This daily devotional focuses on showing you that no matter past mistakes, failures, disappointments, or sin, you are justified and sanctified through Christ if you’ve accepted Him as your lord and savior. The format of this devotional for women is “self-examination” so I’ll be sharing my personal story of how I failed and sinned but later discovered what God says about me: I am justified and sanctified, made whole and blameless through faith in Jesus (just like you). 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 Devotional for Women: “I am justified and sanctified”
I remember my wedding day with Michel in 2016 and our four-day long divorce jury trial in 2017 as both events happened just yesterday. We loved each other one moment and the next we were picking each other apart pointing out every mistake ever made.
I remember the courtroom in Forsyth county. Fourteen jurors on the left. Judge Dickinson upfront. And the back divided in two parts for the public to watch the trial, depending on whose side they chose.
Our premarital counseling mentors were there the entire time. Every day, they came there to pray with me. One day, Michel’s friend Robert joined us. We all held hands as we prayed for Michel. He filed for divorce twice in our first year of marriage and said he wasn’t interested in being married but wanted to be an IronMan instead.
I wept every day experiencing such deep sorrow for Michel’s actions. I loved him and prayed that God would take a hold of him. But God gave Michel free will, so we were divorced shortly after our divorce jury trial had ended.
Divorce jury trial in Forsyth county with judge Dickinson
Our divorce jury trial in Forsyth county was a rare occurrence – judge Dickinson’s first such trial in 15 years.
The divorce trial was very difficult for me as I had to recall every instance of mental cruelty and narcissistic abuse I endured from Michel. By the time of the trial I had already been suffering from a severely suicidal depression for many months. My brain was exhausted and my heart was shuttered.
The trial was painful but it was also healing. I saw God-given free will in action. I was empowered by the community prayer that took place daily there in the courthouse. Most importantly, I felt crucified every day and was able to have an even better life after the death of the person I was in that devastating marriage with Michel.
One more thing I’m grateful for: judge Dickinson who had to hear all that nonsense for four days straight and keep calm.
I observed his face: no anger, no disappointment, no frustration. Just peace. And a few times when my depleted by depression brain was giving up on me and I was just crying unable to testify, I saw compassion on his otherwise “poker” face.
Having watched judge Dickinson keep so calm in the midst of so much chaos, even when Michel’s attorney yelled in his face throwing arms in the air and being excessively dramatic, taught me that truly our mind controls our brain and behavior and we can choose to allow on not to allow the world affect us with its negativity. It has to do only with our own thoughts.
Judge Dickinson was amazing for me to watch. I never had calm parents, family members, teachers, or anyone who could mentor me. I lived in drama for the most of my life. People around me were dramatic and impatient. Being in that divorce jury trial with judge Dickinson was the first-ever real-life experience of someone peaceful and patient in the midst of a dramatic chaos and haze.
Now, let me tell you about God as a judge.
Judgement-free pass with God
As I was growing up in Russia during USSR, every book started with a sentence “there’s no God in our country.” We didn’t know God.
Post-USSR, when someone tried to talk to me about God, they would paint a picture of a serious, focused, ready-to-condemn judge who kept my every mistake on record.
This was the picture with which I entered a Starting Point group program at Buckhead Church in 2013, which was an 8-week Bible study and a forum for questions and answers. I moved to America in 2008 and began to attend Buckhead Church in 2011.
During the Starting Point, I shared my view of God and how I thought He thought of my mistakes when He thought of me.
I was guided through the Bible to learn about God’s character and His unconditional love for me.
I’ve realized that God is a kind, loving, patient Father. I’ve learned that by accepting Jesus into my heart, I’d join God’s royal family and be one with Christ.
I’ve discovered that with God, through Christ, we get a judgement-free pass. Accepting Jesus as a savior makes us pure and blameless in God’s eyes. He sees us through the blood of Jesus who paid for our sins with His life.
The picture of God was changed for me from an angry judge to a loving father. And in 2014, I accepted Jesus into my heart, which changed my life.
[my baptism video]
Coming to the end of myself
I remember January 31st of 2016, a beautiful cool last day of a special month.
Michel was my boyfriend at the time.
I wanted to help him feel special, so I prepared a picnic for us that day. Homemade food and a beautiful view of a fountain on a small lake. The scenery was breath-taking. It all took place at Perimeter Church late Sunday afternoon.
Why was I with my boyfriend at church picnicking late Sunday afternoon? We were getting ready to go to pre-engagement counseling class at Perimeter Church called “Right Path.”
Michel signed us up for that class because he had told me he wanted to marry me a few weeks after we started dating. I said I’ll consider if we go to pre-engagement counseling. Michel chose Perimeter Church because he graduated from Metro Atlanta Seminary there (according to him).
I said I would need pre-engagement counseling before I could respond to that idea of marriage. That’s how we got into the “Right Path” class.
That afternoon, we were hungry. We were about to go to the class and learn about marriage. A picnic seemed to be the best way to spend our time together while waiting. I thought it would make Michel feel special.
The weather was cool that day, so I brought a blanket. I was wearing a black jacket with a leather belt from H&M to stay warm.
picture of us getting engaged from IG
I was setting up the picnic, turned around, and there was Michel kneeling in front of me with a ring.
Are you curious to know my response? First I yelled “What the hell?!” No, I’m not kidding… I actually responded with those very words. Really.
After that, I looked at Michel and saw a future together. I saw the man I respected and loved. Seeing him humbling himself and kneeling before me with the ring, not only did I say “YES” to his marriage proposal but I also said this:“Michel, you are the most Christ-like man I’ve ever met. With your behaviors, actions and interactions with me and others, you’ve exhibited the Fruit of the Spirit” – and I named the nine – “I’ll be honored to spend the rest of my life with you.”
Michel worked at a mega-church in Alpharetta at the time and portrayed himself as a seminary graduate who loved Jesus. It seemed as if God was Michel’s priority.
All the qualities I listed verbally as his own, he truly exhibited in our dating relationship. Most of the time when I thought about Michel, I thought “Christ-like.”
We were married on May 14th, 2016 in front of family and friends.
[our wedding picture]
I remember Michel’s aunt and uncle bringing me and my bridesmaids to the wedding venue, a Russian restaurant VERDI in Norcross, GA, in their beautiful large white auto.
Apparently, we were a few minutes late but I didn’t know the time as everyone wanted me to be relaxed, so they took all devices indicating time away from me.
I remember seeing a relief on people’s faces when I arrived because they were worried that I got cold feet all of a sudden.
Nope, I didn’t. Actually, I had nothing but joy when my mentor walked me down the aisle and gave me away to Michel.
As I walked closely, I saw Michel standing there in tears. I was confident that those were the tears of joy about our unity, togetherness, and future. Not actually.
He shared with me that those were the tears about him finally having his first wedding and feeling accomplished. I found that out the morning after our wedding and cold blood was running through my veins. It appeared as if I were a trophy to Michel …
After Michel and I got to our newlyweds suite at the Buckhead Intercontinental hotel, he got on the phone and became distant.
As I stood there, in front of my beloved husband, in my wedding dress, waiting for his attention, Michel was busy texting with friends sitting in a chair alone in the right corner of our newlyweds suite.
It was the strangest scenery I had ever encountered.
I waited and waited as Michel had told me that his dream was to have a wedding he never had and to help his bride take the wedding dress off.
I didn’t want to take the dress off by myself and rob him of the experience he considered special, yet Michel was busy texting in his corner chair.
That night turned into a painful and dramatic experience which caused some trauma and my OBGYN has to place me on antibiotics for a while.
At the breakfast with my bridesmaid, Michel informed me that now that the wedding was checked off his list, life was going to be about his IronMan priorities.
Michel started disappearing every evening and weekend saying that he wanted to be an IronMan and complete in Kona.
He called his IronMan bicycle “My other wife o cheat on you with” and rejected me sexually saying that he needs to save himself for his IronMan training.
Prior to our wedding, Michel asked me to honor him by taking his last name. That’s how I became Anna Szabo. He also asked me to deposit my paycheck into our joint checking account he created with USAA.
Now, my paycheck was spent and I was left with a balance of below zero dollars 3 times. I remember being at work and walking to get lunch… only to discover no money in our checking account.
I confronted Michel about his lifestyle. He filed for a divorce.
Four months after our wedding, a private server Jerry served me with Michel’s divorce papers at a Christian conference “Harvest.”
I was already depressed and severely suicidal by then. My confusion and despair were captured in a series of spoken word poems about depression.
depression and suicidal thoughts poems
I was weak, confused, devastated, and hopeless. I was tired physically and exhausted emotionally. I didn’t want to open my eyes another time and wake up to another day of misery Michel lured me into so cleverly.
The narcissistic abuse I was enduring in our marriage left me disoriented and desperate. I wrote poetry about everything I was exposed to at home: projection, gaslighting, discarding, and other narcissistic abuse techniques he exercised on me.
all narcissist videos
On my own, I was done. There was nothing left. No light. No fight. No might.
I came to the end of myself.
I began turning to Jesus for strength. I refocused completely from what Michel said about me to what God said about me.
I started searching the Bible to find out who God said I am.
Who God says I am
Below are the 52 Biblical truths I discovered. I grouped them into four categories based on the aspect of my identity they impacted the most.
WHAT DOEST GOD SAY ABOUT ME?
Fundamentals of God’s Grace
1 I am forgiven2 I am accepted3 I am loved4 I am healed5 I am blessed6 I am special and chosen7 I am justified and sanctified8 I am alive9 I’m new and transformed10 I am noble and lovely11 I am beautiful12 I am holy13 I am worthy14 I am righteous15 I am valuable16 I am anointed17 I am free18 I am renewed19 I am not alone
New Identity in Christ
1 I am a princess2 I am fearfully and wonderfully made3 I am a disciple of Jesus4 I am a child of God5 I am a citizen of Heaven6 I am God’s glory on display7 I am God’s masterpiece8 I am a difference-maker9 I am light10 I am a peacemaker
Christ-Like Character Qualities
1 I am wise2 I am clear and focused3 I am intentional4 I am decisive5 I am powerful6 I am disciplined7 I am thoughtful8 I am prudent9 I am confident10 I am courageous11 I am victorious
Biblical Outlook on Life
1 I am kind2 I am loving3 I am hopeful4 I am joyful5 I am grateful6 I am strong7 I am protected8 I am peaceful9 I am patient10 I am faith-filled11 I am gifted12 I am creative
Embracing God’s truth
After I authored #52Devotionals book with all the above Biblical affirmations, I made the free devotionals download available on my website so that every woman could access those devotionals, which God gave me, and know for sure her identity in Christ.
As God did His divine work in my heart, I was able to accept my story, Michel’s free will, our destroyed marriage, my broken-heartedness, and my identity as a child of God, blameless, justified, purified, and sanctified (set apart for God’s special purpose). And I finally felt liberated and able to move on.
The Bible is clear that in this world, we will have troubles. Christ died for us on the cross not when we were all perfect and blameless. Instead, He died for us when we were fallen, broken, and sinful.
Jesus paid for your sins. God is not an angry judge with a book of sins to hold us accountable for, nor is He judge Dickinson with a peaceful face waiting to judge.
No. God is a loving father. He is waiting for us to run into His arms for protection. He is patiently waiting for our repentance. He’s preparing a feast for us for when we decide to come home to Him.
I discovered that I am justified as a child of God. Many wrong things happened to me and I’ve done many wrong things myself. Yet, there’s nothing I owe – Jesus redeemed me. I’m free, completely free.
I’ve learned that when God looks at me through the blood of Jesus, He sees me perfect and blameless.
When I got on a witness stand on Thursday afternoon, the final day of our divorce jury trial, I was asked what I wanted out of that trial. I said: “I have peace.”
I loved Michel. I forgave him. I had peace about everything. I had acceptance.
God loves us. He forgives us. He makes peace with us. He accepts us.
Galatians 2:20 says this:“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
I’ve learned that when I placed my faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit moved into my body. I gained the ability to die to my flesh, sin, temptations, wrong choices, bad decisions, impulsive behaviors, and instead I can now choose to walk in the Spirit. I use my free will to choose.
I chose to forgive Michel and have peace.
My old self was crucified with Jesus. I’m new. My flesh doesn’t live anymorebut instead, Christ lives out through me.
Christ is loving and peaceful, He is forgiving and kind.
Romans 4:25 says this:“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
I was justified when Jesus was crucified. My sin was washed as white as snow. That book of life with the records of sins that the post-USSR Russians described to me trying to portray God… It doesn’t exist.
Nothing I’ve done actually counts against me when I place my faith in Christ.
Jesus paid it all. I am sinless. I am justified and sanctified.
Justification means complete redemption from past sins. Sanctification means being set apart for God’s divine purpose.
Romans 5:1 says: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with Godthrough our Lord Jesus Christ.”
And that’s the point I want to convey: the peace of God that passes all understanding is a choice. It comes from God, and we choose it with our free will.
When on Wednesday before our last day of divorce jury trial I shared with my attorney about my peace, she advised me to think it through. But when I got on a witness stand the next day, the truth was what I shared: “I had peace.”
1 Cor 6:11 says:“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.”
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are justified. He also taught that He will fight our Barlow’s and make all things right when it comes to our offenders. So, it’s our choice to also choose to live a life of peace for which Jesus died.
Keeping my eyes on eternity allows me to forgive people and focus on my salvation with gratitude.
A Biblical affirmation for women
So… What happened to you? Jesus died on the cross for you. You placed your faith in Christ, and you are now sinless, all your faults were washed as white as snow, you have been justified by the blood of Jesus, and when He took His last breath on the cross, you were sanctified by the Spirit of our God. You are a new creation in Christ. You are pure.
Keep your eyes on eternity and not the world. Stay focused on Jesus and your salvation.
Do you believe God’s truth about being justified and sanctified through Jesus? If you do, memorize the Biblical affirmation below and practice it often to remember that you are justified and sanctified.
I am justified and sanctified
When Jesus on the cross was crucified,Through His sacrifice, I became justified and sanctified.It is by faith that I received this expensive redemption.My heart melts in gratitude for my eternal salvation. How does it make you feel to know that you are seen by God as blameless and pure? Share with me in the comments below so I rejoice with you.
If this devotional was helpful, download all #52Devotionals now.
Dear #TruePrincesses! I’m Anna Szabo, the founder of Online Discipleship For Women.
On this Christian blog for women, I write about the six pillars of joyful living: Faith, Food, Fitness, Finances, Felicity, and Fortitude.
Please post your comments and questions for me. Your opinions, thoughts, life stories, and experiences matter. Why? Because every story is for God’s glory. I share with you my life experiences and believe that God has each of us on a very special journey. He wants to uniquely equip and qualify us for special ministry in His kingdom. The purpose of adversity is for us to persevere, grow in faith, and share hope with others. So, share freely here!
May this ministry be a blessing to you!