by Susan Tuttle

I've been memorizing Scripture this year over on my blog Steps, and the current verse I've been working on is:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43: 18-19

When I first read this, I focused on how God tells us not to look back, to not dwell on our past. And oh, can we do that, right? All our mistakes can really trip us up, to the point that we forget they are forgiven and we are redeemed. But we are the moment we ask God to forgive them! 1 John 1:9 says If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

And I do think this is a great way to look at the verse in Isaiah. It's a great nudge to look forward to your new life and stop staring in your rear view mirror at your old life. 

However, this week I saw the verse in another light. Sometimes it's not that we can't hurdle our past, but that we cling to it. Sure, we may have been in bondage (think of how the Israelites WANTED to return to Egypt at one point--seriously, check out Numbers 14:1-4) but when that's all we know, when our bondage has become our comfort zone and our habit, then sometimes we don't want to let it go. We want to stay there.

But God is saying - FORGET it! Let it go and stop dwelling there because I'm doing a NEW thing here!

For a new thing to happen, you've got to let go of the old, otherwise it's just the same-ol-same-ol. Sure, it can be scary, but if we want to keep growing into who God has created us to be, we've got to let go of our grip on the familiar and cling to the new.

Because when God's in the new, it's something you won't want to miss.

by Susan Tuttle

But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11

I was having not the best of days a few weeks back. The house was a mess, I was behind on most chores, we'd barely survived the homeschooling day, and dinner still needed to be cooked. I began chopping and stirring, while simultaneously clearing off the dining table from a recent painting project my girls had taken on. (I am so not a craft mom. Not even gonna pretend here.)

My youngest came into the kitchen to check out what I was doing. Now, can I just say, she is the child God saw fit to bless us with about the time Hubby and I were sure we had this whole parenting thing down. I do believe He daily chuckles over that one--God is so good to us, isn't He?

Anyway...Raleigh came into the kitchen and eyed the paint tray I had just set on the counter to dry. Knowing what she was about to do, I calmly told her, "DO NOT touch those paints!"...however, Raleigh's fingers seem to have a mind of their own. She so badly wants to do good, she wants to listen, but sometimes her desires get the best of her, and before I could even blink my eye, her finger poked into the black paint. She just couldn't help herself.

And there her fingertip was, black paint against her white skin. One small spot that could create one big mess if I let her leave the kitchen.

My water was boiling, my meat was sizzling, and I here sat with my girl who had paint on her little hand.

Now, her sin was disobeying me, but my sin came in my anger. Isn't it great that God loves us enough to not leave us there?

I snatched her hand, flipped on the kitchen faucet, and pushed her finger under it and yelled at her, "Why can't you listen? Now your hand's a mess and I have to clean it up." Figuring I'd have to scrub, I reached my hand into the water and rubbed my finger across hers. When I twisted my hand up, the spot was gone from her hand--completely, as if it had never been--and my fingertip was now black. One round dot of black now marring my white skin, and that's when God nailed me:

This is what I do for you on a daily basis, Daughter--clean you up when you've failed to listen. I take your black spots of sin onto my own skin, leaving you clean and white. I wear them for you, so that you don't have to. So that you can stand before My Father without spot or blemish.

Oh, boy. Talk about hitting me right between the eyes.

I am no better than my daughter, I'm simply older. There are so many moments where I hear Him tell me to not touch something, and yet my hand reaches out for that temptation. And when I call, He gently takes my hand and cleans me up.

That's what grace is.

We need Him. Every second, of every hour, of every day, we need Him. We are far from perfect people, and yet He covers us with His perfection. And why? Because He loves us.

If you're struggling with something today--whether you are a Christian or only just finding Jesus--call out to Him. He'll wipe every one of your spots out and wash you white as snow.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

And if you want to read more about it, check out Psalm 51 here...and be blessed today:)