If you came over from Encouragement for Today, welcome!
Today I shared that a child said that love is “when my name is safe in someone’s mouth”.
Growing up, my name wasn’t always safe in others’ mouths.
Words like, “I wish you’d never been born” or “she’d be nice to date, but only with a sack over her head”. As an adult I can see those words with greater perspective. One was spoken out of personal brokenness that had nothing to do with me. The other was a young teen who still had lots of growing up to do, and sometimes we stay unkind or even foolish things when we are that age.
But what do you do when you’ve embraced those words and allowed them to shape your identity, or they influence your relationships, your dreams, even your relationship with God?
Deceived by shame vs. Desired by God
One writer stated it like this: We are deceived by shame. It’s a liar. We embrace words that were never meant to be our own. We look through the lens of shame and we choose relationships. We walk away from opportunities. We wonder if we’ll ever please God.
When we flip that lie to discover the truth in scripture. We find that from the beginning we were desired by God. Yes, perhaps someone who was in pain or addiction or who had no clue how to nurture a child said words that marked us. But what does God say?
Created with a purpose. Uniquely designed. Loved.
Shame loses its validity when we strip it of its power. I can embrace the words of others or pick up a new mirror of God’s word.
As a young girl I heard a lot of painful words. But God saw me not only as a young, skinny girl in a chaotic home, but He saw me. With all the possibilities. With my dreams. With my unique characteristics. When I began to look through that lens, I unpacked shame from my legacy to repack what God had already given me long ago.
Forgiving those who shamed you
As I wrote the book, The Mom I Want to Be: Rising Above Your Past to Give Your Kids a Great Future, I wrote it as an adult. I wasn’t that little girl anymore or that awkward teen. I was a mom. A wife. A strong woman who loved Christ. So as I listened to my mom’s story, my perspective changed from that young girl to a woman.
I began to see her.
She was the 15-year-old who got pregnant too young. Who married a man (a boy) she didn’t love. Who was hurt. Who was away from home. Who lost that child at 18. Who ran away with her second child at 20 to find sanctuary, only to be assaulted and to have another child.
Her mom was far from nurturing. Her dad drank heavily.
This meant that she became a mom without having a clue on how to be the mom she wanted to be. It doesn’t excuse what we went through, but it shed light on why it happened. It also opened the door wide for forgiveness.
My shame was covered by God’s love. Forgiveness helped me step out and over my past to offer mercy to another.
My name was safe in His mouth.
Her name became safe in mine.
The removal of shame introduced compassion, which helped me pray, to start fresh, and to view my life through a mirror of today, rather than yesterday.
Shame is an univited guest. Today, invite God to help shut the door to shame.
You are desired by God. Loved. Beloved. Known. Seen. That’s your identity. That’s the real you.
Discover how freedom can set you free to be all that God knows you can be in Suzie’s newest book, The Unburdened Heart: Finding Freedom Through Forgiveness (available for pre-order now).
In this book, we dig deep together to see the diverse meanings of forgiveness and how understanding those meanings help us move beyond injustice, abuse, bitterness, neglect, unfaithfulness and more to discover a live that is unburdened and free!