The human mind is an amazing thing. It holds thousands upon thousands of bits of information gathered by the senses—things that have been seen, heard, touched, tasted, or smelled. Our brains catalog and store all that information. Then sometimes a particular sight or smell will trigger a good memory. Or perhaps, on the other hand, a certain taste or noise may bring back a bad memory of a hurtful situation.
Going to counseling has helped me to realize that specific sights, sounds, tastes, smells, or sensations often trigger memories of situations from my past. When this has happened, I would tense up and feel afraid, or I would hyperventilate and feel smothered, or I would scream inside and feel shame. It was as if I were experiencing again the pain and trauma that I had been dealt in my childhood.
Unfortunately, this type of sensory trigger affected my marriage in a significant way. I had come to hate the noises—the usual, natural sounds—that occurred during my intimate time with my husband. Part of the problem was my fear and embarrassment that our children might overhear us even though we were in different rooms. But another part of the problem was the feeling of deep shame that I associated with those sounds. My journey to wholeness was progressing as I dealt with issue after issue, but this one difficulty seemed to intensify as I became more aware of it.
How could I talk to my husband about this without hurting his feelings? Would he understand? Would he ridicule me? How was I going to overcome this situation? My counselor had two suggestions. First, she instructed me to play music in my bedroom and then go to each of our children’s bedrooms and lie on those beds and listen. To my surprise, I could not hear the sounds coming from my bedroom. I was so relieved! That simple little exercise took care of one of my anxieties.
My counselor also instructed me to interject some sort of alternate sound into our bedroom during my private times with my husband. So I chose to play music from my phone to provide a sort of auditory focal point. However, before I could put this strategy into practice, I had to talk to my husband and tell him what I was doing and why. That was a very difficult task for me. He and I had never talked about that. But I opened up and told him. He loves me, so he understood and we made a plan.
As my counseling continues, and I work through the bad memories associated with my molestation, I know that the shame that I now feel will be defeated and that my intimate relationship with my husband will flourish. I wanted a Bible verse to claim, and God whispered to me to read the book of Zephaniah. So I got out my Bible and found these verses that He wanted to speak over me. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is in your midst, ‘a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing’” (ESV). I needed to hear that God is near me and loves me.
Verse 19 continues, “Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.” I heard Him say to me that He Himself will help me deal with all of the oppressors who are battling against me, and that my shame will be turned into praise. What a glorious thought! One day, all of my feelings of shame that have been buried deep inside of me will be forever turned into praise. I cannot wait. And just think: He is going to do all the work.
Is there some area of your life on which shame has a grip? Is shame stealing the good from your life? Remember this verse with me and let us claim the promise together. One day there will be great praise for us. God will rejoice over us with shouts of joy. Not whispers, but shouts! Let us take our victorious warrior’s hand and walk with Him now, as He fights this battle for us.
Blessings – Lisa