Reframe Your Memories
By Susanne Scheppmann

Mom, please give me the $50 for the prom photos. I never want to forget my senior prom. It’s the most important day of my life!” my son begged.

Fast forward ten years.

“Mom, I can’t believe you kept those old photos. Just tear them up and get rid of them!” he said.
Photographs are memories on hard copy. Usually, photographs remind me of times in life that I want to recall - those “Kodak moments.” I reminisce with the prom pictures, wedding albums and baby books. Time reverses to the paper moments I clutch in my hands.

What about those memories I do not want to recall? Of course, I can throw away a paper photograph (or use computer technology to erase a person out of the photo). But what about those pictures of life that pop into my thoughts unbidden? What about regrettable mistakes, sorrowful incidents and haunting words that flash through my thoughts without invitation? Something triggers the movie in my mind and the flashbacks begin to play in living color. I wish I could hit delete and be done with them forever.

Recalling Regrets
Over the years, I was held back from a deeper relationship with God by hauntings from the past. Both the hurts in life from others and my own mistakes hindered me. Because of painful memories, I kept God and His purpose for my life at a distance.

Mercifully, my memories do not affect God’s love for me. I am grateful for the Bible stories of people who endured horrible hurts or sinned terribly and God still asked them to follow Him. Moses is a great example. He murdered at age 40, but at age 80 he spoke to God through a burning bush, then led the children of Israel out of slavery. The Bible declares Moses a Hebrew hero.

Stories like these are for us to read when our troubling memories linger too long. Over the years, God has taught me three precepts to help reframe the negative memories that replay through my mind.

Reframing the Past
The first precept is that while I might dwell in my past mistakes and regrets, God does not. He transcends my past. Isaiah 43:18-19 encourages me with the Lord’s words, “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). God invites me to step out of the wasteland of regret-filled recollections and reframe them with a new point of reference … His.

New Frame of Reference
The second precept is that the Lord has plans for my life. He assures us with, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11). A hope and a future is what Moses received, although he never expected his life to take the twists and turns it did. Moses decided to stand with his face to God, and his back to the memories of murder. Oh, the memories were still there, but He chose to believe God’s truth of a hope and a future.

The Renovated Frame of My Future
The third precept is that my gifting and calling are still with me. Even though Moses had murdered, a colossal error, God still called him. Scripture tells us that Moses “was no ordinary child” (Hebrews 11:23). Neither am I; neither are you. We are special in the eyes of God. We are all His children – specially gifted and called. And for the sake of reference, let me state, “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).

God called me into ministry at a Christian youth camp when I was 17 years old. I was so excited and committed. Was I ready at 17? No! Was Moses ready at age 40? No. Did Moses’ act of violence prohibit God‘s calling on his life? No. Have the pain and sorrows in my life left me with a hopeless future? No.

Thankfully, God has not revoked the gifts and callings in my life. He hasn’t in your life either. Sin in our lives puts the calling on hold until we repent, then our gracious God forgives and proceeds to renew our calling. It may look different, but it will still be God’s plan to give us a hope and future with His irrevocable gifts and callings.

For myself, I remember the night I felt that I might still have the privilege of serving God in some type of ministry. I filled the bathtub and slid into it, reflecting on how it seemed God was calling me to lead a high school girls’ small group in my home. I plunged deeper in the hot water and excitement bubbled up as ideas blossomed like water lilies. I could renovate those past hurts and mistakes. I could use those ugly recalls as examples to help girls avoid the same mistakes I had made. I could share how to release the pain and bitterness of the past. My purpose and calling would begin with teaching others how to reframe broken memories.

We can each take hold of those old memories and learn to reframe the past. We can look at them with a new frame of reference – God’s viewpoint. And most importantly, we can renovate those past hurts and mistakes into a picture for others to witness the faithfulness of God in our lives. Let’s reframe those old negative memories and create a future of hope and purpose.

Susanne Scheppmann resides in Nevada. Her newest book, Embraced by the Father: Finding Grace in the Names of God,” is now available for purchase. A speaker and author for Proverbs 31 Ministries, Susanne speaks and writes to equip women to find God’s peace, perspective and purpose in their daily lives. For more information, go to


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