Breakthrough: Dealing with Guilt and Shame
The other evening an opportunity presented itself for an uninterrupted discussion with one of my children. What began with one objective in mind, which was to debrief a new movie they had gotten to go see with grandma who was in town, turned into a tearful conversation of their personal dealing with guilt and shame. The Lord in his kindness gave much grace to navigate what was in many ways, a heart breaking exchange...
Following a special treat out with family for "Taco Tuesday," I sat down to digest outside on our deck. When the evening starts to settle in and the temperatures begin to cool, our backyard has become a place of rest and reflection. Tony and I often sit out on our deck and listen to the amazing sounds of God's creation. Sometimes we sit out there and enjoy the sights and sounds of our children playing together. This particular evening all of our children less one dispersed throughout the house for various activities. One child joined me out of the deck in order to prepare them briefly for an upcoming counseling appointment.
As we began to talk through what that appointment might look like, establishing goals and the like, I asked them if they had any memories from early childhood that may or may not be difficult. This precious child of ours, who has been more inclined to bury things and compartmentalize first replied, "I forget that I'm adopted." I replied somewhat with a smile, "I often forget that you're adopted, too. I feel like you have always been my child."
As an aside, I'd met with this counselor previously and shared that one of our desires or goals for their upcoming counseling sessions was the possibility of creating a space for our child to process their adoption. This one particular child of ours from day one seemed as if they wanted to forget and forever file away their early beginnings in their country of birth. As illustrated in the comment above, they, though at face value a seemingly sweet statement, simply don't want to think about or talk about their first handful of years. While, I do not want to force them to revisit potentially painful memories, I also do not want them to hide from them. I proceeded to share with my child an abbreviated version of their own grandmother's past. It went something like this...
To my surprise, our child opened up about having one difficult memory, not from their earliest years, but from about four years ago. They recalled a time when they'd gotten into trouble for inappropriate behavior and poor decisions which led their siblings down along with them. They shared that whenever they are being corrected for poor behavior, mistreating others, moments of disobedience, or whatever the case may be, their mind immediately goes back to that place of shame and guilt from everything they had ever done, but particularly that one moment years ago.
We talked through that occasion years ago and the circumstances surrounding it. Part of that process entailed remembering correctly the events around it, identifying the things that were not true, and separating them out. It will be impossible for you, the reader, to understand with such broad strokes, the significance of this moment. There's not a lot I can do to change that. I will just go on to say again, that the Lord granted much grace in that moment to navigate through the heartache. He gave me peace and patience to press through with gentle questioning and processing together of everything surrounding that memory. "I was not a Christian then, mom." As my child cried and continued confessing their humiliation, guilt, and shame from all those years ago, I could feel the Spirit's prompting, "What does the gospel say?"
Confession. Tears. Reminders. Grace. Forgiveness. Hugs. Release. Relief. Breakthrough. Gratitude.
Please continue to pray for us. May you also be encouraged today: