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So You Have a Past

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Gwen Smith

March 14, 2017

Blog, Devotions, Forgiveness, Grace, Healing, Worth

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The New Testament begins with the book of Matthew and showcases more drama than a Hallmark movie. The book starts off with a genealogy trail that leads from Abraham to the birth of Jesus. This list of names might make you yawn, but it’s actually really important – and even exciting. (Yes. You read that right!) It’s fascinating because it gives evidence to a family line that shows Jesus was a descendent of both Abraham and King David, thus fulfilling what the Old Testament predicted about the lineage of the Messiah.

Scandal steps onto the page in verse three of Matthew chapter one when a woman’s name shows up. (Traditionally, only the names of men appeared in these family lineages.) But this wasn’t just any woman, it’s one from the shady side of the family tree … Tamar. She had a past, and any Jewish scholar worth their salt would know about it. She was used and abused by men that should’ve loved, protected, and provided for her. Once scorned, she schemed for revenge and ended up having twins to her father-in-law. One of the twins, Perez, is an ancestor to King David.

As the list goes on we see a few more eyebrow-raising names…

Rahab’s name is listed. Remember her? She was the prostitute who “turned good” when she helped Joshua and the Israelites capture Jericho. Bathsheba’s on the list too, but they don’t even mention her by name. She’s recorded this way, “David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife.” (Matthew 1:6) Nice. Archived as the woman who had an affair with King David while she was married to a soldier named Uriah.

All three of these women were known, but not necessarily for cleaned up good things. Seeing these women listed among the relatives of Jesus seems very… messy. It seems to me that historians would want to hide those names, not put them out there for everyone to see! But that’s not God’s way. He doesn’t sweep things under the rug and pretend they aren’t there.

And strangely enough, I’m encouraged by the presence of these women in the lineage of Jesus.

Why?

Because they are powerful displays of His grace.

They are proof that God does not require perfection from us in order for His will to be done through us. The apostle Paul summed it up nicely in his second letter to the church of Corinth. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

So you have a past. So did Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba. I do too. Who doesn’t?

So you have a few people in your family with rusty reputations. So do I. So did Jesus.

So you have some shame or pain regarding things that were done to you… things that were or are beyond your control. You’re not alone.

God’s mercy reaches beyond the muck and mire of our pasts to recreate us in the grace and love of Jesus. He lifts fallen heads, purifies rebellious hearts, and places slippery feet on solid ground. Nothing about having a “past” or “complicated associations” can keep you from walking out the freedom and hope of Jesus.

God always uses the broken to showcase His beauty.

Believe it.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for grace… for not holding my past against me… for declaring me a new creation in Christ. Please help me to trust you with my past and with my future.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

Read Isaiah 41:8-14. What does this passage tell you about God? Where do you sense He is leading you today? Talk to Him. Seek His help, healing, and direction. Then click over to my blog and post a prayer of response or post a prayer need.

Remember: my blog is not a monologue! It’s a dialog. I love hearing what’s on your heart and watching you love on and encourage one another in the comments.

Thanks for doing life with me!

In Christ,
GWEN

 

 

 

 

 

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About Gwen Smith


Gwen Smith

I am an unashamed, imperfect worshiper of Jesus Christ. I cling to His goodness to cover my mess and purpose my days to live out the hope of the Gospel. It is my joy and passion to inspire women to live fully in grace and truth. I write books, devotions and songs. I speak. I sing. I worship. I post, pin and tweet. I am intensely in love with the Word of God and believe, wholeheartedly, that the Bible is divinely inspired truth.

 

79 responses to “So You Have a Past”

  1. Betsy Reed says:

    Gwen,
    I am sorry to hear about your house. We had a similar event last year and were out of our house five months. I want to tell you about the blessings that came out of it for I truly believe God let it happen to give me better than I had before. What was soon going to need replacing, what was old and out dated are now new and beautiful. From Broken into Beautiful! It’s hard to keep a happy heart when these things happen, so I decided that if anyone started telling me how sorry they were for us, I would say “I think God had that storm come just for me so I could have a new roof, a freshly painted house, etc…, We are making lemonade out of lemons”. Truly I believe He will give you better than you had before. I am sure with your faith you believe that too. So this is my encourage meant to you as you encouraged me when you visited Callaway Gardens in Georgia for the First Baptist Church Ladies Retreat. I asked for a hug and you gladly gave it. I wanted to return the hug!

  2. Hi Gwen,
    I had a fixation on several men in my life & it’s hard to get rid of this “sin”. I was hurt by the men because I wouldn’t stop emailing them.The Lord helped me stop and I still ask him to stop. Please pray for me and the men I fixated on. I ask God to forgive me.
    God bless
    Marion

  3. Arlette says:

    Thank you so much for gig. I’ve been reading them every morning for years. This is a tough one, as many other women have posted as well.
    I see my sin as the worst sin a woman can commit. I don’t have the excuse that I didn’t know the Lord, that I didn’t know how deeply wrong it was nor was there circumstances that made the choice impossible. I was just scared, stupid and selfish.
    I believe with all of me that He is…everything that is wonderful, bright and beautiful He is. I am so abundantly blessed in a thousand ways and I see each of them as His love. I feel and am so unworthy. I live with the consequences now as I am alone. I struggle with shame and so often feel less valuable than other people. But I cling to Him every moment. I see the beauty in His creation. I do not understand very much at all but I believe and pray for a faith so bright I might show others His mercy and astounding, amazing, unfathomable love. Believing in what I do not see and certainty of what I hope for.
    Love, prayers and downpours of blessings.

  4. Mary wallace says:

    Thank you …I would like prayer for a refresher og God in my life and also direction it seems like I have lost my zeal

  5. Karen Hughes says:

    God will hold me with HIS righteous right hand.

    Thank you for the reminder….. blessings
    Karen Hughes

  6. Aspen says:

    Thank you so much for your lessons daily …. Reconfirming Gods unconditional love

    As I struggle with my own journey … Please pray that I hear God talking to me in his way …. As child who strayed from the Lord and is rekindling that relationship … I am ever so scared that I am ignoring him or not hearing his plan my life.
    ❤️

  7. Beth Rowe says:

    Please pray for my family. We have been through 6 years of turmoil and distress. In 2010 we found out my husband has cancer and there is no cure. He lives in pain everyday, he is not working due to stress makes the cancer grow faster. I am the only on working and I drive and hour and a half to work. I am very stressed. I am praying for a job closer to home. And we need a financial miracle. I have been having health issues due to the stress. We need a miracle.

  8. Dawn says:

    Thank you Gwen for such a timely and much needed article. As always Abba knows what I need and when. I am currently in a season I want to end and the past keeps rearing its head but I know God loves me, always will and will never ever forsake me. I just have to be strong and remain in His strength and stop being afraid. I am His Daughter regardless of my messes and brokenness and I know He knows my Heart and how much I just want Him. God Bless us all as always.

  9. Paige says:

    Thank you Gwen. Any verse relating to anxiety calms my heart and mind as this is a daily and minute by minute mental struggle for me. I appreciate your words and thoughts and they provide me great comfort ans power in the word of the Lord. Thank you!

  10. Judy says:

    Gwen, so needed to read this today. It really hit the nail on the head for me. Lost husband of 49 years a year & a half ago & have been trying to find myself. Really hard to live & be alone. You are blessing.

  11. Kellie says:

    A friend named Fay shared Girlfriends in God with me a few weeks ago. Everyday at work I read Jesus is Calling and look forward to reading daily devotionals, so I started reading GIG too. Gwen’s So You Have a Past must have been written for me, to me, straight from God. One of the hardest things for me to do is to forgive myself, which makes it difficult for me to forgive the people around me. I have ridiculously high expectations for myself that I often force on to others. The past month or so I have struggled, realizing I can be rather unlikeable and downright hateful. And it is taking a toll on me. How can I live the life God wants me to if I don’t even like myself? Reading Gwen’s words on the screen and attending mass this morning are like little miracles that happened for me today. I hope that I can interpret these miracles and move forward in a more loving and peaceful way. I want to recognize God more in my life. I want the people I care about to know that I love them unconditionally. I want to be a new creation!

  12. Jehrica says:

    The WORDS “Do not be afraid,” are wtitten over and over by The Holy Spirit! The Lord Almighty, the All-Knowing, All-Present, All-Powerful One, Who created us- tells us time after time not to be afraid! He knows all and has authority over all, so the fact that He COMMANDS us, “Do not be afraid” should be a joyful comfort to our hearts! Hallelujah, Praise God! He is in control and if we let Him- He will take hold of your shaking hand….

    “14 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord , your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
    Isaiah 41:14
    http://bible.com/111/isa.41.14.NIV

    “1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in Me.” “- JESUS
    John 14:1
    http://bible.com/111/jhn.14.1.NIV

    “2 Truly He is my rock and my salvation, He is my Fortress, I will not be shaken.”
    Psalm 62:2
    http://bible.com/111/psa.62.2.NIV

    “7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
    9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?”
    Jeremiah 17:7‭-‬9
    http://bible.com/111/jer.17.7-9.NIV

  13. Jana Moore says:

    Simply stated, God said..”TRUST ME Jana.”

  14. Mae Joyce Mitchell says:

    Good Morning Susan
    This messages was on time from my fellow sister to me this am Last night me my Daughters had a heated conservation about me as a mother i raised my children i was married for 17 years and 1/2 with my high school sweetheart gotten pregnant in high school 12th grade I graduated walked with my class my appearance full.
    My Ex-husband came home and stated he did not want to be married to me had already had is divorce drawn and to remarry another woman which he did i have went through the fire My eldest daughter look at me with much resisted to me as though i was a total stranger our relationship has not been close over the years,
    and yes i have past and i wanted share this with you. because i needed it and i thank Our Heavenly father God and Isaiah 41: 8-14 Its for me personally.
    Thank you Susan for being here to spread the word
    Mae here is my personal e-mail Jyce754 @gmail.com

  15. WOW..just WOW GOD! I sent this out today on FB and different websites before I even read this Gwen! So inspiring and more personal confirmation for me! Thank you for this devotional today:)
    My first official devotional entry today…I’d so appreciate it if you’d please consider me as a guest writer on Fridays Friends! sorry this is so long

    MARCH 21, 2017

    TABLE FOR TWO PLEASE: LOOK UNDER MY FATHER’S NAME
    Amy Wallis Hood

    “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, “My grace is all you
    need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

    WHEN THE 7-LAYERED BLOOMING ONION CROWDS YOUR GARDEN: PART I

    He loves me, He loves me not, He loves me, He loves me not? God, do you still love me? Have You
    forgotten about me? Do You still hear me? Is my faith too thin, because I can’t see You in this
    weedy, stinkin’, overgrown, onion garden? Have you ever found yourself asking God similar
    questions? Then read on, my friend…

    If I showed you my personal 7-layered onion of the past, it would look something like this:

    Layer 1-guilt, Layer 2-neglected, Layer 3-insecure, Layer 4-wayward, Layer 5-lonely, Layer
    6-despair, Layer 7-broken

    Can you relate to any of these seasons or “onion layers?” I needed God’s grace and power to weed
    out my weaknesses. These layers had suffocated me over the years. Every 7 years or so I’d let the
    blooming onion crowd out what could’ve been a pretty, manicured garden, by adding another layer,
    another wall. These layers began to define me. Before long, I forgot who Amy was. I forgot who God
    made me to be. Oh, I
    kept the onion hidden, because my extroverted personality and genuine concern for others kept me
    afloat and functioning on the outside. But on the inside, that onion stinch was invading every
    aspect of my heart. There wasn’t room enough for Jesus to grow. I’d meet with Him over the years
    and share my struggles, but He had to totally break me before everlasting “heart change” took
    root. Or, the enemy was gonna have his own way with me. And that wasn’t the hymn I grew up
    singing!

    Yes, I am VERY interested in being a guest writer some time on any of your devotional websites(see devotional pdf attached please). My name is Amy Wallis Hood(posted my first devotional on my FB page today…TABLE FOR TWO PLEASE: LOOK UNDER MY FATHER’S NAME). In the past, I have posted many devotional type entry’s but today was the day to share the title(TABLE FOR TWO,…) I am working under. Blogging is on the radar but I am in the beginning stages of networking with writers and speakers, Christian leaders/businesses in surrounding communities, and praying for open doors. I have journal entries from the past 4 years where plenty of writing and speaking could originate from.
    We have been active members/teachers at First Baptist Church Trussville, AL and I am ready and waiting for my next assignment. Praying and expecting “God” things to come
    In His Love,
    Amy
    Jer. 29:11

  16. Jeannette says:

    Gwen,
    I thank God I found your page. I’ve been dealing with so much. My husband left me early this year and I’m told he’ll be filing for a divorce next month and it’s all been too much for me to deal with. I pray everyday that God would restore my marriage. I truly believe he is my soulmate. We met in church but We’ve strayed away from God over the last couple years but him leaving has brought be back to God. It’s been a battle to trust God’s plan for my life and at times I feel like such a hypocrite even asking God for help. How can I? But you helped me see that God doesn’t see me as ugly he sees me as His child and knows my heart.

    Thank you so much for your insperational words. I pray God continue to use you for lost and confused souls like me. Thank you.

    Jeannette

  17. Barbara says:

    This is an area where I sometimes struggle. Because of my past wrongs that led me to divorce and my praying for reconciliation, but meeting the rejection of my ex who remains in contact with me but does not want to put himself in that situation again.

    When I experience that earthly rejection, sometimes it overcomes me more than the grace I know God had given me and the joy I experience daily knowing I am saved and blessed to no longer be living the way I was.

    I wish my ex could know my heart. I wish I had the opportunity to show him I’m not who I was. And I wish I didn’t let discouragement surrounding that situation get me so down…I pray these things.

    I’m so thankful for devotionals like this one, friends who share them with me and all of the blessings God has been pouring out in my life…the greatest of those being softening my heart Day-by-day and making me more dependent and longing for him.

  18. Tina says:

    Thank you for this devotion. I had surgery early Feb 1 and have grown so much closer to God. Today’s devotion was a much needed reminder that God uses the token to showcase his beauty. Thank you for your time spent helping others.

  19. Tracey says:

    I’m need pray for my sons to find jobs and bless them to be saved and I’m praying for restoration in my life .asking to help me in my business and ask God to help me in my walk with them.

  20. Alicia says:

    Oh Gwen I’m a hot mess! I just need prayer our condo past inspection yesterday and when they come and see what it’s worth it’s worth more than what they thought thank you. Prayers for my mom she’s having a lot of issues with her health. Thank you

  21. Erica says:

    Gwen I thank God for giving you the gift of sharing his words with unperfect people like me, I have a past too very painful infact, but this scripture gives me the hope and lifts my spirit to know God see be on the brokenness and knows there is a good heart ready to serve Him. I thank you for your time to teach me that I am not alone and never was even in my darkest hours God was with me and lifted me and guided me through every bad situation I was ever in. Pray for me to keep me strong and focus on His word. This life has so many distraction from the evil one God help me to keep strong and always in your presence Lord Amen!

  22. Sharon says:

    Thank you Gwen for the words of encouragement today. God just knows what you need at the right time. He is Awesome! He is enough.

  23. Joanne says:

    Gwen,

    I am sure that your writing and the timing of posting – I get your daily devotional in my e-mail – is not by accident! I have been working on writing my story, perhaps just for myself, and perhaps for others who might need to understand things that are true behind the scenes. Like the women God brought into the ancestry of Jesus, what a change in our thoughts of these amazing women we read of in the Old Testament! To see them in the place as God sees them – beyond the “historical” pasts that we might have only seen – well it changes everything about those dark and sordid stories, doesn’t it? That would be the reason for my writing, which will hopefully add, as a rainbow over my past – “But God…” Thanks for your timely encouragement!

  24. Kim says:

    All I can say is this message came at a perfect time for me. You were truly inspired by God. Thank you!

  25. Nancy Bryant Huff says:

    God says ” I AM is holding on to you. Don’t be afraid. ” God tells me “I got you”.
    Good thing. My grip is too weak.

  26. Christy says:

    Thank you so much for your blog it is an amazing way to stsrt my mornings. When i read Isaiah 41:8-14 it gives me a scene of peace to know that Jesuse is with use no matter our situation or what we might be going through. It assures us to not fear for he is there to help us. Thsnk you again.

  27. Ruthie says:

    Thank you for these beautiful words of encouragement. God still loves us beyond and through the muck and mire of our lives! Praise God for a fresh start! Thank you Jesus for your grace, mercy and unfailing love!

  28. Terral Williams says:

    This came right on time! My best friend shared this with me today as we were just talking about this very same topic yesterday. God works in mysterious way!!! This was so heart felt…..Thank you for today’s inspirational message!

  29. Camille says:

    Hello
    I’m So thankful for the devotionals you post. They speak to my heart daily. It’s been a very difficult journey through repeated rejection, so it’s very comforting to find comfort somewhere in this journey.
    Thank you so much!

  30. Miranda says:

    Your posts are always so inspiring. I’m always so amazed at how well they fit into whatever is going on in my life at the moment!
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me, everyday. It really does do wonders for my heart.

    Dear God,

    Please help me to remember what I read in Isaiah today, that I shall not fear because you are my God and you are with me. I strive to know your peace, Lord. Allow me to place all my worries in your hands, Father, just as you have told me to do. I long to trust you more, I long to trust you in the way that I know I should, Lord. I know that with you by my side, I don’t have to feel so afraid all the time! Lord, help me remember that- especially today, as I bring my baby into the doctor for her follow up appointment. Lord, I pray with all my heart for her health- and with all my heart that I can conquer the anxiety that sets in whenever I have to take her in. God, help me ignore the whispers of the enemy, who is constantly trying to keep me afraid and whispers terrifying thoughts. I pray to stay focused on you, so that your voice is the only I hear. Thank you, God for letting me lay all my worries at your feet.

    Amen.

    Please, if everyone could pray for my daughter, Siefer, it would be so appreciated. Thank you so much.

  31. Dolita Mcfadden says:

    Hi Gwen, I thank my Lord and Saviour for giving you the spirit to encourage us all.My past is shady beyond shady.. Yesterday morning I woke up with the WHY but as I prayed the Holy Spirit sid to me hold on th God unchanging hands..He is my Go.He has done and still doin great works in me..I love to Praise and Worship God..This past two Sundays at my church Ive opened up Praise and Worship alone..I never thought this would be me but Ive always love to sing for God.Thats where i find peace with hin amongst other times..My past is rough but reading this has encouraged me I too am ..Keep me and family in prayer I need a job was let go because of my past..Thank u

  32. Gail Stoltzfoos says:

    This “new” person is a heart patient and I’ve struggled since December with illness: virus, a cold, etc. I am asking for prayer please to help me regain my health. I am asking for prayer for our National Day of Prayer Community Prayer Breakfast (held on May 4) because my illness keeps me from the tasks and chores I need to be accomplishing. I am asking for prayer so I can get back to the gym & exercising, as I should, for my health’s sake. I know the inner woman has been renewed and I rejoice in that truth and blessing. But, right now, the outer woman has too much illness on her plate and she desperately needs some relief. Thank you. Blessings.

  33. Deby says:

    God is the one who saves me. In the midst of financial challenges, He is the one who saves me. Through Him I am victorious. As I step on in faith by returning to school to work on my master’s degree, He is the one that will provide the finances for me to pay for this. Thank you, Heavenly Father

  34. Lee says:

    I have done many wrong things in my long life and have hurt many people. Sometimes I feel as if I am being punished now for these things. Everything was always rather easy in my life. Then everything happened in a relatively short time – I lost my Father and Mother. Then my bipolar brother became manipulative and verbally abusive. Then the Lord took my beloved husband unexpectedly and I went into a yearlong “black hole” of grief. Then my son became addicted to drugs (there had been problems for years but not to this extent) and after “helping” him for a year to the tune of $25,000, I finally realized all his excuses were lies, I stopped being his bank. So I haven’t heard frim my son in a year. My brother has “disowned” me through Facebook. I am holding on by a thread. I know God loves me but sometimes, if I think about everything, I don’t know how to cope. My heart is heavy.

  35. Eloisa says:

    Thanks Jesús for your mercy and grace even though I do have a passed you are my present, my protector, who is with me all the time. I worship Your name. Jesús has change my name from nobody to his daughter, to his princess, God everything is yours even my worship. You are God almighty!

  36. Edith Robillard says:

    My past is not really a bad past, I was raised as a Christian, thank you Lord for my parents, I am 71 and the lord has been so good to me. I have had my ups and downs like everyone else. I am here to ask for special prayer for my grandson Daniel. He is 15, need I say more? He knows everything and has a smart mouth to his mom. He was raised as a Christian also, but I have a feeling the pear pressure is getting to him. His grandfather died when he was 8, they were best friends and I don’t think he has really gotten over it. He has so much bitterness inside of him. Please pray that our Loving God will take the bitterness out and he can once again be our little man. I love this child so much, I don’t want to loose him. Thank you. I enjoy your GIG devotional every day.

  37. kay kielbowick says:

    Hi, I want to thank you for these messages. I have so much trouble being able to read the bible,it seems to just go over my head and I can’t retain much of what I read….these I can read and re-read and understand….Thanks so very much…I ask please if you could keep my daughter(mentally challenged) in your prayers. My husband and I have to make a big decision of moving her to another group home…I am struggling bad with this move….I have ask God to show me the way ,but I feel the more help in prayers I will know God’s answer….again thank you for the beautiful work you do….

  38. Belinda Hubbard says:

    Thank God for this devotional. I needed this today I have been through so much in my past that I had begin to feel like a failure just totally drained. But I realize God holds me in His righteous right hand to sustain me and refresh me in my dry season. Pray for me that the refreshing water of His Holy Spirit restore the joy of my salvation

  39. Joyce says:

    Love this verse! I too have been struggling to accept my new self after having surgery in December. It has changed me so much! Thank you for this reminder. Praise God in Jesus name Amen!

  40. LaQuita says:

    Hi

    Thank-you for your devotionals, I read them every morning, and send them to my sister and friends. I love the work your are doing, and you inspire me to live for Christ. Please pray that He continues to renew my spirit as I strive to please Him.

    LaQuita

    • Gail Stoltzfoos says:

      Good morning! I share the devotionals as well with my girlfriends in God. Isn’t that a delightfully wonderful way to begin the day? Blessings.

  41. judy.bateman@sbcglobal.com says:

    I read your book. It is awesome and inspiring. Thanks for the inspiring words and encouragement. I call it a blessing sent from God.

  42. Missee says:

    Wow! What a great message today. We all have a past and with God’s grace and love we can let it go. I’m currently working through a separation and inevitable divorce from my husband of 7 years and best friend of 13 years. He decided he doesn’t love me like a husband should love his wife and had an affair. He continues to see this woman. It breaks my heart. I ask God for strength and courage to heal my heart and lead me where I’m to go. As long as God is by my side I will get through this a stronger and better person.

    God bless all of you! He loves us even when we don’t love ourselves.

    Love and hugs!

  43. Connie says:

    Thank you Gwen. And thank you Lord for letting me find this blog. I am trying to get through a divorce from a man I thought I knew. Deep down underneath his shallow skin, I see the person God meant him to be, so it is difficult to let go of my love for him, even though he has continuously been unfaithful. God showed ne that I needed to let him go. So I have, but the grief is overwhelming. As we all know, the love and committment doesn’t go away with a piece of paper. God, now that you’ve shown me what was going on in my marriage, please show me the way to a life filled with joy. Thank you so much, Gwen, I am broken, 68, and just want this all consuming feeling of “I don’t know who I am, or where to go” burden to be lifted. Amen.

    • Joanne says:

      Dear Connie,

      I could have written what you just did. “I see the person God meant him to be” is so haunting! Thanks for sharing this part of you heart. I don’t know what to do with that issue in my life either, especially when our Soul Enemy adds – “it’s all your fault!…” And, BTW, I was 68 when I divorced. I know this – our pain is our own, but you are not alone in what you feel. Sometimes I just have to ask God to remind me of the “why” of my need to divorce my husband. It is so important, not in order to dwell on his sinfulness, but our image of the person God meant him to be can be “crazy-making.” So skewed by sin! Every day, I have to say – “Let go, Joanne. Just let go” – and God picks up that burden for me. He will for you, too! And – your Daddy God knows who you are, and where you are going!

  44. Melody says:

    I feel that God is leading me to facilitate a book study for the women of my church. I’m going to use your book, I Want It All as our first study. I thank you for the materials you’ve provided to support the book. I am so anxious to get started after the lenton season. I hope to reach more young women in need and am prayerfully considering how to find and encourage them to join me in learning and faith. Your devotionals always speak to me heart – Thank you!

  45. I know that my past I have done wrong, but I also believe that with prayer that the other person needs forgiven and prayed for. Sometimes I feel that GOD lets us do some things to help that other person to come to GOD and so even when we do not get things right that GOD will bless us and the other person to have them truly learn of what GOD is in LOVE and HE wants us all to have a relationship with HIM so pray that i will always listen to GOD and do what HE wants me to do and to pray GOD has to be the rail we rely on at all times thank you

  46. Anita Brown says:

    I thank God for defending me loving me through All my issues

  47. Shameful says:

    I was saved at age 11. So, how could I have done what I did???? I cheated on my first husband, divorced him, then proceeded to have an affair with a married man and lived in a very promiscuous way for several years. God gave me another chance – I remarried, and we have wonderful children and grandchildren. However, I cannot forgive myself for what I did in my younger days. I wonder if every tribulation that my children endure is a result of MY sin. I doubt my initial salvation, although it was a very real experience.
    Thank you for your encouraging words. I guess, even at my age, I’m a work in progress.

    • Joanne Schneider says:

      My dear sister – my “Jesus’ sister” –

      My heart grieved when I saw the name you gave yourself – “Shameful.” Did you see that attached to any of the women’s names in Matthew’s list? NO! Instead, I could just imagine God’s joy as he placed those names in his Ancestry. “look at this jewel! – Tamar! And her – Rahab! And you, Bathsheba! Your stories as told in your day would label you “shameful,” but when I think of you, I am dazzled by your beauty, the beauty that came to you because I love you!” You, too, sister, are one of God’s precious jewels, beautiful, priceless.
      I know about shame. In fact, I continue to struggle with it. Raised in a Christian home by a very angry father, who I believe I will see again in heaven, molested by my brothers, married and divorced twice. Constantly being challenged by – “if only you could have been perfect…” This devotional was written just for me as well as for so many of my sisters in Jesus. I would like to see the new name you give yourself!

      • Shameful says:

        Thank you so much for caring. Your message meant so much to me, and it took 10 minutes for me to stop crying. New name: Forgiven. Much love & blessings to you, Joanne.

        • Joanne says:

          Yes – Forgiven! That is who you are, what you are, my dear sister! I love you, even though I don’t yet know you! And when that sly enemy of your soul slinks around whispering “shameful!!!” you just remind him that NO! You are forgiven! And made whole, and perfect in Jesus.

  48. Paula says:

    Thank you Lord for choosing us in spite of us. May you continually seek your guidance, strength, direction as chosen vessels.
    Amen

  49. LaTasha says:

    Hello Gwen! My name is LaTasha, I’m from Michigan but resides in Indiana. I thank you for this message. I’ve been struggling to let go of past hurt, pain and rejection from my father leaving my life at an early age. I love my dad and in getting closer to Jesus I notice that I still have a seed of anger and bitterness and rejection that I am trying to overcome by the strength of Christ. Also the same feelings but towards my daughters father. I think knowing the pain of my dad’s absence is a source of my anger and bitterness towards her father as well. I’m praying daily and I will overcome. Will you please pray with me. Thank you in advance.

  50. Nicole says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am just beginning by journey with Christ and feel his spirit growing within me daily. Your kind words fill me with hope and help me to see my past mistakes as stepping stones to a more glorious future!

  51. KD says:

    Why is Jacob called a worm?…
    I know he was a weasel, a rascally heel grabber.

  52. Dehyeatee says:

    Thank you Gwen, for bringing out God’s word today more clearly.

    I believe that I am a new creation and I also believe that God is faithful to His words and even His words in Isaiah 41:8-16.

  53. Pam says:

    This post has really encouraged me. I’ve been living in shame and condemnation from my past sins. I have done things before my salvation that I am truly ashamed of and I am trying to trust God with them and let them go. I have repented and asked for forgiveness over and over again and It seems like everytime I really begin to allow myself to feel accepted and loved by God, the enemy brings those painful memories. I know that my Saviour has redeemed me and that I am His child, I truly believe that my sins were paid for by Him on the cross. I pray that I stop believing the lies of the enemy and allow myself to walk in the forgiveness that Christ has provided for me and to leave my guilt and shame with Him. God bless you so much for the light that you bring into our lives.

    • Anita Brown says:

      I to have had a past that I’m not proud of someone told me that I need to forgive myself. I’d given my past to God but kept allowing the devil to make me ashamed of the things I’ve done. Now I share my past with women God tells me to.

  54. Angela says:

    Thanks today for this beautiful post I’m just so hard on my self for not letting go of my past sins. Why! Even though I’m R C and confessed many times .Please reply God bless.

  55. Angela says:

    Thank you so much Gwen for all your posts I’m so hard on myself I just can’t let go of my pasted sins even though being a Catholic confessed can you please reply thank you .

  56. Patty Robinson says:

    I’m Patty Robinson, from Hatiesburg, MS

    Wow! This study is already reaching directly into the deepest and emptiest parts of my broken and hurting heart! Same as some of you have mentioned, I have been going around and around the same dreaded mountain for close to 3 years now trying desperately to get past my past and from all of its unexpected and devastating things done to me, like you mentioned “that were beyond my control”.

    My 20 yr marriage to my best friend in the whole world came to its demise as a result of an online affair, and quite soon after, became his new wife. I beg God every day to please help me get this man out of my mind and out of my heart! I’m so tired of grieving; of being sad; and at 52 yrs old…tired of being lonely. I ask God to heal my brokenness from betrayal, deceit, abandonment, rejection….the list goes on and on! I want to get past my past!

    I want ALL of Jesus!! I want to be fully committed to following Him completely aware and fully knowing that following Him will GIVE me everything and COST me everything! I’m ready to give Him ALL of me in order to know and have ALL of Him!

    I’m so looking forward to growing and healing with all of you, and so appreciate you, Gwen, for your teaching, your wisdom, your time devoted to this study and to helping all of us grow and heal!

    • Gwen Smith says:

      Oh, Patty. I’m sorry for the pain you’ve endured. Truly. Grieving is surely a process. But HEALING is God’s plan and I fully expect that this I WANT IT ALL journey is going to take you to new heights of healthy and whole that you can scarcely imagine. Because JESUS is all about life – abundant life – in spite of our challenges.

      Please keep me updated as you go through the study!

      Warmest blessings, friend.
      Gwen

  57. Julie Lewis says:

    I love your blogs and am currently reading your book! LOVE it. I plan on sharing this tonight with my REFIT® group during our heartwork time! I particularly love this devotion for the same reason I love David in the Bible. He made mistakes…A LOT…but he knew the power of prayer/repentance and was still considered a man after God’s own heart!

  58. stefan says:

    Keep up the good work of counsellin and sending words of encouragement to the broken hearts.

  59. Thank you Gwen for continuing to stir something in me when I read your words.
    As always appreciated.
    I reply to you and I pray for healing and strength to keep moving forward. I have been wanting to get your book, Broken into Beautiful, for a while now. On my list (long 😃) of things to do. I want to get it off your site. A signed copy. I have been Broken. Continue to be but hope and trust into beautiful.

    May we continue to grow in the strength of God’s love ❤.

  60. Yolanda Deese says:

    Thank you so much for this word of encouragement, as I was reading this devotion this morning, thoughts of things of my pasts tired to attact my mind but I thank God for upholding me with His righteous right hand!

  61. Susan Roach says:

    Thank you for a great devotion today! This is exactly what I needed to hear too. It’s so hard sometimes to forget the past right? I have to be reminded of who God is and who “He” says I am! I focus sometimes on “thinking things through” to “work on” things from past. This is what I have been taught my whole life in secular counseling. I was always taught to “process” things, “analyze”, find out where “things come from”, “look at your behavior and where you came from”. This was absolutely exhausting! When I answered the door, when Jesus was knocking, I had to learn a new way. When I’ve got something reflecting from past I have to take it to the Lord and ask, “is this something you’re showing me to look at, to bring to you?” Or “do I need to rest in what scripture says?” I have to continue to read scripture so my brain gets retrained to know it’s not about my “feelings”, it’s about His truth! Sometimes the thought to “process” what I’m feeling really seems “real”, like the truth! Most of the time it’s a lie! Sometimes the hardest thing is to wait for Him to discern, trust and rest in Him.

  62. So thankful for this word from you and the Lord today. I have been at war in my mind for a few days now, dealing (again) with my broken past. Just knowing that God has never forsaken me and is holding my hand today is such a healing thought.

    • Gwen Smith says:

      Don’t even fight that battle, Terry. It’s ALREADY WON! Like Jesus said, “It is finished.” Be free. Once confessed, sin is not ours to hold on to.

      Have a beautiful day in HIS grace, friend.

      GWEN

  63. Doreen says:

    Lord God,

    I am tired of looking at myself and seeing all I am not.

    Help me to turn my focus on you, my healer, my redeemer.

    Lord you are awesome, you do wonderful things for your daughters.

    You did the most wonderful thing for us by sending your one and only son to die on the cross for my sins. So when I start focusing too much on my weaknesses,
    I have to refocus on you! My life is nothing compared to what Christ’s life did for me.

    Be with me today, be my focus and my delight.

    Amen

  64. Tammy Dyer says:

    Thank you Gwen…. I am so hard on myself for mistakes from my past and struggle to do right all the time now…. But you remind me that God looks at my heart and knows how hard I try…. And when I fail He picks me up dusts me off and says try again. I will keep trying and forgiving myself because He forgives me…. But I need these reminders that I am not alone….. If I help others with this….I help God!!!
    Blessings Gwen….. And thank you for being God’s messenger 💓

    • Gwen Smith says:

      None of us are perfect, Tammy, but the Bible calls us to the pursuit of holiness. God refines us and leads us in sanctification (becoming more like Him) as we yield to the leading of His Spirit within us. Keep trusting His Word, following His commands, and loving those around you in Jesus’ name. On our faith journey, the Bible assures us that there is NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ and who are called according to His purpose. SO, believe that and look ahead – live bold for Him – receive His pruning as His love – and know that you are equipped with every spiritual blessing you need in Christ. (Ephesians 1)

      Warmest blessing, sister!

      GWEN

  65. Joyce says:

    Thank you Gwen for your devotion and books you write!! It helps me live for God the right way!! You are truly a blessing to me!! Praying that God will bless you as you help people live for God in amazing ways!! Love you !!

  66. Susan says:

    Hi Gwen, it’s Susan from Burleigh Heads Australia . I can so relate to your message a past. God has done a lot to change me but then he’s had plenty of time and still going as I hit the 70 mark late December and I was middle age when I found him. Praise God forever. I need him every day. Amen

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