All those years ago in a garden, sin entered into this world. Along with it came shame.
I see it the eyes of the woman I bump carts with at the grocery store. I see it eyes of the woman I pass by on my run outside. I see in the eyes of the woman pushing her child on the swing at the park. I see it in the eyes of strangers, and those I know by name.
I see it, because I know what it feels like to be bound by a five-letter word.
It comes straight from the kingdom of darkness. It steals, kills, and destroys. It silences the voice of its victim.
It once silenced mine.
As a teenager, I was the extremely quiet girl who never rose my hand in school — afraid I would say the wrong thing. I was the nice girl who was cautious to not offend a soul. Really, I was the fragile girl who felt alone.
I thought being beautiful in the world’s eyes was the cure. For me, that meant being thinner. I fell for the lie that a perfect physical appearance would lead to acceptance and love.
So I hid my pain. I hid my sin-stained struggle. And shame kept me a prisoner in my own body for years.
Freedom called my name when I was eighteen years old, and shame packed its bags.
I write this over a decade later — a changed woman who is finding her voice. I’m an introvert at heart, but I choose to speak my story through written words and beyond because I long for captives to be set free. I’m learning to lay aside my people-pleasing-don’t-want-to-risk-tendencies, and step into the brave spaces I used to fear.
I speak for the woman bound in shame whose voice has been silenced. The woman who sits in darkness and feels no hope. The woman who feels forgotten, abandoned, and alone.
To her I say: Hope lives in the Light. The One Who knows rejection knows you by name and calls you Beloved.
I speak for the woman bound in shame who feels worthless. The woman who stares in the mirror in disgust, longing for a different reflection to stare back. The woman who feels unworthy, unforgivable, and unknown.
To her I say: Your Creator doesn’t make mistakes. He wonderfully made you in His Image and He delights in His creation. You are known by Him.
I speak for the woman bound in shame who wants to give up. The woman who is hanging on by a strand, longing for someone to come to her rescue. The woman who feels confused, mistreated, and unwanted.
To her I say: He doesn’t give up on you. The Great Rescuer hears when you call, and He longs to speak sweet truth into your wounded mind.
I speak for the woman bound in shame who hides behind a smile, a career, a so-called perfect life. The the woman who feels like she has to hold it all together. The woman who is exhausted from trying so hard and feels empty.
To her I say: Stop striving. True joy is found in believing that you are a child of God. He defines your worth.
To the woman, the teenager, the girl, bound in shame — freedom calls.
I know the shame so well. I know how it hurts and keeps you from living. I know how it makes you fear bringing your darkness into light, because it says others will reject you and make fun of you. I know how it saturates your mind with lies that pile on top of more lies that dilute your joy. I know how it keeps you stuck and unable to move forward. I know how it taunts you by replaying your mistakes over and over, telling you how much of a failure you are.
But I also know this.
All those years ago in the garden, sin entered into this world and so did shame —
And that’s not the end of the story.
A perfect Man came, and He paid for every sin so that you don’t have to live in the prison of shame. He loves tenderly, gives selflessly, and waits patiently for His invitation to be accepted.
For on the other side of shame, is freedom. Sweet freedom that is not bound to this world.
It’s the freedom to walk with the King Who says you are loved, treasured, wonderfully made, beautiful, valuable, accepted, wanted, known, and forgiven. It’s the freedom to be who you really are, rather than striving so hard to be thinner, prettier, more talented, or whatever that thing is you think will make you happier. There is beauty in surrender.
I speak for the woman bound in shame, because I once was her. But today, my lungs breathe free.
*Photo #1 edited from here.
*Photo #2 edited from here.