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A Garment of Praise

Woman leaping outdoors

Last year I shared a new method I learned of studying the Bible. I read a chapter of the Bible and write down everything that speaks to me. Then, I look at what I’ve written and discern what I think God is saying to me that day. Sometimes I write the verses back to Him as a prayer. It makes bible reading so much more personal.

The other day I was reading Isaiah 61. This is one of my most favorite chapters in the Bible. I used verses from it to begin every chapter in my recent book A Journey to Healing After Emotional Abuse. I love this chapter because it speaks to my heart as a former domestic violence victim. It helps me see God’s intense love for me and other survivors and that He has great plans for our future.

Here are the verses that spoke to me as I read:

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me . . .

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners

2 to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;

And you will be called priests of the Lord,
    you will be named ministers of our God.

Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance. . .
    and everlasting joy will be yours.

8 In my faithfulness I will reward my people
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.

10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.

This is the prayer I wrote to God using these verses:

Lord, I delight in you, and my soul rejoices in you. Thank you for giving me a ministry to those who have suffered abuse. Give me strength so I can help you bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom to the captives and release the prisoners of abuse from their darkness.

Lord, I praise you for releasing me from darkness – the darkness of unbelief and the darkness of thinking I must forever remain married to someone who treated me with contempt.  Help me to comfort all those who mourn and to provide help and hope for those who grieve. Thank you for bringing me from a place of perpetual mourning to a place of joy.

Lord, you’ve given me and all abuse survivors beauty where we once only had ashes. You’ve poured on our heads the oil of joy instead of mourning. We now wear garments of praise instead of garments of despair.

Lord, help us restore places in our hearts that were long devastated. Instead of my shame, I have now received a double portion of love and joy, children and grandchildren. I pray you will do the same for all my sisters and brothers who have experienced abuse. Instead of the disgrace I once lived in, You have given me an inheritance of everlasting joy.

You now call us oaks of righteousness for the display of Your splendor. Tweet This

Lord, you give each of us the opportunity to be called your priests and ministers. Help me and other survivors learn to help others Lord. Please give us the strength to bless those who are in the darkness where we once lived.

Thank you so much Lord for your faithfulness in rewarding your people with an everlasting covenant. You alone are worthy to be praised. Amen

Question: Have you ever tried to read the Bible this way? If so, do you think it makes it more personal for you?

May God bless you all today.

Caroline

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