Shame is a prison but GRACE is freedom.
Updated: Jun 1, 2020
I begged God through years of infertility to make me a mother. I prayed on my knees in darkness with tear soaked cheeks. I called out to God in desperation, begging Him to give me a child. I begged, “If your plan is not to make me a mother then please take the pain of wishing for a child that will never come.” In September 2012—after nearly three years of waiting, praying, and suffering through infertility treatments—God gave us news a baby was on the way.
My husband and I wanted more children. I prayed for another. We talked about trying for a second child more than once, but we never followed through with it. Trying for us meant more than it does for most, it wasn’t going to be just looking at a calendar and scheduling it out, it was many hours in doctor’s offices, counting out nearly ten pills a day, it would be shots in the hip, disappointment, heartbreak and frustration when failure came. I felt in my heart I wasn’t strong enough to endure that again, in the back of my mind I knew we would never have another child.
Time passed and the thought of having another child slipped away. We settled into a rhythm as a family of three and then here she came. In May of 2017 my body decided to actually function correctly and we received the surprise of our life, we found out about that beautiful girl you see below.
I want to be completely transparent, my reaction was not joy and thankfulness for many weeks to come. I was in shock, I was overwhelmed…I was angry. Yep, I was angry, typing those words wounds my heart. I asked God why now? Why did we have to suffer waiting for our first? Why did I have to beg God for our first? My reaction was not what you would expect from someone who five years earlier was shouting to God in desperation for a child. I was ashamed that I did not feel joy. I was ashamed I didn’t want a second baby. Even now typing the words “I did not want another child” makes my eyes water and my stomach tighten because I can not imagine a life without her.
I should have been praising God that this happened naturally without the pills, the shots, without the emotional distress of infertility. He gave us this gift, because at one time I asked for her, because I prayed years ago for another child. Even though my mind had moved on from the desire He still had my prayer in His heart. I felt my reaction to His gift was like a slap in the face to God and for that I felt so much shame. Shame I carried with me into darkness that I never knew I could feel. Shame that plagued my thoughts making be feel unworthy to even talk to God.
I can tell you weeks went by and my heart changed. I DID fall in love with the baby growing inside me, I fell in love with her before I even knew she was a girl. I prayed for her every day until she was born. I love her more than any words I could ever write to you. I can tell you she is WANTED, she is LOVED, she is the final piece of our family we didn’t know was missing.
I was recently talking to a counselor about my reaction to the pregnancy and the guilt I still carry. She asked me if I have asked God to forgive me for my thoughts…I have. I told her I have asked His forgiveness a thousand times and I have thanked Him for my daughter a thousand times more.
The counselor asked me if I have forgiven myself. My eyes uncontrollably welled up with tears and my answer was no. I still carried the shame with me. Every time my heart bursted with joy at the sight of her face a plague of shame simultaneously knocked me in the gut. My counselor reminded me that I only needed to ask God to forgive me once and I needed to find freedom in His grace and with that I needed to let go of my burdening shame.
A repentant heart is all God requires to wash our shame in forgiveness. She said I have to forgive myself, she said my unforgiveness is how the enemy keeps me in a place of separation from God. She said holding on to my shame is how the enemy is able to stay present in my heart. She said I will have freedom from the wrenching pain of guilt if I accept that God’s grace is enough. She quoted to me Psalm 34:5-“Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.”
What guilt are you holding in your heart from the past? Maybe you’re like me and you feel guilt over not experiencing joy in pregnancy. Maybe you feel guilt over unconfessed sin from your past. Maybe you feel guilt because you are carrying burdens that God desperately wants to relieve from you. What ever it is…LAY IT BEFORE HIM.
Did you know shame is a gateway for Satan to steal the joy God has intended for you through His grace? Shame is a prison but GRACE is freedom. Repeat Psalm 34:5, embed it in your heart and let go of the shame of whatever is holding you back, there is so much freedom on the other side.