About the Author

Jessica Turner is the author of Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter and Thrive, and blogs on The Mom Creative. Every day is a juggling act as she balances working full-time, making memories with her family, photographing the every day and trying to be...

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  1. Very powerful chapter! I found out through discussing this with my mother that after nursing my older brother through a terminal illness, she was convinced by the doctors to terminate her next pregnancy as the baby had the same condition. I had never known about this before.
    I was thinking the other day about how often, in the bible, Jesus heals people IN PUBLIC, in the presence of other people. I wonder if there’s something in witnessing transformation, that allows us to heal aspects of ourselves (or at least to know that it’s possible!).
    Thank you!

    • Yes, i do believe there is power in the actual witnessing transformation. It shows us there is hope and that healing is possible.

      And, I am so glad you’re here!

  2. I love how Angie tells in the chapter how God can be glorified through our mishaps and sins. I know that my past is not going to carry any weight on my day because I confessed my past sins. They do not make me who I am today. All things have been washed anew when Christ died for us. So He is a merciful one.
    My old RCIA class, there was a lady who used to say, God doesn’t have a good memory. Praise Jesus for that!!
    Great chapter and to the point!

  3. I have a past. UGH… God has cleansed it, it’s so hard to grasp that at times.

    On Pg. 112 ‘then we look back because we wonder if we belong there’…
    Why do I do that, mostly it makes no sense and I don’t want to be there but I feel so unworthy to be where God has placed me.

    Pg. 113 – love this line – …but I didn’t give Satan the right to convince me that the Lord couldn’t use me….
    Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am a child of the most high God and I’ve made mistakes and it’s in some of those mistakes where I’ve seen God’s mercy and grace, in which I can share and extend to others.

    Grieving missed opportunities or talking about them is a good thing – healthy. We need to share and recognize it, then let it go. It doesn’t make us a complainer and I think sometimes we feel guilty saying something negative for fear that I will seem less spritiual or less close to God. I mean we all know everything happens for a reason and God works all things out, which I am so thankful for because I have messed up. But I do not want to continually miss opportunities that God is giving me. God’s word is so vital to my Christian walk. Thanks for the tips as a reminder of how to allow God to shape my thoughts and draw closer to Him.

    Angie this study has been great. In God’s Love, sheila

    • Sheila,
      You are so right. It is healthy to share about missed opportunities. I struggle with sharing about pain because I don’t want to be negative, but I just need to trust God’s leading.

      Thank you

  4. This was a great chapter and the topic of the sins of my past and shame has really been on my heart lately. Something I have shared here in this forum but haven’t blogged about openly is the fact that for 10 yrs my husband and I walked through painful years consumed by addiction. He is 5 yrs sober and a godly man today but for many many years we all lived a lie.

    I couldn’t tell people I worked with what was happening in our home…it was too shameful. There is such a stigma attached to addiction and it kept us silent. Still today – even in sobriety – that stigma exists and we haven’t talked about it except when we know it is with someone that can be helped by it.

    But that is where God has been working on my heart…because I am sure there are many out there living in silence as well and if I don’t say something who will? I am sure that Tam didn’t think that by speaking out she might help so many….but yet in obedience she is likely reaching so many women caught in their own shame….finally we can be free.

    I loved when Angie said in the video “God is the shame lifter”.

    I think what I am seeing in my own life is that I need not be concerned with who will “stick with me” as we move forward and start being completly transparent with our struggles because God will get the glory from our healing and that is all that matters. Stigma or no isn’t important. Showing others that are broken, as we have been, that there is hope is important.

    Thank you for this chapter. Angie I was at WOF in St Paul and basically started crying as you started to walk up the stairs to speak. I knew that your story would be powerful and I felt the weight of that even before you started. It was the “ugly cry” down our row for sure! Thank you for being willing to be broken in front of us and bring us to the feet of Kyrios.

    Have a wonderful rest of the week friends!

    • “I think what I am seeing in my own life is that I need not be concerned with who will โ€œstick with meโ€ as we move forward and start being completly transparent with our struggles because God will get the glory from our healing and that is all that matters.”
      —wow, Kristin, this is so true. thank you for this. He is the one that get’s the glory! I think when we go to God with our ‘secrets’ and shame, we experience forgiveness and love which in turn can make us people who love others. More Glory to God!
      I just think there is such a need for a safe atmosphere where people can be open about their pain in the church. Authenticity.
      My dream is to see more of that.

    • Kristin,

      I hear ya, there are stuff that in our mind is a stigma, but who knows someone could be struggling or going through the same thing.

      I struggle with what I should share and not share on the blog. We just have to go with what God is leading us to do. We can’t please those people who like to push things under the rug.

      My family is very much a “don’t talk about it or tell anyone.” That’s not healthy, it’s not freeing and it’s a lie from Satan. They don’t like that I am SO open with my past and they can’t handle it. But I’m not going to let them or anyone else tell me not to do what God is calling me to do. Because how can we witness to someone about God’s amazing healing, when we can’t talk about how He has healed us?

      I pray that you would follow God’s direction in talking about the hard times in your marriage and your husband’s addiction. SO many Christians struggle with this!!! Hearing someone’s story where they got through it may be the HOPE they need to TRUST in God. That God can heal them and that HE desires FREEDOM for them!

  5. Angie and Tam: Thank you for being willing to share your stories. Healing starts for a lot of us when we realize that we are not alone — someone else has come before us and is now walking in victory because they took at step of faith in Christ’s direction. When I was done watching the video, God brought to mind the passage in Luke 7 where the “woman in sin” anoints Jesus with the contents of her alabaster jar. Our brokenness truly glorifies Him when we offer it back.

    2 sentences that really struck a cord with me in this chapter were
    1. p. 112 — “Loosen your grip on yesterday.” — I can’t move forward to what God has for me if I am always obsessively looking in my rear view mirror.
    2. p. 113 — “He can redeem those biter roots to grow something spectacular, but first you must recognize what needs to be done for that to happen.” — Angie, you were “spot on” when you encouraged us to arm ourselves up with memorized Scripture.

    I know that God is going to use this chapter and the video above to bring a lot of healing to my sisters. Praise Him, O Magnificent Shame-lifter!

    • Lyli,

      It is SO true, we can’t look back we need to look forward. I didn’t even remember that part in the book. I’ll have to go back and underline it.
      The devil tells us so many lies that we just need to look backward, that we aren’t good enough, that our past will catch up with us. It is such a lie.

      Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Hope it’s ok to go backwards a little here – I loved the chapter on Leah. I did not get the chance to comment but now I could not resist! We don’t often think of what life must have been like for her – always the rejected one!! Talk about painful! I really enjoyed your bringing her to life for us, and I wanted to point out something I noticed that gave me joy to read…at the end of his life, Jacob, chose to be buried with Leah!! Something must have changed for her during the years her sister was no longer there to compete with!! Jacob finally saw the value in her and actually CHOSE her as the one he would be buried with. In so doing, he honored her. I loved that!

  7. Wow, this is an incredible chapter. It had me laughing (the bowl-cut hairdo prayer and “Miss Happy-pants”) and then crying in seconds.

    I am so glad I am doing this book club thing ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thank you Jess, Ang and Tam for this chapter’s video discussion.

    One thought that is mulling over in my mind since I’ve read this, is the importance of loving community, of church (functioning the way it is meant to).
    I just think about how much we need each other to work through our brokenness. Yes, I think confessing to God and letting him heal our relationship with Him is of utmost importance, but I do believe that full healing can only happen once we share…
    Sharing our shame and sin is scary, but if we do it in a safe environment it can restore us.
    “The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” James 5:15-16.

    I want to be a safe person for others to share,for my family, for my friends. That will also mean that I am transparent and open about my own brokenness, my own story of how God has rescued me and is making all things new!
    By His wounds we are healed, and He bore our shame, facing scorn on that cross, with joy of our restoration set before Him.
    Glory to God!

    • Merissa,
      You are SO right! We need a loving safe community and healthy fellowship to show us that we aren’t “bad” or “not good enough.” I believe that God uses others to extend grace upon the broken and to speak to them.

      I agree, we need to be able to share our story to be open and safe with others. I think we miss out on some much when we are just surface with others. Who knows, someone may be struggle or struggled with the same thing.

      I am praying that I can be a safe person for people to share their pain with me.

      God is so good!

    • How important it is to share with our children (not the magnitude of what we are going through – age appropriate), but I think there is a lot of stock in admitting, “I’m struggling today’ or ‘Satan really wants to remind me of …. ‘ . I want to be that safe person for my children, and in turn show them God is truly their safe person. In God’s love, sheila

    • Beautifully written, Merissa.
      You’re right, its a nice package deal. You can confess to God but its so nice to share with others. so they too can see no matter how “bad” you think your sins are, He can be glorified through your forgiveness. They can be persuaded to repent by hearing others. And its so nice to share, like a weight lifted ๐Ÿ™‚
      How amazing that you’ve made it a point to emmulate welcome and non judgement for others to share to you their stories comfortably. What a blessing you and all the others ladies on here are. I’ve known a lot of fire and brimstone people that would judge away for peoples pasts. And really, what does that ever accomplish or what good does that serve to our father….

  8. The video and the chapter were both so good. Thanks ladies for sharing.
    I think it is SO important to put this chapter in the book and I am glad it was there. I struggle with sharing my story because some people just can’t handle it. I have to use good judgement as to who is trust worthy and TRULY understands God’s grace. There has been times where I have been wounded in sharing my story.

    I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but it is one thing when you CHOSE to tell someone your past rather than one someone just finds it out through gossip or what not. I have come a LONG way and allowed God’s grace to COVER the things that I have done and also the grace to cover the people who have harmed me.

    I love that Tam said that our story should be about God and not us. That is SO true. Because it is ONLY God who can make us white as snow and FREE from the past pain and sin. God is SO good.

    I love being apart of this study ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes Melanie,
      It can be so much more painful, when we share and feel that sting of rejection when someone doesn’t respond well or in love.
      I think that happens too often. It reminds me of the parable Jesus tells of the man who is forgiven that whack load of debt, only to turn around and strong-arm the poor guy who owed him a few pennies.
      I am learning about grace.. I am far from fully grasping it and understanding its fullness, but I know that grace is not just something we receive from God, but receive in order to extend.
      ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for your comment.

      • We (my IRL BFF) we’re just talking about this. Having discernment over how much to share, who to share what with. In God’s love, sheila

  9. On page 112 Ang shares this:
    “We each have had seasons where we were trapped in our sin. It is a conscious choice we make to walk away from those places. More often than not, we walk away and then look back because we wonder if we belong there more than here in the land of freedom…we often resort to feeling as though we might as well go on and sin because we aren’t ever going to be good anyway.

    Oh I’ve been stuck here a while now! I know it’s a choice but I am having such a hard time choosing God over that thing!

  10. As someone who also is followed daily by the shame of abortion, this entire conversation really hit close to home. No need to share details, but God has really brought me away from my past and I have been able to glorify Him through my transformation. I have been able to help and counsel several young women who have come to me (on their own) who either were struggling with their own shame from abortion or even were facing the moment of decision. God can use our disgusting past for His glory. However, we cannot do this until we have confessed it to Him, accepted His forgiveness, and forgiven ourselves. Easier said than done! Satan is always throwing reminders in my face…with each pregnancy with my now beautiful and healthy children the drs always asked several times “How many pregnancies?” then always followed by “How many live births?” Then the inevitable “ELECTED abortion?” Each time the shame of admitting my sin creeps back up. That is my biggest struggle is when it is paraded in front of my face at a time when it is supposed to be joyful and enjoying my new precious gift from God. I believe it was one of the ladies in the discussion of chapter 5 that said “Satan uses our fear to steal our joy.” It is also so true that Satan uses our sinful PAST to steal our PRESENT joy. It is so difficult to not allow that to happen.

    I loved the line on page 11: “The gospel of grace is so simple that it’s hard to believe.” This really hits home for me! I am constantly struggling with “there has to be more to it.” “Grace and forgiveness cannot really be that simple.” But the reality is that IT IS! Christ died in our PLACE….to pay for our sins. It is so mind boggling when you really stop and think about that! Wow…what a mighty and gracious God we serve!

    • Katie, I loved the line from page 111 also and your comments too. God’s grace and forgiveness is so overwhelming and amazing!!! What a MIGHTY and GRACOIUS God indeed!!! :0)

      I also LOVED what Angie wrote on the very bottom of page 114 and when she told the story in the video about Beth Moore (whom I also totally adore). “The Lord has delighted in the grace that washes you white as snow. White. As. Snow.” That overwhelming thought made me cry. He DELIGHTS in washing us anew…whiter than the pure white snow. :0) “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!!!” (2 Cor 9:15) God bless you, Angie!

  11. This was a powerful chapter for me as well. So often I have beat myself up over past sins and a time period where I had fallen away from the Lord. I have never known a grace like what the Lord has given to me, and He truly is a “shame lifter.” Our Pastor was just preaching recently about Peter, and how the Lord does not want us to be defined by our past mistakes. Even after Peter denied Christ three times, Jesus asks him if he loves Him. This was Jesus way of reminding Peter of the love he has for Christ, and that ultimately Peter would not be defined by his mistakes. Thank you Father, that despite ourselves and our depraved human nature, You cover us with your grace and forgiveness, and can still use us for Your greater glory.

  12. It is interesting that in Bible times, roosters crowed all the time not just in the morning. Can you imagine that Kristin? Being constantly reminded! talk about God being the shame lifter ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank You Tam for sharing your story. It was probably hard.

    Angie,this was awesome chapter!! I agree that I will need to read over it a few times!

    the quote on pg 11 that Katie brought up stuck out to me as well. Its a ‘too good to be true’ thing…I take it so far as to refuse belief of the Gospel sometimes. I know thats wrong & maybe irrational. I know I keep saying it but I am in dire need of some encouragement.

    Will you help my unbelief?

  13. This chapter was such a powerful read for me. I think we all have things in our pasts that we’re ashamed of. I know there are situations in my life that I wish I had handled differently, people that I wish I had extended kindness to and so on. My mother struggled with depression when I was a child and because of the stigma attached to that, I felt like I couldn’t really talk about home. It was a hard time for me, and yet when teachers or others tried to care about me, I think I was probably more sullen than gracious. Sometimes I’ll remember these times and feel very ashamed about having acted that way. And it humbles me every time I think on these incidents and realize that God loves me even when I’ve been really unloveable.

    I think one of the weaknesses Christians have is that pressure to make it look like our lives are perfect and happy. If we’re afraid to be real and afraid to have pasts, I think it can be difficult to really reach a world full of people who are hurting.

    • Wow, i like this Amy—“if we’re afraid to be real and afraid to have pasts, I think it can be difficult to really reach a world full of people who are hurting”

      I just read this chapter in a book on Spiritual Mentoring. It was talking about Augustine and how his “confessions” were very raw. This is the quote from the book :
      “If Augustine’s story, as messy, flawed, imperfect and sometimes misguided as it was, reflected a life used by God to influence many others, perhaps our own less-than-perfect lives can also be used for the spiritual development of others on their journey of life” (Spiritual Mentoring-Anderson & Reese).
      They go on to talk about recognizing that we must “honor our own stories” and that “God has made each of us a worthy character”

      Grace.

      • Thanks, Merissa. I’m not familiar with that book, but I think that’s a wonderful idea and I’m glad to see if being talked about more in Christian circles.

  14. I read a little bit ahead so I can’t remember the specific quotes I enjoyed, but I just have to say that this book has been such a gift to me! It was perfectly timed, as God has called me to do something very brave (move cross-country. Again.) and going through this book in this season has helped me work through any fears I was having about it or that were lingering from the past.

  15. I really loved this chapter. I’ve been a Believer for most of my life, and in some sense I think that can be a hindrance to my faith. My inclination (sadly) is to take Grace for granted (and I’m studying the OT right now, which has been a fantastic cure for my problem).

    That being said, I truly believe that God forgives my past sins, mistakes, and tendencies. My problem is feeling as though I’ll never really be free from those things. That might sound like a contradiction, but I suppose it boils down to that I trust that He is big enough to forgive because of Jesus, but maybe I don’t know how to actually let of of some of those struggles completely. To use the language Angie uses to subhead the chapter, I’m not so much afraid of my past catching up with me as I am afraid some parts of it haven’t let me go.

    Is that heresy? ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. What I keep coming back to as I read through the book is “what does it look like to let go of the fear?” Does it mean that I never think about it or I’m not sad when I do? Because there have been many times that I feel that I have “given it to God” or “layed it down at the foot of the cross” but yet, it is still there. How do you move forward or what does it look like when you do?

  17. Hi Traci, I think Angie has mentioned that we will proably never be rid of fear. But, it’s that fear that prevents us from being who God created us to be or do the things that he is calling us to do, that we are hoping to overcome. The closer we draw to him and the more we release our fears to him, the more we will be able to truly live a life of freedom. Not that I know what that is like at this point, but I don’t think it’s a destination to ‘arrive’ at, I think it is more of a continual process. In God’s love, sheila

  18. I am a bit behind on reading and haven’t had time to read the comments, but I am LOVING LOVING LOVING the book!

  19. And I thought that the chapter on “Fear of DEATH” was going to be hard! While I know intellectually that “all have sinned,” it’s hard to believe that emotionally on Sunday mornings, when all is perfect in the realm, and every parent/child is smiling and life is wonderful! We’re the family snarling (on a good day) in the car on the way to church. It seems that all the other church members have no problems, or never snarl. Ever.

    Which makes it hard to be real. Real as in, our first child was born 4 months after we were married. There. It’s out there. I can count on one hand, without using my fingers, the number of people in our church who know that. Why? Because I know how judgmental they would be. We’re “doers” in the church – teach Sunday School, run music programs, etc. But we SINNED????? I have all my church life feared sharing the truth or being found out. I don’t have friends there already.

    There is one woman who I did share the truth with: she was “chatting” about a newlywed couple who had a child soon after the wedding – as in “I think they put the cart before the horse” (her words) soon. So I told her that it happens – it happened with us. And to her credit, it’s never come up again, and she still speaks to me.

    But it’s a constant fear. I know that God has forgiven me…. it’s just the judgment of others I’m afraid of.