This morning’s school run was quite an eventful one. In the rush to get from the house to the car, I managed to slip on one of the paving slabs. It has been raining and everything is wet and slippery, so it was no surprise really that I went flying. Glasses in one direction, keys in another. And me, on my hands and knees on the cold wet stone.
The kids didn’t know whether to help or to laugh. I decided to go with laughter, gathered myself for a minute, and started to rise from the cold, wet paving slab. Minutes later we were on our way to school.
As I returned home, and started to gear myself up for another day of writing, when I realised that my palms were a little scraped. My right knee was bruised and so was that side of my derrière. I became aware of the pain. Talk about a delayed response. I didn’t even notice it, as I was rushing to get the kids to school on time.
Thinking about it, made me realise that there are often times when I have stumbled, and carried on without really noticing the damage. I’m not talking about falling on a cold, wet, slippery paving slab. I’m talking about the times when I mess up. When I don’t listen to the leading of the Spirit. Or I slip up in an old, fleshy habit.
We are invited to bring our pain before the Father, so he can restore us from the damage.
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.”
Often times the shame of stumbling will make us avoid a Father who only wants to restore us. So we carry the damage of our sins and allow it to impact our hearts. Not realising that this will affect our lives on every level. Our hearts are where the reality we experience, is generated.
We get misaligned. Mistaking our stumbles as a sign of who we truly are. We put on shame, instead of the robes of righteousness that were given to us by a forgiving, loving Father.
If we respond to our pain the right way, we will find a gift in our stumble.
How we respond after we stumble is a matter of life and death. We have to choose what we’re going to align our thoughts and words with. Will we come in agreement with our failure, or will we agree with what the Father says about us? Will we seek him out, in our pain and let him speak his tender words of love to our hearts? Even when we know we don’t deserve it.
The Father wants to restore you, not condemn you.
Isaiah 59 is an incredibly challenging chapter. God’s people had just come out of exile and they were struggling to believe in a God who would lead them into captivity by the Babylonians. Not realising that it was God himself, who raised up the Persians to destroy the Babylonian rule over them.
The Author writes:
“Truly Yahweh’s arm is not too powerless to save you nor his ear too deaf to hear. Rather, your sinful deeds have built a barrier between you and your God. Your sins have made God turn his face from you so that he does not hear your prayers.”
Isaiah 59:1-2 TPT
God’s heart was to restore his people, and bring them into freedom. He wasn’t turning a deaf ear until they cleaned up their act. He invited them to bring their messy hearts before him, so he could clean them up. But rather than confess and repent for their mistakes, they blamed God and questioned his intentions.
“For this reason, justice is far from us and righteousness doesn’t reach us. We hope for light, but sadly, there is only darkness. We wait for a bright light, but walk in darkness. We are like the blind groping along a wall, inching along in the dark like those who cannot see; we stumble around in broad daylight like it was night, like the walking dead.”
Isaiah 59:9-10 TPT
The gift of Repentance.
Repentance was never intended to get us stuck in shame. It is a simple invitation to bring our messy hearts into the light and allow the Father to bring us into wholeness and healing. But we have to make the choice to bring it before him. If we keep hiding in shame, we will never come out of the darkness.
God gave his only Son, Jesus, to be our sin-offering. Our sin has been dealt with, so why do we have to repent every time we stumble? Because it invites the King of Glory into our mess. He does not force himself in. Repentance ushers the light into ever dark room in our heart.
You see, forgiveness is a gift that is instant, but freedom, true freedom, is a process. But just like God made a way for his people to be set free from Babylonian rule, he has given us the way to freedom too:
“And this is my covenant promise with them,” says Lord Yahweh. “From now on, my Holy Spirit will rest on them and not depart from them, and my prophetic words will fill their mouths and will not depart from them, nor from their children, nor from their descendants, from now on and forever,” says Lord Yahweh.
Isaiah 59:21 TPT
The blood of Jesus has put you in right standing with God. The Holy Spirit and the Word, will lead you into freedom. Every time you stumble, they will be there to remind you who you are: You are forgiven. You are victorious. You are free.
You can turn to your Father, with your bumps and your bruises. With you tears and your messy heart. He only wants to show you who you really are.
“Rejoice not against me, O my enemy! When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light to me.”
Micah 7:8 ESV
Today, I pray that whenever we stumble, we will have the wisdom and courage to turn our hearts towards the loving gaze of the Father. May we understand his heart towards us; that he is for us, not against us. May we have the confidence that his thoughts towards us are thoughts of peace, not of evil. That he has not written us off. There is no damage that he cannot restore.
May we turn every stumble into a gift. A gift of repentance: a personal invitation for Love to enter into our mess and bring light into our dark places.
Bring your ashes.
Today, I hear the Father whisper: “Beautiful One. Your ways are ever before me. I delight in every step you take. Even when you stumble, I am there to lift you out. For you are my righteous one, holy and blameless before me. Bring your mess, your struggle and your fears. I know how to mend your broken heart. Do not allow shame to mould you. Let me shape you with my Love. A beautiful work of restoration. Don’t be discouraged in the process. You will emerge as my masterpiece. For that is who you are.” ❤