Are you bombarded by negative thoughts like "I am so dumb!" "I’m ugly." "I’m worthless." "I’m inadequate." These are berating words that we tell ourselves and what Marilyn calls "shame language." This also includes comparing ourselves to others. "Why can’t I be like him/her?" Neil Anderson, who wrote Victory Over the Darkness (and other healing and deliverance books), also calls it "nagging thoughts of self-defeat." These are lies from the enemy, the devil. We should not believe these lies because it is contradictory to what God thinks of us. The bible says we are God's beloved (Song of Solomon 6:3) and we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)." Marilyn Hontz, our senior pastor's wife at Central Wesleyan Church, tells more in her book the "Shame Lifter."
When I heard Marilyn Hontz’s message at our church two Sundays ago, where she told part of this book she wrote, I wanted so much to write a book review about it so I can share it with all my friends and those who need a shame lifter in their lives.
You might want to grab a box of tissue before reading this book. I consider it an easy read, but not really. I had to put it down several times to ponder, pray and wipe my tears and blow my nose. In a very brief summary, this is the story of Marilyn’s life – her childhood, her adolescent and adult life. She tells of how our Heavenly Father took hold of her hand and showed her the areas of her life where she needed healing. The awesome power of our God healed her and continues to heal her.
After I read this book, three thoughts stood out:
- Sometimes it takes only one person or one circumstance in our life for shame to start taking its deep root in our hearts. Once shame is there, branches, leaves and fruits will come out. Unless the Lord intervenes and reveals it to us, it will continue to grow until it controls our whole being. Marilyn’s unmet longing for the love and affirmation of her father caused her a deep emotional pain. I have seen this happen many times in people’s lives, mine including, and I really wonder why her emotional depravity overshadowed even the greatness of love and acceptance she received from people who loved her deeply? Marilyn answered that on page 158. "…why did the lies I believed about myself overshadow all the truth that God loves me as His child? One reason was my tendency to feel that I must do something in order for Jesus to love me." In our "pay for performance" culture, that concept of God is so easily imbibed into our relationships, even our relationship with our Maker.
- God knows us better than we know ourselves — from the more obvious material and physical needs, down to our deepest emotional and spiritual needs. He is willing and more than able to meet those needs. Sure, we all know that. We’ve heard that so many times. But unless we become aware and own that need and let Him meet that need, we will never experience the filling and the healing. Marilyn’s healing began when she was made aware and acknowledged that she was in pain and needed healing. The Lord did not fail her. He will not fail us.
- Healing from shame and its pain is a loooong process. Did I say long? I, together with my husband underwent a healing and deliverance session about three years ago. I did the entire list, forgave all my transgressors, renounced my affiliation and involvement in bad activities in the past, and prayed all the prayers. And I thought I’m done! I’m delivered! And I was—from the mentioned issues. But God is not yet through with me. There are more issues buried deep down my core being that need acknowledgement and healing. Healing from shame and woundedness does not happen overnight. It is a process, often a painful one. God is our "ultimate shame lifter." He knows when we are ready to be healed and He will gently and lovingly nudge us to go on until we receive our healing.
There is so much more in this book that I want to share but I don't want to give it away. Please read it and tell me what you think.