I want to share the story of a woman I met this summer in Deipsloot. Her name is Shame. I met Shame while I was on ministry with our first team. A couple of the team members and myself had just finished talking to a group of people, and they were not interested in what we had to say. As we left and began to travel down the road, I noticed a woman following closely behind us. One of the first questions you ask is always "what is your name". When she told me, I had to ask a second time. Now I have heard some pretty crazy names, but I couldn't believe that anyone would ever name their child Shame.
As I began to talk to Shame, she told me the story of how she was given her name. When her father found out that her mother was pregnant with another child, he was not too pleased. He even went as far as leaving her mother for the duration of the pregnancy. When it was time for their baby girl to be born, her father was to choose the name. He chose Shame, because he was ashamed to have yet another daughter, especially one he didn't want.
My heart broke for Shame. I was able to share the love of Jesus with her. I explained to her that God did not create us to live in embarrassment and disgrace because of who the world tells us we are. But that He has a plan and purpose for each of us. That God does not want us to be ashamed of ourselves, and that He doesn't regret or hate her, despite her father's disapproval.
Shame gave her life to Christ that day, and I believe that she began to understand the redeeming love of a God who gave His most prized possession, so that she could experience the love of a father who is not angry, and ashamed of her. If I could go back and talk with Shame again, I would share with her the importance of a name. I would tell her that I don't believe that God looks at her and does not see a woman named Shame anymore, but He sees His beloved.
There are so many of us that are living in a place of embarrassment because of our past. Because of the things we've done and the ways we've royally messed up our lives. We're hiding in corners behind cheerful smiles, and a list of activities. We mask our insecurities with accomplishments, awards, and and entourage of acquaintances. We don't get close to others, and we never let others see us frustrated or angry, we never go out in our pajamas. We have taken on the name Shame, we wear it on a name badge and hope that no one at the party will talk to us. We're afraid to speak up because of who we've become. It's a sad and numbing existence. We no longer enjoy life, we just hope to make it through the days without making too much commotion and without drawing too much attention.
Why do we live this way? Why do we allow ourselves to be beaten down by the enemy and believe the lie that we aren't good enough? Jesus gave His life so that we could live in Freedom, not in captivity. He gave His life to give us a new name. He calls us Beloved.
This has become my favorite name. To know that the creator of the universe calls me His Beloved.... Wow that blows my mind! If He looks past my mistakes and mess-ups, then why do I still live in embarrassment from them? If Jesus accepts me for who I am, then why do I keep trying to change to please those around me? My creator calls me His Beloved! God has been showing me the last couple of days what it looks like to be His Beloved. He has been speaking to me about being joyful, and living in peace. But it was while I was reading in Isaiah 54 that He really got my attention. I want to encourage you to read the scripture below and ask God to reveal His heart for you.
"Do not be afraid; You will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth, and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your maker is your husband- the Lord almighty is his name- the Holy one of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth." ~ Isaiah 54:4&5
Friend, you are His beloved. He does not want you to live in the shame of your past, He wants you to dance in the joy of His love for you. The Lord is your Husband. Dwell on that concept for a moment. God has made a life long commitment to stand by your side no matter what. He loves you despite your bad hair day, your inability to resist sweets, and even your deeper issues. He calls you His Beloved when you fall back into the same old sin, He draws you close when the storms of life have beaten you down. Wow, God almighty Loves you!
You are His Beloved!