when self-contempt and Jesus collide

[mk_page_section][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][mk_dropcaps style=”fancy-style” size=”80″ padding=”20″ background_color=”#ffffff” text_color=”#000000″]”I[/mk_dropcaps][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522295736406{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]came back for you.”

I hear you say it, your hand at the small of my back, your arms holding me. For years it was my Father’s voice I recognized. Opening my imagination. Cracking open my heart. When I see me with him. When I hear his voice.

But I didn’t think I could hear yours. Or think I ever wanted to.

I let myself believe that you, underneath the almond tree, eyes filled with tears, stayed only because you couldn’t help it. You couldn’t not be there, loving me, despite me. Because you are Love. Because rescue is what you do. Because rescue is who you are.

I twisted your acts of love into an act of obligation. Not choice. Not beauty. Not treasure. Not freedom. Not life.

A part of my heart rejected you, held you off.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/mk_page_section][mk_page_section][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”5824″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/mk_page_section][mk_page_section][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522292135764{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]I did this even though I knew your sacrifice, your surrender, your suffering, your death, was all a choice. Everything you did was what you chose to do. But I made you small. I warped the truth and said it didn’t apply to me.

Despite the truth. Despite how you came. Despite how you returned me to myself, restored my broken heart, turned darkness into light, and ransomed me.

I wanted to retain control, keep punishing myself by hating myself. But now you teach me this: When self-contempt defines a person, and generational wounds cut deep, kindness to self can feel like a mountain impossible to climb, a summit impossible to reach. But you smash through our self-hatred with a love that rattles heaven.

“I came back for you.”

Yes, you did.

Yes, you do.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/mk_page_section][mk_page_section][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”5846″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/mk_page_section][mk_page_section][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522294254844{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]We hear you.

We see you. We know your laughter.  We feel your breath against our cheek. Your strength upholds us. Your kindness fills us. We dance. And you help us each to stand.

We trust your steps. How you guide us forward, and then back. You invite us to let our arms fall to our sides and then lift them up. The air is sweet, grass lush and soft underneath our bare feet.

We hear your music. Feel it in us. Respond to it with hands open, our feet running now.

Waterfall pounds ahead. River wild rushing hard. We know it is okay to jump. You are here. You will catch us. You show us what we didn’t know before: we love to dance, yes. But we also love to race on rapids with you.

You are taking us deeper now. We see you. We will follow you where you go.

Be safely unpredictable, Jesus. Be extravagantly sure. You are the beautiful one. The brave one. You take us to places messy and wild. Show us more. Show us more. Make us ready to say yes, to wherever you call, and go.

It is easier for us, Jesus, to believe in our despicable nature than surrender, let ourselves be loved anyway, despite it being the last thing we deserve.

But, Jesus, life with you is just too good, you are too good, to not trust you. Help us do whatever it takes, whatever it takes, for more, more of you.

Jesus, help us recognize our biggest struggle right now. Is it trusting you? Is it facing our fears? Is it letting you into the silent, darkest places of our hearts and trusting you to come and heal? Is it doing the hard work of dying to self? Is it following where you lead?

We thank you for how you come, how you are here, how you come back for us, rescuing us, again and again. Never stop. And help us go forward with you, in all that you have for us. In your name we pray, Amen.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/mk_page_section][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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    • Hi Liz! This IS such a beautiful season! I love how you describe it. Praying for MORE of Holy Spirit and Jesus and the Father’s love filling you this Holy Week! Happy Easter!

  • It’s so good to see and hear these words. So much of my time and thoughts have been focused on my shortcomings, sins, self-contempt that is been difficult to get past them and feel His love. I can hear the enemy chuckling, relishing his temporary victory.

    But Christ never quits on us. What a joy to have you remind us, remind ME!
    Thank you for your insight and encouragement. Many blessings to you.

    • Hi Stephanie, One of the toughest things might be recognizing –and naming–the lies we push up against, wounds and misconceptions about God and his love that distort what we believe is true. These can be so difficult to see. So, let us begin with asking for the Father to come–to pursue us, search our hearts, so that we can begin to break these lies that lead to self-hatred and unkindness to ourselves. Our God is so good, so kind. He is so FOR us! I pray his abundant love fills you and restores you–and that we live this day in the truth of our coming fullness in Christ. Psalm 139:23-24

  • Thank you for your beautiful writing. I love that it sounds like Jesus is talking straight to me. I need that. I grew up in a family without a Father and a Mother who was wonderful, but dealt with her own issues of self worth. To see our Heavenly Father as a parental figure made it very hard for me to trust him. In the last 4 years he has been leading me into a real relationship with him. Helping me to know him as my Papa. Someone who loves me so very much and wants the best for me. Some days are still hard in this Journey. I just want to know him in a deeper way. Totally surrendered to him. To truly be different and truly changed. With no doubt of his love. Thank you again for your beautiful words. They bring hope and life.

    • Brenda, I am praying for this now–for Jesus to surprise you and show you more who He sees when He looks at you and interacts with you.

      We ask for more of you, Jesus. We want to hear your voice, feel your touch. We ask for healing of the places in our hearts where we have not allowed you to go. You see us as completely ourselves–free and beautiful because of your love. Help us to receive you and be present with you now. In your name we pray, Amen.

      Thank you so much for your kindness and encouragement, Brenda. I am so grateful to be here with you!

  • I feel like my heart is so hard! I read your words and I cry. Why do I not feel You? Are You only in my head? Am I so bad that You don’t want me to feel Your love? I read your words every day! Praying is hard for me but I still pray! Lord Jesus Please help me find You!

  • Jennifer,

    I stumbled upon Loop for Women devotionals on my You version Bible App. Your perspective and prayers have not only blessed me but the many other women I have shared them with. I feel called and led towards a deeper relationship with God, laying all things down, giving up all things–recognizing that I attempt to surrender and then take back, I Will end that cycle.

    Thank you for your prayers, your perspective, for speaking from your heart. Know that you are touching people’s lives and making a difference. May we continue to grow- with deep desire in our hearts to KNOW HIM above all things. May we place this relationship at the top of our priorities and be done with earthly busyness and “things”. May we engage with others in their brokenness instead of casting a stone. #EachOneReachOne #LoveAltoona

    • Yes, Jesus would love for you to feel His love. I will be praying for you to feel God’s love.