“For His unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.” – Psalm 103:11-13
I took a walk into my counselor’s office one Wednesday afternoon in December that will forever be etched in my mind. This particular day, the journey from my car to her office seemed long and my feet felt like they were full of lead. There was a little brown desk with a lamp on the far left side of the room that we would sit at to have tea and talk about all that God was doing in my life. Deep soul work and lots of healing ground had been covered in that room- the soil of my heart felt like it had changed over time, more tender and free as God walked through each room of it with me.
He is so loving and patient with us.
Mighty prayers had been prayed, scriptures had been read, and He was in the middle of doing a beautiful work: A broken life that had truly been redeemed.
This appointment felt more challenging for me because God was asking something of me. My heart still had a “hangup” and I desperately wanted to get to the bottom of it. While I had known Christ and walked with Him most of my life, I wanted to talk to someone I trusted about the battle I was facing with shame: “the withholding nothing, open, honest, everything out on the table kind of talk.” For a recovering perfectionist, this can be challenging.
Shame is a monster, and its cousins fear, anxiety, depression, and hopelessness like to dwell with it.
We talked about how shame is planted by guilt, nourished by memories, and watered by secrecy.
My heart needed full healing, plain and simple. More roots needed to be dug up and the Master Gardener was the only One who could truly tend to what was broken. Although I had experienced a lot of victory and breakthrough, certain triggers still occurred, and shame seemed to always try to rear its ugly head in my life.
As I sat down, I remember my heart racing and my palms being sweaty. She knew much of my story, she knew about me being a preacher’s kid, the painful divorce I witnessed my parents go through, and she knew about some of the deep wounds I experienced as a child.
The enemy had set his target on my life, and I had a heart full of shotgun holes that he had attempted to take me out by. I came to know Christ at an early age, but life…well, life happened. I realized in my 20’s that while I loved God and served God, I was tired, my heart felt heavy…I was exhausted. The Lord’s mercy had once again went before me and as a good Father does, He wanted to deal with this area of my life.
I was carrying a heavy suitcase and didn’t feel I was fully running the victorious race like He had intended. The bag was weighing me down because it contained past regrets, old memories, and fears about my future. Toting this around had almost become a habit to me, and I couldn’t even remember the exact time or spot I chose to pick it up. I was moving, but it surely prohibited me from running.
Before our meeting, I felt like the Lord told me my perfectionism had to be laid down and the importance of self-image or what anyone thought of me must be put away to truly be free.
Confession was a vital part of annihilating and destroying shame.
James 5:16 “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
To every fruit in our lives, good or bad, there is always a root and I knew this was a deep root God needed to tend to. It was time to drop the bag and run. I sat in her office and wept. I told her I wanted to hand over the shame, every part of it and walk in the life-giving freedom Jesus had died for me to have. I knew God sent His son, His most precious, prized possession and gift, and He was enough. What He did was big enough for me, and brokenness and shame were no longer calling the shots.
This battle I was facing in my mind could only be fought and overcome through applying His Word to every single lie as they came.
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
John 8:10-11 WHERE ARE YOUR ACCUSERS?
10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you? 11 “No, Lord,” she said,…And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
John 8 is one of my favorite New Testament stories. I am a creative and visual storyteller and I connect with writing that I can picture myself in. If we’re honest, we all in a sense can relate to the woman in John 8. While we don’t deal with physical accusers necessarily, many people deal with mental accusations. In this passage, she is caught and exposed in the act of sin by many accusers and brought to center stage for the punishment the law states she deserves. She must have felt so hopeless, embarrassed, so alone.
This exposure was actually her gateway to Grace as she was thrown at the very feet of the One who could not only save her life but save her soul.
As the people gathered to stone her, Jesus takes the posture of compassion by coming down to her level and writing in the dirt. Here, he quiets her accusers and tells her she is fully forgiven and to go and sin no more. As thoughts of condemnation from your accusers come into your mind come to taunt you, follow the model of Jesus. Answer them with the Word, know you’re forgiven and move forward to live your life with Christ.
The antidote to shame is TRUTH.
A formula for shame breaking is found in Psalm 103. David sets the stage and opens up the Psalm acknowledging truth and proclaiming it. He says “Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul, and all the deepest parts of me, BLESS HIS NAME!” And forget not all His benefits. He, who FORGIVES all of your sins and who heals ALL of your diseases. He, who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.”
Psalm 103:11 “For His unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”
This scripture proclaims the LIMITLESS love of God toward us. I once heard a pastor say, “How do you describe a rose to a blind person? How do you describe Handle’s Hallelujah Chorus to a deaf person? How do you describe the thrill of down hill skiing to one who has never walked? How do you describe the impeccable, infinite love of God to impure, finite humans?” Psalm 103 speaks of this Love. David attempts to portray it with a visual, stating that its higher than the Heavens. He says your sins have been completely removed as far as the East is from the West, meaning they’re untraceable, gone, forgiven. Life changes when instead of running for forgiveness, you run from a place of forgiveness. His Love is unfailing and will chase us all the days of our lives. Im so grateful for this Love that doesn’t give up! May we accept and receive this free gift today and truly walk in it’s benefits.
Psalm 103:13 “The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.”
Knowing the nature of God is so vital in our walk with Him. We live in the overflow of who we really believe God to be. This is why it is so important we walk in the Word and believe the Truth.
In Matthew Henry’s commentary, he says, “The Scripture says a great deal of the mercy of God, and we all have experienced it. The father pities his children that are weak in knowledge, and teaches them; pities them when they are froward, and bears with them; pities them when they are sick, and comforts them; pities them when they are fallen, and helps them to rise; pities them when they have offended, and, upon their submission, forgives them; pities them when wronged, and rights them: thus the Lord pities those that fear him. See why he pities. He considers the frailty of our bodies, and the folly of our souls, how little we can do, how little we can bear; in all which his compassion appears.”
His mercy and compassion toward us is great, like a father to a child.
I want to say, walking without the suitcase has been so much greater. A beautiful exchange took place and I not only put the suitcase down but traded it for better things, like joy, hope, peace, and forgiveness. I pray you receive this Love today, and walk in the fruit that comes from it…true identity, rest and acceptance in Christ. He is for you, He loves you with a love that cannot be measured, and He says to you today, too, BE FREE + GO + RUN and sin no more.” He is for you!
In His Unfailing Love,
Meshali Mitchell is a photographer, currently residing in Dallas, Texas and available for travel worldwide. What defines her most is her heart for Christ and passion for people. She believes it’s the simple things that make life beautiful…like a good book, a front porch swing and chips and salsa. You can see Meshali’s photography and read more of the heart behind her work on Instagram + Her website : [email protected] /// www.meshalimitchellphoto.com