Archives For Guilt

It has been nearly 25 years since the phone rang bringing us the terrible news that my younger cousin Jacob had been badly hurt. He had been playing with some neighbor kids and in a freak accident a guttering spike had been driven 6 inches into his brain. It entered between his eyeball and the orbital bone. He was rushed to the hospital, but the situation was grave and the doctors gave us very little hope that he would survive. It would take a miracle.

During this crisis, our family scrambled into action. Several hurried to the hospital to be with Jacob. Several others gathered at with my grandmother’s house to wait.

The usually light atmosphere at my grandparents’ house was replaced by one of heaviness and sorrow. Without much conversation, we gathered around Grandma who lay weeping on the couch. With Jacob barely clinging to life, we did the only thing we felt we could do. We prayed. I did not know it at the time but that prayer would forever change how I approached God in prayer.

As we began to pray, my grandmother could do nothing but weep. We prayed and she cried. She cried and said “Please, Father” under her breath as we timidly plead for Jacob’s healing. As the family prayer session went on, Mommaw started to pray.

There was no pretense or pleasantries in her prayer. At first it was agonizing to listen to her, but then the agony, while still present, began to give way as she charged boldly into the throne room of the Almighty. It was clear that she was asking for God’s help. She wanted Him to heal Jake, but it was also more than that. She also needed His presence, for without His presence she could not survive the pain. She needed to know that even in this terrible circumstance God was near. That He still heard and still cared.

By the time she really hit her stride in prayer, we had all stopped praying. We simply knelt quietly, and with our eyes wide open we watched Mommaw pray. We all knew she had taken us to a holy and intimate place. It was a place she seemed to know well; she had obviously been there before.

In those tense and fearful moments, Mommaw showed us that what we all really need in times of intense grief and sorrow is the Lord’s presence. We longed for Jacob’s healing—and by God’s grace and mercy we got what we wanted—but what we really needed more than anything else was God Himself. For He truly is our only hope in life and in death.

October Baby

Jeff Olson —  January 31, 2013 — Leave a comment

Over the weekend I watched the film October Baby. It tells the story of a college-aged girl named Hannah whose world is turned upside down after she discovers she is the adopted survivor of a failed abortion.

This story about a girl whose life almost wasn’t is a powerful film on forgiveness. Hannah had to wrestle through strong bitter feelings and forgive several people before she could move on with her life.

The film’s grace-filled, non-condemning treatment of Hannah’s biological mother, who had attempted to abort her, was also a surprising breath of fresh air. Women who suffer the heartache of having had an abortion may find watching this film to be a very healing experience.

Something Hannah’s adoptive dad shared with her near the end of the movie also stuck with me. Hannah’s discovery and search for her birth mother caused a lot of tension between the two of them, which he often didn’t handle well. As they stood next to each other at the graveside of the twin brother Hannah never knew she had, her dad confessed,

“It’s not that I don’t trust you. It’s that I’m trying honestly to learn to trust God again.”

Leaving things we care about in God’s capable and loving hands is a most important lesson for us all to learn.

Lots of people feel guilty. Guilt functions as a warning that there is something wrong with the way you’re living and you need to pay attention to it. Too often people want to simply get rid of the guilty feelings. However, whenever there is sin involved, the Spirit of God will convict you of that sin and you will feel legitimately guilty.

True guilt is what we experience when we do something wrong. But sometimes we feel guilty even though we didn’t do anything wrong. False guilt is often tied to a belief that we must perform well in order for us to be loved by the person we’re attempting to please.

Cutting and self-harming disorders are on the rise. There are many who feel a profound sense of relief as they see their blood flowing from wounds they have inflicted on themselves. Wracked by deeper pain they can’t control, they settle for self-inflicted relief that they can control. In their minds some control is better than no control.

Life is hard. And if we’re honest, it hurts living in a world that is broken. Sometimes the pain and losses simply pile up to the point that we just can see over them. When our vision for what’s valuable and important to us is obscured by the pain and losses that have stacked up around us, no longer living in the middle of the chaos can become attractive.

Caregivers can struggle with guilt for a variety of reasons. Join us as Shelly Beach discusses the normal range of emotions that caregivers will need to sort through in order to maintain their own mental health.