Redemption Through Shame

I can’t remember which of these happened first, but they haunt me just the same.

I was once with a man, who on the surface, could be quite charming. He had the right words, when he needed them. He was a fast talker, and a risk taker.

He made me feel important and loved, but I hated who I had become.

Back then, I’d say he had a big heart. He would drive up and down the freeways, looking to help someone in despair. He would change their tire, bring them some gas, give them a lift. One time even, he gave someone our spare tire.

Well… he didn’t give it to them. He sold it. Come to think of it, 99% of the time he was given money for his “good deed.”

One time he was given a check for a couple hundred dollars from a driver of an RV. They were on their way home to California when they ran into trouble. Yeah, he brought it home to me and guess who ate the fines once they got home and cancelled the check?

But the tire… it wasn’t our tire. It was my tire.

Oh, he always promised to get me a new one. He promised a lot of things.

Everyday, in fact, up until the day we found ourselves on the side of the road with a flat and no spare.

It just so happened, on this particular day, we pulled off the side of the freeway behind another vehicle who had been abandoned by it’s driver; in search of help I suppose.

What are we going to do? I was furious we were in this predicament. I was frightened, because I didn’t know how we were going to get out of it.

By this time, I didn’t have any friends that I could turn to, and he had pretty much ran off my family. There was no AAA. He didn’t have any support. All of his friends had become wise to his ways, and no one owed him any favors.

We were stuck.

I could drama it up, and say it was a hot summer day and we had a van full of kids. But honestly, that’s not what I remember about that day.

He had this great idea.

Well, I never thought it was great, but it was an idea, and I didn’t see any other options at the time.

He took the jack from the trunk of my van, walked up to the abandoned vehicle, and proceeded to steal one of its tires.

To this day, this memory still haunts me.

Why would I allow him to do this?
Why would I have not told him, no?

“Didn’t I tell you I’d get you a tire?”, he would say.

He always had a way of twisting things. This was somehow going to make everything alright. And it did.

We got home and I’ve never spoken of it until today.

A different day, maybe before the tire fiasco, maybe after. My time with him is pretty much a blur.

This morning, we had one of his sons with us.

He had four children, but only one of them he was allowed to spend any time with.

We went to an IHOP for breakfast. I enjoyed spending time with his son. It made him look normal to me. I saw a good dad, because I wanted to.

At the end of our meal his son and I were going to use the bathroom. Not realizing they didn’t accept any cards for payment, he told me to give him my debit card, and he would use the ATM by the front door, then meet us at the car.

We were maybe two, three miles away when he asked me how I liked my free meal. What was he talking about? I gave him my debit card, it was anything but free.

“I didn’t use the ATM. Here’s your card back.”

WHAT!?

I felt sick to my stomach. I had never done anything like this before. Who was I turning into? And why wasn’t I telling him to turn around?

I can tell you why, now.

I didn’t know my worth. I didn’t know I had value.

I thought this was the best I was going to get. I was over 30, single, and had three kids.

He was handsome, charming, and interested.

Oh, he saw me coming. He knew exactly what to look for.

There are many things that had happened during our relationship that brings me shame, but these were the worst. These made me, him.

I wanted to share, because I know I’m not alone when it comes to doing something we’re ashamed of.

What we’ve done, may look different, but I assure you the feeling is the same.

Shame robs us of our feeling of worth and value. But I have to tell you, what you do or don’t do does not give you your worth.

It is who you are.

A wrinkled up, faded, crumpled $100 bill has the same value as a crisp, clean, freshly printed one. If you don’t think so, give it to me!

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. – Romans 7:18

But I know who I belong to! He is a King. And he loves me not because I’m good. But because I’m his.

Don’t let your past describe who you are. Don’t let it determine your worth. There is nothing you can do that would increase or decrease your value. You don’t have that kind of power.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. – Romans 8:38

Lord,
thank you for your grace, forgiveness and love. For now I know my worth.
I am Yours.

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