beloved: when guilt and shame make it hard to receive God’s love

Do you believe you are lovable, beloved even? It’s not easy to trust when you’ve had love distorted for you in the past. God’s word calls us His Beloved, His cherished sons and daughters, but it’s a concept many of us still struggle with, no matter how long we have walked with Him.

I came to faith in Christ over 40 years ago and shame still creeps in, causing me to hide away and cringe. Sin doesn’t leave us alone. It crouches at the door of our heart, seeking admittance, attacking where we are weak and vulnerable.

My background set me up for falsely assuming guilt I didn’t deserve, because my child-heart, body and mind were wrongly taken advantage of. Guilt and shame continue to trip me up sometimes, trying to persuade me I am out of the reach of God’s forgiveness and love.

But that’s not true at all. That’s not how God sees you or me. You and I have infinite worth and value in His eyes. We matter. We are God‘s Beloved, given a new identity through faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ.

you and I have infinite worth and value in God's eyes #beingthebeloved #hope #encouragement Click To Tweet

Satan suggests we’re not enough, spitefully points out our imperfections. God gently holds us close, understands our weaknesses and knows we are works-in-progress by His grace.

The prayer below was birthed in a broken place. It is for all who need a fresh reminder of how cherished and valued they are in God’s sight. I pray it will encourage your heart today.

I’m not the wise woman of faith that others might think I am, or I desire to be. I am still a work in progress in so many ways. You alone know the hidden reality, the truth of my wayward heart, where all my flaws and failings are. Those places where I am too broken to be fixed, except by yourself.

beloved - prayer - You alone know the hidden reality, the truth of my wayward heart, where all my flaws and failings are quote (C)joylenton

Yet in the knowing you do not despise or turn away. You come closer still. You tenderly cup my wounds and broken places, hold onto the tears where life has ripped me apart. Yours are eyes of deepest compassion and love. There is no condemnation here.

God knows the places where we are too broken to be fixed except by him #broken #beingthebeloved #wordsofjoy Click To Tweet

Where I might anticipate or expect a ticking off for not measuring up, not having what it takes to shine for you and make a positive mark for the Kingdom of God, I instead receive mercy, forgiveness and grace. I receive hope to begin again where I have failed.

Your arms are open wide to receive your beloved prodigal daughter, who now runs to your side with sheer relief and joy. How small I feel and yet so large in your sight, as you dress me in a robe of righteousness, provide a seat within your house, remind me that I am an adopted sibling to Jesus and made complete in him.

I love that you truly see inside our sinful souls with all their baggage, detritus and mess, and still you welcome all who heed your call to come, return and be comforted by your love, when we deserve nothing but rejection instead.

How my heart leaps when dejection has muffled your voice and yet you find a way to penetrate the fog of isolation and pain. You eagerly run after your sons and daughters, longing above all for our hearts, for us to turn to you in everything we’re going through.

And so I come, weak woman and wounded soldier that I am. I come not only because I can but because your love draws me close like a golden thread. There are times when I am barely holding on by my fingertips, and then I see the rope of Hope is still holding me, reminding me that change for the better exists.

Thank you, Lord, for loving us so much. Thank you for always being here for us. Thank you for reminding all who are feeling inadequate, shamed, lost and alone that you value them above all things and are always holding them close.

8 thoughts on “beloved: when guilt and shame make it hard to receive God’s love”

  1. Thank you for your precious words today, Joy. I know they will encourage those who visit- just as they have me in God’s perfect and beautiful timing. We are so blessed to have you join our team and grow our hearts – both the Team at Beloved Prodigal and our readers – through the Presence of Christ in you.

    1. Dear Anna, thank you for your kindness and patience while I prayerfully wrestled with just when (or if) I should be joining the Beloved Prodigal team. You saw it long before I did but I’m so glad I eventually caught up with what God had already laid on your heart! It’s a great pleasure and an honour to join your blogging team community and be sharing my words with your readers. I hope and pray they will be blessed by this post and others still to come. Love and hugs! xo 💜

      1. All in His perfect timing. I am glad you took the time to pray and seek HIS leading. He guides us gently and patiently – something I am so very thankful for in my own life. Hugs from across the pond today.

        1. Amen, Anna, so it is! I’m also thankful for the way God guides us gently and patiently. Though God is never late, He is rarely in a hurry. His seeming slowness at times reminds us to stay faithful, be patient while we wait, dig deeper in prayer and spend quality time resting in Him above all things. xo <3

  2. Dear Joy,
    I am so thankful that God brought such beautiful connections together, and has overflowed the words from your heart with all of the team over at Beloved Prodigal! He always has such amazing ways to let us know the beauty that HE is drawing forth! Thank you for sharing the comfort that you have received from God with us! Love & Hugs from the other side of the world! xoxo

    1. Dear Bettie, in every sense of the word it has all been divinely orchestrated, hasn’t it?! So much that God has put in us needs encouragement to come out and be expressed. Beauty finds its way into words, community and conversation between friends, as well as being revealed in how our souls flourish and grow. It’s always a pleasure to share those things which God gifts us with, so that we can bless and encourage others in the process. Love and hugs to you too, my distant in distance but close in heart friend! xoxo

    1. Dear June, your sweet presence here is always an encouragement to me! I am grateful to have been a means of blessing you, my friend. It is a wonder how God knits us together in the womb and from cradle to grave with His attentive love, mercy and grace. xo <3

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