God Removes Your Reproach (Isaiah 54, part 3)

Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the shame of your youth,
And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.

 

(This post was originally published in July 2013.  I was a single mom at the time.  I’ve since remarried, but there is so much here that still speaks to me, even in other areas of my life.  I hope that it will reassure and comfort you in your area of “shame,” whatever that is.  We can’t undo the past; we can only move forward.)

 

Wow, did I, and wow, do I continue to need to hear this.  For me, being divorced was probably the most shameful thing I have ever experienced.  My belief had been that divorce was practically the unforgivable sin.  I had grown up hearing, “Divorce is not an option.”

 

I was part of a subculture where it didn’t matter if every part of the marriage vows had been broken, the only part that mattered was “Til death do us part.”  The person who severed that officially broke the marriage. Along with that, the people in the churches I had been part of, spent much of their time examining each other’s lives for any imperfection.  You were only worthy of serving if you had never committed a sin that was on their list.  No matter how far in your past, no matter the circumstances, no matter the repentance, you were branded forever.  And divorce was at the top.

 

I spent years after my divorce, trying to convince God not to love me.  (I know, right?)  Because I had had something of a public ministry, I received hate mail from people because of my divorce.  Oddly, I also received condemnation for having stayed in the marriage as long as I did.  There were even some who told me divorce was unbiblical, but condemned me for having stayed in the marriage for 20 years.  (Does the phrase, “damned if you do, damned if you don’t come to mind?)  They all were certainly convinced God shouldn’t love me.  I was humiliated, disgraced, reproached, and full of shame.

 

The worst thing for me was that I believed God could not use me any more, and being used by God was my very favorite thing in life.  Without that, where was the meaning?  I believed that I had to live with this because of a mistake I made when I was young, one that will, of course, continue to have consequences throughout my life — and not only for myself.  But it really did feel like the unforgivable sin to me.  Other people’s mistakes could be forgiven and they could move on.  I would live my life being punished for making a bad choice.

 

God said here in Isaiah 54 that He was taking all that shame away and that I could forget about it.  Furthermore, He said I could even forget the shame of my youth.  I do still live with consequences … and those consequences will be with me for the rest of my life.  There are those who will never forgive me — some because I divorced, others for staying married as long as I did.  But the shame doesn’t need to be with me the rest of my life, nor does the reproach.  My status as a divorced, single woman does not need to be reproachful.  God can still use me!  God uses best the one who can’t do it themselves.  I can hold my head high with the confidence that I’m working for the King of Kings.  Not proud of my divorce, but redeemed from it.

 

Isaiah Cadre Discussion/Journaling Questions

  1.  Are you feeling shame because of your position as a single person or a barren woman … or some other seeming “curse”?
  2. Do you feel like you’re being punished, or like others look down on you?
  3. Does your lonely bed feel like a badge of a lesser status?
  4. Is there a sin from your past which you feel can never be forgiven?

 

First of all, if there is sin that you need to confess, do so, and accept His forgiveness.  And then, this is often what’s hardest … forgive yourself.  God has forgiven you, so let it go.  Yes, there may be consequences that you have to live with.  Yes, there may be people who will never forgive you.  It’s important to recognize that they don’t represent God’s view.  You don’t need to walk in shame anymore.  God has called you by name.  He wants to use you.  He wants to expand your tent!  That’s something to rejoice about!  As verse 1 says, shout for joy!  Break forth into joyful shouting!  God has amazing plans for you!

 

Isaiah 54:1-4

“Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child;
Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed;
For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous
Than the sons of the married woman,” says the Lord.
“Enlarge the place of your tent;
Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not;
Lengthen your cords
And strengthen your pegs.
 “For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left.
And your descendants will possess nations
And will resettle the desolate cities.

“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the shame of your youth,
And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.

 

For the first part of this series, go here:

 

My Ever-Fruitful Womb (Isaiah 54, part 1)

 

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar
wpDiscuz