The Weight of Shame
Some situations you get over quickly while some stick with you in your daily life. Others linger in quiet places unknowingly.
I remember waking up, eyes draining tears. I thought I was over it. Yet, here I was thinking and dreaming about it. I couldn’t believe it. You give your life to God, you know that you’re forgiven, but it seems some things are harder to accept than others.
Years ago, while in college, I had an abortion, and it was now haunting me. For so long I was happy, single, no kids, nothing connecting me to my toxic ex. But now a burden of regret weighed heavily. Or had I been regretful all along?
This is my personal experience. I couldn’t tell you what I believed about abortions prior to this. But it was enough for me to get one because I felt scared, unsure, and unequipped.
When I started seeking God for real, and not just attendance on Sunday fling, I confessed what I had done to a friend. They told me as they were praying for me God wanted me to know I was forgiven. I had no idea how to hear God at that time. I felt relieved. Years later, when I was facing some persisting health issues, my friend asked, “do you think it’s because of your abortion? Did you really let it go?” In other words, she was contemplating if I was condemning myself, and therefore bringing on these health issues subconsciously.
I was a bit confused by her sentiment at the time. But that night I woke tear-filled, I began to understand.
I was carrying a heavy burden unbeknownst to me. Guilt and shame plagued my relationship with God. Whenever we have guilt and shame in our lives it hinders our relationship with our Heavenly Father. No matter what we have done shame is always too heavy for us to carry through life. I felt distant to God though I could recite that He was near.
I still felt He could see my blood-stained hands. How could He really love me unconditionally? Have you ever kept a secret from someone you loved dearly? Because of that secret, it hindered the intimacy and vulnerability you could share with that person. That’s what it felt like. I felt free to commune with God, but I really didn’t believe He could love all of me.
Maybe you didn’t do what I’ve done. But we all have something. Have you visited shame’s doorstep? I stayed there too long. In Romans 6 it says His Son died “once and for all”. Jesus does not need to be re-crucified in our good efforts to redeem ourselves. We are not that powerful that we can undo Jesus’ blood as if it was not strong enough for what we did in the first place.
I learned the power of allowing myself to grieve in that season. I literally lost a child and then went on my way. I had no idea how traumatizing the act of abortion actually was. Not just spiritually but even physically. I did not want to be reminded of what I had done. But my body had kept a record, and now that I had found God, it was time that I faced it. And He did it with grace. He smothered me in love. He allowed me to step out of my personally made pit of guilt.
“So now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One.” Romans 8:1 TPT
Once I really put Romans 8 verse 1 in my heart, it was a truth I could believe, not just a good Christian saying. Romans chapter 8 also says nothing can keep us from the love of God. That means shame must flee. Guilt is no more. Forgiveness is real. Sometimes it’s us that has to forgive ourselves knowing that God has forgiven us. I’ll be honest, there are still times I need to be reminded of His truth. Healing is a process. As a counselor told me, we would never tell a parent that lost a child to an accident, “just get over it, it happened years ago.” Allowing myself that same grace to grieve and heal over time and with each new day, it may hit me is perfectly fine and expected.
Despite what wrong you may have done God is not a God of forgiveness who wants you jailed to your shame for life. No. He wants us to let it all go to enjoy the life He designed for us. Receive. Hands open.
Receive. Heart willing. Receive. because you deserve to know the love that God has for you is bigger than anything you’ve done. You may have made a wrong choice, but Jesus is the right answer for it. The bad choices we make can stay with us for the rest of our lives. But now we can show the world with confidence the scars we once tried to hide that allowed us to bloom where we are today.