Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Category: Jesus (page 2 of 3)

The Truth About Shame

I have a confession to make. I am twenty-three years old, and am just learning how to drive. It’s a huge victory in my battle with a chronic illness that prevented me from driving. But it’s also a struggle.

Learning to drive isn’t easy–at least not for me (and not for the poor souls who help me practice). And to be honest, it makes me anxious. Though I am getting better with every lesson, I still feel a terrible, self-defeating feeling that shrouds me in darkness.

I’m talking about shame.

The Poison of Shame

Merriam-Webster defines shame as “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.” This feeling, lovely reader, is the weapon the devil uses to try and condemn us.

It’s normal and healthy to feel guilty when one does something wrong.  Guilt can lead us to repentance, which then sets us free. It’s also normal to feel insecure, which again, can also be freeing when we learn to seek our worth in Christ.

But what about that feeling of condemnation, no matter how many times you repent? What about that feeling of not being good enough, no matter how hard you try?

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14 NIV)

Shame is a poison that seeps into our lives even when we are born again in Christ. We have to remember that we are dead to sin, and that Christ nailed all condemnation to the cross. It’s not our sin that makes us feel condemned, but the shame that the enemy uses to make us believe we are separated from God.

The Power of the Cross

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)

As a Christian, I have heard the story of the cross countless times. But what really makes me understand Christ’s sacrifice is watching a movie or reenactment of the crucifixion. Then I can clearly see the shame Jesus bore while he was mocked, stripped, and beaten–all alone.

And guess what? He did it for me, and He did it for you! Our God chose to take on human form in order to understand the temptations we face and the struggles we battle. Though Jesus knew no sin, He did know our shame. And He took it upon Himself in order to free us and bring us eternal joy.

Freedom from Shame

‘“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.’ (Isaiah 54:4 NIV)

We all make mistakes. We all have our weaknesses and failures.  And we all sin–no matter how hard we try not to. It’s part of the human condition. The good news is that we can always run to Jesus for forgiveness and freedom.

shame is a lie

I know that I’m not perfect, and that learning to drive, like all things, takes patience. Although at times I may fail, I know that God always brings good out of the bad.

Jesus is the fresh start from our past mistakes. He is our joy and strength, despite our human weakness. Jesus is our freedom from sin and the shame that binds us. 

The truth about shame is that it’s a lie. A lie meant to steal, kill, and destroy God’s precious children. But we have access to the only antidote on earth–the powerful and freeing truth of the love of Jesus.


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Abundant Life

I’m just gonna’ say it. I feel like all I ever do is write posts for those times when life is overwhelming or falling apart. You know, the hard times.

I’m an encouraging person, so writing posts that lift others up during their life battles is something that I love to do. I know God has used hard times to draw me closer to Him so that I could watch Him be glorified. I also hope the same can be said for you, lovely reader.

But what about life’s good moments? Moments when new opportunities are on the horizon, or when accomplishments have been made. Moments when prayers are answered or when relationships are going well.

Seems great, right? A season of joy should make us feel nothing but grateful…but what if it doesn’t? 

I’m the kind of person who can get anxious for no reason at all. I like to be in control of things in order to feel secure.

But where does this leave room for God?

This kind of anxious thinking and desire for control, even in good times, is a sign that we lack trust in Jesus. I say we, because I know I’m not alone. Sometimes blessings can terrify us because we are afraid to lose them. 

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 NKJV)

Read this verse again. Our enemy is not our circumstances–whether good or bad–and it’s not God. Our enemy is the thief–the devil. Instead of enjoying life and praising God for our blessings, the devil wants to steal our joy and destroy our trust.

He wants to kill our faith.

We have to remember that God sees the whole picture of our lives. His knowledge is not limited like ours. Even when things go bad or if life doesn’t make sense, God can still work all things for our good.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31 NKJV)

Sometimes I can’t believe this–that God is always for me! He wants to see His children enjoy life and live it to the fullest. The thief may come to destroy and steal from us, but Jesus came to give us abundant life.

We cannot see into the future, and we cannot control every outcome of our lives. I think that the best way to overcome this fear is to just let go and seek God like never before.

Lovely readers, don’t stop stepping out in faith when it comes to trying new things. Don’t shut yourself off from the fountain of life and joy that is in Jesus. Sometimes life’s greatest moments can teach us one of the greatest lessons of all.

They teach us to surrender. 


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When You Feel Far From God

When I was a sophomore in high school, I got into a huge fight with my best childhood friend. We didn’t speak for a month, but one day, near the end of the school year, I broke down and sent her a text asking her to meet me by “the wall.”

I stood alone at our usual social spot, biting my nails and trying to think of something to say–maybe even to make her feel bad. However, I couldn’t even remember what our fight had really been about.

When I saw her walking toward me, something in my heart melted. This was my friend–my sister. I dropped my bag and went running to meet her,  as she did me. We embraced then, crying and laughing as forgiveness overflowed between us.

When I think about this incredible moment and life lesson, I am reminded that this is what God is all about. Sometimes we have seasons in our lives when we feel far from God. Maybe we’ve screwed things up or went through a hard time emotionally. Whatever the cause, these seasons leave us feeling dead spiritually.

Maybe this is you right now, lovely reader. Maybe you feel distant from God, or maybe you’ve never known Him because you think there’s no way you could ever be loved or forgiven by Him. Don’t worry, you’re in good company. I’ve been there too, and so have many others.

In Luke 15:11-32, the Bible tells us the story of the lost son, which is used as a beautiful metaphor of a child who has wandered away from God.

After the son in this story ran off with his dad’s money and basically spent it all on partying, a realization dawned on his heart.

 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. (Luke 15:14 NIV)

…and he began to be in need. 

Are you in need, lovely reader? Have you done all that you can by your own strength, or sought after the approval of those around you? Are you still coming up empty inside?

So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:20-24 NIV)

…But while he was still a long way off…

When I saw my friend in the hall that day, I didn’t wait until she met me at the wall. Instead I took off running to meet her, love driving my feet toward her.

It may feel like you have a long way to go in order to be right with God, but that’s not the truth. Jesus paid it all for your sins on the cross (John 3:16) to get you back.

The only thing you need to do to have a relationship with Jesus is repent (apologize and turn away from your sins) and believe in His death and resurrection (Romans 10:9). If you take the first steps and open your heart, God will meet you with a feast of love and joy. It’s what He wants the most.

So what are you waiting for, lovely reader? Drop your baggage and start running toward Jesus. No matter how lost you feel right now, He will make sure you are found. 

He will lead you home. 


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The God of Messy People

I felt like I was watching a reality TV show unfold right before my very eyes. I found myself glued to the window as a young woman was handcuffed and patted down right on my very street.

I live near a busy road and have seen many police stops. But never in my life have I witnessed someone being arrested–until now. It was kind of addicting, watching this woman being hauled off to jail. I felt awful, but I couldn’t pry my eyes away. I have no idea what she’d done, and it really wasn’t any of my business.

So why couldn’t I stop watching?

Eventually I went on with the rest of my day as usual. And that’s when God reminded me of something.

With Easter weekend just fading off of the calendar, images of the cross and Jesus’ death and resurrection are still fresh in many of our minds. However, I think that a lot of us tend to forget that our Lord and Savior died the death of a lowly criminal.

And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. (Matthew 27:28-31 NKJV

Jesus was bruised, mocked, and beaten. He was stripped and humiliated. He was hung on the cross between two criminals.

Jesus took my place.

Jesus took your place.

Jesus took the place of the woman I’d seen being arrested.

Our God chose to die a lowly criminal’s death so we don’t have to. Even though we all mess up and sin, our eternity with God is secure if we believe in Jesus (Romans 10:9).

Watching that woman being arrested is a lot like the drama in our culture that most of us tend to feed off of. Things like reality TV, tabloids, and celebrity gossip. Can I get an amen, lovely reader?

As I started to ponder all of this, I wondered how I would have felt if I were in that woman’s place. Of course, I don’t know what she did, and I am thankful for our justice system for keeping us safe. But I wondered how humiliating it must have been for even a guilty person to be arrested in broad daylight in the middle of a quiet suburb.

And then I wondered how awful it must have been for our sinless and perfect Jesus to go through some of the roughest torture a prisoner could go through. I’m telling you, experiencing God’s selfless love will change your perspective on humanity. 

Though I am far from perfect, I am gratefully covered by God’s grace and freedom. And I want to extend this grace to all human beings, and sometimes this means putting my lust for entertainment aside in order to give a person going through a rough time their dignity.

We all tend to go about our lives, unaware or unsympathetic toward those who are lost and broken. But Jesus is always in the midst of these messy people, calling them His beloved children. And you know what? I’m so thankful God gets into the middle of my messy life to call me His daughter.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV)


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Friends With Benefits, Jesus, and Love

I was in in the middle of eating lunch and thumbing through my friends’ Snap Chat stories when an article from Cosmopolitan about how to pull off having friends with benefits caught my eye. What I didn’t know is that God was going to use this article to remind me of what love really is all about.

At first, my hope was that this article was only click bait sarcasm on why being friends with benefits is a terrible idea.

And of course, I was wrong.

So wrong in fact, that the article actually had some celebrity psychologist spewing advice on how to have casual sex with a friend and not get hurt–or fall in love. The irony is that the author kept warning about the risks and pain that often come from these causal relationships.

Listen lovely reader, if you’ve ever been in a friends with benefits relationship or know someone who has, I’m not trying to point a judgmental finger. I get it. I may never have been in this kind of a “relationship” before, but I know what it’s like to use someone (even if unintentionally) for the sake of your own benefit.

Because that’s what being friends with benefits is. It’s using someone–a guy or girl who’s a friend–for pleasure without the sacrificial commitment of a relationship.

I see this a lot in all kinds of relationships–whether it be family, friends, or romantic relationships. We, as sinful human beings, would rather gain a reward and minimize our risks of getting hurt. We date people for years and even move in with them–as long as we don’t have to commit ourselves for life.

Only that’s not the way we were designed, and that’s exactly why we keep getting hurt. Using people isn’t respectful or kind–and it certainly isn’t love, which is the force God wants to encompass our lives.

So what is love?

 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13 NIV)

True love means sacrifice. Jesus didn’t just walk around Earth saying that He loved us. He proved it.

He showed us by touching a man with leprosy, who was shunned by the community (Luke 5:12-13).

He showed us by kneeling down like a servant to wash His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17).

Jesus’ ultimate act of love was laying His life down on the cross for sinners–for you and me–so we could have an eternal relationship with God.

True love isn’t about what you can get, it’s about what you can give. It’s an action, not a feeling. It’s the power that can truly make a difference in someone’s life. True love is living less like the world around us and becoming more like Jesus.

We don’t need to fill the aching desires of our hearts with empty casual relationships. We need to fill our hearts with the compassionate love of God, which is a love that never fails–even when we do.

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18 NIV)


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