Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Releasing Shame, Embracing Grace

From time to time, I invite others to share their gleaning experiences here at thegleanse.  Welcome back Jeralyn Powell as she eloquently shares the 3rd installment of her yet untitled series. . .

“Disgrace is the opposite of grace. Grace is love that seeks you out even if you have nothing to give in return. Grace is being loved when you are or feel unlovable. Grace has the power to turn despair into hope. Grace listens, lifts up, cures, transforms, and heals.”                          

             I stared over the ledge of the building with the world behind me going at a much faster pace than I even cared to keep up with anymore.  Consciously, I considered this could be it. I could just put myself….and everyone else…out of misery. What seemed like a long way down from where I was standing, had no bearing on how low I felt. I could finally put action behind what people wouldn’t say with words; that nobody in my position, had a right to feel this way. I was so ashamed and unable to do anything else to turn this situation around. I could take the only way out…

             But even as shame pressed me against life’s ledge, God’s grace gently gestured me into His embrace.

             Shame keeps you in bondage; it keeps you from being honest with people about how you really feel. It warrants a place to relive the scenes of life that you wish had never happened. It plants seeds of envy, hatred and manipulation that all lead to self-destruction. Holding on to the shame pushes away one of the most precious gifts from God - His unmerited favor, GRACE. 
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

             Grace is a gift that we choose to accept. Faith is the currency we use to receive it. Nothing we can do justifies the grace God gives. Grace is not a medal we can proudly show off on our chest, knowing that we did well. Instead it’s the badge we wear with a sense of surprise that we were even chosen for such an honor. In the midst of my embarrassment, regrets, and guilt, God reached in and scooped me up into His grace.  

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

             God provided grace to fill in ALL the inadequacies we feel when we aren’t enough. It works its way through the dreadful discussions among friends and the confusing concerns of family. His grace covers our weakness and the weaknesses of those who really just don’t know what to say or do. In my brokenness, God’s power carried me because I no longer had the strength on my own to keep going…

             That day, I still fell….into the arms of grace. Grace welcomed me with open arms and smothered my guilt with warm kisses of reassurance and snug hugs of mercy. In His grace, I found freedom: freedom to accept His unfailing love in spite of my shortfalls, to live out His will regardless of how I felt. God’s grace freed me from the guilt, the disgrace that came along with my state of mind and reminded me that I was His.

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