Would you recognize the perfect version of yourself that God sees in you because of Jesus? Sometimes I feel like I wouldn't. In fact, it can be discouraging just trying to envision myself that way. I think sometimes as Christians, we feel so completely enveloped by our sin that we forget that this sinful, imperfect, temptation-ridden version of ourselves is only temporary. We can't see the light at the end of the tunnel because our vision is clouded by our imperfect perception.
Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see the perfect, blameless child-of-God our Heavenly Father sees when He looks at you? Or do you see the messy, plagued-by-evil-desires sinner that you are without Jesus' mercy? Do you have Christian friends in your life who can assure you that you, too, have been clothed in Jesus' righteousness? Don't forget to include Him in your opinion of yourself. No sin is too big for His forgiveness. No matter how flawed our perception is, God knows who we are in His Son. Our truest identities depend on Him and what He has done rather than on ourselves and all of our shortcomings.
"For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13-14 NIV).
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9 NIV).
"So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." (Galatians 3:26-27 NIV).
Taleya Williamson is the Operations Manager at New Beginnings. She was born and raised in Puyallup, Washington and attended Evergreen Lutheran High School. Taleya recently graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College with a Bachelors of Science in psychology with a minor in anthropology. In her free time, Taleya enjoys spending time with her husband, David.
I still remember the first time my parents demonstrated tough love. I was about 5 or 6 years old, and I absolutely loved making mud pies in the backyard. You know, mix some dirt, water, grass, leaves, and sticks in a bucket like a mud pie! Other kids did this too, right? In any event, my dad disliked the fact that when I was done mixing my mud pie that I would dump it all over the lawn. What a mess! He told me not to make any more mud pies and that if I did there would be consequences. Can you guess what happened?
....I know the suspense is killing you....
I made another mud pie, and this time my dad caught me mid-stir. This marked the first time that I was “grounded.” I do not even remember what “grounded” meant for me at five years old, but I do remember that I never made a mud pie again after that.
Why does this matter? Well, I am using this story to illustrate a point. Tough love works. It is difficult for a parent to do, but it is a necessary learning tool for the child. Tough love does not just apply to children; it applies to us as well. We see numerous examples of the consequences of choices in the Bible – the most obvious, of course, is the story of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). Additionally, the story of David and Bathsheba also illustrates this point very clearly. If you recall, (long story short) David saw Bathsheba from afar and made the choice to sleep with her. Bathsheba became pregnant, and David did everything he could think of to cover up his sin. As a result of his sin, Bathsheba’s husband was killed, and David’s son died as a consequence for his actions (2 Samuel 11 & 12).
At New Beginnings, the most difficult part of our job is to demonstrate tough love. The mothers come to New Beginnings for a reason – they need a new start for themselves and their child. Often times, the mothers who need us, need us because of some of the poor choices they have made in their past. As a part of preparation for a life centered on Christ’s love, we must demonstrate His love, which sometimes consists of tough love. Please continue to pray for the mothers and children at New Beginnings.
We pray that God provides each mother with the strength and resilience to overcome her past, and live a fulfilling, Christ-centered life.
Brianne Hansen is the Executive Director at New Beginnings. She grew up in Marshall, WI and graduated from Lakeside Lutheran High School. Brianne has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UW-Milwaukee and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys singing, camping, spending time with her dog (Bella) and cats (Mufasa & Jasmine), and going on adventures with her husband, Daniel.
I think we hope that our faith will becoming someone else’s faith.
Please do not confuse what I am communicating. We always need to encourage another spiritually. We cannot have faith for someone else. We can tell someone what we think, believe, or we behave by our morals but in the end of the day they will do whatever they desire to think or do.
The saying God has children but has no grandchildren is something that I heard from someone close to me. The saying means that God has a personal relationship with all of his followers. Jesus’ followers have their own personal faith through the Holy Spirit not because of a parent or grandparent. Parents have good intentions and desire the best for their children but cannot have faith for their children in place of the children’s faith. I am not saying that children do not need to be trained and brought up in the Christian faith on the contrary I am stating the opposite. The point that I am trying to make is that eventually the children need to have their own personal relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The children need to be raised up in the church where they will be encouraged by other Christians and where they will learn about God through Bible reading and devotions. Furthermore, they need to learn about God at home both by example of the parent or parents through daily Bible reading, devotions, words, and behaviors.
Elyse Kipfer was an intern at New Beginnings July through September of 2017 and is now a current Resident Supervisor at New Beginnings. She is a Psychology Major and Communication Minor at Wisconsin Lutheran College. She aspires to be a Christian counselor for victims of sexual violence. Her free time consists spending time with her horse, dog, family, and friends. Furthermore, she enjoys having deep conversations and digging into God’s Word.