A Hemorrhage of the Soul


“Shame is a hemorrhage of the soul.”

Attributed to Jean-Paul Sartre

Shame is a tyrant that keeps us bound. It propels us to hide from those we love and even the Lord. Shame is one of the enemy’s most potent tools and one of the great consequences of the fall in Eden. It’s the insidious result of the dysfunction that marks nearly every relationship from childhood onward.

We can miss how it erodes the core of us because it often happens gradually. It can come through some careless comment from someone who matters. It can come through some mistake or failure. It can come when we need to hear we are loved and instead have silence in that space.

Brene’ Brown defines shame this way:

“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.


The thing to understand about shame is, it’s not guilt. Shame is a focus on self; guilt is a focus on behavior. Shame is ‘I am bad.’ Guilt is ‘I did something bad.’ … Guilt: ‘I’m sorry. I made a mistake.’ Shame: ‘I’m sorry. I am a mistake.”


Unfortunately for too many of us, no one really makes that clear to us. Some of us have too often heard comments such as: “Shame on you” or “You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

Sadly, those comments stick to us. One reason they can stick is that the feelings of guilt and shame overlap. We can feel guilty for what we do and also shame because of something we do. Then the erosion begins to move faster and faster.

One of the significant Christian writers about shame is Lewis B. Smedes. His book, Shame and Grace, offers much help to distinguish the issues that come from shame and the corresponding results such as depression, anxiety, and addiction.

“Guilt overflows the banks of action and flood our being with shame. White water from a flowing river becomes a fetid swamp once it settles into the valley. So guilt becomes a stagnant shame after it has flowed from one thing we did over all that we are.  The shame equation is this: one wrong act equals a bad person.”  

Lewis B. Smedes

Once this equation and “fetid swamp” is in place, many sources can feed it – family members, unhealthy church experiences, school and work relationships, and more. Ultimately, we can begin to shame ourselves as well.

“Guilt can legitimately convict us of sin, but shame cuts straight to the core of our self-worth and leads only to increased hiding, addiction, silence, and self-loathing.”  Andrew J. Bauman

Shame’s power grows because it comes with the potent power of fear – fear of being exposed, fear of being rejected, fear of being unlovable or unacceptable.

Since being accepted is one of the basic needs of our lives, the tangled web of fear and shame can leave us hopeless and despairing and terrified to ask anyone for help to unlock the prison we may find ourselves in. There can be realistic reasons that reinforce that terror. We may have tried to approach someone for help in the past or to tell them of our torment and experienced the negative consequences of things not going well. We do not always discern who is wise and safe to share with.

Where is the hope?

“Grace is the beginning of our healing because it offers the one thing we need most: to be accepted without regard to whether we are acceptable. Grace stands for gift; it is the gift of being accepted before we become acceptable.” Lewis B. Smedes

This is the effective antidote to shame if it is graciously given (which means it overlooks our undeserving).

In Smedes’ book he relates the story of Lee’s surrender to Grant at the end of the U.S. Civil War on April 9, 1865. It is an excellent example of what gracious grace looks like and I want to share a portion of how Smedes tells this story:

“In the tidy living room of the home where the vanquished and the victor met, Lee asked Grant what his terms of surrender were to be. Grant told Lee that his men were free to take their horses with them and go back to their little farms and that Lee too was free to go home and create a new life. Lee offered Grant his sword; Grant refused it. Lee heaved a sigh; he came expecting to be humiliated, and he left with dignity and honor. As he watched General Lee mount Traveller and ride back to his troops, Grant took off his hat and saluted his defeated enemy. It was a gracious grace. And it deeply affected the defeated general: as long as he lived, Lee allowed no critical word of Grant to be spoken in his presence.”


 Gracious grace is what a loving Father God offers us when we are a mess. He offers it out of a love few of us can imagine.

Once we receive it, can we pass it on?


Surrendered Hearts

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To surrender our hearts and cease to resist an authority greater than our own is one of the hardest things we face. That struggle reveals the old sin nature and self that prefers to have control. Yet it is surrender to Jesus Christ that opens the door to the better and the best we cannot imagine. It allows the God of heaven to create a design beyond what we can conceive.


Lori Schumaker’s new book, Surrendered Hearts: An Adoption Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Trustwill capture your heart no matter what area of your life requires a deeper surrender.


Lori tells the powerful story of the desire God planted in her heart to adopt a little girl to join her husband, Bryan, and their two sons (Zachary and Landon) in a “forever family.”  As she openly shares how God moved in her husband’s life to create that desire in him as well, you will see the evidences of how the Lord patiently works all things for good in our lives.


We often wish that once we surrender, the path will become smooth that lies before us; but just because we yield does not make that so. Through the pages of Surrendered Hearts you will see Lori and Bryan’s winding journey of ups and downs, trial and triumph, sorrow and joy as they pursue adoption of a precious little girl in an orphanage in Bulgaria whom they name Selah. You will also glimpse the support of their family, friends, and church body on this journey.


Through it all one thing becomes clear: “Without our surrender − without trust enough to follow Him through difficult times, we wouldn’t be the family we are today.”


 Many of us are not familiar with adoption or the long process and challenges it entails on every level. The challenges of a foreign adoption can seem unending and is not for the faint of heart. Lori gives us a deeper understanding of this process.


“Adoption isn’t just about growing families. It’s not about rescuing or picking out a child to call your own. It’s about God and His unfailing love for us. It’s about the fact that you are His − no matter where you are or what your story looks like. It’s about miracles, love, and relentless pursuit. And it’s about surrender and trust.”


IMG_3864 What none of us can fully be prepared for is how often we must wait for answers, help, and good things for good reasons. The wait for Lori and Bryan was longer and more challenging than they had first expected or wished. It was also harder because they knew every day this precious little girl also waited meant she lived with uncertainty about being loved and wanted. She also lived without the benefits of the care of every kind that she could only receive by being with her forever family.


The wait brought a deeper understanding of the ways God moves even when we do not understand why.


“Sometimes we get to see the why behind the wait. But other times we don’t. We must surrender any right to know why and choose to unconditionally accept life as it is. We must believe that even in situations that feel desperately unfair, God is making all things right.”


 Surrendered Hearts is really God’s story displayed through the lives of Lori and Bryan Schumaker, and their sons, Zachary and Landon, who welcome a beautiful little girl from Bulgaria named Selah into her “forever family” in Arizona.


You may wonder why you would read a story about adoption, but each of us who becomes a Christian knows the pain of being lost and the joy of being chosen by a Father who loves us beyond what we could have imagined.


This is a story that will remind you again of the blessing of being chosen.


Surrendered Hearts will be released November 1, but is available for pre-order now at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Christian Book.com.


I will randomly choose one person who comments between October 29 and November 2 to receive a hard copy of Surrendered Hearts.


If you would like to check out additional resources connected with the book including this bracelet, you can click on the website noted below or go to  www.lorischumaker.com/surrendered-hearts-blog


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What is Your Jericho?




As I am reading through the Old Testament book of Joshua again, I am savoring the stories I first learned in childhood. I am also seeking to discover more of God’s story behind those Sunday School lessons I loved; however, this time I want to enter the story at a different depth.


Too often we never connect the Old Testament with the New Testament and miss how they flow into and confirm powerful hope-filled messages. If we read these stories too casually, we will miss the evidence of grace that we tend to associate with the New Testament. My commentary states it plainly: “Joshua is a story of grace.”


God’s covenant with Abraham was one of grace and his promise to bring the descendants of Abraham into territory of their own and to become a great nation still stood. It stood despite the years in Egypt or the forty years wandering in the wilderness as a result of disobedience.


It was a story of grace. They did not earn this gift from Him. (We don’t earn it either.)



Over and over again God affirms his promises. Moses is gone and God speaks clearly to Joshua to attest to what He declared and then gives him clear direction for the crusade into the land that was promised:


“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.”    

Joshua 1:6-7 (ESV)


I love how the Lord makes sure Joshua understands the part he is to play in this because a few verses later He reminds him again as God is giving the battle plan.


Once the Jordan is crossed, the first battle objective is Jericho. It is in Jericho that God used Rahab when Moses sent spies into the land. Though a Canaanite and a prostitute, a woman of seemingly no consequence, Rahab exhibited faith that God was the true king and would conquer the city and the land set before the children of Israel. She hid the spies and they promised her safety when they returned to take the city. She became a means of grace and her story followed into the line of the Messiah and gets mentioned in the New Testament as well.


As Joshua leads the people into the plains of Jericho, God gives them the first battle plan to take the city of Jericho. It’s noteworthy that Joshua doesn’t question the means or clouds-country-countryside-461797method, but rather sets out to obey.


I wonder if we take time to apply the lessons of this story as well as others in Joshua. As believers, each of us has been given a place and purpose to fulfill in the Kingdom. There is territory we are to take, hold, and use for Him. He encourages us as He did Joshua.


It is too easy many times to be docile and passive and ignore the call, the place, and the purpose He has called us to inhabit and use for Him. We want to focus on peace, love, and all things nice, but over and over again the Word reminds us we are in a battle.


“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” 

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)


Marauding bandits intent on our brokenness and destruction have seized the territory that is ours many times. They have used abuse, abandonment, betrayal, disappointment, isolation, addiction, and more to silence us and cause us to cower and forget whose we are. These things have terrorized us and turned us around so we forget who the enemy is. They have caused us to forget (if we ever knew) that we are called to be warriors.


The Lord invites us into wholeness and healing, freedom and joy. He encourages us to stand and hear his battle plan and walk toward Jericho to take the territory He says is ours through Him.


“Healing cannot be inherited or caught from someone else; we must take the death-defying pilgrimage of restoration for ourselves. This involves engaging our stories, telling ourselves the truth about our conditions, grieving out suffering, and choosing to break unhealthy patterns in our relationships.” 

Andrew J. Bauman in Stumbling Toward Wholeness


What is your Jericho?


The battle is the Lord’s, but the obedience is ours.








How Well Do You Know Him?




Has anyone ever asked you how well you know the Lord?


How did you answer? And, how did you feel about your answer?


When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, we begin a journey with Him that is one that passes from this life into eternity. That journey is one of the means that helps us to become better acquainted with the Lord. The ups and downs and twists and turns of life on this earth give us more than one or two opportunities to be clear we are not in Eden.


If we are fortunate after that initial encounter with the Lord, we experience sound biblical teaching and discipleship to anchor our commitment to Him. That biblical teaching becomes the foundation and directly influences how we grow and what we believe about life with Him and it is of critical importance.


Life will test us, tempt us, try us, and leave us spinning, absent a strong mooring in the truth of his Word.


His Word provides understanding, comfort, historical context and information, encouragement, hope, and more. Most of us know it is divided into an Old and New Testament.


The word testament refers to a person’s will, the part relating to personal property and something that serves as a sign or evidence of a specified fact, event, or quality accordingautumn-beautiful-boat-531391 to the dictionary. Consider that as you pick up your own Bible and what He wants you to see that He has left for us.


When I recall the wills of my parents’ as an executrix following their deaths, I am aware the wills represented my inheritance and also pointed direction to provision for my future. They addressed the tangible assets representing their life’s work (with interest). What they passed on was now my responsibility to steward.


His Word was meant in part at least to represent the same things and more in a much broader and bigger context. The Narrative books (sometimes called historical books) tell us where we came from and how our relationship with Him as mankind began and developed. (They tell us the story.) There is the Poetry portion that includes Psalms and other poetic books that communicate ideas, but especially express emotion and show us life in all its fullness. There are the books of Wisdom such as Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes meant to shape our moral and ethical lives and these cover many practical topics about our lives.


There is also a section of both Old and New Testament devoted to Prophecy that include what are known as major and minor prophets. They point to warnings to those people with whom God is in covenant and are meant to help us prepare for what lays ahead. These same passages reveal much about God’s mind and character.


The Gospels appear to be and are narrative, but additionally they serve as a proclamation of who Jesus is, his life and his teachings. The letters in the New Testament written to a specific person or specific group are known as Epistles. They provide encouragement and questions and guidance for the Christian life. One additional portion is known as the Apocalypse. This refers to Revelation and parts of the book of Daniel that are in some ways like other prophecies, but employ a great deal of symbolic language.


alone-beautiful-view-cliff-954299 (1)Together they tell us much and round out the picture and understanding of who God is and the functioning of the Trinity and how we can connect with Him


One passage often used to comfort our hearts (especially during times of sorrow) is found in John 14:1. It’s a fitting passage because we see the words of Jesus spoken to his disciples just prior to his crucifixion. Read again John’s words in 14:1 (NIV):


“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”


 When I read Jennifer Dukes Lee’s book, It’s All Under Control, she pointed out the significance of the original Greek for the word “believe” which is pisteuete.  She shared this insight that is important to include in our understanding:


“But pisteuete belief is more than being convinced of God’s existence – so much more. Pisteuete belief means to “have trust in.”


When we pause to consider challenges on our faith journeys in trusting Him when ups and downs or twists and turns disrupt all we hold dear and love, I think it may reveal a great deal about our relationship with Him.


Our level of intimacy is deepened in any relationship by how well we know the person and at what level we have shared our deepest thoughts, ideas, and passions.


Our level of intimacy with the Lord impacts how well we trust Him, especially in those most difficult spots in our lives. That intimacy can only grow by spending time with Him, not only reading but also understanding his will, his testament to us, so that we recognize his heart.


When you consider your most intimate human relationships, what do they look like and how did they develop?activity-adult-barbecue-344102


Should not our relationship with the Lord be even more intimate than those relationships?


Consider these words:


“We cannot always trace God’s hand, but we can always trust God’s heart.” Charles Spurgeon


“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”   Corrie Ten Boom


“God won’t light your second step until you have taken the first one.”  Woodrow Kroll


Captivators of Our Attention



It is little wonder that many of us get distracted easily even if we do not have a diagnosis that confirms a reason for it. Information and data of all types bombard us throughout the day. It comes through both visual and auditory channels. It often takes us from the original stimulus down rabbit trail after rabbit trail and is often meant to do just that. Its goal is to capture our attention and seduce us with the message we receive.


Many of us will be reading through some online information we actually sought and discover some additional tidbit tucked in it that sounds like additional information on the same topic. Once we hit a key to open that additional input, we discover it takes us to an ad to purchase or buy something we had no plans to even consider.


Captivators are seductive and we are drawn in before we sometimes recognize it is bright-close-up-colors-827060happening. It can happen with the sale ads that flood our email inbox daily. We have a fascination with things that are new or different.


We also are drawn to things that promise us something we long for.


“We will always be drawn to life, whether that is genuine life offered by God or its counterfeit.”  Andrew J. Bauman in Stumbling Toward Wholeness


It’s the force that any addiction counts on to sway us away from our better self and escape into another world where our pain of isolation, fear, anger, or betrayal are anesthetized.


At its core, life in Christ is an ongoing relinquishment of self to allow the Lord to make us more and more into his image, to transform us from the residual impact of the fall in Eden.


That relinquishment is not meant to obliterate the person God designed you or me to be. Baby eyesHis purpose is to regain the original design that He meant so we can flourish. He wants us to be restored as image bearers through his sacrifice and be available to move in life as He has purposed.


The same enemy that showed up in the paradise of Eden has not changed his mind about what he wants to accomplish. We are in the bull’s eye of his target and destruction is his intent and he will use any and all means to accomplish it. His disguises are so many they cannot be counted. He has honed his skill over thousands of years of practice.


“When life becomes all about self and when the energy of life is about relief from our self-imposed hunger for true connection, then love becomes manipulation, strength becomes cowardice, and dignity becomes arrogance.”  Andrew J. Bauman


If any one of us is consumed with what is going on in our lives, there is little likelihood we have a clue about what is happening in anyone else’s life or what they may have to offer in true relational connection. When we don’t, that spurs us into more busyness and more self-soothing choices.


How easily we forget in this polarized world the basic truth the enemy is counting on us to forget or dismiss.


He doesn’t want us to see that he is the enemy and the force at work each day to upend us.


“Evil is the thing that is set against God and, because we are created in God’s image, is set against us. Evil is self-propagating, emulating God’s creative work in its own destructive effort, committed to steering us away from our love and toward lesser things.”  Andrew J. Bauman


aerial-aerial-view-airphoto-681381Brent Curtis and John Eldredge describe this well in their book, Sacred Romance, in the chapter entitled “Less-Wild Lovers.”  They want the reader to understand that God is the wildest of lovers who has expended everything (even his beloved Son) to regain what was lost in Eden. Because we were designed for intimacy with Him, once that was broken our hearts will propel us to seek it wherever we can find it. Too often we choose “less-wild lovers” and those are what the Lord would have us forsake. They are the enemy of wholeness.


Curtis and Eldredge describe it this way:


“We come to a place in our spiritual life where we hear God calling us. We know he is calling us to give up the less-wild lovers that have become so much a part of our identity, embrace our nakedness, and trust in his goodness.”


 What are “less-wild lovers?”


 “Our adversary also seduces us to abide in certain emotions that act as less-wild lovers, particularly shame, fear, lust, anger, and false guilt. They are emotions that ‘protect’ us from the more dangerous feelings of grief, abandonment, disappointment, loneliness, and even joy and longing, that threaten to roam free in the wilder environs of the heart.”  Curtis and Eldredge


Yes, we all experience these emotions. Please note the key word I underlined – abide. If we abide in these emotions, it suggests we live there and never embrace the new life and wholeness Christ offers us. He came to set us free from the emotions that would seek to bind us and cause us to live in the shadows. We are meant to abide in Christ.


“There is only One Being who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Oswald Chambers


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