Nanny knew her years were short so she started giving her beloved things to us. To each of her kids she passed on what she wanted them to have. Heirlooms, collectibles and cherished mementos were given to those she loved.
When she was gone we all gathered to go through her home. I remember sitting on her bedroom floor sorting through her belongings recalling where she purchased an item, who gave it to her or how much she loved her valuables. We laughed, we cried and we remembered.
Today, I’m doing the same thing in a different setting. I have gone up into the attic of my mind and opened some old trunks. Storage bins of long-standing thoughts, feelings and memories.
Pulling out an old dress, I held it up to examine it, reminiscing of the times it was worn. Remembering where I got it, who I received it from or how I felt wearing it. The feelings evoked ranged from giggles to laughter, quietness to loneliness, tears to sobs, and embarrassment to shame.
The last one got to me. Shame….
The story in John 8 of the Bible came to mind. The ultimate story of shame to a woman caught in the act of adultery. And I thought to myself, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE AN ADULTRESS TO FEEL LIKE THE WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY.
All too often I feel WITH her…
Naked and exposed
Set up and used
Judged and condemned
Unloved and unlovely
Ashamed and guilty
A memory surfaced of a teacher telling me with her finger pointed to my face, “SHAME ON YOU Dana!” She got her wish for I’ve lived with shame “on” me.
Although knowing what shame means I looked it up the dictionary. As usual I learned something new. Shame is a painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness or disgrace. Oh yeah, I’ve worn those things like accessories to match the clothing I put on every day.
And the soundtrack playing in my head tells me that something I did – makes me who I am. I am all those things the woman caught in adultery F-E-E-L-S.
However, feelings are not always accurate. I can’t trust them because they are fickle. They sometimes lie.
The truth is what I did – does not make me who I am. Yes, I have and still do wrong things. But it does not nor ever will define who I am.
Who am I?
I am loved by God. I am forgiven. Jesus Christ died on the cross for me. I am clothed in righteousness. I am a sinner saved by grace. God delights in me. I am His treasure.
Shame made me run away and hide from God, but conviction drew me to Him. He didn’t point a finger in my face to condemn me, judge me or shame me. He takes care of the accusers and takes care of me.
Since my mind feeds on the voice I listen to the most, I am continually in the process of removing the old eight tracks (remember those?) and replacing them with new compact discs. My new background music is so much nicer. I am thankful for a new opportunity to change and another lesson on grace.