My Story Monday! Today’s story come to you from Shawn Hodges, one of our contributing photographers in Texas. This is such a great piece for women of all ages to read. If you have made mistakes in your life (who hasn’t?) and have a “past” that keeps reminding you of your failures, please read this woman’s story of letting go of shame. You are loved. You have been redeemed. And He is calling you to a life of freedom. Read on…
shame-LESS by Amy Jo Blanton
It is a wave of guilt that continues to rise up over our heads trying to drown us.
It is a joy stealer and an identity robber. It comes in, takes over and covers us like a black cloud, whispering to us that we are not who Jesus says we are.
It is a weapon used by our enemy to keep us locked in neutral with no forward motion.
I know this because shame once ruled in my life. It lied to me and told me over and over that my sin was too thick and too deep for my Savior to USE me. Now understand what I meant, I didn’t say Jesus couldn’t save me. I said, He couldn’t Use Me. Salvation can be received, but the enemy can use this one word to keep us from experiencing the life we were purposed for on this planet. If there is one thing Satan likes, it’s a guilt-ridden Christian.
That was me.
I could write down all my shameful moments. All my failures. But I will spare you. I will give no glory to my sin. That’s not what God has told me to say for now. What he has told me to say is this one truth:
NO sin is too black, NO life is too lost, and NO past is too ugly that HIS amazing grace cannot fully recover and redeem. No. Not. One.
I can remember a time after I had surrendered my life to following Jesus when all I could do was tell myself over and over, “Amy, if only you hadn’t done all those awful, disgusting things. If only you had listened and ran the opposite direction. But now, this is your background. Your reality. This is your ugly scar that will never go away. Your past has forfeited any hope of a beautiful future!”
That is the lie I believed. That my past canceled out the promises of Jesus.
Thankfully one day I was told of a story of someone’s past that didn’t trump her future.
And that was the story of Rahab.
It begins in Joshua 2. And it tells of woman with a shameful and dishonorable past, a prostitute.
Rahab was seen as a “nobody.” A worthless, rejected woman whose identity seemed to cancel all of her value. Yet God chose this woman, of all the people in Jericho. He chose her to help his people, the Israelites, take hold of their Promised Land. Not only was she the channel through which God used to deliver His people to their inheritance, she was celebrated in the New Testament for her faith. Hebrews 11:31 describes Rehab this way, “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.”
I had heard the story of Rahab many times. And I knew she was known for her identity as a prostitute and her bravery to defend God’s people. This amazed me.
But what God revealed to me that day was a small, little detail that I had never read or heard before. One short verse that hit me right in the center of my dark lie….
Matthew 1:1, “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David…..
(vs. 5) Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was RAHAB…”
Are you kidding me??? Rahab in the lineage of Jesus? I sat there with my mouth hanging wide open, tears streaming down my face. How can this be? A prostitute was Jesus’s great, great, great (x20) grandmother? I could not believe what I was hearing or what I was reading! But there it was, in the black and white, God-breathed word. A shameful woman a part of the redemption story. My redemption story.
And I heard Jesus say to me in that moment, “I was not ashamed of her. In fact, she is a part of me. And Amy, I am not ashamed of you. I am a part of you. Shame has no place in you, my daughter. “
My past didn’t matter anymore. All those feelings of guilt and regret, they were gone instantly. When I realized this woman, who led a life full of shame, was called out of her shame. That she was not just used by God to rescue His own people but that her life had an even greater purpose: God desired this woman to be a part of the ancestral line of Jesus, the very Son of God. In that moment, I felt Redeemed and New and Free!
My sister, shame will keep you from the beautiful life God has purposed for you. Remember what I said earlier, regret over your past will keep you on the side lines. It will cause you to never enter the race marked out before you. It will make believe you are crippled and weak. But you are a beautiful story of his mercy and grace. I am like Rahab. You are like Rahab. Maybe our sin doesn’t line up just like hers, but our shame can.
“Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.”
I have entered the race. Satan knows it. Guilt-ridden, I am no more! And my joy is to tell of this beautiful life that I now live full of freedom and redemption!
As a young teen, Shawn had dreamed of becoming a photographer/artist one day. Shawn Hodges Photography officially was born in January 2008. The business celebrated five years in January 2013. Shawn wants to help other woman and teens find their identity and beauty in Jesus! She is so excited to see what God will do through this ministry. She is experiencing first hand how God can restore life and value. She is planning to impact the kingdom of heaven with the hearts of many beautiful women!