This daily devotional focuses on showing you how precious you are to Christ. You are God’s glory on display – that’s what I’ll share with you here.
“Whoever Brings Blessing Will be Enriched” Proverbs 11:25
Bless Online Discipleship For Women
The format of this devotional for women is “self-examination” so I’ll be sharing my personal story of how I discovered what God says about me and how I came to believing that I am God’s glory on display (just like you). It happened when I was injured, pained, broken, and st the end of my hope. The power of vulnerability is huge, so I trust that sharing my deep insecurities and spiritual breakthroughs with you in this Biblical devotional will encourage and empower you. I pray that you’ll be moved and inspired.
Daily Devotionalfor Women: “I am God’s glory on display”
Have you ever been put to shame for who you are? I have. Not only did my mother practice humiliation, guilting, and shaming on me growing up, but also I used to guilt and shame myself in my thought life to the point of addictions which was how I coped with all the emotional pain.
Being shamed for who you are
I was born on January 18, 1983 in Kursk, Russia, to a single mother who didn’t want to have me and she made sure I knew it growing up.
She regularly abused me and told me that I was worthless, stupid, ugly, unwanted, and a mistake. She described to me how she went to abort me but the doctors said it was too dangerous for her health.
My mom told me that I was an accident, that she didn’t want to have me, and that there was no future for me, except as a generator because I wouldn’t amount to anything in life.
She consistently shared with me as I was growing up how much she hated me. She’d look me in the eye and scream: “I hate you and I just want you dead!”
My mom called me a boy’s name till I was 7 years old. She hated that I was born and she hated that I was born a girl.
My father had nothing to do with me. My grandmother was ashamed of me because I was fatherless and born out of wedlock. My family called me a miscarriage and they rejected me every day of my life.
I was shamed for being:
FatherlessNot smart enough
Not the right genderNot skilled at the things my mother valuedNot having the body my mother wantedNot being as sharp as my mother’s friends’ daughters
Not meeting my mother’s beauty standardsNot being who my mother wanted me to be
Body shamingA custom tradition for adult women in my family was to gather in one room, put me in the middle of their circle, and start gossiping about my body. The goal was to criticize and humiliate me to the point of tears so each of them could feel good about herself. That went on for years until I was strong enough to tell them off and fight them off my back physically.
Some comments they frequently made during those sessions led by my mother were “Don’t smile, your teeth are too big,” “Your butt is so flat, look at your cousin’s beautiful butt, your butt is ugly!” and “You have no boobs, you’re so flat, look at your other cousin’s beautiful boobs, she’s a real girl, you’re too flat to be a woman!”
I remember my mother would repeatedly say to me: “Your laughter is ugly, don’t laugh, listen to your cousin’s laugher, it’s beautiful”
These three sisters, all led by my mother, used to turn me around and humiliate me by counting holes between my legs criticizing how my legs were also very ugly.
They would grab my arm and criticize how I had no arm muscles predicting how my arms in the future would be fat and flabby.
From my eyes that didn’t look in the same direction and my eyebrows that were not pleasing to my mother to my arms and butt – everything about me was ugly and awkward, according to the women in my family.
My mother’s habit was to treat me with contempt and repugnance. She did everything she could to ensure I knew that I was worthless. Not only did she say this to me directly, but she proved it with her actions.
I remember her conversations with me about my friends. We’d be in the kitchen working and she’d look at me and say: “Do you think your friends really come here for you? You have nothing to offer and your friends always tell me bad things about you begging your back. The real reason why they are your friends is so they can spend time with me and eat my delicious food.”
My mother would force me to get on my knees and beg her, especially in front of others. She took much pleasure in having me practice a life if zero-self-worth.
I tried to commit suicide when I was 11 and 12, just to escape my mother’s unstoppable abuse. But God had a different plan for my life…
Skill set shaming
The most valuable skills for women, from my mother’s perspective, were cooking, sewing, knitting, farming, and garlanding funeral decorations.
Cooking was done by her, and the few times I tried to add my two cents, I was criticized and humiliated, so there was no learning opportunity for me in that department.
I took sewing classes and sewed an entire business suit: a jacket and a skirt. It was beautiful and I was so proud of myself. It was winter, snow was everywhere, I hurried home from my final class to show my work to my mother with excitement. She criticized it to pieces and humiliated me for trying. She told me: “Look at my sewing work, I’m the best, your work doesn’t measure up, your hands are simply growing out if your ass, so why try?!”
I never tried again. And for not trying I was then shamed as I was compared to my mother’s girlfriends’ daughters who apparently did a good job at sewing.
My story of knitting is very similar. I created a knit I was proud of: beautiful and warm. I brought it home and was excited to share with my mother. One side was a little shorter than the other. It was my first-ever knitting experience, so I thought it was excellent.
My mother criticized and humiliated me and I never tried again. Then, I was humiliated and shamed for not being able to knit when her friends’ daughters were so good at knitting.
And now funeral garlanding… I never tried. I’m sure you can guess why… There was no point because nothing I tried was good enough.
Russian funerals are long, last three days, gather dozens or even hundreds of people, and garlands are required to decorate the casket and the grave (at least, that’s how it used to be when I was growing up there).
My mother’s friend’s daughter was good at it and my mother shamed me regularly by saying: “Look at aunt Luba’s Lena! She is a good girl. She is good at garlanding and makes money that way. You’ll never accounted anything because your hands grow out of your ass. Shame on you! I despise you!”
It wasn’t very motivating for me, so I stopped trying. But farming was a different story… Farming wasn’t optional.
The crush of USSR happened when I was in first grade. We’d walk in a grocery store and see only empty shelves. No food at all was available to us, except the food we produced. So, farming was for everybody.
I was skinny and little but I was expected to carry a huge bag of potatoes on my back. My body was hurting. The conditions in which we worked were dry air and burning sunshine. Combined with bugs everywhere and my mother’s well-communicated dissatisfaction with everything I did, the experience was a torture for me.
And I was shamed plenty for being a farming failure as well. Nothing I ever did was satisfactory, from my mother’s point of view. She let me know every day that I was an embarrassment for her.
Shame of past mistakes
I grew up not ever knowing my father, except what my mother and other women in my family told me about him. How did they know? My father was my mother’s youngest sister’s boyfriend…
Only bad things were communicated to me about my father. That was all I knew. Also, worth mentioning is the fact that in our home, cussing wasn’t a rare occurrence. Profanity in my family was adopted as our own language.
When I was five years old, someone knocked on the door but no adult was available to answer. It was dark. I opened the door. There stood a tall man with grey hair. He was unfriendly. He told me he was my father. I told him to f… off and shut the door.
Later, he tracked my mother, told her that I cussed him out and shut the door in his face, and forever I became the reason why my mother was not loved by my father… Yes, that was my mother’s perspective told in numerous stories as she shamed and blamed me for that incident for years to come.
Cussing my father was a mistake. I was little and I had no discernment. I only knew what I was taught. I didn’t know my father. The stories my mother told me about him might not have been true at all. I later did give him an opportunity to get to know me but he sexualized me and scared me. So, about seven years after that first incident, I told my father to f… off for good when I found him waiting for me in my dark bedroom at night as I was getting ready for bed. Twelve years later, he reached out to me on social media gossiping about my mother and asking for money as he was in jail at the time.
You can already guess what I did. It was before I met Christ, so I really had the only way I knew to deal with the situation: I told him off for everything.
I remember being 19 years old. I was with my girlfriend hanging out in Downtown Kursk, Russia.
Two guys started pursuing us on the streets. It was dark. They were in the car. We were pedestrians.
They forcefully got us in their car and took us to their condo. We were scared. We were helpless.
The guys threatened us. They violated us.
Some time later, my girlfriend died.
The memories of her funeral had stuck with me for almost two decades.
When I shared that Summer with my mom that I was raped, she said “Good for you, now you have more sexual experiences than other girls. Just don’t tell anyone.”
I felt stupid and worthless. I felt like my pain, my life, my dignity … none of it mattered. I felt like I didn’t matter.
For many years, I carried so much pain and anger and shame…
I was angry at those guys. I was angry at myself. I was angry at my mom.
I felt so much shame and guilt… I was overwhelmed with my own thoughts of self-condemnation. I was ashamed of what happened…
The experiences of my childhood, my mother’s habit of offering me porn to watch on TV and read in the books, the sexual assault, the story with my father – all led me into the dark world of sexual addiction.
I remember the night when the man I was sleeping with left my apartment to go back to his family.
It was a beautiful apartment on the fifth floor of Flats at Perimeter Place. Gorgeous city view. I hated it all! I hated myself!
That night changed the direction of my life forever.
I couldn’t wait till the guy left.
The whole place smelled like sin. I was a woman with no self-respect. I felt worthless.
I felt powerless to change things because it wasn’t the first time the guy was leaving my home to go back to his family. Not the second time and not the third time either.
Sin was my lifestyle… It was my master. I was a slave to sin.
I felt dirty, worthless, and full of shame.
Experiencing liberation from guilt and shameI felt completely powerless. A slave to sin … here I was … hating myself and my life. Exactly what John 8:34 says in the Bible: “… everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”
In my powerlessness and helplessness, I began weeping. I fell on my knees in the dark living room with the only light coming from the outside city buildings.
I wept. I admitted out loud that I couldn’t live like that anymore.
I asked Jesus to come into my heart and change me.
I asked for a new life and new identity.
Several months later, I was baptized in front of 3000 people at Buckhead Church and declared to the world: “Sin is no longer my master.”
Jesus died on the cross and made all things perfect and set me free from guilt and shame. He redeemed me at a high price. He gave me His Spirit of Truth and new identity. That’s what I learned after accepting Christ into my heart. I was free from shame and guilt. Jesus liberated me!
Discovering God’s truth
I’m 2016, I was suffering from a suicidal depression while enduring narcissistic abuse in my marriage. That’s when I began my journey of finding out what God says about me.
I had a burning desire down in my heart to know exactly who God says I am, and so 52 devotionals were born.
One by one, each of the #52Devotionals came to me from the Holy Spirit, revealing my identity on Christ.
As I studied the scriptures, I struggled to believe what God said about me: that I was His glory on display.
Being God’s glory on display
My background was why the idea of being God’s precious child, made perfect in His image, and being His glory in display was slightly repellent to me. My mind was not at first receptive of the truth about my real identity.
2 Peter 1:20-21 says this:“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”Everything in the Bible is true. I accepted the Bible as God-breathed word. With that, I accepted what God said about me as true and accurate. And that’s how I began to accept that I am God’s glory on display.
I read numerous stories in the Bible to grasp the Gospel of Truth and to understand God’s character. I wanted to figure out how He thought of me and why I was even here, on earth. I wanted to know the meaning and the purpose of my life.
Isaiah 49:3 says this:“He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.””Splendor means magnificence and grandeur. God displays His magnificence through me when I serve Him.
The thing us this: Jesus was God but became fully man to come here and suffer for my sins. He bled and died so I can live. When I accepted Christ into my heart, I immediately got the Spirit of power and sound mind, like Jesus. Now, He lives through me.
John 13:31-32 describes the dinner at which Jesus appointed Judas to betray Him, Satan entered Judas, and Judas went out the door to betray Jesus:
“When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.”What Jesus was saying was that the end was coming. The son of man was Jesus on earth. He was about to be tortured and crucified, publicly shamed and humiliated, and die on the cross. God was about to be glorified in Him because Jesus was about to conquer death by resurrection. And God from that point on was about to see my sin through the blood of Jesus.
God sees me as blameless, pure, and as His glory on display, all thanks to the sacrifice Jesus made.
I am like Christ, Christ lives through me, Christ is in God, and I am in Christ, so I am in God. Thinking about this blows my mind!
2 Peter 1:17 describes what Simon Peter wanted us to remember about Jesus:
“He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.””
God is pleased with Christ. I am in Christ and Christ is in me. We are one. That means God is please me with me. I am also His child.
Here’s what Colossians 1:27 says about this mystery I finally was able to embrace:“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Christ is in me, and everything starts from here. It was a breakthrough! I wanted to find out how to live my life in accordance with my new identity.
Colossians 3:17 speaks to that:“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”So, giving thanks to God for all my spiritual blessings as I live every day being one with Christ and serving God is what makes me God’s glory on display.
As I looked around, I didn’t see too many blessings. I was depressed and suicidal while my Seminary graduate husband was cheating on me, betraying me, and divorcing me after 4 months of marriage.
I was determined to find out what those blessings were for which I must give thanks. I wanted to learn to see and recognize my blessings.
Ephesians 1:3-14 says this:“Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.”
Spiritual blessings from God
I was able to discover 16 spiritual blessings from God, for which I was able to experience gratitude.
Blessings from God:
- Acceptance by God
- His unconditional love
- Close relationship with Jesus
- The Holy Spirit who lives in me
- My Salvation
- Adoption into God’s family
- Victories God had already won on my behalf
- Forgiveness of my sins
- God’s infinite wisdom available to me through His word
- Protection from evil
- Confidence in my eternal security
- God’s plan for my life where He works all things for good
- The riches of God’s glory
- Peace that passes all understanding
- The joy of the Lord
- Eternity in heaven
I accepted all the blessings and wrote this poem.
Do you believe that Jesus is your Lord and Savior? If you do, are you praising God with a grateful heart for the 16 spiritual blessings above? Do you serve God’s kingdom as one with Christ?
If you do, memorize the Biblical affirmation below and practice it often to remember that you are God’s glory on display.
I am God’s glory on display
I am God’s, and through me He displays His glory.This glory is mysterious, majestic, and holy.With Christ, I’ve been sanctified and purified.Through my thoughts, words, and deeds God is glorified. How does it make you feel to know that you are God’s glory on display? Share with me in the comments below so I can cheer you on.
If this devotional was helpful, download all #52Devotionals now.
Anna Szabo is the founder of Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry committed to alleviating suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Anna teaches how to create a joyful life by embracing God’s word based on her own journey of faith and fortitude.
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