Bringing Our Past Into His Presence (by guest O’Shea Lowery)
I first met O’Shea Lowery when I was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on a writing assignment for The Alabama Baptist newspaper. She was filming a video series of her new Bible study soon to be released. I was impressed with Shea’s abandoned love for Christ and the desire in her heart to appeal to single moms and the oppressed. After all, she had lived a hard life ever since her husband unexpectedly died on the job site from electrocution. “I was a 24-year-old stay-at-home mom with no college education. I had awakened that morning a married woman and went to bed that night a single mom.” But Shea didn’t wallow in her sorrow; she got a job, went back to school, then to seminary, established a ministry, and now has a growing ministerial reputation. I asked if she’d be willing to share a word of blessing through my blog. Here’s what she had to say:
Countless people today are nurturing their past with great care. Instead of bringing their history to Christ, they have continued to advance with broken hearts over past failures, never having dealt with them. As a result, many remain captive to their former days. They allow the emotion of shame to rule instead of allowing God’s peace to rule.
I know firsthand how painful and scary it is to bring our past to Christ, but I also know the freedom that comes from doing so. I had to entrust not only my past to God but my disappointment and shame as well. Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). I spent numerous years running from my “yesterdays” and suffered greatly for it. I felt it was too painful to discuss my past with God. I was embarrassed by the choices I had made and feared anyone finding out. Yet my denial to face my Savior was delaying the healing He desired to bring into my life.
One evening I walked into my closet, sat down in the dark, and through the Spirit’s guidance, I made a decision to bring my history to God. At that moment, His grace collided with my shame, overtaking my broken heart with love.
God gave me the courage to bring my past to His throne room of grace. And that is precisely what I experienced – grace. No more Band-Aids placed upon my life’s issues. Divine intervention covered them instead. God took my “yesterdays” so He could give me His tomorrows with new beginnings. He took my fears and gave me His peace. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity but of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).
While walking through the restoration journey, we can quickly become apprehensive, especially if we focus on our circumstances rather than on God. Whatever we allow to steal our attention is what will captivate our hearts. I remember frequent periods where the enemy would tempt me to dwell on the uncertainties of my past. I eventually came to realize the enemy was devising a strategic plan to build strongholds. Satan knew if he could keep me living in fear, then I would never embrace or even know the freedom God longed to give me.
Fear is a tool of the enemy to entrap us in bondage to our past. When we surrender to its power, it can have a crippling impact on our lives. God tells us in Isaiah 41:10 not to fear. Why? because He is with us. Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
When I relinquished everything to God, my past, and all of my mistakes, He began the most amazing work in my heart. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).
Fear drives us away from God while surrender brings us towards Him. Choose today to bring your past to Christ. In doing so, you can know with certainty that you are safe in His hands. He is a Redeemer and a Restorer, making all things new. Let God hold you, not your past. Let God define you, not your past.
Prayer: Dear Lord, my past has many moments, which fear and shame would love to claim, but today, I am asking You for the courage to bring it all to Your throne of grace. I cannot fix it, I cannot change it, and I cannot make it disappear, but this I know: You can take it, You can redeem it, You can restore it, and You can bring good from it for Your glory and for my best. The past that has been holding me hostage, I give to you today. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
Dr. O’Shea Lowery is a passionate speaker and writer living in Dallas, Texas. She is the founder of Entrusted Hope Ministries (https://entrustedhopeministries.org/) incorporating a variety of ministries designed to strengthen your relationship with Jesus Christ. Shea has a passion for women especially single mothers. She is a regular podcaster for LEAD Magazine, a Christian leadership magazine reaching over a million believers.