On releasing the shame

by arianne

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Something happened in me last night, something really really good, and I’m struggling finding the words to describe it. It was hard and difficult and a moment of heart laid bare — and I need to share it. Allow me some disjointed thoughts here for a bit?

I was having issues with my boys that had become unmanageable for me. This wasn’t a new thing, as we’ve reached these seasons in life together before. But this one was different. I couldn’t really go on with another groundhog-esque day of the same behavior issues, the same sibling fighting, the same horrible attitudes. I felt defeated in their homeschooling, I felt like I didn’t have what they needed in a mom. Usually I identify the issue and can cobble together what new path we need to walk down, but not this time. I had nothing. All the frustrations, the realization of how unhappy I was in this area, it all came to a head yesterday, and it wasn’t pretty.

But as my husband and I sat and talked all this out for hours, throughout the day and into the wee hours last night, God brought some things bubbling up that I didn’t even know where there. I identified it in a spiritual way, I realized that what was in turmoil inside of me was affecting my children. It was mysterious and supernatural, but they had some of the same issues, manifested differently, that I had. How did this happen?

I remember when I was pregnant with River in 2011 and learned in therapy that it was important to think and pray through what the root is of a certain emotional/spiritual problem. We do this in our organic house church, too. The more I am open to what God needs to purge from my soul, the quicker that purging happens. And I wanted this out, gone, healed over.

What came to mind really shocked me, as I didn’t remember it on my own before I prayed about it. I wasn’t carrying around this memory or the resulting difficulties in the front of my mind. It was completely pushed down.

But slowly I started remembering the shame I had when we were first trying to get pregnant with our first baby. By then it was 2001, a year had passed since we had started trying to conceive. We had tried all the tricks and advice, done the tests, and nothing was wrong and nothing was happening. I remembered that this was really when the depression started inside me. Then I was reminded of the depression I had over not experiencing the birth I wanted. Shame that I hadn’t “been able” to have a natural birth. Then followed postpartum depression that was so intense and visceral I had no clue what was happening to me. Some of these things I remembered before this self-walk through my past, but other things (like shame about not conceiving) were new memories for me, things I had not thought about for these 10+ years.

But then the biggie came up. I was already crying, already releasing things, and then I got hit with a bombshell. A memory I had long forgotten.

My husband was praying for me and stopped and said,Did you ever consider leaving the baby? Leaving us?

And then my soul broke completely open. It was a puddle on the floor of my chest and there was nothing left.

Yes, I had considered it. I had.

I never did leave, and truly I don’t even know how those thoughts entered my head, they were not of me. It was the PPD, the Enemy, and maybe both. But it wasn’t me.

And by the grace of God we got through that time. But the big thing that was exposed through that memory — that confession of mine — was that I realized that sense of shame was still with me.

I still had the shame.

The shame I poured out on myself for having those thoughts became a root in me that was like a tether holding onto things that I thought I had long let go of. Long healed from. The whole of the black and horrible tree of that painful time had already been torn out, limb by limb, yet the root remained.

So last night, I completely released it, prayerfully and with my whole spirit I just let it fly away. I felt sick, like I might throw up, and then the crying finally stopped. I’ve always been a little on the dramatic side, but this wasn’t that. It was soul-level real, and important and necessary.

I woke up this morning feeling such peace, so much whole-ness. I felt God speaking to me that He wanted me whole. He let me spill over the edge of the cliff yesterday so that this all could happen. So that it would all come bubbling up, exploding out of my heart and be over. Once and for all.

My soul doesn’t feel like a puddle anymore, it’s not broken, but put back together today. It feels stronger, better to take the blunt forces of everyday parenting. It feels free.

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