For years, I struggled with shame. This is because I became a teen mother in 1991. In my mind, I’d let down my parents, who had worked hard to give me a nice childhood.
Everyone around me was going away to college. Many at my childhood church, including my pastor, had turned their backs on me. They left me to navigate life as a pregnant teenager and single mom without spiritual support.
For a while, I avoided church because I had been wounded in heart and spirit. The people of God had rejected me. In my mind, this meant that God rejected me too.
This left me feeling less-than and ashamed of the life I’d chosen. The decision to keep my child was the best I’ve ever made, and my parents were unswervingly supportive. But still, the shame of having failed those around me clung to me for a long time.
I could feel the eyes of others on me, wondering if I was the mother or the babysitter. Their disapproving gazes made me feel like I was a freak of nature. It was a long time before I felt normal in my role as a mom.
Even when I began attending a new church with my soon-to-be husband, who accepted me and my daughter as a package deal, I was saddled with shame. In a 1994 church directory photo, I wasn’t allowed to hold my daughter on my lap. Instead, my future mother-in-law was instructed to hold her. Nobody challenged this request–we just complied. It was humiliating and further damaged my already fragile feelings.
I hate that picture. My smile is fake because on the inside I hated everything about myself and the people who continued to make me feel like a failure. I was working and going to college part-time, but those things couldn’t drown out the feelings of inadequacy.
In my late twenties, by God’s grace, I came face to face with the real Jesus. He’s the one who made it a point to minister to the fringes of society. Broken people who were considered misfits and outcasts were those He chose to keep company with. The Bible shares many examples of Jesus’ intentional inclusion of those others rejected–here are couple of them. (Levi the Tax Collector, Woman Caught in Adultery)
God revealed His grace to me and offered to take my burden of shame and replace it with a crown of life. In His eyes, I wasn’t rejected. I wasn’t less-than. I was a beloved soul who needed saving. At last, I finally met the savior who’d taken on the mantle of my shame on the cross.
I don’t harbor resentment anymore towards those who fueled the fire of my shame. In order to receive the fullness of God’s grace, I had to open my fists that were clenched in anger in order to receive a new identity. The shame I’d felt was a lie from the depths of Hell.
If you are feeling shame, know that it doesn’t have to bind you or define you. No matter what lies in your past, you are precious and loved. Don’t allow the lies of the enemy or the rejection of others to keep you in a state of shamefulness.
Jesus wants to walk alongside you on your journey to freedom from shame.
Jesus wants to walk alongside you on your journey to freedom from shame. He sees you and loves you, just as you are. Here are some biblical truths that speak life and healing. I pray they bless you and assure you that you can be set free from shame.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. -Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. -John 8:36
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. -1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Hi! I’m Tracy…Christ-follower, wife, mama, writer, blogger, speaker, teacher, dreamer. I love Earl Grey Tea and quiet mornings. Here at Earl Grey and Yellow, the focus is striving to be faithful and appreciate the small things. So glad you stopped by. Please have a look around and subscribe to our newsletter and social media to stay connected.