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Hope restored.

Hope Restored, As Told in 1868

Can hope be restored?

In our time-constrained and limited perspective, we tend to focus on our own little world, our own heartaches, and our own losses. That’s natural, and I am not asking today that we look further, or that we be more concerned about the trials of another. There is time enough for that.

Allow me to share the idea of restored hope.

The beautiful words of this hymn, Whispering Hope, were penned in 1868, nearly 150 years ago. Isn’t it amazing that those people knew, just like us, the burden of hopelessness. They also knew, however, the promise of hope restored.

Soft as the voice of an angel,
Breathing a lesson unheard,
Hope with a gentle persuasion
Whispers her comforting word:
Wait till the darkness is over,
Wait till the tempest is done,
Hope for the sunshine tomorrow,
After the shower is gone.

Refrain:

Whispering hope, oh, how welcome thy voice,
Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.

If, in the dusk of the twilight,
Dim be the region afar,
Will not the deepening darkness
Brighten the glimmering star?
Then when the night is upon us,
Why should the heart sink away?
When the dark midnight is over,
Watch for the breaking of day.

Hope, as an anchor so steadfast,
Rends the dark veil for the soul,
Whither the Master has entered,
Robbing the grave of its goal;
Come then, oh, come, glad fruition,
Come to my sad weary heart;
Come, O Thou blest hope of glory,
Never, oh, never depart.

Whispering Hope, Septimus Winner, 1868, Public Domain

Dragging the heavy load of guilt.

What Did Shakespeare Say about the Burden of Guilt?

The Heavy Yoke of Guilt

Is it a gender mishap that we women tend to carry the guilt of the world on our shoulders? If we were intended to do so, wouldn’t we have the broadest shoulders, the most powerful legs, and unending stamina? More like oxen, let’s say.

Have you seen oxen work the farm? Burdensome yokes on their shoulders, as they drag a heavy weight around and around, one tedious step at a time. 

The Oxen Versus the Woman

We do not have the sturdy frame of an ox, because we were never meant to drag the much-too-heavy yoke of guilt. Unfortunately, many of us have wasted a great deal of time and energy lugging our burden through life, one tedious step after another. And, being the wonderful women that we are, we have often picked up the guilt of others, as if it were nothing more than another piece of dirty laundry. The difference, of course, is that guilt is not so easily laid aside.

Did you know that even Shakespeare addressed the challenge of ridding ourselves of guilt? In MacBeth, Shakespeare wrote what has been referred to as “the psychic malignancy” of guilt: Out, damned spot! Out, I say!

Our Challenge Today

What guilt have you carried, or do you carry still? Perhaps it is your role in a broken relationship; that last phone call that was not placed in time; the failures of motherhood; or the regret of bad choices. (Feel free to add your own.)

Let’s ask ourselves this: what has guilt ever done for us? Has it added emotional fatigue, irritation, and unhappiness to an already overloaded life? Has it kept us awake at night, or had a detrimental effect on our minds and bodies? Or, as the writer below expresses, has it caused us to withdraw or avoid certain relationships:

What people don’t typically know about guilt is that it’s a double-whammy distress: You feel culpable for a wrong that is not known to people who should be apprised of it, yet when you contemplate an airing of your misdeeds, a feeling of shame kicks in and blocks you from doing so. 

Forbes Magazine

Our Choice Today

Have you wronged someone? Ask forgiveness, make restitution, and move on. To do otherwise is to subject yourself to a lifetime of penance.

The cycle of self-inventory became a consuming and destructive force, a revolving door of inspection, finger-pointing, and guilt. The conclusion was always the same: “If only I had…”

Twice Broken: My Journey to Wholeness

Undeserved guilt is a thief. It steals our peace of mind, our time, our energy, and our ability to be all that God has created us to be. Undeserved guilt keeps us bent in an unproductive posture, unable to look up, unable to see and embrace all the good that life has to offer.

AHA Moment: I never was intended to bear the heavy yoke of guilt, and I choose to unburden myself!

If guilt remains a burden in your life, join me. Let’s free ourselves to be the friends, the mothers, the daughters, and the sisters we were created to be.  Free of the heavy yoke of undeserved and unhealthy guilt.

Free to be me! I’ve shaken the shame of domestic violence!

I’m not afraid to say it anymore. I am finally free to be me, to be out from under the burden of shame that I carried as a result of domestic violence. For more than 30 years, I worried about protecting anyone and everyone who might be uncomfortable if I spoke about the domestic violence that was a daily part of my first marriage. I worried that some wouldn’t believe me, and that others would accuse me. I worried that I would offend the family and friends of the abuser.

The only thing I never worried about was the cost of remaining silent. I never worried about the emotional wounds inside me that remained untended. I never worried about the buried fears that would eventually erupt. I never worried about me.

Now I’m taking care of me. I’ve finally shaken off the burden of shame, and my freedom is a gift. I want to use my voice to educate people who don’t fully understand the reality and severity of domestic violence. And, as much as I’m able, I am going to use my life as an example to show other victims of domestic violence that they do not need to remain silent.

I am not afraid anymore, and it feels good.