If there is only one thing you take away from reading this blog, take away this: it’s not your fault. Mamma, whatever you are going through, it’s not your fault. If you deal with chronic illness, it’s not your fault. If your child is on the spectrum, it’s not your fault. If your spouse left you on your own to raise your kids, it’s not your fault. If you’ve suffered a miscarriage, it is definitely not your fault.
There are obviously areas that we all want to improve, areas we each need to grow and change and develop. I’m not talking about those things. I am speaking to the terribly awful guilty feeling that you can’t seem to shake. It’s too big. It’s too terrible. Somehow you believe you are the cause.
Stop. Right. Now.
It’s not your fault.
As moms we take on the weight of literally everything. For nine months we carry these babies inside of us, adding actual weigh to our frames. Those who adopt and foster carry other weights, other heaviness. Then we literally carry these children, holding them when they are too tiny to get around any other way. When they get older, we carry them on piggy back rides, we carry them after they’ve scraped their knees, we carry them up to bed. We actually carry them so much that it’s quite natural to carry other things—like guilt and shame—that we should never carry.
For years I’ve been hiding in the shadows of guilty and wearing fault on the inside like a secret undergarment that, if I would take it off, I’d be exposed and naked in shame. My guilt wasn’t related to breast or bottle feeding, bedtime arrangements, or food choices. My burden, the albatross around my neck, was my child’s struggle with reading.
I would tune out the guilt—the weight—as it was so heavy, it would be unbearable. When it would come up in my mind, oh it would tear me apart. While other moms talked about reading levels and writing assignments and achievement tests, all I wanted to do was hide. My child struggles terribly with reading. And we homeschool. How do I discuss this? Is this problem really my fault? Did I cause this? If he sat in a regular classroom from the beginning, would it be different?
The fact is, he is dyslexic. If he had attended regular school for his education, he’d still be dyslexic. Sitting in a classroom would not have rewired his brain in such as way as to make him a “normal” learner. Ever. And, his reading struggles are not my fault. I realize this now, but for years I had listened to the enemy’s voice that somehow convinced me this whole thing was my fault and that I couldn’t talk about it because who would really understand anyway? And so the silence continued. And so the shame grew. And so the darkness was.
The silver lining in my story is that since I’ve come out of the shadows and not been afraid to ask questions, speak up, and be an advocate for my son, we’ve found a wonderful dyslexia tutor who is giving him the skills his brain needs to decode language. Since the tutoring began, I have been able to talk to more people about dyslexia and homeschooling without needing to hide anything. Without needing to apologize, or even tear up. I’m not hiding anymore because I realize that the way he learns is not my fault; it’s just the way he learns. I finally feel like I can actually breathe.
I believe there is an enemy at work against us. His voice is the secret whisper behind all of the guilt, all of the burden, all of the shame. He tries to keep our lives hidden in shadows, tries to keep us from getting the help that we need. He tries to keep us alone. But there is One who says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Listen to this voice. Don’t be afraid to stand in the light and come out of shadows. Don’t be afraid to let go of guilt and shame. Remember: It is not your fault.
A note about dyslexia: While there are a wide range of benefits and advantages to being dyslexic, the reading and/or writing struggle is very real. For more information about dyslexia, I highly recommend the book: The Dyslexic Advantage by Brock L. Eide M.D. M.A. and Fernette F. Eide M.D.
Over the summer, I lost a friend to old age. Thinking about
it, we were 48 years apart. I have friends my age, but there was something
about Miss Betty that kept our friendship going for many years. She lived next
door to me for years. Un-married. No children. Devout Catholic. Miss Betty was
an independent person. She loved her home and all her possessions. After her
stroke and a weak heart, she had no choice but to move into a senior living
facility. First an apartment to herself and then hospice care in her last
years. When I went to visit at the facility, we talked about her health, my
family, work, money, you name it. At every ending of our time together, we
prayed. She said she loved my prayers. I mean Pentecostals pray a prayer! I
knew she would not make it for long. Every time I left her place, I would say,
“I’ll see you again.” I never knew the day before she passed, that would be the
last time I said those words.
Prior to Miss Betty’s passing, I told my good friend about our
wonderful conversations and how we talked about God. My spiritual friend asked,
“Have you ever led her into the sinner’s prayer?” I responded, “We prayed, but
I never ask her to invite Christ into her life.” My friend told me to start
your prayer and say repeat after me. I mean hearing those simple words gave me
the confidence to do it. And the week before Miss Betty passed, she accepted
Christ. It came from my mouth, but it was Holy Spirit guiding me. In my
lifetime, I have always asked those I encountered, “Do you want to accept
Christ as your Savior?” Some said yes, while others said not at this time.
Jesus talked a lot about seed planting. Even if the person
you share the Word with says, not this time, you are still planting the seed!
As God works through us and we share our faith with others, we never know if
the Word we share will take root or when. I’ve known Miss Betty for many years,
but the moment she received Christ as her personal Savior it was God’s time! I
miss my friend but I know she’s in glory with our Heavenly Father. We
Be encouraged that our sowing of the Good News might, even
after many years, be received by someone who will “accept it, and produce a