Shame: 1. A painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment or disgrace. 2. A reason for feeling sad or disappointed.
Hope: 1. A feeling of great expectation, anticipation and desire for a certain thing to happen. 2. Trust that a certain thing will happen.
“Such hope never disappoints or deludes us nor does it put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts …” (Romans 5:5)
How do I answer a question like that? How should I answer a question like that?
It seems such an innocuous question and one that should be easy to answer. After all, I am one of Melissa’s OBS Leaders! I should be quick to reply. I’ve read the book. I’m leading a group of women through a study of this book and related scriptures in the Bible. I should know the answer to this question!
And yet I was stumped. I sat, at my computer, day after day with my fingers poised over the keys, waiting for inspiration and words of wisdom. I felt as though I was in a final English exam and nothing was coming. I should have replied by now. I should have posted an answer to Melissa’s question by now.
But I had nothing. Nada. I kept drawing a complete blank.
So I did what I used to do when faced with a question I was unsure of how to answer – I re-wrote the question, trying to see it from a different angle.
- What have I learned so far from my study of “Unglued”?
- How is the study of “Unglued” changing my life?
- How has “Unglued” affected me personally?
And all I come up with is two words. The same two words. Over and over.
Shame. And Hope.
Shame…for all the times in the past I became unglued and spewed out garbage and anger on the ones I love the most in the world. Shame…for all the times I hurt my children with my explosion of words and raw emotions, especially when they were young and impressionable. Shame…for feeling like I failed miserably at motherhood in those early years. Shame…for all the times I put on a fake smile and pretended I was loving ever moment and cherishing every second with my children. When really I was too tired. Too grumpy. Too overwhelmed. Too resentful. Too busy wishing I was doing something else.
So. Much. Shame.
Oh I feel disgraced for admitting there were moments I hated my ‘job’ of motherhood. I feel embarrassed for acknowledging that I was a ‘mean, harsh, angry Mum’ that yelled. Loudly. Often. I feel so sad that I didn’t know that stuffing until I exploded was not the way to handle my emotions.
I am full of shame and guilt. And regret.
I don’t want this to be how my kids remember me.
I don’t want this to be how I remember me in this season of my life.
BUT thankfully, praise God, I also have hope!
Hope…that I can change. Hope…that it’s possible to change. Hope…that’s it’s not too late to change. Hope…that I can repair the damage I (may) have caused. Hope…that, by asking for forgiveness, I can begin again to build strong, healthy relationships with my children. Hope…that for the few years my children remain ‘children’ I will cherish every moment. Hope…that next time I feel ‘unglued’ I will respond and resolve conflicts without reacting and exploding. Hope…that I can be the type of Mum I want to be. The type of Mum God wants me to be.
The way I’m going to try to effect these changes is by following Lysa TerKeurst’s Standard Operating Procedures for what to do when I feel like I’m coming ‘unglued’ and about to ‘lose it’.
- I will remember who I am in Christ (I am His daughter, a Princess. I am forgiven. I am set apart, sanctified and redeemed. I am free. I am blessed. I am whole. I am loved.).
- I will redirect my focus back onto Jesus (It’s actually not about me anyway!).
- I will recognise that my ‘job’ is different to God’s job (He’s got it under control and will handle things in His own way).
- I will read the Word (and I’ll choose to worship, pray and offer praise and thanksgiving to God.)
- I will realise that my gentle replies (not my reactions) will determine my reach. (What I say and how I say it will affect the future generations.)
- I will rejoice – because there is hope.
“Those who put their hope in You will never be put to shame, nor be disappointed.” (Psalm 25:3)
As Lysa says, “When we place ourselves in situations where things seem impossible, we see the hand of God in action. When we can attribute good to God’s power, we see Him in a new light and we believe in His power afresh.”
Oh, how I believe in His power in seemingly impossible situations! Oh, how I dare to place myself where I might see His hand in action.
Oh, how I hope and long for and eagerly anticipate the day my children say to me: “You know what we really like about you Mum? You’re not a ‘freak out woman’ anymore. You don’t get angry. You don’t ‘lose it’ when bad things happen now. You don’t come ‘unglued’. And we love you for that.”