Today is the 4th Faith-Filled Friday in the Your Life Still Counts Bible Study. If you’re a regular subscriber you already know that, but if you’re visiting me from today’s Proverbs 31 Devotion, then I want to welcome you!
Today’s P31 devotion shares my personal story of how choosing to terminate a teenage pregnancy resulted in years of living in regret and shame. But most importantly, the devotion shares how God helped me learn to believe that no sin was unforgivable, that He loved me no matter what, and that He still had a plan and purpose for my life.
Knowing how an abortion scars a girl’s heart forever, God has engrained a passion within me to help women understand that self forgiveness begins with God’s forgiveness, and that He is the answer to living in freedom from the pain of the past and discovering what real peace feels like. But I also know, because of so many precious women who have shared their hearts and deepest painful secrets with me over the years, that abortion is not the only sin or experience that steals a woman’s self worth, robs her of confidence, shames her heart, and makes her feel like a broken, damaged, or purposeless individual.
Life – no matter what our individual experiences are – can leave us all feeling exactly that way. Millions of women every day live with the crushing weight of the belief that they can’t possibly matter to God, and that their lives don’t matter to Him either, because of all that has happened in their past.
Sexual abuse, divorce, heartache, infidelity, death, loss, financial problems, medical problems, illness, domestic abuse, criminal activity, prison time, difficult family situations, rebellious children, addictions, pornography, abortions, promiscuity, dishonesty, depression, poor choices, and so on and so on and so on. Every painful experience brings on a different level of shame and unworthiness, whether it was our own sin or someone else’s sin against us.
But Romans 8: 1 says this: “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (NLT) This verse has no loopholes, no red tape, no conditions. We all have something or someone in our life that has caused us to believe we are not loved or valued by the Savior. Some of us might even believe we have committed an unforgivable sin, but according to Jesus, when we repent, we are forgiven. Period. No condemnation means no condemnation. No. Matter. What.
It was this verse that played a major role in my journey of letting go of my past and embracing not only God’s unconditional forgiveness and love, but also the promise that He had a plan for my life – not despite my past, but maybe because of it. It was this verse that helped me break free from the belief that I was too damaged and messed up for God to love, and begin to embrace who I was in His eyes, instead of my own.
Sweet friend, the only reason I share my personal experience, which is still hard to share, is because I am living proof that God can take what the devil meant for evil and use it for something good, and because I have witnessed first hand the incredible freedom, relief and peace we can feel when we stop being ashamed of our past, and start believing God not only loves us anyway, but has a purpose for it. When we come to the point in our faith walk where we can believe those two truths without a shadow of a doubt, our hearts and lives are transformed forever more.
As promised in the Proverbs 31 Devotion, Below you will find some tips and resources to help you find healing, grace, love, acceptance and purpose. My prayer is that no matter what has happened in your life up until now, that maybe some of these options can help you discover the redemption and freedom God has waiting for you today.
HELPFUL RESOURCES TO CHECK OUT
* Do you know Jesus as your personal Savior? If you would like to have a relationship with God, click here.
* April is National Abortion Recovery Awareness Month. Abortion not only kills babies, but hurts women in more ways they could imagine or want to admit, even so much so that ‘Post Abortion Syndrome’ has been called a form of post traumatic stress order. But there is hope, and healing is possible. If you know firsthand the pain of abortion and the sting of shame and regret that follows, and if you have been longing for healing and peace, consider checking out some of the resources below.
–Your Life Still Counts: How God Uses Your Past To Create A Beautiful Future, by Tracie Miles
– Your Life Still Counts Participant Study Guide (Ebook), by Tracie Miles
– Surrendering the Secret , by Pat Layton
– Broken Into Beautiful: How God Restores the Wounded Heart , by Gwen Smith
– Forgiven and Set Free: A Post Abortion Bible Study for Women, by Linda Cochrane
* Find a local Pregnancy Resource Center which offers free classes, individual counseling, helpful resources, and post abortive bible studies.
* Check out Ramah International , offering the hope of healing to abortion’s wounded.
* To read a great Proverbs 31 Devotion by Vicki Courtney about pushing past shame and regret, click here.
TIPS FOR DISCOVERING FREEDOM IN CHRIST AND OVERCOMING SHAME
Whether your shame and pain come from abortion or from other painful circumstances and memories from your past, pray about which one(s) of these tips might be a great first step to take towards healing and freedom today:
– If you have never asked God for forgiveness or healing, do so today. When we ask, we receive. It’s God’s gift to us. (1 John 1:9)
– Forgive those who hurt you and made you feel ashamed, not because they deserve it, but because you deserve to be free and not let them have control over your happiness and joy. (Matthew 6:14)
– Stop thinking about your past failures. God doesn’t keep a record of our wrongs once we’ve asked for forgiveness, and we shouldn’t either. That voice that keeps reminding of our unworthiness is not coming from God. (1 Corinthians 13:5)
– Remind yourself daily that you are pure and whole in God’s sight; loved and treasured like a precious jewel. Each day try to see yourself through His eyes, instead of your own. (Psalm 34:5)
– Read 2 Corinthians 5:17, and embrace His truth that in Him, the old is gone, and you are a new version of you with new life. (click here to read Wednesday’s blog post about embracing new life)
– Read Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11, and ask God to whisper to your spirit, giving you great clarity and understanding of what His plans and purposes are for your life.
– Consider what John 3:16 means to you, and let it change your perspective on God and your own value to Him.
To enter to win, simply leave a brief comment sharing what your thoughts were after reading today’s devotion and blog post. I’d love to hear how God is at work in many women’s hearts today. (email replies not eligible)
If you’d like to hop on board with the Your Life Still Counts study, simply subscribe to my blog and order your copy of Your Life Still Counts: How God Uses Your Past To Create A Beautiful Future. You can access all the bible study posts and get caught up right away (3 weeks left!), or do the study at your own pace and convenience. For all the general information about the study, please click here.
Winners from Wednesdays giveaway day: Miranda Miller (copy of When A Woman Finds Her Voice) and Susie (copy of Organizing Your Prayer Closet).