When I found out that I would have to deliver my third child stillborn I went through a wide range of emotion. Shock, sadness, confusion, anger, and one I haven’t talked much about—shame. I felt inadequate as a woman. I wondered what was wrong with me. How did I mess this up?
I remember experiencing the same type of shameful feelings when we were trying to get pregnant with our first child. We tried off and on for about a year and a half and my body was just not cooperating. It’s a bit hard to conceive when ovulation is not occurring on a regular basis. I felt like less of a woman because I couldn’t do what women are supposed to be able to do—make babies. But glory be to God, I finally got pregnant with my sweet little boy, Gus! My confidence was back. I no longer felt like I had a defect, until that day at the doctor’s office, in 2012, when we found out our baby’s heart was no longer beating.
I not only felt I had failed as a woman, but as a Christian. I was embarrassed to tell people that we lost a baby, that something terrible had happened to us. I wondered what people would think. I worried they might assume we had done something bad to open the door to an attack from the enemy. I didn’t want to be a smudge on God’s masterpiece of goodness. I didn’t want people to doubt Him, because things didn’t go according to plan for me. I was ashamed.
I took a few weeks off from serving in the children’s classes at my church and the first weekend back I was nervous that some of the parents, who aren’t friends with me or my husband on Facebook and had not heard the news, were going to ask about the baby. And sure enough, they did ask. Several parents saw me and were excited that I was back and excited to hear about the new baby. I hated having to tell them the sad news. I felt like I was letting people down. My very wise, very wonderful husband came by to check on me and to see how things were going and he could tell I was having a hard time. He told me this was my chance to show people how good and gracious God has been. He said when someone asks, tell them we lost the baby, but tell them how God is miraculously healing our hearts. Give God more glory than the devil.
His little pep talked worked. I felt different. Instead of hoping no one asked, I was hoping that if they did, I would be able to answer in a way that magnified God. I took the focus off myself and what I thought people may think of me and fixed it on God and what I wanted people to think of Him.
Psalm 34:5 (NLT) Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
When I stopped looking at myself and started looking at Him the shame left. None of its shadows darken my face today. I don’t feel embarrassed about what happened; I feel like sharing my story with as many people as I can. God changed it from a sad story into a happy one, and there are people all over the world who are in the middle of their own sad story and need to know that God is a finisher and that He loves happy endings.
Whatever is causing you to feel ashamed—a miscarriage, unemployment, divorce, bankruptcy, an abortion, a weight problem, etc., look to Him for help. He will cause your face to be radiant with joy, instead of darkened by shameful shadows. Purpose to give God more glory than the devil. Purpose to get to your happy ending. Purpose to let God use what once caused you shame to help other people.