“Oh Lord, I feel horrible,” I moaned. Mistakes I made as a mother bombarded my mind. It was as if a video inside my head played each painful scene where I had blown it as a parent. I felt overwhelmed by guilt and shame.
This happened after my teenage daughter’s counselor talked to me about how troubled she was. He even said she had voiced suicidal thoughts.
I felt responsible for passing along my tendency toward depression. If only I could have remained joyful in front of her, I reprimanded myself. Occasions when I tried to control Tami came to mind along with times I lost my temper. Unkind words I’d said over the years came back like a flood.
Driving home after my talk with Tami’s counselor, I felt shaken to the core. A part of me wished God would take me home before I ruined anyone else’s life.
Lately as I’ve been celebrating God’s mercy, memories of that difficult day which happened over ten years ago came back to mind. It was one of the worst days of my life. And yet it was also one of the best.
As I battled feelings of guilt and shame and blamed myself for all my daughter’s problems, God intervened to comfort me. He reminded me of where my heart was toward my daughter and how my goal was to raise godly children and bring glory to Him. He assured me of His love for Tami and for me and that He was in the process of freeing both of us—that He who began a good work in us would be faithful to complete it. (See Philippians 1:6)
Suddenly a song played on the radio that touched my heart with its message of God’s mercy and forgiveness. It was as if the Lord had specifically chosen it just for me—just for that moment. The words in that song reminded me of this verse:
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 NIV
I realized an important truth that day. When memories of sins from the distant past arise in my mind to try to torment me, it’s not God bringing up those sins. When I’m doing well and the enemy can’t accuse me of something in my present life, he looks at my past and tries to work his game of blame and shame to discourage me.
That day God reminded me that because I had confessed sins as a parent all along the way they were gone the minute I confessed them—that He did not remember them against me any longer. By the time the song ended, His mercy had washed over me like a soothing bath.
I confess that even these days I can fall back into the trap of feeling guilty about some long ago sin.
When I get caught in recalling sins from the past, God urges me to let go of guilt and shame and reminds me that remembering those old wrong choices is not what He wants me to do. Instead He desires I remember this of Him:
You… delight to show mercy. Micah 7:18
I pray for grace to reach the point where I delight to receive it.
How about you? Are you remembering sin from the distant past and beating yourself up all over again? Will you receive God’s mercy today? You’ll be glad you did.
FYI: The Lord has freed Tami from her severe depression and suicidal thoughts—just as He did for me. To God be the glory!