As we were laying open our lives before one another, I
sensed and then spoke that there seemed to be something deep
down in her soul that did not believe she was a beloved and
precious child of God. We were kindred spirits in that way. She
took a deep breath, the tears began to flow, and then she told
me her story. She was in college going on thirty years ago. She
got pregnant. She had an abortion, all alone.
The palpable pain and suffering exposed in Amy’s
words and on her face wrecked me. The deepest source of pain
seemed to be in the shame of having such a dark secret with
no one to walk alongside and share the burden. This hidden
wound had built up layers of shame, and the church that she
was acquainted with was not a place to receive healing and
grace on this matter. God forgive us.
As I look inward to the shame bearers in my life, they
too have festered in the dark, hidden places of life. They flow
from a place of doubt as to my rightful place as beloved by
God. But my “go to” armor looks different than that of my
precious friend who has felt less than and not good enough as
a result of her secrets. Same shame, different response.
For years, my shame shield was much more about
building up a wall of pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness
while trying to make myself and others fit into a legalistic
system or box. I was a Pharisee looking down on things from
on high. The list of boxes I have tried out is long: correct
theology, political affiliation, proper life choices, dietary habits,
and economic systems. If I could set up a system where I am
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