Continued Release From Shame

If I had a party and no one came, it would trigger a great deal of shame.

This thought went through my mind as I sat at a local coffee shop where the monthly writers group meeting I lead takes place.

A party? No, but sometimes it felt like one since the members of this group enjoy a deep connection.

I knew one of the members couldn’t attend because she was celebrating her wedding anniversary. Another said she was busy getting ready to go on a trip on the weekend. A newer member said she had another meeting at the same time.

Then I received an email from someone else saying he had hoped to come but got rear-ended the day before and needed to deal with the car repair.

But at least there will be two here today, I thought.

Then I checked my email. One of the members who said she would be there now said she couldn’t come. She didn’t say why.

I was down to one. It was a member who hadn’t joined us in a while, but he did say in an email he planned to attend.

A half hour passed. I knew no one was coming. I thought back to years before when a friend who led a prayer group asked if I would lead until she got there. Not only did no one come to the prayer meeting, the lady who asked me to lead didn’t show up either.

That day back then I dealt with deep feelings of rejection. At the time I didn’t know to say what I felt was shame.

But this day as God continued to reveal areas of shame and triggers of shame, I knew that’s what I battled inside. At least I now could identify it as such.

Another thought came to mind, I can choose not to give in to shame. The enemy tried hard to get me to do the opposite. If I were a better leader… If the group was more exciting…If I were more loving and caring…If I were a better writer…then people would be here today, the enemy taunted me.

The good news was I didn’t receive the taunts. Yes, I felt disappointed because I missed seeing the people in our group. But it wasn’t my defects which kept them away. Their absence did not prove I was fatally flawed and a complete failure as a group leader.

I decided to stay there a while and work on some writing. I did further editing on poems I brought with me. I looked up the Wednesday poetry prompt on the Writer’s Digest website. It said to write a form poem called a sestina. I studied the form and looked up some poems online written in that form.  I knew I would write about shame for this poem.

I enjoyed the decaf caramel latte I ordered. It seemed to be the best drink I ever ordered there.

Writing a sestina appeared a big endeavor, so I decided to wait until a later time to write the poem, but I left the coffee shop feeling a sense of release. A cloud of shame did not hang over me. Instead I felt God’s love surround me.

Later at home I read a letter from a ministry I support, which has a radio show called “Revive Our Hearts.” I hadn’t listened lately because of my work schedule but realized I could have been listening online. So I decided to do so. As I looked at recent shows I saw three days in a row centered on the subject of shame.

I listened to show #1. The guest, Heather Davis Nelson, wrote a book on the subject, Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom From Shame. That’s just what I needed. God had brought me so far in dealing with brokenness and release from shame, but I knew He wasn’t finished with me yet.

I listened carefully as the author shared truths about shame: “Shame makes you want to hide. You feel flawed.” “Triggers for shame in woman are appearance and relationships. She spoke of how women feel shame in their roles as mother or wife. .” “Shame comes as a result of sin.”  She tied shame in with perfectionism and comparing, issues which I battled for years. “Trauma leads to shame.” “Shame says, ‘I’m fatally flawed and without hope.'” I could relate to all of this.

“The remedy is to talk to God and others,” Heather instructed.

Then the host of the show said, “We find freedom from shame at the cross.”

God revealed that truth to me years ago. As I thought of how gracious God was to lead me to a radio show which dealt with his desire to continue healing in me, I celebrated I no longer had shame based on appearance, but I still had a ways to go in the area of shame based on performance and related to sins I so desired to conquer.

This morning as I listened to the Bible on my Kindle on the way to work, I heard the word “shame.” Once again God spoke to me, this time through David who said, “I will…not be put to shame.” (vs 26) Later as I went over other verses in Psalm 119, these phrases which seemed related to shame caught my attention: “Take away the disgrace I dread…preserve my life…May your unfailing love come to me…your salvation according to your promise; then I will answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in your word. (vs 39-42) The last phrase spoke deeply to my heart. If I trusted what God said about me and how He felt about me, I did not have to give in to the taunts of the devil who tried to lay shame and disgrace on me.

I’m going to listen to those other two other radio programs. I plan to order the book Unashamed. I feel determined to allow God to complete the work He began in me in regard to shame. Lately He has also showed me how I battle shame in regard to being ignored by so many people in my life and at times it seems even by Him.

Years ago I thought, I’m addicted to shame. Now I realize the enemy attempts regularly to get me back into an addictive relationship with this oppressive and at times immobilizing feeling.

But I refuse to succumb.

I will continue to celebrate God’s desire to set me free from all that keeps me from being who He called me to be. My heart’s desire remains to cooperate with His plan for my freedom and continued healing.

I plan to write that sestina. I want the theme to be: He sets me free from shame, and no matter what happens, He loves me the same.

Just as I was getting ready to post this, a friend sent me this text with a link to the trailer for the movie, “The Heart of Man.”

“Powerful movie on healing shame coming Sept 14. (we all need this!)”

Yes, we do!

God, thank You for speaking again and again to my heart about this issue which at times takes hold of me and hinders me from a close walk with You. Because of this, I sense Your deep love for me.

“Take Heart” Hillsong United



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My Heavenly Home

A number of years ago, God brought me to a verse as I searched for truths from Scripture which would bring comfort to my soul during a difficult period. Each of these verses contained the word “comfort.”

“…and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord! Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 NIV)

That verse came to mind recently while I listened to a song by Chris Tomlin called “Home.”

Some days I feel afraid of death because I don’t know what heaven will be like. The mystery of it all intimidates me. But the truths in this song remind me of wonderful promises in Scripture about the place where God promises because I know Jesus as my Savior, I will spend eternity.

The best part of the eternal home God promises me is meeting Jesus there. No longer will He be invisible. I love the thought that He will hold me there in His arms.

I remember a song I heard during a visit to a local church. I tried to find the song since but couldn’t. One truth came to light in the song: while Jesus erased my sins when He died on the cross here on earth, heaven will erase my sorrows.

What a beautiful promise.

I admit I deal with multiple sorrows on this earth. Some days I feel overwhelmed by sadness. But the promises God gives me center on the fact that heaven will be different.

But in the “mean” time, I realize anew I need to be busy fulfilling the mission God has for me on this earth. I think of what Jesus said to the Father, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4 NIV). I want to be able to say the same. God isn’t finished with me yet as far as my assignment here on earth.

As I listened again to the song, “Home,” today, I thought of all those who don’t have a positive image of that word. Home can be filled with pain and heartache. Home can be the place where abuse happened. Home can be a place lost through fire, financial disaster, or other tragedies.

But heaven, my eternal home, will be the perfect home where I will attain everything which I missed in my earthly homes—complete safety and eternal security, perfect love, total acceptance, pure joy, heavenly peace.

One sadness in my life centers on the fact that so many people I care deeply about don’t have a relationship with Jesus and resist receiving Him as Savior. Not only do I want to spend eternity in heaven, but I long to bring my loved ones with me to my heavenly home.

I pray regularly for the Lord to tear down the walls of resistance these loved ones have set up to keep God out of their lives.

I cannot save them or tear down those walls, but God can. I trust Him to answer my prayers that they will meet me in our new “home.”

I praise God for the promise of heaven and look forward to spending eternity there with Him and my loved ones.

How about you? Do you have full assurance that you will spend eternity in heaven with Jesus? Has there ever been a time in your life when you invited Jesus in to be your Savior and Lord? If not, you can do so right now. Here is a salvation prayer/poem which I first found on a card which read “Billy Graham Salvation Poem:”

“Jesus, You died upon a cross

And rose again to save the lost.

Forgive me now of all my sin.

Come be my Savior, Lord, and Friend.

Change my life and make it new

And help me, Lord, to live for You.” Amen.

Let me know if you prayed that prayer. If so, I’ll see you at home—in heaven.

“Home” by Chris Tomlin

Other songs about heaven:

“Live On Forever” by The Afters

“This Is Not Where I Belong” by Building 429


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Lord, What About My Prodigal?

Once again I continue to think about a certain prodigal a lot lately—perhaps because she recently celebrated a birthday.

I long for her to be “home,” so I can say to her, “Let’s pray about that,” and then pray together like we used to. I want her to share some wonderful insight like she did in days gone past which encouraged me so much—even in my walk with the Lord. I confess I miss the Christian version of my loved one. She possessed discernment, wisdom, and a radiance that shone brightly in her eyes and in her smile.

“How can someone who excelled at discernment of the truth fall so deeply into believing the lies of the enemy?” I asked a friend yesterday.

Even as I said the words, the answer came.

The enemy relentlessly attempts to blind those who desire to proclaim truth. As a writer, I sense him work diligently to keep me from my repeated broadcast of truths the Lord gives me. Some days I fall for lies, but then as I seek the Lord, He corrects me with His truth.

My friend assured me of my loved one’s return, as most people do.

Then as I jogged today and spoke to the Lord, He assured me again with these words, “She’s already home.”

God is not in time as I am, so He already sees her home. Is it wrong I want to see it too and experience that reality—especially before I die? Deep down I know I will experience the reality even if I die before her return is manifested.

Other questions I ask are, “Why do certain prodigals return more quickly than others while some stay away for decades?” One answer that comes to mind which goes along with the other about how one can believe lies after so totally embracing truth is this: pride.

At the core of this prodigal’s issues I believe is rejection. Years ago as I struggled with the spirit of rejection, someone gave me a teaching centered on this truth: we can deal with rejection one of two ways. We can go to God and get healed and delivered, or we can rebel. For a period of time I rebelled. I didn’t abandon my Christianity, but I couldn’t seem to forgive those who rejected me so harshly. Once I let go of pride and embraced forgiveness, the turnaround in my life amazed me. The freedom I felt lifted me higher than I ever thought I could go and drew me closer to the Lord than I ever imagined I could be.

In the midst of my sorrow over my prodigal staying away comes shame, which I wrote about in previous blogs as my core issue. Somehow it feels like it must be at least partially my fault my loved one rejected God. She spent large amounts of time with me as I tried to be a witness for the Lord to her. Was my witness too weak? Did she say, “I don’t like what she has?”

I remember two occasions at my home church when that sense of shame heightened. Once was when a man from the pulpit said, “I must have done things right. My children are walking close to the Lord.” What I heard, “You did everything wrong.”

Another time I asked for prayer for my prodigal child in a lady’s Bible study at my church, and a fellow mom said, “My child wandered from the Lord a short time, but then I prayed, and she came right back.” My conclusion? She knows how to pray a prodigal home, and I don’t.

These shame issues tend to be buried, but God allows them to come to the surface, so I can deal with them—sometimes again and again. He shows me the enemy works hard in his attempts to blame and shame me in regard to prodigals I pray for and other seemingly unanswered prayers and my perceived failures as a Christian.

What tears at my heart is how time is wasted in this precious one’s life. She missed giving glory to God all these years she stayed away. But I have to believe God can restore the years the locusts have eaten. I have to believe the words He speaks that “she’s already home.” I have to cling to Him even though I don’t understand how someone who had such a strong faith abandoned it or how He could have allowed it when it seems He keeps other people’s faith intact, despite many trials and traumas.

I can hear people saying, “She has free will.”

Yes, she does.

Recently at my Bible study, I left a prayer card with a fellow member of the group. Our practice is to write down the prayer request and then the other person prays and lets the requester know what they believe God is speaking to them about the subject. Then the person who initiated the prayer takes it back to the Lord. This is what this friend said when I asked for prayer for my prodigal. I receive what she passed along. I hold to it and to the Lord. I release any shame connected to this, and I wait with love in my heart like the father of the prodigal did in the Scripture. (See Luke 15:20)

CALL FORTH THOSE THINGS THAT ARE NOT AS THOUGH THEY WERE. (Romans 4:17…the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.)


This song from Lauren Daigle lifted my spirits in regard to prodigals I pray for on a regular basis. I praise God for using singers and songwriters to lift me up and remind me of God’s love and power.

“Come Alive (Dry Bones)” by Lauren Daigle


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His Love Never Fails Repost

Today I’m reposting a blog I first posted on July 3, 2012. As I re-read it today, I saw I still need to grow in loving like the Lord. My goal remains to draw near to the Him, so instead of demands that others love me, I allow God’s love to flow through me to them. I’m adding a song about God’s unfailing love.

Note: I am posting this on July 1, 2017. However, WordPress continues to put July 2, 2017 at the top of the post.


“I am a failure.” Those were the words that paraded through my mind.

I brought these words to the Lord and asked, “Is that true?”

This is what came. You could not get this person to love you at the moment, but that does not make you a failure.

Then the Lord convinced me my goal is not to get others to love me or to do the right thing. Instead it is to love others. The verse that comes to mind is:

…Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12 NIV 1984)

If I pray for the Lord’s love to flow through me to others, this is what I know: His love never fails.

I confess I’ve been at it again—attempting to get people to do the right things, to believe the right things, to give themselves fully to the Lord. And once again I feel like I’m failing miserably. They’re not budging. Their love affairs with the world are too enticing for them to let go.

So that’s when my “I am a failure” thought came recently. I was with one of these people that I’m in the habit of trying to fix. There was a specific “right thing to do” at that moment, which I encouraged this individual to do. Instead of responding positively to my urging, the person declared by their action, “No, I’d rather do the wrong thing. That rule about the right thing in this situation applies to other people and not to me.”

I couldn’t help but think about what our pastor had taught recently—that in order for people to live with themselves and go on doing wrong things, they just redefine what’s right and what’s wrong.

I do spend time trying to define to others what is right based on the Word of God.  What a waste of breath, I’m realizing, because they just say, “I define that issue differently than you do.” It feels so wrong to me when they say that—like someone declaring, “I don’t care what the dictionary says. This is how I define that word.”

After my conflict with the individual who sees right and wrong differently than I do in so many areas, and yet proclaims to be a Christian, I spent time alone thinking and praying. God convinced me once again that my words will not change this person’s mind. God’s Word will—when the person decides to turn there and listen.

Sometimes God allows His truth to flow through me to others, but in this case He’s showing me that’s not going to work.  I can pray, but I’m not to “say,” so God can speak to this stubborn soul. I am to show mercy, and be kind and loving—even if this person isn’t kind, loving, and merciful toward me.

And I am to hold to this—that God isn’t calling me to get “difficult” people to love me or to do the loving or the right things, but He’s calling me to love others the way He loves me.  I’m still learning how to be successful at that.

Lord, continue to teach me how to love like You do. Here I am– Your willing student, wanting to do the right thing.

Will you join me in praying that prayer?

“Your Love Never Fails” by Jesus Culture



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God Heard Me

“I feel so down today,” I said out loud.

“Lord, please help me,” I added, as I drove out of the parking lot after work.

Maybe lack of sleep could explain my emotions. Perhaps it was the sad cases I saw on the psychiatric ward that day. Or was it that I couldn’t stop thinking about loved ones who faced severe emotional, physical, and spiritual crises in their lives? The worst part was that no matter how hard I tried to encourage these people, nothing I said or did seemed to help. They erected walls to keep out any truth I brought them.

As I drove toward home, I decided to turn on the radio.

With that action, God answered my prayer.

The pastor on a show called “Powerpoint,” which I listened to several times before spoke about what to do when we’re feeling discouraged.

Yes, that’s it, I admitted. I do feel discouraged.

Then he presented this list, which touched my heart and reminded me God understands our discouragement and wants to help. He knows what I need during those times of feeling down. And He used this man to bring me these powerful reminders.

Here is the list of five things Pastor Jack Graham presented as far as what to do when we’re discouraged from his talk titled, “How I Can Persevere.”

  1. LOOK UP. I confessed that once again I slipped back into keeping my eyes on problems rather than on my Protector, Provider, and Prince of Peace.
  1. SHOW UP. He spoke of showing up to our marriages, our jobs, and other challenges in our lives instead of walking away. I thought of showing up to the relationships that hurt and even to showing up to spend time with God when I felt He ignored my prayers for loved ones. I realized I also needed to show up wholeheartedly to wherever God called me and with a heart to give Him glory.
  1. TEAM UP. I knew I needed to spend more time with believers and more time praying with them and lifting each other up. It had been a while since I connected deeply to the encouragers God brought into my life. I especially needed it since I had spent the weekend with people who tended toward negativity.
  1. FILL UP. He spoke of filling up with God’s Word. I only spent a short time in the Word that day, but I realized on down days I needed to do it more and also speak out loud God’s promises and passages of Scripture I memorized.
  1. LIFT UP. This centered on lifting others up when I feel down. Yes, I spoke words of encouragement to my patients that day, but I didn’t consult the Lord on how I could really lift up another individual. I sometimes just went through the motions. Also, it came to me I sometimes try to lift people up who don’t want to be lifted up. I need to ask God to show me those who eagerly await a truth or word of hope.

By the time I finished listening to the radio show (some of it while sitting in my garage), I felt encouraged and determined to embrace that list. I thought of friends and relatives who seemed to be sinking lower and lower in being discouraged, and I realized some didn’t follow any of the items on this list. No wonder they felt so discouraged. Perhaps I had caught some of their discouragement in recent days.

I knew I couldn’t force them to embrace this list, but I could choose to do so.

My feelings of depression and discouragement melted away as I thought not only of the powerful solutions contained in that list, but of how God quickly answered my prayer once I called out to Him.

“Thank You, Lord,” I said, and I could feel a smile return to my face as I realized anew how much He loved me and cared about me.

Yes, it seemed others refused to listen to me, but God heard me. A Bible verse came to mind, and later I looked it up: “In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” Psalm 18:6 NIV

I continue to celebrate the fact He hears me when I cry to Him for help. And He gives me the help I need. That day He did it quickly and emphatically.

“Everyone Needs A Little” by Kari Jobe



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What Is At The Core?

“Before he can be delivered from drugs, he needs to find out what’s at the core,” said the woman at my Bible study after I shared with the group about a loved one’s battle with drug addiction.

This woman who appeared in her 30s admitted she battled drug addiction in the past.

“I found out my deep issue was shame. Until I dealt with shame, I couldn’t be delivered from drugs.”

When Eileen passed along that insight, a word came to mind about my loved one: “abandonment.”

Later I texted him and asked the question, “What’s at the core?”

His immediate response? Abandonment.

I told him I would pray for him in relation to that issue.

As I thought about his core issue, I thought of my own addiction which I battled over the years—an addiction to food. God revealed quite a while ago at the core of my food addiction was shame. Even as a child when people shamed me, I ate—many times large amounts of sweets.

In recent days I returned to my pursuit of a sweet fix for my troubles. So I asked the Lord, “Do I still have shame issues?”

The answer which came to mind surprised me.


As I pondered this, I thought of how down I felt when others reported miraculous answers to prayers, while I prayed on and on—sometimes for decades with seemingly no answers. I prayed for healing of marriages, and divorce came. I prayed for salvation for scores of relatives with no one coming to the Lord. I prayed countless prayers for prodigals to come home, but they remained determined to live for their own pleasures.

At my church people fed my shame with statements like, “I prayed for my daughter for a couple months, and she came back to the Lord.” What I heard was “Shame on you for not being an excellent pray-er like me.”

In my recent time of contemplation over this, I realized when shame invaded my prayer life, and I felt like a total failure at the task, I ate to feel better.

In my work place recently, one of the therapists passed out a paper to the patients titled, “Core Belief Clusters.” One of the headings said “shame.”

(I looked up the word shame later: “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.”)

Here’s what it read on the handout:

I am…(core send of self)

I am unlovable/undeserving.

I am worthless/defective.

I am bad/selfish.

I am not good enough. (That was my main belief leaving my childhood.)

I am inadequate.

I am responsible.

All of these could relate to my prayer life and the conclusions my inner self came to because of the failure I saw there.

Across from these statements on the paper were other statements to counter the negative ones. I am okay as I am, I can accept myself, I am good enough, I can recognize appropriate responsibility. These were from a secular source, so I could add God to each statement to bring a powerful, healing truth.

I ran across a prayer list I prayed in recent days and saw that many of the prayers were answered for everyday things for myself: heal the pain in my leg, help me work out travel plan issues, help me to lose weight (I recently reached my lowest weight in over 30 years) Also, I prayed for healing of my daughter’s stomach problems, and after many months, they’re gone.

Once again I pray God will deliver me completely from shame. My prayers—especially for salvation, return of prodigals, and healing of relationships–aren’t being answered the way I want them to or rather in the time table I’d prefer, but God is at work. And He reminds me again and again that He’s not in time. I remember Him saying to me a while ago, YOUR PRAYERS ARE ALREADY ANSWERED.

I recall hearing that George Muller prayed salvation prayers for his friends from his youth for 50 years. And if I remember right, one of them received Jesus at George’s funeral and the others sometime after.

In recent days God revealed one way which helps to keep shame out of my prayer life and causes me to choose prayer above turning to sweets: to pray listening prayers. When I pray those kinds of prayers, God speaks to me about why certain relatives continue to stubbornly resist Him. He speaks to me about how to love them right where they’re at. He reminds me I AM WORKING IN THEIR LIVES He gently urges, RECEIVE MY PEACE.

I realize I failed to pray listening prayers for weeks, and that opened the door for the enemy to try to shame me again. And prayer time isn’t just about getting answers; it’s about communion with the Lord. And the enemy certainly doesn’t want that, so he uses shame to try to keep me from it.

I remember years ago a friend urged me not to let shame rule my life.

“Blame and shame is the devil’s game,” she said.

I praise the Lord that Jesus took my shame on the cross, and I no longer need to be affected by it.

And I thank God that He reveals when I need some more healing of core issues.


Lord, I receive that. Help me to live it.

Shame tries to drag us back into the dark, but we are the light of the world. The following song reminds me of that truth.

“We Are” by Kari Jobe





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Keep Your Focus on the Lord

“Keep your focus on the Lord.”

Those words came from a priest who recently visited an elderly couple I know. Before he came to their home they felt desperate—the man because he frantically focused on his finances and financial losses from the past. He let worry about money affect his sleep and every waking hour, even though he possessed plenty of money to meet his everyday needs.

His wife focused on how desperation ruled her husband. She worried about his becoming more irrational over their finances and how he wouldn’t stop talking about it—to her and to others on the telephone. His agitation brought on anxiety in her.

The people they talked to on the telephone—including me–tried to calm this couple. Then one suggested they call their priest.

The next day he came over and delivered those six words along with others of hope and comfort.

When the woman told me about the six words and how they helped her, they spoke to me as well.

I thought of how often I slipped into desperation because I failed to keep my focus on the Lord.

My obsessive focus tends not to be on finances, but it can easily be on family and the different challenges they face. I can begin to obsess and feel unable to stop talking about the latest difficulties they find themselves in, which seem impossible to overcome. My focus on problems rather than on the Prince and His promises and provision robs me of peace and joy the Lord longs for me to maintain.

As I speak to fellow Christians, I see how frequently a locked focus on something or someone other than the Lord rules so many of us in the body of Christ.

Hebrews 12:2 comes to mind as I contemplate the need to maintain a fixed focus on the Lord.

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…” NIV

I like the way the Amplified puts it: “[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith…”

Like Peter who took his eyes off of Jesus while walking on the water, when I look away from Jesus, and keep my gaze planted on my problems and the flaws and failings of others, I begin to sink.

Lately a few issues tempt me to take my eyes off of Jesus. Daily time in the Word keeps me from this. Also, praise and worship along with time in the presence of fellow believers who possess a strong faith (even if it’s just with DJs on Christian radio stations) helps me to keep my focus on the Lord.

“What the priest told us helped so much,” the formerly troubled woman told me.

“It helped me too,” I told her.

Another verse came to mind: “My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Psalm 25:15 NIV.

This came to mind as I read this verse again: “My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he _________.

I can fill in the blank because so much in my life can only be resolved by His power, mercy, and grace.

For the rest of today and in the days ahead, I want to heed what that priest and what the Word directs: “Keep your focus on the Lord.”

I know the One who loves me more than I can ever know will remind me again and again to do just that.

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Alan Jackson

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