It’s okay to stop carrying that shame

Categorized as Rhonda's Posts

Scrolling, scrolling through my newsfeed today, I happened across one, small nugget. “Stop carrying shame. It’s not even yours. It’s the devil’s.” And like that, my thoughts hopscotched back to a hellish season once upon another spring…

It was almost exactly four years ago right now. Our oldest son had been imploding for months. Helpless, we’d watched his decline, stricken to the core. Real help was on the way, but then, one more bad choice, one last fling, and–disaster.

His terrible choice could not be hidden. Not this time, so in the paper it went. In newsprint, black ink upon the page, transgression spelled right out. (The very newspaper, mind you, where his mother was a columnist and locally well beloved.)

When private agony becomes public knowledge, no words can frame such pain. Such distress. Such…shame.

For parents and partners of the wayward, shame is a steady companion. The horrid hiss comes constant, unrelenting. “You’re a failure. What a mess-up! You’re a phony, a fraud, and you are to blame.” And then, injury piling upon injury, blow on blow, yet this, too: “If only people knew…”

And then, all at once, they did.

What I know now, on this side of hell, is this; that our son, he had choices. We had choices, too. And where our choices in the early years hurt him, there came a point in our journey where God saw fit to show us. And we repented.

There was grace.

What I know on this side of hell is this, too. That when we repented, we changed. God did a great and mighty and real work in our lives, my husband and I. And all the while, He was working in our son. God stopped us in our tracks, all of us, and led us to life.

There was mercy.

What I know and shout and celebrate on this side of hell is this; that God is bringing so much good from our brokenness, failure, and pain that (hear me now!) could not have come an easier way. These gifts from dark messengers are eternal.

There’s redemption.

So, you. If you are carrying the shame for another’s choices. If you are carrying the shame for your own choices, you can stop. It’s okay to quit. That shame’s not yours to carry, after all. It belongs to satan, and Jesus bought it.

It’s okay to drop shame, receive grace. It’s okay to reject shame, drink in mercy. It’s okay to leave your shame ’cause there’s redemption.

Yes, oh, yes, there is, and you can. It’s time to stop carrying that load. I’m praying for you.

With love,


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