Instead of Shame
Susanne Scheppmann

"Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs." Isaiah 61:7 (NIV)

I turned and walked away from God in anger and disappointment. I tossed away the calling of ministry on my life. The Lord had hurt my feelings, so I left my faith to find a fresh path.

This happened during my twenties. With two toddlers climbing up my legs during the day and crying intermittently during the night, I was physically exhausted. Emotional turmoil began to disintegrate my marriage. My immature faith lacked the stamina to hold to God tightly. So, for seven years I wandered through sin, divorce, and miserable meanderings of my own making. It was a time of spiritual drought—the years of shame.

Although I walked away from God, He did not walk away from me. The Lord allowed me to experience life in the wilderness of doubt, but He was right there watching over me and waiting for me to return to the call of ministry placed on my life at age eighteen.

Eventually, I allowed myself to feel His presence in my life. Little by little, the Lord Jesus wooed me back to Himself. I remember the exact time and place that I felt Him whisper to my spirit, "Let's start over and do it right this time." I wept with relief and joy. I began to study the Bible and allowed it to change my damaged spiritual heart. This time it wasn't going to be head knowledge, but heart knowledge.

My faith was back on track, but I did not think my calling to ministry could ever be restored. Hadn't I traveled too far off the godly path? Surely, God didn't want me anymore in service to His Kingdom. Surely, He had more qualified daughters that could minister to others without the shame of a sullied past such as mine.

However, that is not how God thinks at all. The Bible says, "For God's gifts and his call are irrevocable (Romans 11:29, NIV). The Lord desires for us to move beyond the shame of past mistakes and into His calling for our lives. He will restore us to useful service in the Kingdom. It takes time and it is a process, but the Almighty God still has a plan for each of our lives. He intends to replace disgrace with rejoicing, so that we may show our world that we are living miracles.

Do I hear an "Amen"?

Dear Lord, thank You for having mercy on me. Display Your will for my life. Enable me to fulfill the gifts and call in my life, so that others will understand Your grace and mighty power. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Embraced by the Father: Finding Grace in the Names of God by Susanne Scheppmann

Thin Places: A Memoir by Mary E. DeMuth

Intimacy with God: Establishing a Vibrant Quiet Time and Prayer Time by Tara Furman

Visit with Susanne on her blog

Read My Daddy, a free resource from our P31 Woman magazine

Application Steps:
Consider the years of your life you feel might have been wasted. Reread and memorize Isaiah 61:7, today's key verse. Cast away your shame and look for your double portion of inheritance. Rejoice in God's mercy and grace.

Reflections:
Do I feel I have lost my chance to use my spiritual gifts?

How can I begin to use my spiritual gifts to display God's mercy in my life?

Power Verses:
Joel 2:26, "You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed." (NIV)

Psalm 36:5, "Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies." (NIV)

Romans 11:29-30, "For God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience." (NIV)

© 2010 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Kate said...

I also wandered away from God for seven years which resulted in divorce and shame but God was truly watching over me and when I returned He began to use me again out of His mercy and grace.PRAISE THE LORD

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks! I heard the call, but ignored, then wandered, and still I doubt, but not today. This hit the spot. This ministry always does. It has led me for six years. You are truly followers of Jesus and being helped by the Holy Spirit. Thanks for answering the call. I love you.

Blogger Gaylene said...

Wow. The Lord knew I needed to read this today. I, too, heard the call when I was a teenager, but because something bad happened, I turned my back for many years. I still loved the Lord but would not do His bidding. Now at 50 years of age, I am walking the path He wanted me on along time ago and now often wonder how am I going to do this. But He knows, I just need to go where He leads, to be willing to be used by Him.

Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful!

This was such a wonderful encouragement today! Thank you Susanne!

Blogger Joan Davis said...

Yes...you sure will hear an "amen" from this woman! Your post was just the encouragement I needed. I have been wrestling with not feeling worthy enough to serve Him fully, but I know it is the enemy lying to me. God can and will use even me. In fact, because of the lessons learned following the time I had closed my eyes to Him, I feel His calling on my life now more than ever. God is so faithful! I am daily praising His name!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been so angry at God for the lack of pursuit, interest, abuse from my husband. There were other men that pursude me and I allowed myself as a Child of God to have and pursue an affair with a long time friend. Shame, yes. I know I need to let go of this and go to God.

Thank you for this message and your faith.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am currently at a point where I am saying "LORD, how can you use me?", and at the same time saying "LORD you have to use me! I live solely to bring you glory" I just feel like it is not enough...I am in my mid twenties and I do not want to miss the call. It just seems so long coming and so hard to grasp. Nevertheless, I thank GOD for you words today. I was encourged to know that with God you don't really miss it, because HE is a redeemer!! Glory be to GOD and thanks to you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Call me, God. I am ready to serve.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen!Amen!Amen! Praise His Holy Name! Thank you God for taking me back and becoming the love of my life! Feel this was written just for me. Praise God for second chances and for others who mind the Lord. :)

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