Two friends have showed up at my hearts door time and time again. ‘Friends’ in this sense is used very loosely. Their names are shame and doubt… and they aren’t very friendly at all, especially when they sit on my shoulders hurling insults at me like fiery darts. A better description for these unwanted guests would be ‘two-faced liars’.
Even though I didn’t invite them in they pushed themselves inside like the bullies they are. Mean, loud, and bent on inflicting hurt.
Doubt whispers, “Your story doesn’t matter”.
Shame sneers, “You’re a failure.”
The lies and shame sit ugly, making me want to isolate and hide away, even from my family and friends.
When a loved child is wandering, hurting, and lost, it weighs heavy on a heart. Sometimes it’s hard to see the picture clearly, or think and walk with hope, especially when these unfriendly ‘friends’ speak lies. Fear takes a spot on my shoulder too, adding to the lies, telling me that there’s no hope for a wandering prodigal. It’s hard to breathe when these bullies show up, sneering and shouting, or when they crawl in bed beside me in the dark of night.
But arms that want to shield and shy away, open instead in wide surrender – in my kitchen standing by the oven, my hands open to let go, and to receive.
It’s what I know to do.
I’ve been practising this posture for a while now, years even. In this moment I hear the quiet words “Daughter maybe I chose you to be his mom.”
No – I turn back to my work and dismiss it.
The voice persists, soft, almost imperceptible and I listen again “Maybe I chose you for this time.”
This time I hear.
Later I repeat these words aloud in a trusted setting, and in that moment, shame and doubt retreat. Darkness and lies are eradicated by God’s wondrous healing words of truth.
Lies are exposed by the light and chain-breaking truth. Bullies are no longer welcome. A heavy blanket of doubt and shame is lifted by the most beautiful nail scarred hands.
I smile, and laugh a little. Cry a bit too, tears of relief and release. Relief from carrying a burden I wasn’t meant to bear. Release from living under the shame of lies.
I breathe in hope, life, and joy from the Beautiful Hope-giver. Sleeping peacefully under a blanket of His tender care, I rest.
He says with authority “Daughter, your story does matter, because your story is really MY story”. Oh hallelujah – YES! Feet that were like lead now dance in new freedom. Shame has lost its sting and doubt is silenced by a word from my Father.
My Father – the most beautiful loving One who never gives up on me. Who cares when my shoulders stoop low and my heart aches and bleeds. He sees, hears, delivers and restores. He replaces ashes with beauty, shame with joy, and doubt with hope!
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. – Isaiah 61:3 NIV
His voice, though never shouting or too loud, is the softly spoken truth that scatters lies. In the shadows of a dark valley, He is the peaceful river I lay beside. He is the voice on the mountain top proclaiming life and truth and hope. I rest in this valley and wait on Him and for Him.
“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” – Psalms 25:5 NIV