I was waiting in a doctor’s office this week when something crossed my mind out of the blue. It happened in my late teens and I’ve never talked about it. It sometimes whispers to me as if to remind me it’s still there, and when it does, I slink back in time a little, and am surprised that 38 years later it still crosses my mind. I feel sorry for that 19 year old girl, her life was changed. I’m also proud of that 19 year old girl; her life has changed.
Guilt and shame happen to us all, sometimes because of choices we make, and sometimes for things out of our control, but they are real and they are heavy like rocks in our lifeboat.
Some of you feel shame for something that happened to you, you wonder if you could have changed it, stopped it, done something differently. Feeling these things don’t make them true but make them no less real to you.
Some of you feel guilt as a Mom or Dad. You convince yourself you’re not doing enough, you’re failing, you’re too strict, you’re not strict enough, you feel selfish, the list is endless. Feeling these things don’t make them true but make them no less real to you.
Some of you have ended marriages for all sorts of reasons, I did, and the guilt for the lives I changed still haunts me today. I sometimes feel guilty for choosing my own happy, it’s hard to carry. Feeling these things don’t make them true but make them no less real to you . . . or me.
No matter what causes you to feel guilt or shame, or how they took place, I hope you know you are not alone. And I hope you believe “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” because that is true. It may not make you physically stronger but it will make you emotionally fierce and a force to be reckoned with!
I am here to assure you it will happen . . . if you let it.
I am here to assure you it won’t happen overnight . . . but it will happen.
I am here to assure you that things we endure teach us more compassion, more love, more awareness, more acceptance, more forgiveness.
Just more . . . of so much more. It will serve its purpose.
I pray that you can take off the guilt or shame you wear like a winter coat and hand it to God. Don’t cling to it for heaven’s sake, let it go, let Him take it. And don’t try to take it back.
I pray you forgive yourself, even if it wasn’t your fault, and even if you don’t feel worthy. Especially if you don’t feel worthy. I think we both know what God would say if we asked Him if we are worthy. If you don’t know, ask Him.
Anyway, I don’t know if any of my words make sense today. Just know for some reason, I wrote this for someone, and I am in your corner whoever you are . . . and so is He.