My Redeemer Lives
My Redeemer Lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I know my Redeemer Lives...
To take away my SHAME
And He lives
Forever I'll proclaim
That the payment for my sins
Was the precious life He gave
And now He's alive and there's an empty grave
Nicole C. Mullen
I love this song so much. My very favorite part is when she sings that Jesus came to take away her shame, and at that point in the song it's almost like an afterthought. Well, for me, shame is a pop-up-out-of-the-blue-when-you-least-expect it kind of thought. And the crazy thing about it is, the more years I get under my belt in life and feel like I'm starting to get things somewhat figured out, the more shame I experience.
Just a few minutes ago, I was reading this blog about a small farm. It was so wholesome, intriguing, and well thought out. And as I'm casually searching through, looking for a post on raising ducks (which strangely is not at all what I'm embarrassed about), something catches my eye. It's an ad that says, "ALERT!! YOUR ARREST RECORD IS ONLINE! CLICK HERE TO VIEW IT NOW!!" and I almost clicked. I felt this wave of shame rush up and almost drown me before I could even rationalize with myself. SO. Let me get this out between you and me, just so I can let this shame go: I got arrested when I was 18. I was so irresponsible with money that I had no idea my checking account closed during the summer after my freshman year in college. I came back in the fall, and promptly started writing checks on an account that no longer existed and wouldn't have had any money, anyway! Did I know? No. Did I care? Probably not. Was I embarrassed when I found out? I don't remember. What I do remember is that I dropped by the police station to pick up my license after a night out, and instead of getting my license I got handcuffs. And I was sure that they were the rudest people on earth and had made a huge mistake. I remember that they laughed when I smiled for my mugshot, and that the nicest guard in the whole place told me, "Honey, don't tell the other [incarcerated people] your name." And then I cashed my check from home that was supposed to be for that semester's books, bailed myself out, and then went back to my sorority house to tell everyone the events of the day. Ex-CUSE me.
Fast forward seventeen years (almost half my life!!!), and I'm embarrassed to death about it while I'm reading a farming blog. Isn't that just the way shame works? It makes no sense, because it's not true. I see the ad for looking up anyone's criminal background, and I immediately feel shame--AS IF. As if someone--anyone--is actually going to click on that link and type my name in. Lie #1. As if my sordid past is the least bit interesting to neighbors, friends, fellow moms, etc. who will then decide that they are too good to be associated with me. Lie #2. As if anyone had ANY preconceived notion without that arrest record that I am perfect. Lie #3. And finally, as if I am too good to have ever been arrested...better than Ghandi, better than George Mueller, better than Jesus. Lies, lies, lies that my shame tells me.
So, when we as women experience this shame, it interferes with our lives and the blessings God has in store for us. When we don't want people to come over because we're ashamed that our house is a wreck, we miss out on fellowship and the chance to show hospitality to others. When we strategically sit with a towel over our thighs at the pool instead of getting in and playing with the kids, for fear that someone might actually see our cellulite and "baby marks", we miss out on family fun and memories. When we skip church because we don't want to do business with God about our own sin, we miss out on living in the community of believers who long to do life with us. Let's don't do this!
Today, I'm praying to just let this shame go. Sacrifice it at the foot of the cross instead of holding onto it like a mean old friend. And, while I'm at it, I will pray that God takes the pride that precedes that lying shame. I want to laugh both at my days to come and the days that are behind me, knowing that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28 NLT) I will rejoice that my momentary discomfort and embarrassment will help me relate to someone in a way that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to do. That way, those handcuffs of shame will be exchanged for beautiful heart jewelry that shows where I've been in a way that blesses me and others!