Shame, boatloads of shame.

10:50 AM


Inspiration is coming to me from all sorts of places these days...a photo, a song, a blog. It's like God is reaching me through the things that already command my attention. How generous of Him! I think I am falling deeper in love with Him....

The latest source of inspiration was found at www.xanga.com/resolved2worship I must admit, I stalk this blog and I assure you, if you do, you will be changed. Your ways of thinking challenged, your spirit uplifted, your soul inspired, your passion ignited, and your face smiling. Her most recent blog was about parenting, and shame. I've copied and pasted part of it here, and although it's a little long, if you read it all, you won't be sorry!

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"I believe one of the main ways we hinder the "little children coming to Jesus" is by control based parenting ~ Indoctrination and parent centered parenting vs. Christ centered, Christ led, humble loving relationships with our children.

Are we as parents saying in anyway to our children through our actions or words: "You are my property. You are for me. Don't disappoint me."I guess another name for this type of parenting could be "Me-based-parenting."

Another part to this type of wrong parenting is shaming. I think shaming comes when we parent for ourselves. Shame based parenting kind of goes along with the other types of parenting above. It causes our children to have an intense focus on self. No surprise I suppose, if one is parenting out of selfishness, that the children would have this focus on self as well... just in a different way.

When we shame our children we are encouraging deception. Shame is highlighting their imperfections and weaknesses. Fear of exposure takes hold of a child that is parented in this way and they become compelled to hide the truth about themselves in order to avoid exposure and rejection.

In 2 Cor. 4:2-7, we are encouraged to not focus on the "vessel", but on the treasure inside. When we shame our children we are leading them to focus on themselves instead of the glory of Jesus Christ and how He has forgiven and saves! Shame breeds hatred and unforgiveness towards oneself. It can cause a child to shrink away from the Lord instead of running towards Him.

We want our children to know that they can come fully exposed before the cross of Christ and find complete unconditional love and acceptance. Isn't that a wonderful, wonderful thing?! To be able to lead our children to this amazing, unexplainable gift of God! We have the opportunity, daily, to demonstrate for them God's type of love.

When I was reading about shame based parenting this week I recalled the first time I felt shamed. But it wasn't from my parents. It reminded me why it's so important to not use shame as a motivation to change our children.

When I was nearly 15, I went to a homeschooling conference where a dress code was enforced. My mom had read the paper that was mailed with the instructions on what I was to wear. We went to the local thrift store and we found a skirt in the specified color that was past my knees and hit about mid length of my lower leg and we found a white blouse that was long sleeved and had a collar. We found a pair of navy shoes with a slight heel. Mom bought me a pair of hose.

I tried it all on and my parents thought it fit the criteria. I was set to go. I only had two outfits for the four days we were to be there, but I figured I could make them interchangeable and hand wash the blouses at night after the sessions. It was my first time to go to this conference and I was excited to meet new people.

It was my second day there and I was walking from one session to another when I was tapped on the shoulder from behind. I turned to face a woman who appeared to be about forty, and someone I'd never met before. She motioned me to come with her. She looked safe enough. I wondered what she wanted.

I followed her about twenty feet until we got to a divider in the hallway. She didn't give me her name or introduce herself. Her first words were, "God has told me to talk to you..."I remember thinking that rather strange but not knowing what was coming I thought, "Wow, wonder what God wants this total stranger to tell me!"

And then she began. She first told me how the slit in my skirt showed the back of my knees when I walked and that I was a "stumbling block" to men like her husband, and for that matter every man there. She continued to tell me it was evil to wear such a skirt in public. She told me my shoes were worldly; heels were not needed. That my blouse was attention attracting and stylish like the world. That the waist band on my skirt made mens' eyes look at my waist. That my desire to wear lip-stick was basically whorish.

I stood there, young, frightened, shamed! I said nothing, trying to take it in, trying to understand what this woman was telling me, hearing for the first time things about myself I never thought, or imagined. I felt hot tears running down my face and I wanted to hide. But I was ashamed to move. She went on and on about men and what they would think of me in my clothing I had on.

I remember looking towards the large corridor where others were passing. My eyes searched for other girls so that I could compare and see if they were dressed just like me. I hadn't even thought about it before then. I noticed others in heels. I noticed others in skirts like mine. I noticed some in longer, others in shorter. What had I done wrong??

I wanted to kick my shoes off and go barefoot. But then, what if barefeet were bad too? I fully expected her to at least offer me a coat? a towel? a blanket to wrap around me so I could come out behind the divider and find my parents? I felt paralyzed. I suddenly felt all eyes were on me. I felt scared. Scared of men for the first time in my life. I felt ashamed to be seen.

My parents had taught me to not interrupt adults when speaking. They had also taught me to not go with strangers haha! But somehow I thought I was in a safe environment. I listened until she was done. I missed meeting up with my parents when I was suppose to for lunch. She finished her spill with, "I just wanted to tell you all this because I care about you..." and she took me close and tried to hug me. what?!

I don't know much past that point because it was a blur. My eyes were filled and I couldn't see straight or think straight and all I wanted to do was flee and find the protection of my dad and mom. I felt so shamed, so very shamed. My stomach hurt and I'd lost any appetite to eat lunch.

I remember not being able to find my parents for quite a while because I hadn't made it back at the right time because of the delay. When I found them, I ran to my mom's arms and I wept outloud, uncontrollably. I said I wanted to leave. I was shaking all over. I had never in my life gone through such an experience. It seemed all very demonic to me. And it was.

That was the very first time I experienced the pain of shame. I guess you could say I had been rather protected up to that point. Or something like that, but nevertheless, though having forgiven that woman, I will not forget the intense feelings of shame that flooded my soul as she wagged her finger and pointed and told me what was wrong with my clothing.

And I will never, ever forget my mom's response to me when I came to her and told her what happened. How she held me and loved me and accepted me. I only wish I had been mature enough at that point in my life to let her love and her words of wisdom erase and replace the shaming of that stranger that day.

But I wasn't. Instead I let that shame linger much longer than it ever should have. Instead I came home and threw out most of my clothing and replaced it with clothing that looked like what that woman was wearing that day. I was diligent to check all skirts, only wear full ones that hit the floor, with waist bands that made me look twice the size I actually was. And I checked out other's clothing too to see who was not being a "stumbling block."

Because God had convicted me about immodesty? No. Because when a child is shamed conformity follows not out of conviction, but out of a need to re-affirm themselves that they are okay. At least that is how I responded.

How my mom explained to her friends her daughter's sudden appearance change I don't know! What is amazing to me is that my parents loved and accepted me still and were patient with me as I judged my very own friends, family, and others. They just kept living the gospel authentically before me and it was the next year after that that the Lord revealed Himself to me and I believe I was born again!!! And I have never been the same since.

There is something I do not want - and it's children who dress the part, say the part, act the part, believe they are the part and are headed to hell. Jesus called people like this another name: white-washed tombs."

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I thought after reading this, it would be appropriate to post a song from the Avett brothers, whom I am coming to like more and more.




My favorite lines from this song:

"Okay so I have read the mail,
The stories people often tell,
About us that we never knew.

But their existence will float away,
And just like every word they say,
And we will hold hands as they fade."

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2 comments

  1. I could have written your first paragraph! God has been drawing me closer to Him through a series of events in my life. I am completely awed.

    I too, am a faithful fan of resolved2worship. Her words have blessed me time and time again. This post gave me so much to think about.

    What spoke to me the most was: There is something I do not want - and it's children who dress the part, say the part, act the part, believe they are the part and are headed to hell. Jesus called people like this another name: white-washed tombs."
    I don't want to be that way either!
    Did I ever tell you how much I like your blog? :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. THIS IS SO GOOD. It left me breathless...
    I loved finding your blog, btw. Love the energy and rest here!
    God bless,
    Jenny

    ReplyDelete

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