebook message recently and said she often felt guilty when she read my posts. I totally understand! We all have regrets and can feel like, "I wish I had known more!" But, most of us were not trained to be good mamas and had very few good models to follow, so often we muddle the best we can.
The reason I write this blog is to hopefully give some encouragement that I longed for when I was mothering my now adult children. I have learned a lot over the last 60 some years and if any of what I share can be of help, please let it encourage you--we can all move forward from where we are--with great hope, because of Him. So, I give you a part of my heart and how I have kept from staying in the mire of guilt and disappointment with myself over the years.
Do you ever hate reading articles where the writer always seems positive and Pollyannish? (Why? Because it doesn’t seem to match the reality of your own life and experience and it feels saccharine and unreal?)
Do you feel guilty for yelling and becoming angry at your children too often?
Are you regularly immature in front of your children? In marriage, do you become easily frustrated and can’t resist fighting with your spouse that you know you should love?
Do you ever wonder if there is any turning back? If you have been such a failure that it will be impossible to redeem your situation or child or marriage?
Does sadness fill your soul because of a prodigal or rebellious, angry child and you think it was all your fault?
DON’T STAY THERE! MOVE ON!
Perhaps this sounds pretty absurd—and heartless. Yet, I have seen that my dwelling in self-pity and living in condemnation is an endless downward spiral. God does not want me to have a dark soul—only Satan does. (He accuses the brethren before the Father day and night!)
Everyone you know sins and falls short on a regular basis. (All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God!
All of these needed Him and what He died to give—redemption and restoration.
Heroes are those people who feel the same stress, fear, anxiety that everyone else feels in a terrible situation. But they do something about it—they act in a forward direction and do something to save the day.
So, you can be a hero—you are still writing your story—Yet you have to choose to live in forgiveness. Your story cannot have a good ending unless you decide to celebrate life right where you are and give your guilt, inadequacy, condemnation and then live in the freedom that He wants you to have.
All of us are broken and unworthy. We might express our weakness and sin in different ways, but we are all pretty petty, selfish and dark in our inner hearts. No matter how diligently we try to be perfect and especially to fool people into thinking we have our act together more than others, God knows. (And if anyone pretends to be righteous, they are fooling themselves and God—“
If we say we have no sin, we are liars and his word is not in us.” I John 1:10
In the same way we would not expect a toddler to live a life without making messes, crying, throwing a few fits, so God is not surprised at our incredible potential for messing up. In comparison to His holiness and perfection, we are mere toddlers—if that. “He is mindful that we are but dust.” Psalm 103
Guilt squeezes the spirit of life out of our souls! Guilt is destructive—and if he says you are not guilty, then for you to refuse His forgiveness and patience and grace is in Biblical terms—sin! To not live in His grace is sin.
(Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. Hebrews 3:12)
There was some point in which I knew I could not live in a constant state of guilt or self-condemnation. The more I read scripture, the more I understood that Jesus did not intend for me to live in that place, and moreover, it is a place of destruction.
A mama who lives in condemnation, guilt and a state of inadequacy is negative, depressed, harsh and down so often that it also becomes a drag on her children.
Somewhere along the way, I decided to put the load of guilt of all the ways I had failed into the file drawers of heaven and I marked forgiven over them. And now, often, when voices accuse me of once more blowing it, I just pray and re-give my state of guilt to Jesus and seek to stay alive in the freedom that He has provided.
These are some of the verses that helped me:
He separates our sin in our lives as far as the east is from the west.Psalm 103
There is therefore now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, for the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1
It was for freedom that Christ set us free, therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
All of these verses and so many more, spoke to me of the heart Jesus had for us to know His love, His forgiveness and adoption of us into His royal family.
That is why His salvation, His love, His forgiveness, His indwelling, His commitment to refine us and to build us into the image of Jesus is such a priceless treasure—because He saves us from our dreary life of mistakes!
Easter is my favorite season of the year—because I am forgiven, I am adopted, I am new in Christ. And as a toddler, I seek Him all the time and expect Him to help me and to accept me into His arms. That is what I did for my immature toddlers. Could the God of the universe do any less.
But what to do with all the failures and ways I defrauded my children? That heavy burden of grief and sadness for all the ways I have failed?
“If we confess our sins, he is able to forgive us our sins.”
He is able.
He is able.
Do not accept the heavy burden of guilt—choose to live in your new freedom. Choose to put away the voices, the rule-keepers. Faith is a choice of your will.
Put aside the voices that you are tempted to listen to, that tell you of your inadequacies. Do not dwell in guilt. Do not cultivate anger or become a prisoner to bitterness. Own Your Life by listening to the only voice that matters--your heavenly Father who has adopted you. He says you are forgiven, precious, loved.
Believe that He is a redeemer—He can draw back those stray sheep—He loves them and especially wants to love and help you because you are a mama after His heart. He will redeem—buy back—all of those mistakes. Redemption is what HE does—he delights in doing what He was made to do. So don’t waste your time worrying—leave your failings and regrets in His loving hands.
After all, I think mamas are his favorites because like Him, they are laying down their lives for their sweet sheep.
May you live in the resurrection power today and each day till you see Him face to face.
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