For those of you who may be new here, I decided to choose a word for 2017. The idea was that I would focus on learning everything I could about that word, and then try to apply it in as many ways as possibly in my life. For 2017 I chose grace.
I had no way of knowing that God would use this year to break down some walls, heal some old wounds, and grow my heart in myriad ways. Grace is who God is, grace is what He gave us at the cross, and grace is how we are called to live in His love every single day. But what does that really mean? This has been my journey so far this year. It’s been painful and healing, heartbreaking and exhilarating all at once.
Grace is so much more than I ever imagined. I’m still learning, and somehow I know that I could continue learning every day for the rest of my life and still never fully plumb the depths of God’s grace.
As part of this journey, I’ve been reading at least one book per month that deals with some aspect of grace. You can find these in the book review section. This month I chose Uninvited, by Lysa Terkeurst, and Never Unfriended, by Lisa-Jo Baker (see the book review). Both are wonderful books that spoke to my heart.
Uninvited is one of those books, like Beth Moore’s Audacious, that feels like you’re sitting down with Lysa, listening to her pour out her heart over a cup of tea. As she does so, you feel the warmth from her heart (and probably some from your cup of tea), seeping into your soul and flooding it with peace and security. There’s so much delicious truth in what Lysa has to say. It truly is a message that speaks to the core of who we are as human beings.
We have all experienced rejection at some point in our lives. Maybe it wasn’t something as overtly devastating as a parent abandoning the family or adultery in a marriage, but it’s there. Search your heart, I guarantee you’ll find the shadows of rejection hovering over some of the most painful wounds in your heart.
Satan is crafty, deception is his wheelhouse, and rejection is a crucial component of his strategy. We’ve all bought into lies that tear at the fabric of our identity and threaten to redefine who we are as someone lesser, weaker, unimportant, or unloveable. As women, we often buy into the lies that we have to be pretty, smart, skinny, organized, successful, etc, enough to earn our place at the table.
Psalm 23:5 says, “You prepare a table before me. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” We don’t have to earn our place at the table – in fact, we can’t. Instead, God reaches out in love, setting the table before us, anointing us, and flooding us with His grace. I love the imagery in Psalm 23 of how God cares for us, how He leads us, restores us, and comforts us.
Lysa says that, “What we see will violate what we know unless what we know dictates what we see.” This means that we have to accept God’s grace and learn to “live loved.” We have to choose to enter every situation carrying God’s fullness, not our own emptiness. Then, instead of seeing ourselves as ugly, unloved, broken, we will see ourselves as God sees us — beautiful, beloved, and whole.
No matter what rejections you have faced, you can “live loved” because you are loved, beyond anything you can possibly comprehend. God created us to love; “bitterness, resentment, and anger have no place in a heart as beautiful as yours.”As you learn to face the wounds of rejection, you will find that, “it’s impossible to hold up the banners of victim and victory at the same time.” You can claim victory over rejection because you are loved and claimed by the God of the universe. (All quotes in this paragraph are from Lysa Terkeurst.)
I know I have struggled mightily with lies of rejection. I have put words in other people’s mouths and made damaging assumptions, as well as facing real-life rejections. All of these serve to deteriorate relationships and slowly separate me from God.
That’s exactly where Satan wants me – huddled in a corner convinced that I’m too fat, too plain, too emotional, too boring, too weak to ever be of use to God. Surely my children deserve a better mother, my husband deserves a stronger and prettier wife, and on and on and on…until I could be practically spiritually catatonic. But as Lysa says, “There is an abundant need in this world for your exact brand of beautiful.” Or as the Psalmist says, “Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.”
God has put a banner over your heart and mine; He has called us beautiful and beloved. This is the absolute truth, not any of those other thoughts that ricochet around in your brain and shredding your confidence. If you’re like me and you find this hard to believe some days, find a way to develop a habit that will actively swat away the lies. Here’s what I do:
- Find a lined notebook, maybe a pretty one that brings you joy when you look at it. I chose this one:
- Every time you hear and recognize a lie whispered into your heart, write it down.
- Below the lie, write out the truth. Find any and all scriptures related to the lie, look up inspirational quotes, think of activities that can help boost your confidence and restore your joy. Write it all down. (It helps to dedicate at least one page to every lie, that way you have plenty of space!)
- Return to that page every time you hear that lie; add to the truths below it if you feel led.
Eventually you will find that you no longer need to reference your notebook for that lie. Instead, you have infused your heart with truth and guarded it against that specific attack. A word of caution: Satan is cunning and may find other ways to slip this lie in.
Find a tactic that works for you in which you keep the truth where you can see it. This is part of the act of putting on your spiritual armor — you must learn to be active in these battles! I encourage you to explore some of these resources to get you started:
- The Armor of God, by Priscilla Shirer,
- Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely, by Lysa Terkeurst
- Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home, by Gloria Furman
- The God Centered Mom Podcast, by Heather MacFadyen
- She Proves Faithful Podcast, by Lauren Hlushak
- Ann Voskamp’s blog
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, prayer requests, or feedback, or just comment below. I’d love to hear from you! Know that I pray over you daily, whomever you may be and wherever you may be in life.
YOU. ARE. LOVED.
Hapless but hopeful,
PS – Here’s a bonus tip: don’t leave your journal unattended and within reach when there are small children in the house! They may just wreak havoc on it’s pages…
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