Sin, whether perpetrated by you or against you, produces legitimate or illegitimate guilt. Guilt is designed to propel you toward God so he can cleanse, heal, and/or forgive you.
Guilt left to fester, apart from God’s grace, produces shame. Shame produces the feeling of exposure which motivates us to hide.
You WON’T experience confidence while hiding!
There is ONE Seed that produces the bloom of confidence. This seed was planted in you when you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.
Confidence comes from knowing the indisputable fact that God
- accepts and
- forgives you.
And that’s not all. He DEFINES you as His masterpiece in Ephesians 2:10.
And yet so few of you BELIEVE you are! WHY?
Unknowingly, you’re drinking from wells, tainted by shame.
Depending on the amount of shame you ingest, your confidence will either flourish or flounder.
At a young age, Satan begins to taint your understanding of God’s love for you. He inserts SHAME messages into the water of your thought-life which spill down into your heart and poison or distort the knowledge of God’s love, acceptance, and forgiveness. If you don’t believe you’re loved, accepted, and forgiven, you will not be a confident woman.
When does Satan INSERT THESE MESSAGES?
- When you sin (legitimate guilt)
- When others sin against you (illegitimate guilt)
A few moments of gripping shame can create a lifetime of toxic inner turmoil! (The Journey, ohmin.org)
As a child, I defined myself as
- “less-than” if I wasn’t able to afford certain luxuries others had obtained by way of fatter pocketbooks than mine
- “dirty and perverted” due to sexual abuse
- “unwanted” when a close friend ditched me for other classmates
- “contaminated” when these same girls called me “polluted”
As an adult, I defined myself as
- “Immoral” due to a pre-marriage pregnancy
- “Deficient” when my husband tried to control me
- “Unsuccessful” when my children made mistakes
- “Troubled and needy” when my life seemed filled with problems
When have you experienced shame?
- Affairs-yours or your husband
- Eating disorder
- Addictions (yours or your husband’s)
- Failure to successfully blend a family
Hiding from God only intensifies your shame and resulting lack of confidence as you run deeper into the cover of darkness.
Are you hiding your shame from God and others because you’ve agreed with evil that you won’t be loved, accepted, and forgiven?
The only way to experience an abundant, CONFIDENT life is to turn to Jesus with your shame so he can cleanse, heal, and restore you!
God wants to remove the shadow of shame from your face with the washing of the water of His Word (Ephesians 5:26)
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces (Psalm 34:5).
Only God DEFINES you accurately!
- You are dearly loved
- You’ve been ransomed with His blood
- You are His masterpiece
- He bought you with a price
- Your sins are forgiven!
What Must You Do to eradicate the shame-filled messages that rob you of confidence?
- Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal shame messages when they occur. TREAT SHAME AS A WARNING LIGHT!
- Turn to God with your shame—receive his love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
- Rebuke fear (or it will keep you from turning to God)
- Allow others to enter your shame (safe people).
Next Tuesday we’ll look at how shame negatively impacts relationships and what you can do about it.
Has shame robbed you of confidence?
Do you remember the movie Erin Brokovich, played by Julia Roberts? The movie centered around the small town of Hinkley, whose water supply was contaminated with hexavalent chromium, used by Pacific Gas and Electric to keep their machinery from rusting. As a result, a disproportionate number of Hinkley residents began to suffer major illnesses ranging from deteriorating spines to the need for premature hysterectomies. Their savior came in the form of a compassionate legal assistant who championed their cause, making a way for them to be compensated monetarily.
Many women I know are drinking the poisonous waters of shame corrupted by Evil itself. As a result, their confidence is sick and deteriorating. They’re suffering from emotional and spiritual illnesses that hinder them from enjoying a vibrant, fulfilling life. They too have a Savior who has championed their cause, making a way for them to experience His love, acceptance and forgiveness- the cure for all that ails them.
Yet many have bought into the lie that
will provide the confidence they lack. They work and hope for these while ignoring the One who can save them.
None of these things are necessarily bad, but they will NOT PRODUCE LASTING CONFIDENCE.
How do I know? Because the items on this list are subject to change at any time.
I’ve met women with some or all of the above, and many of them can’t look me in the eye for very long before averting their eyes or dropping their gaze. Haven’t you met these women too? Or didn’t you hold their gaze long enough to notice?
Shame is invasive, pervasive and if that weren’t bad enough, it’s not an easy topic to wrap your brain around. Few understand shame let alone do anything about it. And for those who do, it takes time to rid oneself of its poisonous effects.
A Christian therapist explained to me that shame wasn’t something one could shed like an unwanted coat on a hot summer’s day. It more closely resembled the endometriosis I suffered as a young woman- spaghetti like scar tissue caused by rogue blood attaching itself to vital organs. The pain was intense. Surgery required.
Shame’s effects have been described in a similar fashion: a “Hemorrhage of the soul,” a bleeding of pain and exposure that feels unstoppable and life threatening. It is intense.
We first see shame appear in the Bible the moment sin entered the world. They ate and they were ashamed and so they hid.
Adam and Eve felt legitimate guilt and shame about disobeying God’s command not to eat from their one prohibition. And so they hid.
Adam and Eve felt illegitimate shame about their sexuality, their maleness and femaleness. Again they hid. Their sexual body parts, that is. The parts of themselves specifically created to provide pleasure, intimacy and life.
When you’ve sinned (legitimate guilt or shame) have you been tempted to hide? I have. I don’t want others, including God, to know what I’ve done.
When others have sinned against you, have you hid? I have as well. I don’t want others to know what’s been done to me. In a weird twist of reality, I feel responsible.
There is a better way to deal with shame than hiding. In next week’s blog, we’ll look at the alternative that decimates the power of shame in your life so you can live in holy-confidence, head held high, eyes riveted.
Has shame poisoned your confidence?
This week, before you log onto Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, PRAY for your husband and watch your marriage improve!
- Pray that your husband will grow spiritually and consider his accountability before the Lord. pray that he will guard his heart by developing spiritual disciplines- Bible reading and study, prayer meditation, scripture memorization, etc. (II Peter 3:18; Proverbs 4:23)
- Pray that your husband’s relationship with God and His Word will bear fruit in his life. Pray that he will be a man of wisdom and understanding, fearing the Lord. (Proverbs 3:7, 9:10, Psalms 112:1)
- Pray that your husband will be humble and quick to agree with God about his sin. Pray that his heart will be tender toward the voice of the Lord. (Psalms 51:2-4; Micah 6:8)
- Pray that your husband will grow in leadership skills in your relationship-protecting and providing for you. Pray that he will lead you wisely and love you sacrificially, so that God will be glorified in your marriage. (Ephesians 5:25-29; Colossians 3:19)
- Pray that your husband will be faithful to his wedding vows. Pray that he will have a desire to cultivate your relationship as a sign of his loyalty and commitment to you, and as a picture of Christ’s love for the Church. (Proverbs 20:6; Genesis 2:24)
- Pray that your husband will love righteousness and hate wickedness especially the evils of the culture. Pray that he will recognize and avoid wickedness in his own life, and if necessary take a clear, strong stand against evil. (Proverbs 27:12; John 17:15; I Corinthians 10:12-13)
- Pray that your husband will safeguard his heart against inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex. Pray that his heart will be pure and undivided in his commitment to you. (Proverbs 6:23-24, 26; Romans 13:14)
- Pray that your husband will work hard to provide for your family, to the best of his ability. Pray that the character qualities necessary for a successful career and ministry will be a growing part of his character–persistence, decisiveness, strength, and analytical mind, organizational skills, positive relationships with people, determination, etc. (Romans 12:11; Corinthians 15:58)
- Pray that your husband handles finances wisely, will have discernment concerning budgeting and investments, and will be a good steward of his money in regard to giving to the Lord’s work. Pray that money will not become a source of discord in your family. (Proverbs 23:4-5; Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:5
- Pray that your husband will cultivate strong integrity, and not compromise his convictions. Pray that his testimony will be genuine, that he will be honest in his business dealings, and will never do anything that he needs to hide from others. (Proverbs 20:7, I Timothy 1:5, 3:7, Ephesians 6:10-12)
Prayers prayed do NOT return to the Lord void, but will accomplish the purpose for which they were sent. (Isaiah 55:11)
(These were passed along to me by a friend. I do not know the source.)
Dr. John Gottman is an academic researcher who is able to predict with 94% accuracy which couples will succeed and which will fail in marriage. Want to know what the good Dr. found out about what the happiest couples do?
Here’s the list!
- Strive for a 5:1 ratio. In your interactions with each other, make five positive comments for every negative one.
- Turn toward each other. When your spouse makes what Dr. Gottman calls an “emotional bid” (when he reaches out to you with a comment, question, or touch) turn toward him to show you are open, listening, and engaged. Unhealthy relationships ignore emotional bids or react to them with anger or hostility.
- Be open to influence. Don’t get stuck in a rut by always sticking to your position on a given subject. Listen and remain open to what your spouse has to say.
- Spend enjoyable time together. As life gets busy, it’s not always easy to put time into your relationship. Spending time together is one of the ESSENTIAL elements of the happiest relationships.
- Make the most of conflict. Introduce conflict gently. Focus on feelings rather than on your spouses actions. Avoid contempt (eyeball rolling), insults, and hostility. De-escalate negative feelings by apologizing for a painful remark, injecting a bit of humor, or offering a sympathetic smile.
Dr. Gottman has learned a lot by watching couples and as a result has learned a lot about what makes marriages work.
Mentors have also learned what it takes to make a marriage work. Through personal experience and learning to make God’s Word practical, a mentor can offer much-needed wisdom and guidance for wives. Listen to what one woman said about her mentoring experience.
“Our first [mentoring] session confirmed that [Sandy] was indeed sent by GOD. In 8 weeks I have seen miracles in my marriage that I have been trying to accomplish in the past 7 years of our relationship and 3 1/2 year marriage. I feel like I’m in a new marriage and GOD is restoring the broken areas.” Kimyan M. Canada
Would you like to join a Beautiful Womanhood online mentoring group for wives led by Sandy Ralya- founder of Beautiful Womanhood? You can! But space is limited. There are only 8 spots available, so sign up now. Latest date to register is April 30, 2013.
The online group runs from May 2013 through October 2013 and meets on Tuesdays from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.
What are the benefits of this online mentoring group?
- Learn core biblical and marriage principles
- Receive encouragment to make positive changes in a negative marriage environment
- Create a vision for your marriage, and a customized action Marriage Plan to get there
- Achieve greater intimacy and communication
- Develop and strengthen your faith
- Take better care of your own needs
- Discover hope
Here’s what else you’ll receive:
- Dedicated time to specifically invest in you and your marriage
- Support, insight, energy, and feedback from the group and Sandy
- New friendships
- A program structure that gives you accountability for the marriage you were designed to have
- Greater peace, joy, and fulfillment in your marriage
Registration: Contact 616-862-0321 or email Sandy@BeautifulWomanhood.com or register by clicking here.
Would you like a happier, healthier marriage that mentoring provides?
Beauties, meet Carla Anne Coroy. I know you’ll be blessed by her story, as I was.
I got married with expectations.
I’d found a man who loved me and expected him to be my companion, right by my side, for the next several decades until death parted us. So when education, and then career kept him away from home so much our oldest became convinced we’d gotten a divorce – I was hugely disappointed. God had not kept His end of the deal.
I thought there was something in the Bible that promised Christians would have happy marriages. God hates divorce, right? So wouldn’t He then automatically make all Christian marriages happy?
I was ready to pack up and leave, taking my four children with me. I was determined to find what I felt I deserved: a happy marriage.
I’d gotten involved with another man, thinking that was the solution. I was even so bold as to think God had brought this illicit relationship into my life to bless me! But it wasn’t God’s doing. He never tempts us to sin.
In fact, God thwarted my plans over the course of one week with several major interventions. None of them were easy on me. (I share the whole story in my book, Married Mom, Solo Parent.) God was offering me a choice I didn’t really want to make.
Did I want to pursue happiness or would I pursue Him and His holiness?
Saying yes to happiness meant I could try my luck at a new relationship, or even life on my own. Surely being single would be easier than marriage to a man who was rarely around. But was happiness really there to be found?
Saying yes to holiness meant I might never have happiness in my marriage, but that I’d be met at heaven’s door with the words from God, “Well done, my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Master.”
Could I do it? Could I really survive in a marriage with a man I could barely be in the same room with while I pursued holiness? Would God really, truly help me? Would the next 50 years of marriage be brutal or would there be joy in it somewhere?
I honestly felt like I was giving myself a sentence of perpetual pain when I said yes to God. My belief in the Bible’s teaching on heaven was firmly planted in my heart. I knew one day I’d face Jesus and I wanted Him to accept me with open arms, and even be proud of me and how well I had obeyed Him.
So I broke off the other relationship, and today I’m so glad I did. I learned through practice, and some blunders, how to pray for my husband, how to respect him even when I felt like some things he did were not respectable. I learned how to communicate with him instead of talking at him. I began to serve my husband.
Becoming a godly wife changed my marriage. It changed my whole life, actually. Our culture does not praise or congratulate a godly wife. It’s like swimming upstream. Yet, there is nothing more empowering and joyful than living a life in which God is honored.
We will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary in June. We are more in love than ever before. But the joy I have in God, even when things are tough – that’s the very best part.
God doesn’t promise us a happy marriage, but if we surrender to Him, He promises to make us holy within it. And the joy of that far outshines any happiness we may have dreamed of.
Carla Anne’s Short Bio
Carla Anne Coroy is a Christian speaker and blogger, and the award-winning author of Married Mom, Solo Parent. She ministers to a wide audience through her website and blog at carlaanne.com. Carla Anne has served full-time with organizations such as Youth for Christ and Crown Financial Ministries, and is currently developing mentoring resources for women and an international mentoring organization for youth. She also serves as a staff writer for the online magazine Mentoring Moments for Christian Women and is a spokesperson for Faithbuddy.com. Carla Anne lives in Canada with her husband and four homeschooled children.
Day 11: In faith, you’re believing God for greater things in your marriage. I am too. But what will you do when you don’t see the growth you were hoping for? Give up on believing in the power of prayer?
Giving up is the equivalent of digging up a seed you’ve planted before the seedling has had time to pop its head above the soil. Giving up is robbing yourself of the HARVEST!
Faith and patience go together!
Are you watching other people receive their blessing and wondering where yours is hiding? Or are you doubting the word God gave you in your time of prayer because it hasn’t yet been fulfilled?
Remember the mustard seed Jesus talked about in Matthew 17:20? The story of this little seed teaches us that we don’t need BIG faith to receive from God. We only need little faith. Don’t focus on the size or strength of your faith but rather the size and strength of your God. When you magnify God, problems or mountains shrink.
Peter had little faith and yet he was able to walk on water. The minute he took is eyes off God, he began sinking.
The point of this little message is this:
1. The seeds of prayer you’ve planted this Spring will produce sweet fruit in your life and marriage throughout the year. Be patient. Don’t give up and thereby rob yourself of your harvest!
2. Receiving your harvest is not predicated upon the strength of your faith, but rather the ability to keep your focus on God and His strength.
Prayer for WIVES: Lord, Help me to keep my eyes on You and Your greatness rather than on my circumstances so I can receive rather than rob myself of my harvest!
Prayer for HUSBANDS: Lord, help my husband to see the power of Your love flowing through me. May he see with fresh eyes the movement of your Spirit all around Him and respond with newfound devotion.
Prayer of MARRIAGE: May our marriage be filled with the fruits of righteousness which will bring much glory and praise to God!
Day 10:Would you like to know God’s perfect will for your life and marriage? Fasting helps you prove or DISCOVER His perfect will. Paul was fasting when God shared his assignment for his life. Peter was fasting when God called him to take the gospel to the Gentiles.
“Fasting prepares the way for God to give you fresh revelation, fresh vision, and clear purpose.” Jentezen Franklin
I’m already seen fresh revelation as a result of this fast. 2 areas of concentrated prayers for my marriage are sex and money. Reading a great book by Dr. Juli Slattery, No More Headaches, I discovered a workable solution for connecting sexually at least twice a week. Battling busy-ness and fatigue, our sex life was suffering. Because I know sex works like a glue to hold couples together, I committed this area of our marriage to prayer. Dr. Slattery shared a creative solution on page 36 that jumped off the page when I read it. It’s working already : )
Reading Proverbs 27 today, I was convicted, inspired, and given direction in verses 23 and 24 concerning my role regarding our finances. God gives fresh revelation when you seek Him through prayer and fasting!
When you seek God concerning your marriage, He will be found by you (Jeremiah 29:13,14). And when you find Him, you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is!
Prayer for WIVES: Lord, help me to discipline myself as I near the end of this fast to seek you in your Word and through prayer. Give me eyes and ears to see and hear what you would have me know concerning your perfect will for my marriage.
Day 9: II Chronicles 7:14 states God’s requirements during a fast.
1. Humble yourself
3. Seek His face
4. Turn from wicked ways
Upon these conditions, God promises to hear your prayers as well as heal America (our land).
Last week during the fast, I was challenged by one of my mentors to deal with dishonesty in my relationship with Tom. You see, I tend to promise to do things in order to smooth over a tense situation which I’ve caused. When it comes time to fulfill my promise…well, I don’t always follow through if it’s not convenient for uh, me. If you see a pattern of selfishness and dishonesty here, you’d be correct.
Ephesians 4:22 implores us to throw off our old evil nature which is rotten through and through (point #4 above) full of lust and deception. Deception causes BETRAYAL and DISTRUST between spouses. Did I have that result in mind when I quickly committed to something in order to avoid the consequences of my behavior? In a word, no!
Spending time praying and fasting heightens our ability to SEE the insidiousness of sinful, casual actions that produce BAD results. What is God showing you today?
Prayer for WIVES: Lord, show me where the lust for pleasure and deception have crept into my life. Purify me by the blood of Jesus! Give me eyes to see as well as the strength to turn away from wickedness and embrace the life-giving truth of your Word.
Prayer for HUSBANDS: Lord, give my husband eyes to see You and YOUR ways in a new light and may he desire them for himself, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer for MARRIAGE: Lord, may the beauty, delightfulness, and favor of the Lord our God shine on and through our marriage! AMEN!
12 Days of Healing Marriage Fast
Are you living like the ungodly by DEFAULT and thereby personally robbing your marriage of God’s healing power? Paul is addressing Christians in Ephesians 4:17-19, imploring them to open their minds and soften their hearts, so that the work of the Holy Spirit- CONVICTION- can be felt and heeded.
I’ve got to be honest: there have been many times in my life as a Christ-follower that the delights of this world have taken precedence over my delight in Christ. Immoral idol-worship WILL take a toll on your marriage! The area I’m most convicted about in this season of life is MONEY! Having ignored (sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally) God’s wisdom concerning money, greed and fear gained entrance to my life and affected my role as HELPER to my husband. The result wasn’t pretty!
In what area of your life do you live like the ungodly-
- choice of music
- demeaning your husband
- indifference to God?
Prayer and fasting unstops your ears and clears your eyes to see where ungodliness has taken root and produced bad fruit in your life, thereby affecting your marriage.
Today, listen to the counsel of The Holy Spirit. Record any wisdom you glean from God’s word. Think about it throughout the day. Allow it to transform the way you think and act. You’ll experience more peace and power for your life and marriage.
Prayer for WIVES: Lord, show me where I’ve allowed impurity and greed to infiltrate my life, thereby negatively affecting my marriage. Convict me by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer for HUSBANDS: Lord, help my husband to notice the changes I make in my life and may they inspire Him to follow you in lock-step.
Prayer for MARRIAGE: Lord, May your righteousness and holiness shine through our marriage so that others will see and know that YOU ARE GOOD and that YOUR WAYS WORK!
Day 7: In Ezra 8: 21-23, we read of Ezra’s declaration to king Artaxerxes that those who worship the living God are protected by Him. That was a significant declaration coming from a bunch of exiled Jews about to travel through some very dangerous territory on the way to their homeland. Realizing he was in deep water, what did Ezra do? He called a fast.
Fasting acknowledges your total dependence on God.
Are you travelling through dangerous territory in your marriage? Are there threats lurking around the next corner? Are you fearful concerning an area of your marriage?
Depend on God as Ezra did. The result of dependence? Ezra and tribe enjoyed God’s complete protection, safety, and peace. Victory in the spiritual realm must be won before experiencing victory in the natural.
The victory can only be won using spiritual weapons…one of which is fasting.
Prayer for wives: Lord, help me to be direct with my husband when I address sinful issues in his life, remembering first to determine whether it’s actually sin or an annoyance which I’m observing, and secondly to apply love to the direct words I use. (Ephesians 4:15, explained in Chapter 8, The Beautiful Wife).
Prayer for husband: Lord, give my husband ears to hear what the Spirit is speaking through me when I speak the truth in Love. When my husband speaks to me about an issue, help me to lower my defenses and LISTEN to the truth he’s conveying.
Prayer for marriage: Lord, as my husband and I each do our own special work, help our marriage to become healthy, growing and full of love.