Warm Wednesday Words: Despising the Shame

scandalDictionary.com – *Shame – 1. The painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.  4. A fact or circumstance bringing disgrace or regret.

*Shame  launches us into a sort of sacred suffering that gives us tools, otherwise illusive, that can actually save us.  It can originate in our own conscience, or it can be “assigned” to us by others who are more then willing to serve it up and offer seconds.  Constructively, it can provoke remorse and change, or when felt on behalf of others, comfort, grace and prayer.  Yet it also can circle over our heads with landing gear down, powerless to make its mark, if we aren’t willing to humbly inspect our hearts.

Jesus was no stranger to shame.  He didn’t turn from it, but conquered the sting of it for the joy that came from making a way to save us.  Hebrews 12:2, “Who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame…”  Shame can be a stalker and a haunter, especially if we’re prideful, but when we follow Jesus example and despise it, we shrink it to its rightful place and role and amazing things can happen.

When I worked at a local daycare, we often sang action songs including a favorite “We’re going on a Bear Hunt”.  Within the lyrics, there is a great message, “we’re coming to a wide river, and there’s no bridge going over it, no tunnel going under it, it’s just plain old water, and we’re gonna have to swim…I’m not afraid.  Are you?”

We’re often put in circumstances just like that.  There’s no way around, under, or over.  We just gotta go through and get thicker skin while the elements pelt us.  The ultimate example is Christ on the cross.  John Piper wrote an excellent post on what it means to despise the shame.  He concluded Jesus “despising the shame” was like saying, ‘Listen to me, Shame, do you see that joy in front of me?  Compared to that, you are less then nothing…You think you have power.  Compared to the joy before me, you have none…. You think you can distract me.  I won’t even look at you….You are a fool.  Your filthy hands fulfill holy prophecy.’  There was once a man who over the course of his lifetime had experienced devastating parenting failures with dire consequences, committed adultery, and set up a murder to cover his own mistake.  Yet because he loved God and repented of his sins, he was able to say, “Those who look to Him are radiant with joy.  Their faces will never be ashamed.”  (Ps. 34:10)  If you guessed David, you’re right.  I love reading the Psalms, and am thankful he despised the shame and told his story.

So yeah, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, and so can you.  That includes the boldness to be honest and humble for Christ’s sake, no pun intended.  Some would rather avoid the power tools that can be earned in trials and shame, then admit anything shameful touched them or their families.  Ann Voskamp said in a recent post “the worst grief is a grief that cannot speak…..Grief is the guaranteed price we pay for love.”  The Bible is rife with examples of the type of guarantee that things are going to get tough, and that there’s no way around but through.   There are no guarantees of turbulent free friendships, marriages, parenting, businesses, health, reputations, etc; only of a Savior who will walk beside us triumphantly through the turbulence and “keep” that which we’ve committed to Him, ultimately souls.  He may allow some deep plunges, shame, grief, or heartache in order to refine and use what is of high value to Him.

For us, the hope and promise is that we have a Savior who showed us how to despise the shame and find joy.   Have the filthy hands of shame and despair propelled you toward a destiny?  Are you willing to share what might be useful to encourage someone?

Despise the Shame

*For the purpose of this post I chose not to split hairs over shame vs. guilt.
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Warm Wednesday Words: Sophie Lucia-Marie Jacobson

Sophie turned 8 on January 6, and I got behind in asking for grandchild birthday blogposts…but Sophie jumped in to get me caught up again.  I remember her from the moment she was born, and am honored to be her “Marme” and love the cuddly moments we share.   As you can tell from her next to last picture, she got her sewing skills from me, not her talented mama.

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My favorite food is: Donuts!

My favorite book is: Right now my favorite book we’re reading out loud is Jungle Book. My favorite book I read myself was about Amelia Earhart.

I think the coolest person on earth is: Uncle Jacob

My favorite thing to learn about is: Animals, and stories of real people.

The thing I am most awesome at is: I like to do a lot of things, but maybe I’m best at making things.

If I could go anywhere in the world I would go: Maybe somewhere to feed hippos.

My favorite color is: At the moment it is red, but I also kind of like yellow.

When I grow up I want to become: I don’t really know what I want to be right now. Maybe a zoo keeper.

My current favorite song is: The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Three words I feel best describe me are: Hyperactive. Weird. Crazy.

When I was little I used to: Do a lot of things! Like watch TV a lot. I probably chewed on things. I don’t know what all I did when I was little.

My favorite season is: Probably summer.

The absolute best thing about camping is: Being in the wild!

The snack I like the best is: Granola bars.

One food that I really dislike is: Tomatoes.

My best friend is: I don’t really have one. But I have lots of good friends.

If I had one wish it would be: To own a pet hippo.
My favorite movie is: Oscar’s Oasis maybe?
My favorite outfit is: Umm… maybe my long jeans skirt and my owl shirt.
My favorite thing to do: Play with my calico critters, or pretend to be an animal.
A favorite memory of mine is: Going to the beach!
My favorite animal is: Hippo
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Warm Wednesday Words: Christmas Letter: Still Alive…Still Trusting

christmas letter templateUnless you count this as one, we won’t be writing a Christmas letter this year.  Come to think of it, it’s been a number of years since I sent a Christmas letter.  But if we did you might be hanging onto your seat.   Then again, in the off paragraphs you might be snoring.  But ultimately what I would want you to know is this:  Even in the hard years, God is good and does exceedingly above all that we ask or think. (Eph. 3:20)  He is to be praised.

Imagine getting a Christmas letter saying that in a fit of jealous rage one of two sons had killed the other, and in another family letter came the news that the husband had risked his wife’s sexual exploitation for his own hide; then a few years later the same wife had gotten so jealous of a relationship that she, herself, had put into place, that she had sent the destitute progeny away forever.  What if your friends wrote you that one child had tricked the near blind, dying father into changing his will.  Now here’s some Christmas letter news: the dad had suffered some devastating consequences in his life for a rooftop peeping tom escapade, and later there were some problems in the blending of the half siblings.  One had raped his half sister and in revenge another had murdered the rapist.  And then later the disowned teen murderer  used his charisma and become popular and powerful enough to try to destroy his father.

Likely responses to such tabloid-like stories from God-fearing families might be shock, gossip and judgement.  The latter springs from our insatiable desire to measure someone’s tragedy against our own life and surmise how that could never happen to us. Thoughts, if not words, might be…”if the parents had just had them in church every Sunday” to “if they had not chosen that school” to “if they had not been so strict”, or “if they had not been so lenient”, or “if they had just went to marriage counseling” and on and on.  We believe in grace, but it often shadows our prideful logic.  The disciples tried to lay blame as well, but received this response…”Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3) The works of God in a life are really so much more refreshing to focus on!  If we could just quickly shift our thoughts to how God may use circumstances, as well as start praying we’d become a part of the miracle of grace, redemption and restoration.

In the above scenarios, God dealt with sin, but saw the heart, (yes, especially the parts that bore His likeness) which is why He could call the fearful husband the father of many nations, the jealous wife a woman to be emulated by all women in regard to respect for her husband, the #1 loser dad a man after God’s own heart in regard to his worshipful and compassionate heart, etc.

Unfortunately, God’s grace and redemption are sometimes not as convincing in humans, and on occasion even purposely omitted, leaving many of us trudging uphill through the storms of life with social apathy (not to be confused with spiritual apathy) as our trail guide.  A friend of ours and midwife for two of our childbirths years ago, blogged recently on  Christmas letters.  “The fact of the matter is, any time any of us have a bad year, we aren’t as likely to send out Christmas cards or a Christmas letter.  If we’ve experienced a death in the family, struggled financially, had medical issues, serious kid problems, emotional trauma, a divorce, church drama, or just a year where everything seemed to go wrong, we don’t really feel like sharing.  Those things don’t go as well in the end of year brag letter as do educational accomplishments, travel, promotions and awards.”  You’ll likely be blessed and entertained if you take time to read her entire post @ the above link.  You might even change the way you write next year’s Christmas card or letter.

But meantime, if you didn’t hear much from us, neither did most.  Like Roxanne and many of you, we’re still here, still alive, still trusting, hoping, and finding healing in the time out.

 

 

 

Warm Wednesay Words: You’re not the Player You Think You Are

 

goodness & worthOn my own I’m a mess and have nothing worth sharing.  But to be fair, that’s the case with all of us.  The times I get my panties in a wad are often the very times that insidious pride has crept in somewhere.  As C.S. Lewis said, “the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride.  Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison.”  But the truth is, none of us have anything of eternal worth to share without Christ.  But with Him and because of Him, we have worth and a story to share.  He makes beauty from ashes and gives us irrevocable gifts.   All we need to do is be willing to let Him use them and leave the response or results to Him, whether we see their effect this side of Heaven or not.

you are unique the world needs youHere are a few red ” subtle pride” flags I’ve become aware of:  when I feel like someone’s estimation of me matters, when I feel pressured to do something that someone thinks I should even though my own soul searching with God (even for goodwill sake) doesn’t confirm that, when I do the thing God has laid on my heart and instead of trusting God with it, allow disappointment that it meant little or nothing to someone that mattered to me.

live for an audience of one

Most people are fairly incensed about entitlement when it comes to politics.  Most  agree that too many folks are engorged on an entitlement attitude that takes money out of the pockets of the majority and puts it into an unfair welfare system.  However, perhaps a spiritual entitlement check is in order.

www.pinterest.comWithout God, I’m nothing.  I wouldn’t even be here.  But I am, and because of Him I experience abundant life.  The only thing I’m entitled to as Adam and Eve’s progeny (with the same propensity for sin) is eternal separation from a Holy God.  Keeping that in the back of my mind, helps me apply humility and long-suffering to the holes where pride and entitlement would otherwise seep in.

little girl looking at apple

Thanks to Christ’s compassionate love for us and deep mercy, we who believe in Christ and His redemptive work on the cross are more than enough.  We were brought to a place of royalty…joint heirs with Christ Himself.  Now there’s a rags to riches true story for all time and eternity.   Do you allow your story to play in Christ’s cause?  No one but you can share your God given gifts and unique story!  Do you hold back from sharing what God has given you to share?   In Christ, we are all Most Valuable Players.

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