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Date: 07.10.17
A Personal Story About Young Love, Regret, and Grace

When I was a very young woman, I loved a young man and he loved me. We spent over three years together and adored one another. But like many young people, I didn’t have the necessary wisdom or emotional maturity to navigate a relationship. To make a very long story short, I hurt this young man and he met—and married—someone else.

Before he became acquainted with his new girlfriend, I went to him with a deeply remorseful heart and asked for forgiveness, but he didn’t grant it. For several years, I sought his favor repeatedly with an ocean of tears and apologies, but to no avail. My heart was desperately broken and for years after our breakup I doubted I would ever recover. I was certain nothing good could come from what happened. Condemnation, self-hatred, and rejection defined me. Sadly, because this young man didn’t forgive me, I didn’t forgive myself. Because he didn’t give me a second chance, I didn’t give myself a second chance either.

In my thirties, the sting of this broken relationship lessened, but it was still part of my story. I never felt closure and several failed relationships only added to my belief that I had permanently ruined my life and any chance of experiencing love.

Then, in my early forties, after years of praying for a mate and never feeling loved in any relationship like I had with this young man, I believed the lie that I would never marry because of my past. I thought, “I had one chance when I was young and I blew it. Now, I am reaping the consequences of the bad decision I made twenty years ago. I made my bed; now I have to lie in it.” In a moment of deep grief, I called a close friend and shared my thoughts. She said, “Shana, that’s not how God works.”

Later, after I married when I was forty-six, I realized I was missing something important about God’s grace: that it’s like an umbrella that covers the timeline of our lives. It’s like this:

 

 

From birth to death, God’s grace—or His unmerited favor—covers every moment, every circumstance, and even every sin. His covenantal sacrifice on the cross guarantees it. It doesn’t mean He approves of sin, but that His plans for your life are greater than your sin. His favor is bigger than your sin.

But this isn’t how I saw God’s grace. I saw the timeline of my life like this:

 

 

At the times when I had blown it, and particularly when I had sinned against my boyfriend, I believed there were holes in the umbrella of God’s grace. That’s why I thought, “I blew it. I made my bed; now I just have to suffer.” But just as my friend said, that’s not how God works. If it was, then grace wouldn’t be grace because grace is undeserved.

Granted, sometimes there are natural consequences for sin. For example, if you murder someone, you may end up in prison. If you are unfaithful to your mate, they may divorce you.  And, if you hurt your boyfriend, he may not forgive you. But, please hear me again. . . God’s grace is greater than your sin.

Grace doesn’t guarantee that the natural consequences of what you did wrong will be wiped away in the natural, but it does guarantee that God’s favor will follow you all of your life. God is not a one-chance God.  He doesn’t say, “Three strikes and you’re out.” His grace guarantees that He is continually working in your life to grow you and bless you like a good and patient father does with a child that he loves. His never-changing, always-present unmerited favor is guaranteed as a result of the covenant that He made when He died on the cross for you.

No matter what you have done in the past, and no matter how you are failing in the present, His unmerited favor never leaves. That means that you are never, ever stuck in the consequences of your sin without God’s redemption, without Him turning something bad into something beautiful and without Him working to bless you.

Maybe you’re asking, “But what about God’s discipline?” Granted, the Lord disciplines those He loves. But His discipline only lasts for a season. It doesn’t last forever. God doesn’t punish us just to put us in our place. He disciplines us to help us grow. His discipline is always done in love.

God’s grace, His unmerited favor, is like an umbrella that covers the timeline of your life. There aren’t ever any holes in the umbrella of God’s grace, no matter what you have done. Because of Jesus, you will never, ever lose God’s grace. If you could, it wouldn’t be grace at all, would it?

Please share a comment here and let me know how God’s grace—His unmerited favor—has followed you.

 

 

Comments

14 thoughts on “A Personal Story About Young Love, Regret, and Grace

  1. Thank you for your transparency Shana. I’ve been blessed by your posts and blogs. So grateful to have come across your Facebook page.

  2. Hi Shana,
    I recently foind yout facebook page and find your vlogs and articles insightful. Brings me new hope and enhances my indrrstanding of God’s love and grace. Thank you!

  3. Thank you for this!!! I often struggle with guilt and shame thinking God is done with me I blew it. The part that says our sin is not bigger than his grace stuck out to me in a profound way. Thank you for sharing, I love your ministry.

  4. The part about God’s discipline only lasting for a season was very meaningful as I have recently been struggling with things that happened many years ago. I had not seen the parties involved for over 12 years until this week and it was starting to bring up old wounds. This reminded me that not only am I covered in God’s grace, but others are too!

    1. Hi, Kenda.

      So sorry for those things that hurt you. It’s understandable that it would be difficult when seeing the people who were involved after all this time–especially if you felt as if there wasn’t closure. The knots in our lives may not become unknotted, but He will tie them into a greater story of redemption…that’s for certain!

      The Lord’s blessings on your day, Kenda!
      Shana

  5. Dear Shana..
    Such a great blog! I myself still think about a relationship that I had about 25 years ago where the man of my dreams whom I was supposed to marry ended without much closure..Even today I find myself thinking of him and longing to have that relationship back after a mutual breakup. He is always in the back of my mind and I am still saddened by us not being together, even though I havev been remarried(now divorced) and other relationships. Can you give me advice on how I can stop thinking of him once and for all. Thank you..

    1. Hi, Melanie.

      I do understand this. I am sorry that you have wrestled with this. It can hurt a lot. It took me years and years to really make peace with the relationship I describe in this post. There were several reasons that I was unable to let go and that my heart stayed broken. I covered several of them in this vlog post for SingleOver30.

      Also, I think one thing that helps is to attached meaning to your struggle, meaning that you find purpose in it, and that you find purpose in your present situation. If you can understand how your experiences have benefited you and “frame” them within the context of redemption that also helps. And then there is guarding your mind. Allowing “What if” thoughts to occupy your mind is futile. I know this is all easier said than done, but it truly does take a guarding of one’s mind. Also, if you haven’t read it yet, this post may also encourage you. https://www.facebook.com/SingleOver30.net/posts/2120430034880500:0 And of course, there is God in all of it, who is faithful to bring healing. I pray He does that for you in full and grants you His peace. I hope something I have written helps. Many blessings, Shana

  6. Thank you for sharing such an honest testimony, and for reminding us all that God’s love covers a multitude of sins. His grace is bigger, infinitely greater than our sin!

  7. Thank you Shana for sharing your story! The blessing I’ve found it in was the honesty of you saying “I messed up” and your struggle with grace to believe again for the best. I went through (and am going through) a similar story. I let a young man go (not kindly) who I’ve come to question whether he was “the one” for me. I beat myself up with condemnation still. I too approached him again, although he was kind about it. It was me who felt the rejection this time. What a hard lesson I’ve been learning. I can’t seem to forgive myself or find hope for the future. But reading articles like this helps me get through this complicated time. Please keep writing. God is using you!!

    1. Hi, Naomi!

      You are so very welcome. Thanks for stopping by. I am saying a prayer for you right now. My story sounds very similar. I was uncertain as well. I have learned to give myself the grace that God has given me.
      His grace isn’t as I said, “One strike and you’re out.” And that grace covers our lives to bring us blessings over and over. I am praying that the Lord will enable you to let go and see that you will not be punished and that He has good stored up for you.

      Peace to you, Naomi. (Love your name!)
      Shana

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  • Thank you for your transparency Shana. I’ve been blessed by your posts and blogs. So grateful to have come across your Facebook page.

  • Hi Shana,
    I recently foind yout facebook page and find your vlogs and articles insightful. Brings me new hope and enhances my indrrstanding of God’s love and grace. Thank you!

  • Thank you for this!!! I often struggle with guilt and shame thinking God is done with me I blew it. The part that says our sin is not bigger than his grace stuck out to me in a profound way. Thank you for sharing, I love your ministry.

  • The part about God’s discipline only lasting for a season was very meaningful as I have recently been struggling with things that happened many years ago. I had not seen the parties involved for over 12 years until this week and it was starting to bring up old wounds. This reminded me that not only am I covered in God’s grace, but others are too!

    • Hi, Kenda.

      So sorry for those things that hurt you. It’s understandable that it would be difficult when seeing the people who were involved after all this time–especially if you felt as if there wasn’t closure. The knots in our lives may not become unknotted, but He will tie them into a greater story of redemption…that’s for certain!

      The Lord’s blessings on your day, Kenda!
      Shana

  • Dear Shana..
    Such a great blog! I myself still think about a relationship that I had about 25 years ago where the man of my dreams whom I was supposed to marry ended without much closure..Even today I find myself thinking of him and longing to have that relationship back after a mutual breakup. He is always in the back of my mind and I am still saddened by us not being together, even though I havev been remarried(now divorced) and other relationships. Can you give me advice on how I can stop thinking of him once and for all. Thank you..

    • Hi, Melanie.

      I do understand this. I am sorry that you have wrestled with this. It can hurt a lot. It took me years and years to really make peace with the relationship I describe in this post. There were several reasons that I was unable to let go and that my heart stayed broken. I covered several of them in this vlog post for SingleOver30.

      Also, I think one thing that helps is to attached meaning to your struggle, meaning that you find purpose in it, and that you find purpose in your present situation. If you can understand how your experiences have benefited you and “frame” them within the context of redemption that also helps. And then there is guarding your mind. Allowing “What if” thoughts to occupy your mind is futile. I know this is all easier said than done, but it truly does take a guarding of one’s mind. Also, if you haven’t read it yet, this post may also encourage you. https://www.facebook.com/SingleOver30.net/posts/2120430034880500:0 And of course, there is God in all of it, who is faithful to bring healing. I pray He does that for you in full and grants you His peace. I hope something I have written helps. Many blessings, Shana

  • Thank you for sharing such an honest testimony, and for reminding us all that God’s love covers a multitude of sins. His grace is bigger, infinitely greater than our sin!

  • Thank you Shana for sharing your story! The blessing I’ve found it in was the honesty of you saying “I messed up” and your struggle with grace to believe again for the best. I went through (and am going through) a similar story. I let a young man go (not kindly) who I’ve come to question whether he was “the one” for me. I beat myself up with condemnation still. I too approached him again, although he was kind about it. It was me who felt the rejection this time. What a hard lesson I’ve been learning. I can’t seem to forgive myself or find hope for the future. But reading articles like this helps me get through this complicated time. Please keep writing. God is using you!!

    • Hi, Naomi!

      You are so very welcome. Thanks for stopping by. I am saying a prayer for you right now. My story sounds very similar. I was uncertain as well. I have learned to give myself the grace that God has given me.
      His grace isn’t as I said, “One strike and you’re out.” And that grace covers our lives to bring us blessings over and over. I am praying that the Lord will enable you to let go and see that you will not be punished and that He has good stored up for you.

      Peace to you, Naomi. (Love your name!)
      Shana

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