Daring To Wade Through Your Story Can Wash the Stink Off Your Past
It still feels shameful to admit, I wet the bed till I was nine years old.
I keep reading how sharing your story helps others from feeling alone. (And we all know a few things about loneliness.) But my story always sounds so embarrassing to me—even downright disgusting to repeat.
Funny, how I didn’t think this way the day I heard someone say they suffered through the same childhood disgrace. My heart pounding for every detail of how they handled it day after day, how they overcame, how they became the sweet-smelling person they are today.
The trouble with telling your story—is getting personal with who you are—someone, maybe, you never really liked.
Don’t we wish our worth was easier to see?
Sometimes it’s a real leap to believe—the person you are—is as valuable as the person right next to you, the people you look up to, the ones you give your all for.
Pulling the sheets over your shame.
My big sister and I shared everything, but this one thing. Born only 12 months apart, she and I were the same age for six whole days.
I still remember my seven-year-old-self fretting the night she invited her friend, Margret, for a sleepover. The word alone issued a state of emergency pitching me into a panic, looking for the nearest exit.
Brushing each other’s hair, we tattled and giggled like I was actually in the room, when really, I was five hours down the clock strategizing how I was gonna pull this caper off.
Pushing both bunks together; we made one giant bed for the three of us. When it came time to turn in, I found no way out.
Stealing a spot against the footboards, the lamp switched off. Scooching my bottom to the lower mattress, I held my breath and hoped aliens would snatch my body.
Cold wetness released an alarm only I could hear. Climbing like a cat burglar over the footboards, I deftly unhitched sheets from under four heavy legs. Margret stirred. Lifting her head, long streaks of brown hair wrapped around her temples and chin, eyes squinting to see through the fog of 4AM. “What are you doing?” She asked like she was three sheets to the wind. Standing there, I froze in the earliest morning light. The time when the sun is ready to shed light on everything dark, and she rolled over, locking her eyes. The pulse in my chest was loud enough to wake the entire house. With some quick maneuvering, the elastic held. Delicately inserting my clamminess back into bed, I pulled the sheet over the shame and collapsed.
A broken heart can make you brave.
Catching a scene when I was thirteen from the 1976 movie, The Loneliest Runner: a boy’s mother thinks the best way to discourage her son’s wetting the bed is publicly hanging his stained sheets from the window. I was mortified. Terrified at the thought of my shame on display. But what I didn’t have eyes for then, was how my heart broke for him. For us. I wanted to fall apart but couldn’t. It was easier to suppress the whole mess and pretend it never happened. So I did.
Natalie sat four chairs over in high school chorus class. She was tall and wide, wearing clothes two sizes too small. Her chestnut hair frizzed, half hiding her face. She carried a painfully familiar odor. Her broad size apologized, bumping through music-stands getting to her seat. My stomach sickened at the thought of what she held in every morning after all these years. Brooding in my collapsible chair, I waited for the instructor to untie my tongue.
It wasn’t until marriage I finally felt safe enough to spill my beans. Afraid of what he’d think of me, I blurted it out matter-of-factly. Shockingly, my husband cried for me. “You must have felt so alone.” His strong arms wrapped around my middle like an anchor. His broken heartedness made me feel brave. For the first time I felt empathy, instead of embarrassment, for that little girl.
The rest of our life can really begin when we sit with a trusted one and let them in—forsaking fear and stop living its victim.
The lamb of God was vindication that we are more than we know.
I know you’ve got scary. There are hurts you’ve buried believing they would decompose and vanish away. As if the moment that wrecked you can’t touch you today. But something sickens every time that story resurfaces. On the news, across the table, in the circle—your throat tightens, and your jaw locks and you have to blink and gather those thoughts. The ones that start the tape of that tragic time. The voices that shout, you’re the same mess you’ve always been.
Vanity makes us pant for more than we are, but the lamb of God was vindication that we are more than we know.
Cause here’s the thing…Jesus said His life was worth your life—and no words ever cost more. No other gets a say about what you’re worth—not even you.
The firstborn from the dead gets the last word in the end, “Loose him, and let him go.” It didn’t matter how long Lazarus had been dead in his own stench—four days or 40 years—Jesus came and cried life back into him.
If we’re counting our worth, we’ll never be enough. If we’re counting on Jesus, we’ll never be put to shame.