It is Friday morning and this truth resonates in me: ‘Apart from the Lord I have nothing good in and of myself’…gosh why has it taken me so long to grasp this concept? Nothing in my heart naturally gravitates towards true beauty…I constantly search for fleeting moments of indulgence…that leaves me empty and broken. Yet as I delve into this notion I discover one truth greater than any other: He brings beauty out of the ashes of my existence… and that brings me to the topic of being a beautiful failure.
For God, who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
I think this verse hits me the hardest on most days, because I am forced to see that the Lord himself embraced the full weakness of human flesh…walked this earth undefiled (dang that must have been hard), yet still paid the full price of my sin and shame. So often I forget this truth…I have struggled with sin in a specific area for so long and the shame that comes with this has marred my soul in a measure that has allowed my heart to stop hoping that I would ever change. Then each time I find myself messing up and I am met with such deep comfort…in those moments I begin to see the truth about the gospel of Jesus. He took on flesh, fully understanding that 2000 plus years from now I would find myself struggling with sin…and he sits on the throne in heaven constantly saying ‘I paid the full price Deidre…my love has covered your sin and shame for eternity’. There has been and will never be another god like mine…search the world and see that there is no one like Jesus…none. This revelation hits my soul like a million daggers…
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this (Isaiah 6: 6-7).
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all…Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. (extracts from Isaiah 53: 4-12)
Through it all as I struggle with walking in freedom from sin in my life I am confident in the everlasting hope…the knowing that his love is unlike any form of love I would ever know. His love never changes…even as the storyline in the bible changes…he remains infatuated with his people…he still is infatuated with me. The every reason he gave himself to be under the authority of flesh was so that I would see physically how much he loves and longs for me to find freedom from sin and freedom from shame.
the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:22-26).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5).
So I want to encourage whoever reading this, by making these points from which I have come to grow in the last few years:
- The Lord will always love us unconditionally…in Jesus we are free from shame and condemnation: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136:1)
- The Lord is faithful to completely deliver us from our sin and shame…even when the process seems slow and endless: And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Phillipians 1:6)
- The Lord is able to give us what we need to overcome sin…if we keep trusting and committing to his will: When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13-15)
- Failing and falling is not the end of the road, you get to choose to get up and walk forward. We fail forward always…why?…because every time we fail it is a window of opportunity to grow and discover. The Lord will always receive us with love and he won’t stop fighting until we are fully like him again.
- You are meant to be free and find purity… we are made in his image to be just like him: but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:13)
This is my favorite verse of all time…it reminds me of the Lords heart and commitment not just to Israel, but to me as well. It reminds me that I am a beautiful failure because he is beautiful and I can get up and hold my head high…because he sees my weak attempts and my heart posture. More than anything of this I am confident that I will find complete beauty in the day the Lord returns…this is my hope, this is the truth I will cling to for all my days until I see his face.
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you (Isaiah 62:1-5).
I am not confound by my shame and my emotions during failure…I will gird my soul and stir my heart with the word of the Lord. The amazing Nelson Mandela once said: ‘The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing but in rising every time we fall’.