Sharing: Lifting Shame in Our Praying

Anxiety and Shame in Chronic Illness

The day was sunny and beautiful as we drove into the parking lot, but I did not feel much beauty in my heart. In fact, sudden tears rose unbidden to the surface as the medical center came into view. I had been to this same parking lot many times in the past year, but I had carefully kept my back turned to the door that led to the Infusion Center. But this day, I could no longer avoid it. I was headed straight to the same area that had left me reeling almost exactly a year ago. I could feel my heart pounding as my husband wheeled me into the room where the nurse led us.

Prompted by blood pressure considerably higher than normal, I told the nurse about my last visit there for an infusion that went horribly wrong. She casually remarked, “It sounds almost like some PTSD is going on in you,” and then she brought me a warm blanket and pillow for my arm that was having an RA flare. Her comment, given with such kindness, caused me to look more deeply at this anxiety in my heart.

The post traumatic stress I was feeling gave me an inkling of the anxiety and shame that has become part-and-parcel of chronic illness for so many of us:

  • memories of failed medications
  • the haunting fear of what might happen with the next treatment
  • neglect when medical staff turn us away
  • the shame of feeling left behind by a health-full culture, both inside and outside the church

I pondered these thoughts as I sat with my Savior the next day, as the after-effects of the infusion settled in. They were nothing like the deep trauma I had felt last year, but they were enough to remind me just how awful those symptoms had actually been. Yet I also knew I had been showered in the grace and kindness of my Savior, who had not once left me alone. So I asked Him, “What is the depth of this stress I’m feeling?”

Carry Each Other’s Burdens

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2 NIV

Instead of lifting me away from the uncomfortable side effects, He reminded me of every medication failure I have been through. He asked me to remember and lift before Him every time as a child I had sat alone while my mother faced her own medication failures. I had thought myself strong enough then to carry those burdens and hurts by myself. My mother had often asked for prayer, but how often had I asked for prayer for her? How often had I held back from asking for prayer for myself?

These burdens we carry are too heavy for us to bear alone or to hide away in the recesses of our hearts. Jesus wants to uncover our anxieties and show us that He is with us, but He has asked us to be with one another too. . . .

~~~~~~

I am so blessed to be sharing this story of how Jesus met me so recently in the infusions I have faced. Will you join me over at Chronic Joy Ministry to read more of the story along with me? I would love to have you join me, as together, we lift our shame to Him, and find the blessing that comes in praying together.

Click here to follow me over to the Chronic Joy Website. And while you are there, why not visit the #PrayerPond, where God asked me to share my own prayer request too. We can share a request, and then #PrayItForward by clicking on the button that says “I prayed for this.” Every time that button is clicked, a message will be emailed to the one who had requested prayer. We are joined together, heart and hand, to Jesus.

And He wants to meet us in our praying.

I cannot find the words to express the deep thankfulness that I am walking in, as I feel all of your prayers for me through this time of new medication infusions and the after-effects. God’s faithfulness is such a firm foundation for those who trust in Him:

I am linking with: #TellHisStory #Grace&Truth

42 thoughts on “Sharing: Lifting Shame in Our Praying

  1. Wow, Bettie. Thank you for baring your needs, your shame. I am sorry the devil worked in that way. Yes, as this race is narrow and not promised easy, we need each other. Your prayer to give us courage to voice our fears, reaching out to others. I join you. When I led the Jesus Journey class of 12 women last Spring, I wanted them to never again go through anything alone. Oh His truth! Carry each other’s burdens. I love you dear Bettie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Julie,
      Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. That enemy will do everything he can to keep us feeling separated and yoked with shame, won’t he? I appreciate your many calls to prayer, and your open heart in sharing your own needs too. He is so good to help us join together in Him! Love you so much also, dear Sister. Blessings and gentle hugs to you today.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. this post is so perfectly written Bettie………..you have touched on things that I have never felt comfortable writing and I felt heard by your words. thank you so very much and God bless you for being a voice for others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Dear Wendi, you have brought tears to my eyes tonight. I am so grateful that Jesus sees and knows every detail of what we are feeling. He truly sees us even when we feel so alone. You are such a blessing to me, and to so many others, with the encouragement you offer us. I pray that you will know that same encouragement from the Lord for you today. Hugs and Blessings, Dear Friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 Oh Bettie, you are such a beautiful person and gentle soul. Thank you for listening to your heart and writing…….it was the best post I have read in a long time. Sending you love, prayers and peace my dear………God bless you.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s so easy to get caught up in our failures and weaknesses and fears. I know I do. But I’m grateful that the Lord doesn’t hold any of that against us. He is willing and able to bear the burdens that we can’t. Thank you for always sharing your heart so openly, Bettie. You inspire me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Lisa,
      Yes, He really is so “willing and able to bear the burdens that we can’t.” I too am so grateful that He doesn’t hold our weaknesses, failures, and fears against us! Praise God for His beautiful love. You are such a blessing and encouragement to me also dear friend. May Jesus bless you richly this week.

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        1. Oh, Dear Lisa, what a precious gift from the Lord. He sees every detail, and knows the disappointment and fresh surrender that I’ve faced this week too, and the surrenders of so many now, as this virus brings so much anxiety too. I appreciate you so much, also!

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    1. Amen! You are so right, Melissa! Your humorous and joy-filled posts always bring such a lift and brightness to my days! Thank you for the blessing that you share with so many. I pray God brings you great comfort and help today.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It is so much easier to be in the giving role, isn’t it? Today, Ruben, who is working from home, offered to watch the kids for a bit for me to get out. He reminded me that my mental health through this homeschooling time is important too. But it took me getting snappy with Emily to take him up on that offer. I feel like I “should” manage this okay.

    Your post reminds me so much of Peter not wanting Jesus to wash his feet. And yet Jesus so longs to stoop down and wash our weary feet. No need is too small OR too great for our Abba Father.

    Oh may He help us both to open our whole heart to Him and His Body, so He can wash our feet that we may give the comfort and rest He gives us, to others. Sending hugs and so much love. Continuing to pray. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Anna,
      Oh, what precious wisdom that Ruben offered to you today! I sure understand that tendency to still think that we “should” be able to carry the loads on our own shoulders. But you are so right, Jesus is just waiting for us to look up and allow Him to wash our weary feet. I am so thankful that we can pray for each other across the miles and see that joined in His Spirit, we are together in Him. You are in my prayers as you love your girls through these homeschooling days. May Jesus draw your family closer together through these trials. And yes, may we all become so much more willing to share in the comfort, both giving and receiving, that He has poured out. Love you so much, dear friend! Hugs across the ocean! xoxo

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  5. Oh Bettie, thank you for being so honest about feeling ashamed to ask for prayers. It struck me how much I do have that problem. These questions you mentioned hit home for me – “Why would anyone want to pray for me? I’m just a nobody…“ and “My pain is so small, compared to others. I shouldn’t waste anyone’s time with my request.” I think there is another reason, too. I once went to a pastor for counseling and he prayed for me, then abused me. I think deep down there is fear of being hurt again, not necessarily in that way, but maybe in other ways. I’m not really sure what it is, but I do know it’s much easier to pray for others than to ask them to pray for me. Thank you for being such a blessing to me! You continue to be in my heart and prayers. Love and blessings of strength for each moment!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Trudy,
      Oh, dear friend, I’m so sorry for the hurt and abuse you have gone through. Those kinds of things really do injure our ability to trust again and to be able to see ourselves truthfully through the lens of Jesus. But I am so thankful that He wants us to be truthful with each other and to share our own hurts and to lift them in prayer with each other to Him. He keeps making that word “with” become so much more personal to me this year. You are such a blessing and a gift to me also. I am so overwhelmed by the love and caring that the Lord has allowed me to feel as He helps us to share together. Thank you for your precious encouragement. May you feel His blessing and comfort this week also! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. There can be shame with chronic illness. My friend who has so many health problems and I were recently talking like this. I know when I was recovering for months from a motor vehicle accident I had shame. Thanks for bringing light to this problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Theresa,
      I love it when the Lord confirms His word to us like that. He truly is stirring our hearts to care for each other and to speak His truth, and not the enemy’s shame, over our hearts together. May you continue to be a blessing to your friend! I will keep you both in my prayers this week. Blessings to you!

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  7. What a gift to have someone understand…..and to share your burden. I pray I can be that for many (or to one) this week – and each of the difficult weeks ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen, Jennifer! There is so much anxiety around us all now. May we truly be the hands and feet of Jesus as we share the comfort that we ourselves have been given. Thank you for your sweet comments and encouragement today. Blessings to you.

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  8. Thank you for sharing this! It’s so easy to get caught up with our fears, especially right now with everything that’s going on in the world. Luckily, God loves us anyway no matter what we’re going through or where we are in our lives. My prayers are with you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Michelle! Yes, you are so right, He does love us so much. Oh, how I pray that we could pause and receive His love for us. Thank you for your prayers and your visit here today! Blessings to you also!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Bettie, thank you again for showing me how God is always in our tough places. He asks us always to go to Him as He is our living water and to spill His water over others by being there. During crisis, it can feel like I have no water to spill over others, but so not true! Thank you for reminding me of that today, Bettie. Continuing prayers for you!

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    1. Thank you Dear Lynn, for such precious reminders also! The Woman at the Well is a very special story for me, as I portrayed her in a traveling drama with our family years ago. And you are so right–Jesus always has Living Water pouring through us to share with others. It is HIM inside of us. I am so grateful for His Words that we can share with each other, just when we need them. Your prayers are such a blessing to me!

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    1. Dear Jennifer,
      Oh, we have been so blessed by the deep grace and comfort of our Lord! Truly He does “get us through the pain, weariness, & trauma.” Blessings to you across the seas, dear sister!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for sharing with us. I appreciate your realization for the need of going to Jesus as well as our brothers and sisters for care. I pray any feelings of shame or fear would only draw you closer to the Lord.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Amy,
      Thank you so very much for your sweet encouragement. Your prayer is such a great comfort to me! May He indeed help me to cling every more strongly to Him. Blessings to you today!

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  11. Dear Bettie, your poignant post is timely as I was sharing with my family last night that one of the times a friend blessed me most was when she phoned from the hospital and asked me to pray with her. I was honored. She asked me this over thirty years ago and did many more times before she went Home. Each time was a gift. A friendship treasure.
    I know I need to ask more often too.
    And now I’m going to visit your link. xo
    Prayers ~ Wendy Mac

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Wendy,
      What a precious gift your friend gave to you. As you said, a true “friendship treasure.” But your words made me pause and wonder how often I have denied others that treasure when I just say “I’m Ok,” instead of asking for prayer. Oh, may we both become more willing to both give and receive prayers. Love and prayers for you dear friend! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Bettie- I didn’t realize the other effects of your treatments that manifested like PTSD. You have been through so much. I love it when you do a time of prayer and reflection for Chronic Joy. You do a beautiful job of pointing us to Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mary, thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement. I am so very grateful that the Lord uses these simple words here to point to Him. That is my soul’s desire. May I continue to lift up my eyes to Him. Blessings, love, and hugs to you dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. “These burdens we carry are too heavy for us to bear alone or to hide away in the recesses of our hearts. Jesus wants to uncover our anxieties and show us that He is with us, but He has asked us to be with one another too.” Oh this is so true. And we don’t need to be ashamed to keep asking for prayer. So many times we use those excuses you shared in the post. But God doesn’t get tired of our prayers and we shouldn’t get tired of asking for prayer or praying for others. And what a gift for you to have such a caring, compassionate, understanding nurse. May God continue to be with you, to grant comfort, peace and healing in His time. Blessings to you with much love, dear Bettie! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Gayl,
      Oh, yes, you are so right, that “God doesn’t get tired of our prayers and we shouldn’t get tired of asking for prayer or praying for others.” I appreciate all of your prayers so much through these days. It has helped me so much through these after-effects to think of the prayers and love from those I care about. And that compassionate nurse has been such a true blessing from God. May I continue to let Him uncover those anxious places in my heart, so that I can see Him right there. Blessings, love, and hugs to you dear friend! xoxo

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