Monday, March 30, 2009

No Condemnation

I have a devotion running on the Proverbs 31 Ministries site today. The title is "No Condemnation." No surprise that all day yesterday I battled the voices of doubt, fear, and sadness.

Over the weekend I travelled about 4 and 1/2 hours away from home to speak at a Women's Forum in Roanoke Rapids, NC. The event was better than I ever dreamed it could be. I was blessed. The women were blessed. I could feel the Lord's presence and His Words spilling from my mouth as I presented the message. I shared portions of my life and how good or bad, God brought purpose from each situation. I also shared how I've struggled with my self-image and self-esteem as well. And I still do! Now I know God is in control and that I am beautiful in His eyes and so special to Him. With that said, I have to battle daily for my natural tendancies not to take over. And it is a daily battle. When I left yesterday, I was on such a "God-High". I was so excited at how God worked in the hearts the women at the event. They ate up the message, they took Proverbs 31 books, magazines, and devotions home with them....they left hungry for more of Jesus and eager to grow in their walk with the Lord. And I made some great new friends too!!!!

Sunday morning I woke up late and we missed church. Feeling guilty over that was not the way I wanted to begin my day. I can't explain why, but for the remainder of the day I felt weepy, discouraged, and well....like a loser. Condemning thoughts occupied my mind. Things like: "That was bad to oversleep. I caused the whole family to miss church." "I haven't exercised since Tuesday....no wonder I'm not losing weight." "Jeff doesn't understand me today. He's probably thinking about all the things I've done wrong lately." "I'm worried about my mom." "Why do I feel like this today...yesterday was such a blessing and tomorrow I have a devotion running."

Then t hit me. And I should've been prepared for this attack. Why? Because the closer we are to God, the harder Satan fights to keep our eyes off of the Lord and on to our own weakness and flaws. Darnit, I fell for it again!

John 3:17 is one of my favorite verses. It says, "Jesus did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it." Jesus didn't come here, take my sins to the cross and die for me, so that I would feel all blue and pathetic. He came to save me. And in that, there is no condemnation.

Satan knows us all very well. And he'll use what he knows to lure us away from God. I may get caught off guard and slip and fall every now and then, but with God's help I stand back up, brush the dust off, and move forward in my walk with Him...replacing those condemning thoughts with the Truth.

In my devotion, I mentioned a "God Moment" I had once when I was feeling condemned and God showed up in my morning devotion. I'd love to hear your God Moments if you'd like to share. Or if you have any thoughts on what you do to stand strong when you feel defeated. Or just anything you'd like to share at all. I read every comment posted and I love to hear about your stories too.

Thanks for reading my thoughts today. This is the day the Lord has made. Let's all rejoice and be glad in it!

Happy Monday,

Melissa
****Hey for those of you who have been praying for my mom...she has an appointment with a surgeon today. We think we know what he will recommend and the surgery needed to remove this part of her cancer could be difficult and life altering. Please pray for her. Pray for the enemy NOT to get a hold of her mind and that she is reminded often that the Lord will take care of her. I'm spending the night with her tonight. Thanks Y'all!

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
I, too, struggle with self-condemnation, calling myself stupid, and all sorts of bad things. It was so wonderful to read your devotion today. It spoke directly to my heart. I have been talking to my kids and my students lately about being thankful for the sacrifice Christ made for us, and how He didn't come so that we could be in a bad mood over little things, but so that we could have victory over those things. So it was a big "God moment" when I read what you said about Christ not coming so that you could be blue and weepy. He wants us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and those self-condemning thoughts are certainly of the enemy, and need to be overcome by the Holy Spirit! Thank you for sharing; it is so easy to think that I am the only one struggling with this!

DOakley said...

Thank you so much for this devotional, Melissa! It's amazing how devotions seem to go right to the heart of whatever is bothering me.

I sometimes berate myself for not reading my devotions every night, but when I picked up my little book next it was on a topic that my husband and I had just argued about.

Your devotional came at a time where I had just done that very thing--berated myself out of the stress I was feeling at the moment--so I really needed the reminder.

This week's issue was money. I'm a work-at-home mom and trying to remind hubby that we need to get used to a lesser income than what I had. Well the Lord provided a nice income tax return, a new editing client with a large project, and there's more good news coming this week from the gentleman who runs a website optimization business for which I write website content. The news of the new client came at the end of a very self-deprecating day. It's like God knew exactly what I needed to cheer me up.

Thanks, again, Melissa.

Joy in The Truth said...

Hey, Girl....
Just an "I love you" and a jump-over-the-counter hug to you! Love you so much! Thanks for this devotion today. Very timely for moi! :)

I loved that "Jesus Calling" devotion that day, too. Oh so good!

Your mom is gorgeous. I just checked out the CaringBridge site. She's a beauty...just like her daughter. Praying for her, Bud and ALL of you!

Bask in the warmth of His presence today.

Love, hugs and prayers,
Sharon

Angie said...

Walking close to God is not somewhere I have been in a long time. Satan used "self-condemnation" on me because of a past sin. I allowed him to plant seeds in my soul that grew into a huge orchard. A Satan orchard that would not allow anything from God to grow.

I have taken a different path with my life now and can totally relate to you when you talk about Satan working harder on us when we are closer to God.

I have finally taken the Hand that has reached for me for so long and together we are pruning my big ole Satan orchard.

This is a new journey for me, very new. You have encouraged and influenced me more times than you know.

Thank you for another dose of encouraegment today.

Cheri Bunch said...

Melissa,

Do you think everyone struggles with this one? I am beginning to think so! Some to a bigger degree than others, I suppose, but I think everyone struggles with it some! And I have struggles with it alot!!!!!

Lately I have had a really hard time with it! I have felt really alone. My thoughts have led to the very self-defeating self-talk that you wrote about. Don't you just hate the enemy!!!

But I have been blessed with some God moments here and there and they seem even more special when the enemy is working so hard to defeat me!

There is a God moment that I wrote about on my blog called Cool of the Day. Would love to share it with you. It is a bit long to post here. Check it out if you have time. Hope it will bless.

I was thinking about your mom, Melissa. I have never been as close to my mom. I appreciate the relationship that you have with your mom. I have tried to be close, but maybe not hard enough.

What a blessing to have such a special relationship. I pray for good news for you and yours today!

Blessings,
Cheri
cheribunch.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for bringing this up today. The timing was perfect.

Julie said...

Melissa,

Once again, thank you so much for your devotion this morning.

Why is it so hard for us to believe the worst in ourselves and others? I too, like many of us, struggle with feelings of self-doubt which produces much unnecessary anxiety and stress.

Little by little I am learning to stand on the promises of our Lord and Savior instead of the lies of Satan. Its hard but well worth it in the long run!

I will be praying like crazy for your mom and the rest of your family today. Remember, he will give you all the strength that you need to get through this - whether its a minute at a time, an hour at a time or a day at a time.

Much love and prayers,
julie

:)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Wendy for the encouraging words! It was definite a God send for me today. I must discipline myself more to pause before responding or reacting to situations that arise.

You and your Mom are in my prayers.

Healing Blessings!!1

Debbie - North Carolina

Jennifer said...

What a wonderful post - and devotion today. My goodness, what a stuggle I have with self-condemnation (I even alluded to it myself on my blog today)...and, yes, it seems to hit hardest after a victory! I try to remind myself that God came to not only give me new life but to give me ABUNDANT life. I'm more than born-again....I'm GLORIOUSLY born-again and I have the priviledge to live like it!! Sure - its a struggle but posts like yours are encouraging....that I'm not the only one and God wants us to have the victory. Thanks for sharing your heart.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

What a timely post. My exact thoughts most of yesterday and woke up with them again today.
Guilt that I did not go to church, guilt that I am not bailing out a family member that's in a mess, but my aiding him financially will only be another band aide. Guilt that I spent too much time on the computer yesterday....that I have not been a good enough friend and the list goes on. Thank you Lord, that everyday is a NEW BEGINNING....
Praying for your sweet Mom.

Our Stories God's Glory said...

Hi Melissa,
Well, it looks like a lot of us can relate.
I remember one day, I was heading out to mentor someone and Satan started whispering his lies in my ear about how ill-equipped I was to mentor anyone...Who did I think I was, I was a failure, a phony...and on, and on. The Lord started singing in my ears as he used the song "The Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns to assure me that I was listening to lies. If you haven't already heard this song, I strongly recommend it! I believe it will minister to you as it has to me, many times over! You are precious, fearfully and wonderfully made! Blessings,
Elise, www.OurStoriesGodsGlory.blogspot.com

Chele said...

Melissa,
I want to say how wonderful your message was on Sat when you were at the Women's Forum.. And, remember don't beat yourself up over things, because that is exactly what Satan wants you do.. Don't give him the privledge of that:-)
God Bless you in all you do..
Michele

Chef Diane said...

Melissa,

I am so glad you are going back to see your mom. I pray the appointment today went as peaceful as it could. Glad you can spend the night with her.

Exodus 14:13-14, "Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm." (NLT)
That verse just sits with me. It tells me that the Lord will fight for and rescue me. All I have to do is stay calm and stand still. I don't have to second guess him or try to give him advice on how to do it. I don't even have to wonder if I measure up to His standards. Because I know I do, I am His and nothing will ever change that. It doesn't matter if I am fat, thin, my hair falls out or turns gray. I just need to keep reminding myself of this.
I think everyone battles self-image and esteem issues. It is a billion dollar industry. The real cure for it is absolutely free.
Great devotion this morning. Give mom a hug and a prayer for me.
Love you,
Diane
I think your beautiful inside and out!

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Our weekly study of the Esther Bible study has really opened my eyes to a lot of things. For one thing, how Beth brought out the comparison of all the spotlight on beauty in Persia during Esther's life and the spotlight on beauty during the present time also.

The devotion for today in a little book our family gets in the mail was called "Spiritual Ugliness". It talked about the saying "Beauty is only skin deep" and how God looks at our heart more than he looks at the outward appearance of us. It pointed out that we never want to be guilty of looking great on the outside (whited sepulchres)and being full of sin (dead men's bones) on the inside!(Matt.23: 27)

Besides leading the Esther study on Tuesdays I am also teaching it to my ladies Sunday school class. Yesterday after church one of my ladies came up to me. She said that something had become so clear to her during our lesson yesterday morning and she wanted to share it. We had studied Esther chapter 6. When the King asked Haman what should be done for someone he wanted to honor, Haman thought to himself..."Who would the king want to honor more than ME?" I had commented about Haman’s preoccupation with himself and how we can do the same thing. AND it can go both ways....we can think too highly of ourself...OR..we can think too lowly of ourself! This was the point that the lady wanted to talk with me about. She said that it just came to her during our lesson how thinking about ourself too much can lead to pride...BUT that she had just realized that putting ourself down all the time can lead to the very same thing...pride. She said, "Either way we go in excess we are thinking of me, me, me....and that is basically what pride is....thinking about ourselves too much!" I was blown away by her revelation because I could see that it is so true. I just never thought about it before.

I do pray that your Mother will do well in the days ahead. I feel for you. I lost my mother to cancer when I was 16 and didn't have the sense in the years beforehand to try and make memories with her like you are doing.

I'm having a giveaway at my blog to celebrate my 1-year-blogging-anniversary and would love for you to stop by.

http://marilyn-nogreaterjoy.blogspot.com/2009/03/one-year-blogging-anniversary.html

God bless!
Marilyn

Jennifer said...

Melissa -

Your devotion today gave me a "God moment". I had received an email from a friend that was condemning my husband, myself and the choices I make concerning our daughter. Needless to say I was very upset. And then the thoughts came that maybe she was right and I was second guessing myself.

Later I opened my email and decided to read your devotion from this morning. I couldn't help but smile - God was sending me another "valentine" through you and your message. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and story. It was what I needed :-)

Blessings!
Jennifer

CLee said...

Melissa,
I wanted to write and say thank you. Last night, I was talking with my husband about this very thing. I said, I know, I know, there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. When I opened my email this morning and read today's devotion, it brought tears to my eyes, as it seemed the Lord was telling me, I love you Carey. Accept my promises. I made you.

Thank you.

Renee Swope said...

Powerful devotion girl!!!

I know those women felt so loved on by Jesus through you this weekend!

God used you and your transparency to encourage so many hearts with truth and grace this weekend and today!

I needed the reminder today, too. It's so easy to fall in to that negative self-talk and not even realize it until I feel down. Why are we so hard on ourselves? If only we could be as gracious to ourselves as Jesus is!

Thanks for all that you do sweet thing. Praying for you and your Mom and Bud and your whole family!

Hugs,
Renee

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
I just wanted to say thank you for your inspiring words today. I passed them onto my prayer group as well. I too, just need to "pause" and let God work in my life. Too often, I feel like I don't let God take hold. I need to let go, and your words today, helped me to see that. Thank you and I pray for your mother as well.

Pamela (His maidservant) said...

Oh my gosh Melissa. Your devotion was a God moment. I skipped over it in my e-amils earlier today because I was too busy. Then later, very hurtful words were thrown on me and my past. I just wanted to crawn in some mud and hide, run away, give up. Then tonight, as my patients sleep I was doubling back on my e-mails and here was the P31 devotion from you...No Condemnation. My heart still hurts. Maybe I deserve this but it is not who I am in Christ. I refuse to take my focus off of Him.

Peace amidst the pain. No Condemnation.

Tearfully and again broken I thank you.

In His Graces~Pamela

Amy Carroll said...

Melissa,
This speaking thing is such a blessing AND such a battle. It's funny that I'm experiencing the battle more afterwards, too. It used to come before in the prep time. Interesting...

I'm keeping up with you and your mom on the Caring Bridge. The two of you stay in my prayers.

Love you,
Amy