When Shame Comes To Visit...

 Image result for fire with dancing light and shadows

Shame is powerful. It is also sly and deceptive. So I wanted to vividly paint a picture of my experience with shame in word format.

So with my best capabilities I have taken a few brush strokes and fumbled through a few words, to bring you this.

. . . . .

It was a chilly winter evening. I was keeping warm by way of a nice cozy blanket and a cup of tea. I sat there and looked at the Christmas tree covered in lights and beautiful ornaments that all captured a special moment, or sometimes even just a special dream. As I sat there gazing, I heard footsteps coming my way from down the hall. And in walked this girl, that looked a lot like me. An honest version (One like what I typically see when I look in the mirror). She was in nothing more than a tattered white dress that had been so stained it looked almost completely black. There were holes and places you could tell she had tried to fix with a patch, but they were ripped away. There were no shoes on her feet. Made it easier for her to run. Dashing in and out unannounced. Always running over broken glass and rocky ground. Most people may have been a bit alarmed by her presence with all these things considered. But she was familiar to me. Basically, an old friend. And so, I invited her in. Though I knew what her visits mean and what she always has planned.

She followed my gaze at the Christmas tree and one by one she removed each lovely ornament and threw them at the wall. Dreams shattering. Sweet memories crashing. Then came the star on top and lights all around that she unplugged and did away with. It was suddenly pitch black in the room. But she took out a flashlight (always making sure I can clearly see this next part of her show). She reached down into one of the pockets in her dress, and took out some photos of my past; some from years ago, and some from just last week. She holds them right in front of the nose on my face. Making sure I stare and clearly see, all the foolish things I’ve done, and understand the great price I must pay. Then the photos go on the tree. One by one. And now what was once so beautiful is now a sight I can barely take. But I can’t look away. Shame then takes away my blanket, my comfort and my warmth. Making me shiver in the loneliness and making me breathe in the cold. Overwhelmed, I fall flat on my face and plead with her to stop this torturous task. I know what I am. I see what I’ve done. Begging that her visit please almost be done.

But then to my left lies the fireplace once silent and still. When out of nowhere the bottom logs begin to glow. And ever gradually the whole thing begins to blaze. Light dancing throughout the room and on my face. And it starts to act like a miracle in regards to the photos on the tree. The light dances on them and it’s like I’m watching short movies play right before my eyes. I see the ugliness and the pain that shame showed me. But then I see what comes next in every single one. I see people coming up around me to lift me up and show me love like never before. I see my once crushed soul, coming alive and roaring forth. And there’s plenty where I flipped off a Holy God out of anger, confusion, and hurt. But then I end up with hands lifted and a heart transformed with a deeper understanding and love for my Father I once cursed. Then on top of the tree I see the star shining bright. Just like the one in Bethlehem that shone so bright that one promised night. Making a declaration that Jesus was there below, amidst our chaos and destruction. Just like this star shines bright and says that in fact, Jesus is even here in this moment. So caught up in this moment I finally take a look around and notice that shame had disappeared and left. I was too overwhelmed by the light, the warmth, and the beauty. And then I take a look at the mirror on the wall, and what I see is a girl in a flawless white dress. She starts to dance softly and twirl with the flames and beauty from the fire, underneath that bright star light. Though she was faced with all her moments of shame, she saw the masterpiece and brilliance of grace. So twirl on sweet girl. It's time you see that shame really is not a friend.

. . . .

"For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 29:11

If there was a way to get rope burn on my hands from clinging to words so tightly... that passage would be the reason. It's a truth I can't believe but I have to trust. Because despite the calamity around me, I have to cling to the truth that it doesn't end there. That there is a future and a hope meant for me. And actually, right in front of me to take. So I'm clinging tight. And fighting like hell. Because I will not stop at the brokenness. I will press on towards hope. And I won't give up until the calamity of this life ends. So there you go shame. I know you won't stop visiting me unannounced, but know that I won't give up and I know the fire in my corner will never stop burning bright.


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