Tears fell down my face as I gave in to the feelings of worthlessness and self loathing. Someone who knew me and all my faults had reminded me of many of my past mistakes, and in their anger, they pointed out many of my flaws. For a moment I allowed myself to believe the lie that I was still the mess I once was. Although my heart was hurting, and I was filled with self doubt, I pleaded with God to make me new.
I was reminded of the story in Ezekiel 37. In this chapter in the Old Testament, God breathes new life into a pile of dried up bones. Through God’s sovereign power, the bones were restored with new skin and new breath in their bodies. What was once a pile of skeletons was now an army of living beings. It’s too incredible for me to wrap my mind around.
We read in verse 11 (NIV), “…these bones are the people of Israel. They say ‘Our bones are dried up. Our hope is gone.'” It continues in verses 13-14, “Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live…”
I found so much comfort in knowing that the God who breathes new life into dried bones can breathe new life into my mess. My story isn’t finished, and my hope is not gone. Isn’t it amazing to know that it is never too late for you to rewrite your story? You don’t have to be who you once were.
The New Year is often a time of resolutions and goal setting. It’s a time when we often focus on new beginnings, clean slates, and fresh starts. Be encouraged that God is a God of renewal and a Giver of Life. He longs for your heart to be made whole, and His hope for you is to live a life worthy of His name. Don’t be afraid to take that first step to begin your journey as the brand new you. The Bible tells us that “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23, NIV),” but it also says “…if anyone is in Christ, (s)he is a new creation; what is old has passed away — look, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17, NET).”
Change often takes time and a great deal of effort, but our God is a God of second chances. We read in Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV), “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Isn’t it incredible that God’s mercies are new each and every morning? There is no expiration date to God’s compassion, and His faithfulness to us will never run out.
Like a potter molds clay, God is constantly shaping me into the woman He wants me to be. When I look back on my life, I can see the differences God has made in me, and I can see the many ways He has allowed me to evolve and grow. It may take time for the people in my life to recognize the changes I have made, but the God who knows my heart rejoices with me in my effort to be made new.
Whatever changes you are working toward, keep your chin up. Be diligent in your efforts, and offer yourself grace when necessary. The God who made you is cheering you on, never gives up on you, and never reminds you of the past. We can be thankful that God is not in the business of shaming and blaming, but He is in the business of rebuilding and restoring. I will not be defined by my past mistakes.
May 2018 be the year that we no longer worry about what is written in our past, but instead we allow God to write the beautiful story of what is to come.
Happy New Year, friends.