It feels good to be chosen. Set apart. Special. Gifted. From third grade on through elementary school, I kept being picked by different teachers to be in an elect group who were made up of mostly children in the gifted program. But, I wasn't gifted. I had an average IQ, even struggled in math.
I didn't understand why I got to be with the cream of the crop, when I didn't by any measurable way, measure up.
We studied humpback whales. Competed in Odyssey of the Mind. Created stories and artwork.
And, I loved every minute of it.
Although I shouldn't have been included, somehow my teachers wanted me to be. I felt awash with grace.
Then slowly, as a teenager, I lost my spark.
I stopped writing.
I put down my paintbrush.
Somewhere along the way, I came face-to-face with shame. It stifled my creativity, and as a consequence, I buried my gift.
It wasn't until my heart was broken that I recovered my spark.
Through the cracked and hardened earth of my heart, suffering while trusting in Christ, a way was made for new life and creativity.
Christ used my brokenness to allow this heart to heal.
I felt awash with grace once again and started blogging and joined a writer's group. Since then, I've been working on writing several children's stories and devotionals, which I hope to publish.
In a way, going though the valley of the shadow of death helped me realize how gloriously short life is.
We have only a little bit of time to make a difference in this world for Christ.
And, the enemy of our soul hates any glimmer of grace, joy, and hope we have to offer to point others to Christ.
One of the most effective tools he uses to keep us stagnant and ineffective is shame.
The only way to fight against it is to know who we are in Christ and to know we are dearly loved.
While we may be feeling like a failure, we must remember this label does not come from God.
The early Christians suffered terrible persecution, and looked to the Scriptures for answers:
"Yet for your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep
to be slaughtered.
Rise up and help us;
redeem us because of your unfailing love." (Psalm 22,26)
And redeem us, He did.
By the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, God made a way for us to be saved. From all our sins. All our failures. All our shame.
The apostle Paul went on to write in his letter to the church in Rome:
Whatever we have lost. It is found, redeemed in Christ.