by Michelle Caviness
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1: 3-4, New International Version
On August 29 of last year I was reborn! I ran through the grass with my arms outstretched to the sky, praising God, crying, laughing. I finally allowed years of guilt and unworthiness to roll off my back.
Since I was a little girl, I have carried a lot of guilt, most of it unsubstantiated. Even when good things happened, for some reason I could never entirely enjoy them. My life was filled with many tribulations, which resulted in me taking care of everyone else while feeling sorry for myself. Being the unwanted child of a teen mother compounded the feelings of unworthiness and distrust in me.
I couldn’t trust anyone, not even God. I was determined to do everything myself and do it all perfectly. Obviously, this was neither possible nor realistic. So, I experienced failure, guilt and shame. And all of my relationships solidified these feelings.
Then, during a conversation with a therapist, a light bulb went on that put me on a new path of self-examination. At that time, I was in a healthy and loving relationship. Yet there was something in me that made me feel guilty and uneasy about the relationship. It was as if I was going out of my way to find something wrong with the good thing that I had. I had been brainwashed by circumstances and was now questioning everything. I found myself even questioning God’s love for me, feeling I could never measure up.
Then, my therapist gave me a simple word picture that unlocked my heart. He asked me if I found joy when I threw my child a birthday party. He asked me if the joy on my child’s face gave me joy. Of course! How could I not find joy in giving my child something special? Next, he asked me how I’d feel if my child were to walk away as I was trying to give him a gift. He explained that that was what I was doing to God.
Suddenly, I understood God more clearly. So, on August 29, I accepted God’s gifts. I decided to do more—I was going to open God’s gifts to explore and enjoy them. I am going to make up for lost time. I felt as though a blindfold was ripped away from my eyes. I now clearly see God’s love and it overwhelms me. I stand under His fountain of love, and let my tears wash over me while He heals years of hurt.
Thank you Lord for my new birthday. I love the gifts and will thank you with every breath of my life.