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The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
Psalm 103:8-12 (NLT)
The moment I saw the unfamiliar number flash across the screen, I knew what I’d done. My stomach dropped and my heart jumped into my throat as my wide eyes stared at my phone. Do I answer? What do I say? How could I have done this?
As my phone rang, the meeting I’d forgotten about came rushing back to my mind. I was mortified and full of shame. It wasn’t just a casual coffee date I’d missed. I had been scheduled for months to speak at a moms’ group, and though I’d prepared my talk and written the address (and time!) in my planner, it had somehow slipped my mind completely when I got up that morning. A group of women had been counting on me, and I didn’t show up.
I’ve forgotten meetings and missed appointments before that day — and since. But two things from this incident have stuck with me.
First, my immediate reaction to that phone call surprised me — and not in a good way. Understandably, I was embarrassed and disappointed in myself. Anger and shame seemed like reasonable responses in that moment. But as I touched the button to answer the call, my shame doubled when I took note of the list of excuses running through my head.
My first thought, when faced with a mistake, was to lie about it.
Somehow, thankfully, God gave me the strength and character to own up to what I’d done without trying to cover it up. I answered the call from the meeting coordinator and, in a rush, told her that I’d inexplicably forgotten the meeting and was now so, so, so sorry.
I held my breath as I waited for her response. I didn’t wait long because right away, this woman I’d let down assured me that it was okay. She wasn’t angry, she understood that sometimes we just mess up, and she offered me another chance by rescheduling.
That’s the second thing I’ll never forget. As I hung up the phone, overcome by pent-up tears and adrenaline, I sat on my stairs shaking. I’d been perilously close to compounding my mistake with another, willful one — and just as close to condemnation from the person I’d hurt. And yet, I’d escaped unscathed. Forgiven and free, with a second chance to move forward.
Obviously most of us will make bigger mistakes than missing a meeting. But whether we’re facing sins great or small, every single one of us has sinned. We’ve all fallen short of the holy, unblemished glory of God. And only Jesus can pay the price for our crimes.
Only Jesus can — and only Jesus does. Jesus stands in the gap between the reality of our mistakes and the perfection of God, reaching across the canyon we’ve created to pull us back into relationship with our heavenly Father.
Are you caught in your mistakes right now? In between the phone ringing and picking it up to admit what you’ve done? Don’t be afraid, friend. Like the woman who called me, God isn’t angry. He understands that sometimes we just mess up. And through the sacrifice of Jesus, He wants to offer you another chance.
Don’t hide. Don’t brainstorm ways to cover it up. Don’t beat yourself up, either. Look to the Lord and hear Him say, “You are forgiven.” Accept His mercy, grace, and love.
Beloved, nothing you have ever done or will ever do can separate you from the love of God. He loves you, and that will never change.
You are forgiven.
This story was written by (in)courage writer Mary Carver.
What do you say when asked, “Who are you?” It seems like an easy question, except most of us answer incorrectly. We answer with all the roles we play: “I’m a wife/husband, a mom/dad, a daughter/son, an employee.” Those roles are important, but not as important as who you really are.
Did you know who you are is a direct result of Whose you are?
You are a child of God. You are loved, forgiven, known, and blessed. You have a purpose and a reason for hope. Your identity is in Christ. You are His.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 100:3 (NIV)
Come along with DaySpring this year on an adventure to experience the truth of your identity.
DaySpring has a resource that can help remind you exactly whose you are. Their Hope & Encouragement Bible includes twelve life-changing truths that highlight different dimensions of our identity as children of God. For example, you are loved, you are known, and over all, you are His.
Sign up here for a free sampler excerpt from the Hope & Encouragement Bible! We want these truths to sink into your soul so that you may know how loved you really are, so we’re giving away a Hope & Encouragement Bible! Just leave a comment telling us what it means to you that you are loved by God.
Giveaway open until 11:59pm central on 4/4/2022 to US addresses only.
Sharon A says
It means everything to me that I am God’s. What better news is there..
Ruth Mills says
Amen, Mary! You put into words the reality of the tension between my sins & truth of Jesus in the gap! What a awesome God we have filling that gap before we even know there is one. Perfect love!
God, to be loved by You means everything to me. I am forgiven. I am chosen. I am loved and cared for. Father, You are more than enough. In Jesus’ Name, amen
Thank you for sharing! I needed to hear these truths!
It is so reassuring to me that I am loved by God, fully and completely, even when I mess up. There are so many days that I don’t feel loved by anyone else, especially since my dad passed away. He was the only one on this earth that I felt complete, unconditional love from and that’s a feeling I really miss.
Brenda M. Russell says
It’s wonderful to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior !
It’s been 51 years since that decision was made by a 12 year old me. Usually focused on homework and Sunday School Lessons. How great it is now to know that even at that immature age God claimed my life through His Son Jesus, who redeemed me at Calvary.
Yes, I am valuable to the Kingdom of God because I am God’s Beloved Daughter. Not because I do all things right but because of God’s unfailing love for me. I am cherished and adored just as I am. Although it is my learned desire to make my Father proud of me by learning more about His love for me.
God sees all things about my life and those I love. He works everything out to its proper end. We don’t know how to shut down our emotions to keep away shame, fear, unbelief, worry, doubt, fatigue, hurt feelings and rejection. These deceitful things will bombard us so we can see God as human instead of our All Powerful, Holy and Loving Father. We humans don’t really know how to love unconditionally, we aspire to love the Agape way. We are learning so much o our Christian Journey. As long as we keep drawing near to God, He will keep drawing near to us.
The Holy Spirit will continue to teach me Truth. I am reminded each day that I am loved, I am created in the likeness and image of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit (The Trinity) as only a Christ Follower can accept by Faith. I can do all things through God who strengthens me. I have the mind of Christ. Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.
I am created meticulously and God knew me and called me before my parents knew about me. I am chosen by God for His praise and His purpose in the Kingdom. No weapon forged against me will ever prosper.
I know to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Now I accept my position by Faith in the finished work of Jesus on the Cross. He is risen, indeed He is risen !
God bless you all.
When my boys head out the door, I try to remember to tell them these two things: Make good choices and remember whose you are. It is easy for me to say to them but not always easy for me to say to myself. I am thankful for my Lord and Savior who forgives me.
To beloved by God—-oh, it means so much! That I can face each day with the confidence that God is right there beside me, leading me and guiding me. It is what allows us to keep going through trials and blessings!
To be loved by God means everything to me, there’s no better friend that sticks closer than Jesus. Without Him I would be loaded. Thank you Mary for this beautiful reminder.
Stacey E. says
It means everything to me. I always fear that I am not good enough for Him. What a blessing it would be to get a free copy of this Bible. Blessings to you all.
Mary, you seem to be in the spotlight a lot lately at (in)courage! And deservedly so. This is just another example of how you meet us right where we are. Well done!
Angie S. says
I am absolutely NOTHING without the Lord. It is all because of His love for me that I am where I am today. And I praise God for His unfailing love, faithfulness, and tender mercies every morning I wake up blessed with another new lease on life.
I have been blessed and enjoyed reading Encourage daily. Thanks a million, and blessings to all the contributors.
I’m filled with awe whenever I think about the fact that I am loved, truly and deeply, by God. While I know it to be true, it is sometimes hard to feel or believe that, given how flawed and imperfect I am. God’s grace and love is truly unfathomable, and to be loved by Him is the greatest gift we can receive.
I have been thinking lately about how Jesus loved me so much that he died on the cross for me.
Being loved by God means absolutely everything to me. I don’t even have words enough!
Being loved by God means I am forgiven and there’s a purpose in my life to show his love. Thank heavens for his mercy and grace because I am still working on showing that love in ways that he wants.
The cross is a constant reminder for me.
I have been thinking a lot lately how Jesus died on the cross for me.
Sharon Earls says
It seems that my identity is the thing the enemy works hardest to alter. I have to continually work to hold on to my identity in Christ.
Jennifer Jones Blankenship says
I thought the message was very inspirational. i loved the message and I know Jesus is guiding me with God, the Father, and through his grace.
Pearl Allard says
I can relate to this story though different circumstances. SO grateful for Jesus’ grace!! Mary, thank you for this reminder. And the Hope & Encouragement Bible sounds spot on. What does it mean to me that I am loved? A lot of things, but what sticks out today is that I am safe in that love. It doesn’t depend on my productivity or performance. It just always is.
Kathy McKinsey says
I thank God for all the times and ways he reminds me I am forgiven. thank you.
Beth Williams says
What does it mean that God loves me? It means the world to me. I’m in awe that Jesus would leave the splendor of Heaven, come down to broken Earth & die a horrible death just for me!!! This reminds me of the song Greater: Every time I fall There’ll be those who will call me A mistake Well that’s okay Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed When others say I’ll never be enough And greater is the One living inside of me Than he who is living in the world.
We don’t have to worry about what the world says about us. We may be small, but with God we are mighty & loved dearly! Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.” Rejoice over little me with singing. Almost to much to comprehend!
Tracey Miller says
Being loved by God is mind blowing to me. He sees my sins and know every failure and yet still loves me. This confounds me and makes me so grateful.
Nancy Ruegg says
Only Jesus! You are so right: He’s the only One who can stand in the gap between our sinfulness and the perfection of God. Thank you for your honesty in telling this story, and reminding us of the magnitude of our Savior’s grace and mercy!
What God means to me? What a question am I right ladies? Let me try to put into mere words who our Savior is: He is my hope, my peace, my eternal salvation and my loving Father. And as my Father, He reminds me whose I am, that He is a fortress for my soul and compass pointing me to my created purpose which is to share the gospel while bringing glory to His kingdom. I am so thank for Jesus and humbled that he gave his life for us. Daily I am honored to be part of his flock with all of you; hoping that I do justice in loving the Lord God with all my heart and serving and loving those I come in contact with!