The conversation took a turn again that night to a time in our lives I wish I could re-do. It was a time laced with mess, mistakes, and heartache. I know my side and heart – one with good intentions motivated by fear and negatively distorted by outside influence. It was a time which brought about relationship damage instead of unity.
Whenever this conversation comes back up in our family, those feelings of guilt, shame, responsibility and an overbearing sense of punishment threatens to overtake me. Will I spend the rest of my life making up for youthful ignorance and insensitivity? Is the rift in our family all my fault? I know in my head the answer to these questions is no, but, doubt still floods in; and, people’s behaviors tend to more often confirm than than dispel it.
Perhaps you can relate to something in your own life that happened triggering these same emotions. As I reflect on this, I am reminded of the Shulamite woman in Song of Songs. I don’t think she only had dark skin from hours of toil in the vineyards. No, I think that her own sins, shame, guilt, fears, doubts, insecurities, mistakes and messes had become battle scars on her skin leaving her feeling less than.
Please don’t stare in scorn because of my dark and sinful ways. I have faced the angry glare of my brothers as they appointed me guardian of their ministry-vineyards yet the care of my vineyard within I’ve neglected. Song of Songs 1:6 (Passion Translation)
She was in love with a king yet ashamed of who she was and the emotional baggage she carried. Yet, his response to her was always “Oh, but you are lovely”. He woos her and calls to her because he is an ardent and passionate lover.
The Shulamite woman is you, me, Rahab, Mary Magdalene, Peter, etc. She is the bride of Christ before redemption. We think that God is put off by our junk and turmoil when, in fact, he calls to us like he does the Shulamite woman. Here is what the Lover of our souls says to us:
Listen, My radiant one – if you ever lose sight of me just follow in my footsteps where I lead my lovers. Come with your burdens and cares. Come to the place near the sanctuary of my shepherds – there you will find me. My dearest one, let me tell you how I see you – you are so thrilling to me. To gaze upon you is like looking at one of Pharaoh’s finest horses – a strong, regal steed that pulls his royal chariot. Your tender cheeks are aglow – your earring and gem-laden necklaces set them ablaze. we will enhance your beauty encircling you with our golden reins of love you will be marked with our redeeming grace. Song of Songs 1:8-11 (Passion Translation)
Jesus invites us always into his heart and presence. He doesn’t withhold his love or heart from us. The veil has been torn, the walls broken down. Nothing we do is to devastating or destructive to make him stop loving us. Quite the opposite. The more weighed down we are by the hardships of life, our failures, and disappointments, the more he beckons us to him.
He can only redeem that which is broken and shattered. How do you redeem something which is whole? His presence is what calls us to freedom and acceptance. So he calls you and me, His Shulamite Bride.
In his presence, we encounter the depths of his love. His love transforms us to be the Bride of Christ without spot or blemish:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27 (NIV)
Jesus restores us to who he originally made us to be. We are healed of our shame, guilt, fears, doubts and more. We are embraced to see truth and restored to right standing with God.
So, my dear friend, you and I may often feel many emotions trying to pull us away from God’s presence. This is the time we are to run all the more deeper into his arms. Run, run, run to him.
He restores the brokenhearted, puts the lonely in families, mends relationships and brings freedom.
This has been my hope for all these years. That Jesus’ love and grace would cover our family to bring healing and restoration. He has been faithful to do so. Although the family dynamics are not fully healed, they are in some ways stronger than ever and other parts well let’s just say baby steps 🙂
God’s grace is sufficient and his love covers a multitude of sins. Be covered by his love and find yourself more in his presence than ever before. Watch as he restores and sets you free.
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Wife, mom, freelance writer, blogger, and artist. My life motto is to seize every opportunity that presents itself. My life's mission is to love wholeheartedly, unapologetically, and unashamedly. Read More…
Living Fiercely Loved
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