Thursday, August 20, 2009

Words of Shame

It's been months since I last posted, but now things are settling down with the release of Shame Lifter (only more radio interview to go) and I thought I'd get caught up on this blog.

Shame. It's such an interesting emotion. It caught me by surprise a couple weeks ago.

I had to go to a medical lab for a routine test. And like most medical offices, there is a sign that reads, "Please register with the receptionist." I stood by the counter and waited for the receptionist to finish whatever she was doing. Without greeting or even glancing up at me she asked, "Name?" I told her. Again, without looking at me she said, "Insurance card." I handed her my card and was amazed how she could, without looking, take it right out of my hand while she looked at her paperwork.

She continued with her work, swearing quietly to herself while I stood there. Finally, she said, "Go take a seat." As I turned and started for a nearby chair in the lobby, she yelled out, "Where are you going? What do you think I just asked you to do?" Now, for the first time she was looking at me and demanding an answer. At first I couldn't believe she was talking to me, but her eyes (and all the other eyes in the lobby) were now staring at me and wondering what I was going to say. I swallowed and said, "You told me to go sit down." Her eyes glowered at me. "Not in the lobby!" She pointed to another chair and commanded, " I want you to sit right over here!" She began mumbling to herself as I sank into the "right" chair. I could feel all those eyes looking at the back of my head. Gratefully, my name was soon called by a nurse and I was freed from my chair.

After the appointment, I had to once again file past the receptionist's desk. Not knowing how I would be received and if I should sit in a certain chair I asked, "Is there anything else you need from me?" "No, I'm done with you!" No "good-bye" no smile, no nothing.

It really was a little thing - but do you know what I felt like for a couple of minutes as that receptionist dialogued with me? I felt like a bad little kid who hadn't followed directions. (But only for a couple of minutes! :) I quickly realized that I didn't have anything to be ashamed of. She was the one out of bounds.

But I do wonder...what was going on in her life? Was she having a most dreadful day in the office? How could I have encouraged her?

Our words - they have such power - both with what we say and how we say it. Truly words have the power of life or death. Today I have a choice, I can either be a shame giver or a shame lifter.


  1. Great post, Marilyn! I'm challenged and encouraged by your words. So much so, that I posted about it on the Tyndale blog:

    I hope you are well!

  2. Marliyn, You wrote a note on my personal blog (and I'm a stranger to you) after I posted a quote and a link to your book. You were so kind to encourage me as I was going to be having sugery. Actually, I was shocked to see your comment. I mean, you're an author! I'm a....oops...caught myself again, I'm a wanna-be Shame Lifter. I am 3 weeks out in my healing with 3 more weeks of prescribed rest. Thank you for the vulnerability and efforts you are doing to make an impact on the hearts of God's children- like ME! Be Blessed, Allegra Shea
    p.s. I am still baffled at how you were able to realize that a personal post had a link to your book! How did you do that?

  3. What a great example of shame in real life, Mom. It's so helpful to hear these illustrations, because it's those seemingly "little" things that seep into our minds and taint our thought patterns.

    Love you!!! :)


  4. Hi Allegra,
    Thanks so much for your post. I hope you are continuing to do well during your recovery time from surgery.
    You wondered how I found your personal link to my book? Actually, my publicist from Tyndale told me about a free social media network called, "Who'sTalkin." It shows where my books are being talked about, plus it gives me an opportunity to thank people - like you - who have mentioned it on their blog. :) So, thanks again - I appreciated your kind words. God bless you!

  5. Marilyn, was definately a God thing I drove home from my doctor visit...I just so happened to tune into the radio station you were being interviewed on...You were speaking on Shame...I turned the volume up and couldn't wait to hear what you had to say.
    You see I have lived with Shame Sooo Long...I didn't realize it until I started Christian Counseling...I Thank God for your story...I am sorry you had to go through it...but I Thank You for sharing it with the World!
    I am going to get your book this weekend!
    God Bless

  6. Thank you for sharing on Midday Connection today. I didn't hear the first part, but the part that I did hear was very good.

    I was amazed to hear of the story of your father driving off without you when you were five. I felt a lot of shame from my father, too, and still deal with it.

    You can find me on Twitter here, and at my blog.

    Blessings to you!

  7. Dear Marilyn,
    Thank you for stopping by my blog. Your book has been on my nightstand since I received it as a birthday gift in May. I must admit to staying up WAY TOO LATE reading it the first night I started it (I was in bed reading with a flashlight while my husband was sleeping) ~ I could not put it down! Since that time, I have finished it, re-read it, referenced it, suggested it, and thanked God for it (and for you!). May God continue to use you as His vessel of Truth and encouragement! You are making a huge difference for the Kingdom!!
    In Him,
    Cindy :)

    P.S. I received the book from my best friend Julie Richardson from RBC Ministries. She sat next to you on a plane ride and you mentioned your book to her. Once she started reading her copy, she couldn't put it down, and knew I would love it as well. Isn't God fun?! :)

  8. Shame
    It's a new concept to my life and for my recovery from alcohol/drugs. Struggled all my life with my feelings of myself. I am trying to force myself to look within and to be "honest" with "myself too myself". Your book is helping me learn to identify the people that are "shame givers" and the harm they can do to others. I activly work the "power of prayer", but more onto others than myself. This is the first time that I've been able to read a self-help book. Thankyou for the gentle approach, and personal reflections.

  9. Dear Anonymous - thanks for your honest post. I so appreciate how you expressed yourself.
    Shame was also a new concept to me.(I wish I had known about unhealthy shame years ago!) There are still times when I uncover and recognize more of it's past influence on me. So as those areas are revealed, I work on them (with the Lord's help) and move on.
    While it was very hard to do - I learned that I had to first walk back into my shame in order to be able to eventully walk out of it.
    Even though I do not know your name, I will be praying for you today as you and the Lord walk this healing path together.
    Just today someone called and said, "You are so confident now - what a difference there is from when I first met you twenty years ago. (I didn't realize years ago that shame was a confidence robber!)
    So, there is hope for you! Just the fact that you are identifying some looking within to be honest with "myself to myself" is good.
    Again, thank you for taking the time to read Shame Lifter and to share your comments.
    God bless you,
    Marilyn Hontz
    The following verse has been very helpful to me...
    "Keep me from lying to myself, give me the privilege of knowing your instructions." Psalm 119:29 (NLT).

  10. Marilyn,

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I'll be honest, I was like, "who's Marilyn? I don't know anyone by that name..." and then it hit me as I started reading....duh, the author of such an inspiring book!

    I have not spoken to my dad in almost 3 years now...very complicated relationship as I'm sure you can relate to. My parents spilt 5 years ago (the same year I got married), and my dad (54 yrs) now has a new wife (37 yrs) and 2 kids of their own (ages 1.5 and 4 mo.). My daughter and his son are 2 weeks apart...yeah. soap opera. Anyway, I feel like I'm getting close to being ready to initiate contact. But, God's still working on my heart. And, just like in "Shame Lifter", I keep hoping my dad will change but I'm learning to accept that he may not. So hard to work through it all....

    SIDE NOTE: You might know a certain Lynelle from your church?? She is my AMAZING mentor who I met while coming out of my battle with ED. We've known each other now for almost 2 years, and God has really used her in my life. I'm always in awe at how God continually crosses the paths of different relationships in my life!


  11. Dear Marilyn Hontz,

    I was amazed with how you create and update your blog with informative and interesting features and articles. I'm also a blogger and I found your blog very helpful to the readers like me as we can learn new ideas and insights about any thing from simple to the most innovative things in this fast-changing world. By the way, I am the social network promoter for I'd like to make business with you regarding your blog posts. If you are interested, please drop me an email at

    Thanks and more power!

  12. Hello Marilyn!My name is Florina Lupu,I'm teenager and I am from ROmania..First of all I want to say thank you for your great book"Listening for God".I bought it 2-3 weeks ago and i started to read like 3,4 days.It encourged me so much.I was so confused in hearing GOd..I didn'i finish de book because I read every day one chapter.I read it before to read the Bible because it inspires me to read with more passion..I want to tell you how I heard God voice,,it was Friday the 12 of march 2010 when I prayed that God reveal to me in little things in everything..and before I get to bad I receive a message that touched my heart..God answered to me and how..the last month it was a difficult one for me.and this message was about God love.This is the text message:"In this evening when you will go to bed,I want you to know that I'm with you.I'm with you even when you need quiet,I'm even with you when your smile transforms in cry.we will be toghter until the end.I will never leave you!with love:JESUS CHRIST"..I was amazed..GOD heard my prayer and answered to me..I hope I'll read more book of yours.God bless you and I will be vert happy to keep in touch..I know I am probably one of thounds girls/women that want to talk to you...GBU and I will say to you God bless you in romanian"Dumnezeu sa te binecuvanteze"!....With love,Flory