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My Faith & Transformation Journey

Living with Disgrace

“No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.”
Psalm 25: 3 New Living Translations

I grew up believing in Jesus—I went to church and I prayed. We lived in a time when being a Christian was a proud thing, until you did something awful and then that was pretty much that! And if someone else brought evil into your life, they were out of there too. As a young woman I lived somewhere between these worlds. I was disgraced by the behavior of the men in my life and I was disgraced by my behavior as a result of these actions. And I tried to hide all of it.

Following the sexual abuse I was taunted by the boys in the neighborhood. I was an innocent child thrown into a world of sexuality, before I knew what that meant. One day I was the princess being carried around on a makeshift throne. It seems the next day the boys were trying to take advantage of me at every chance. I was now free game and the attention I was getting set a thinking pattern for me that said, “Sex brings attention—sex must be the way to go.” Those I once trusted now became my foes. My belief system faltered because I no longer had the same compass leading me. Some translations of this verse say: “Do not let anyone that hopes in you be ashamed. Let the people that say false things without a reason be ashamed.” I was ashamed to be a Christian who felt tarnished and who also was now drinking, drugging, and sleeping around while trying to convince others that I was still this “good girl.” I simply lost my way.

Through my teen years and those as a young woman, I made a lot of bad choices for myself. I had ‘relationship’ after ‘relationship.’ And yet I kept a foot in the church door. I went to church on Sunday. As a good Catholic, I went to confession, only I never confessed my sexual acting out. I taught Sunday school and brought a number of my hurting girlfriends to church and laid a foundation for their belief in Christ today. I went through the motions and in my heart I clung to the belief that somehow God understood. Somehow, one day God would make this all right for me. What I didn’t realize was that it was up to me to make it right by first accepting it was wrong. I needed to look at myself and quit making excuses and blaming others and literally lie in front of the cross and ask the man who died there for me to help me. I needed to be forgiven and changed. I needed to stop living ashamed and disgraced. With each step toward him, he pulled me closer. As I was willing to let go of the blame and the shame, he brought me new dignity. It has taken a very long time to get here, and I’m still working on it, but I no longer have shame in this story of my life. I have peace that today I am wiped clean and can share this with you so that you too can know this peace and joy.

Are you living with the shame and disgrace of past behaviors? Are you afraid someone will find out? Do you want to stop being that person? I suggest then that you do what I did and recognize that God already knows so you can’t really hide it from him anyway! Tell him your pain. Tell him your disgrace. Give him your tears and let him wipe them away. Visualize Jesus holding you and telling you he loves you, NO MATTER WHAT you did. Read Psalm 25 or find one that speaks to your hearts and pray it every day until you feel whole again. Share your healing journey with someone you trust. Ask them to pray with you. And then share your grace with someone else that needs to hear.

Be healed. Be restored!

Categories
My Faith & Transformation Journey

The Path Through the Fire

I have been trying to figure out what God really wants me to do with the stories of my life—surely they are just the things that happened on the path to recovery and wholeness. I know I am supposed to write. I am supposed to share things with people as I meet them. But share the whole thing? Really? Apparently so.

This morning I turned to Psalm 25. It is MY psalm. It has given me strength and courage and helped me heal and let go of the past. I have read and reread is so many times that the page is now falling out of my bible. As I read it and prayed, I finally saw what God has been waiting for me to see. This is my story, this is the story he gave me. From crying out in my pain and shame to understanding that we all make mistakes, and coming to believe that he is still here. He has forgiven me which helped me to forgive me. He has returned my integrity and given me a new life. And that is what I will be sharing over the next few days as I take apart Psalm 25 and tell you how God used it to reshape me.

When I started my journey I was stepping back from a life of heavy drinking and partying. A life of sexual and love addiction. A point where I had broken every, yes every, commandment and felt worthless. Little by little God revealed why I was living like I was. He revealed the childhood sexual abuse. He revealed how I felt invisible in my family. He revealed how my parents violent marriage scared my thinking about relationships. He forgave me, and I myself, for my abortion. He taught me that I didn’t have to rob Peter to pay Paul for fun. He showed me I could live with little to have it all.

Come with me on my journey. Hear my story. Share your story with me. Let me weave your story into mine as we grow stronger, because that is what God wants for us. He has inspired me through his words to want change. I am motivated to help others who desire change to see the hope and possibility. I am praying that the words I write will transform your life as they have mine.

“To you oh Lord, I life my soul. I trust in you, my God.”
Psalm 25:1 And so it begins.