“Grace vs Shame: Healthy and Unhealthy Guilt” (Part 1)

After yet again sleeping on a tear-stained pillow last night feeling overwhelmed and discouraged being an ‘imperfect (bad) wife and mother’, this morning I encounter a revelation. How God’s working in revealing what’s really inside my heart awes me.

My ‘faithful readers’ (cheers ^^) must have known how I really love and been blessed by motherhood books authored by Jill Savage, and currently I’m reading her book of “Professionalizing Motherhood” after finishing the “Real Moms, Real Jesus”. Latest chapter of the book that I read was chapter 6 discussing about the importance of networking with other mothers, and I marked it by slipping my highlighter in it. This morning somehow I decided to bring the book with me downstairs for me to read during my breakfast time with Aimee in front of TV watching ABC4Kids (I usually also watch the programmes together with Aimee, I like cartoons so I don’t have difficulties to sit calm -calmer than Aimee- while watching cartoon lol). Anyway along the way I dropped my highlighter and casually slipped it back inside the book.

I was surprised when I re-opened the book and found the highlighter was slipped in a chapter far way ahead of the latest chapter I read, and the sub-title written “Healthy Guilt and Unhealthy Guilt“. Somehow ‘the highlighter’ (obviously it was God Himself!) has led me into chapter 10 “Grace: It has a Place in Your Home“. I thought for few seconds whether I should continue to read the latest chapter I was at, but the subtitle in front of me was so in tune with what I felt inside my heart at the moment, finally I decided to start reading it and thinking I could always go back to earlier chapters later.

How I’ve been blessed by that choice!

The next few hours I was bewildered, taken aback, and convicted by what I read!

It’s as if God was really there besides me, speaking to me word by word, explaining and letting me know what my ‘root problem’ is, revealing deepest feelings that I myself didn’t realize they were there in my heart! I was so convicted I cried while further reading the chapter when we went back upstairs to our room (Aimee still did not understand why there were tears in Mommy’s cheeks, she only pinpointed the teardrops while she held her juice bottle…)

I am so crooked, so broken, and feeling in despair, I cried and asked for help from God, I cannot do it by my own even after I’ve known “the new facts”. Here I’m gonna try to share my feelings, as best as I could, in words.

God's love

Jill explained in “Healthy Guilt and Unhealthy Guilt”, the difference between conviction and condemnation. Conviction is a very healthy and normal emotion, signaling that we have done wrong, and it produces in us a desire to change. Unfortunately, we can become so full of guilt and shame that we forget the unconditional love that God has for us, and it can lead us feeling condemned. Conviction, or “good guilt”, is from the Holy Spirit, that says “That was a bad choice, I don’t want to do that again”. Condemnation, instead, is “bad guilt” and comes from the devil.

God’s truth is the only weapon that can be used in battling against condemnation.

Romans 8:1 – “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”

I am not worthless simply because I have made a bad decision. God’s love defines my worth and is not based on my actions.

I could relate very well to a testimony of a mother that Jill included in her book, about how during her life as a mother for the last 13 years, she have been many times feeling disappointed with herself. “I haven’t always been loving, forgiving, caring, or selfless. Sadly, many times I have been just the opposites

But the good news is, she continued, “God believes in you and He believes in me! And He can certainly empower us to make good choices. And all the while, He stands right by us

That’s what I also feel right now although fractions of discouragement and brokenness still there in my heart at the moment, that along the process of standing upright, He stands just next beside me!

I don’t know how deep I actually have been drowning in lies and faulty values and beliefs I inherited from my family background, and how heavy the excess baggages I carry into my marriage from my past.

I actually feel headache and heartache at the same time as I’m writing this. Something in my heart wants to explode, something that God perhaps wants me to ‘get it right’ starting by acknowledging what’s really inside my heart, the poisonous of wrong perspectives and standards…

I better post this one first and make this “journey” as series due to the length and the profoundness of personal stories I’d like to share, pray that you will be blessed by this sharing journey and thanks for embarking on the boat together with me 🙂



One thought on ““Grace vs Shame: Healthy and Unhealthy Guilt” (Part 1)

  1. This is very healthy reading! Thank you for sharing these thoughts, if more would understand the power of grace, and how to yield to grace, they might actually stick around long enough for the Word to establish roots that produce the victory over the thing they feel so unworthy for doing. We all fall short, only a few have the grace to keep going on wounded knees. Bless you for trying to help others understand the power of God’s love.

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