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Tindell Baldwin »

Why Shame isn’t your Story… and the hungry caterpillar

I was reading Claire her favorite book this morning (the hungry caterpillar) and the last page says the caterpillar turned into a beautiful butterfly. I closed the book and whispered to Claire, really without thinking, that this is what God has done for us.  I stared at the butterfly and realized we all get made new, our slate is cleaned, our debt is paid, we’re new.

The shame that covered our yesterdays is gone. I can write passionately about this because I know what it feels to have shame hurled at you. I know what freedom granted by my Savior feels like but I have also heard the lie so loud it hurts, “but you have such a past, remember what you used to do.”

So what do when we feel such guilt, such shame, such pain that relates to our past? How do we move forward into today and tomorrow actually believing we have been made new?

Here’s the thing about shame, its crippling. It makes us feel like we aren’t worth God’s love and forgiveness.  If you and I believe that we aren’t good enough for God we will never move forward into what he has for us. We will stay in our pity party of past sin and work really hard to forgive ourselves with no avail. I can say this with both confidence and freedom, we will never be good enough for God. He makes us good, new, and clean. Not us.  Shame doesn’t just tell me I have a past it tells me its up to me to make up for that. Shames says that past sin makes me unfit for God’s kingdom but Jesus says it is finished and my redemption makes me a perfect fit.

Shame isn’t your story. Guilt isn’t your story and working really hard to make yourself look better won’t do anything but exhaust you. The only one that can clear our rebellion and wipe our slate clean is the one who was clean. We all have a past. We all were messed up and some of us you could tell by looking at their life (me) but some hid it better. Either way we had a heart condition that needed fixing. Jesus came, we either accept that he saves us or we don’t, and we move forward.

So what do we do? When the voice of our past is screaming into our ears as we commit to move forward? We believe the one who wiped us clean and said there is no condemnation (romans 8) we believe him when he says we are dearly loved (Colossians 3:12) and we trust him when he says we are cleared of our sin (psalm 32).

I talked to a sweet girl last night who is moving into a new life and I sent her this verse reminding her that she will be reminded of who she used to be but she has a choice to go back. You get a choice to trust Gods truth and you get to choose to be who says you are not who you were yesterday.

“Oh what Joy for those who rebellion has been FORGIVEN whose sin is put OUT OF SIGHT! Yes what JOY for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty.”Psalm 32:1-2


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  • Blythe morocco - Hi tindell!
    I am a senior at buckhead church and have been going to IO for as long as I can remember. A couple months ago I walked into Barnes and noble looking for a good book to read- which is odd because I am not really a reader. I picked up your book when I saw the ironic title and opened to the first page. I sat down and began to read. I think I spent an hour in the store before I knew I had to buy the book. I picked 6 off the shelf and have them to all my friends. I’ve marked highlighted and re read parts of your book over and over again. Everything is so genuine. By god grace, I have never realtalk taped in to the part scene (thank god for small group leaders and Jamey dickens) but I often wondered what the point of it all was. You’re testimony- it did that. Your book filled the gaps and questions I had been wondering about. I think I scared my mom as I screamed when I found out on twitter you would be speaking at IO!! Your video was just as inspiring as your story and I know it’s not a quincidence that these chain of events take place. Reading this blog is awesome and I will be sharing this in Thursday morning bible studies with girls at my high school. For my FCA speech, I think I quoted your entire book. Thanks for having the courage to write it down. I hope you realize how much of an effect you are having on teenage girls. We were thirsting for this kind of story- one written down to refer to. One of hope, joy, and honest truth about the battles in life. I can not thank you enough. So excited for your posts!
    With much thanks,
    Blythe moroccoReplyCancel

  • Anna Etheriedge - Loved this! Beautifully said. My husband and I came to see you at NP’s Insideout, with our precious recovering addict. We all thought the video was excellent! I stayed for the question/answer with the girls- Well done!!! I hope they did a video feed of that part as well. I especially loved that your brother sang and when your husband came on stage with your baby girl afterward. What a super ending to your talk. All those girls could see just how God redeems us in amazing ways. You’re making a difference to so many. -Anna
    PS-Your baby is precious!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Lesley - Hi Tindell! I found you through Twitter and I’ve hopped on your blog once a few months ago. I just stopped back in tonight and wanted to thank you for this post. I love the Hungry Caterpillar (it’s a favorite with our 2 year old!) but I’ve never thought about how redemptive the ending is. By chance, I also blogged about shame today. Shame is not an emotion I normally feel, but since becoming a mother it has crept in more and more. So happy we have Jesus’ eternal promise to make us new again. Anyway, nice to “meet” you. Lovely blog! Added your book to my Amazon wish list.ReplyCancel

  • Bits + Pieces | One Passion One Devotion - […] Why Shame isn’t your Story… and the hungry caterpillar by Tindell Baldwin […]ReplyCancel

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