By Ruth Ann Replogle, Columnist
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Women of Faith speaker (and former Heartland Women’s Ministries speaker) Jen Hatmaker posted this on her Facebook page in early February:
“Walked into the airport with Lance Armstrong at the crack of dawn. His hat was pulled so low, you could barely see his face. He looked terrible. (Well, it was 5 a.m. ... we both did.) I smiled at him and squeezed his arm, gave him a grandmotherly pat on the back. No one needs to be kicked when they are already at their lowest point, even by their own doing. We are the People of the Second Chance. Mercy and redemption are never impossible.”
As I pondered this post, it struck me. This ought to be my mantra — “We are the People of the Second Chance.”
All I keep thinking about is how God gave me a second chance.
I’ve not earned one. I certainly didn’t deserve one. I repeatedly have screwed up, making poor choices again and again, and yet, He still loves me.
MercyMe has this awesome song called “Adopted.” It speaks of second chances: “God has spoken and this changes everything. … Glory be to my Father who reigns! For I met Him and I cannot be the same. When in bondage, to Jesus I came. He took my place and He changed my name.”
You and I are important to Him. It doesn’t matter where we’ve come from, what our background is, whom we’re related to, where we’ve been or what we’ve done or haven’t done.
I don’t know about you, but I continue to stand amazed of what He has done for me. He died for me, for you, for all of us. Oklahoma native and songwriter Dennis Jernigan described it as “true love’s sweetest story” in his song “I Stand Amazed.”
After a recent conversation with a friend, I was reminded of just how much God’s grace has covered me through the years.
I’ve gotten myself into so many situations that were dangerous and could have injured me physically and mentally. While I remain deeply scarred emotionally by some of it, I see now He protected me in some instances and He allowed me to endure some terrible seasons so I could learn from Him. (Hebrews 12:10)
Paul writes about God’s great love for us in Ephesians 2:3-5 — “Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Continuing further in Ephesians 3:18, may you “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”
As Jen said in her Facebook post, “mercy and redemption are never impossible.”
Paraphrasing one of my pastor’s Bible study lessons, “Sin doesn’t define me and shame doesn’t control me. I am defined by grace and what Christ has done for me.”
If I allow myself to be consumed by Him and His love, shame fades away.
By letting Him be bigger and everyone else be smaller, I don’t have to worry about being accepted or getting approval at home, at work or in society because He has already taken me as I am.
To others, I may be defective. I may be worthless. I may be politically incorrect or socially inept. I may be lacking in looks or brains. I may be nothing.
However, as a daughter of the King, I’m slowly learning I’m accepted by the One who counts. I’m wanted, adored and lavished in love by Him. I have value in His eyes. I’m perfect to Him.
Sure, there will be times when I hit rock bottom, walk in the dark valley and face horrendous demons.
You and I will miss the mark and falter so badly we can’t figure out why the heck He would ever want us back.
Thing is, He does.
Friend, there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from having His love! Just read Romans 8.
Our God is the God of Second Chance.
Follow Ruth Ann Replogle on Facebook at http://www.face book.com/pages/Just-Hold-On/419800328081972 or email her at email@example.com.