The Cone of Shame

While we were in Washington our dog Nana tore her ACL. Of course we did not know this at the time so we let her continue to run and chase squirrels, geese and anything else that caught her eye. By the time we brought her into the vet she had torn her ACL 75% and required surgery. The recovery has been much more than we anticipated and it has been a very stressful few days in our home. Though I try to tell myself and the kids that this is just a temporary deal and not our new norm, the thought of continuing as we have been for seven more weeks feels overwhelming and exhausting.
One of the things that gets me through stressful situations such as this is knowing that there will be a story or two that comes out of it. I feel it’s God’s way of “making all things work together for good” as He promises us in Romans 8:28. Though I much prefer having stories come out of fun experiences, often the ones that speak the most to others are the ones that come from the painful and stressful moments. Perhaps because they are the most relatable for in this life we shall be faced with many troubles.
As expected, Nana was sent home wearing a cone around her neck. Oh how dogs hate the cone. It completely changes their demeanor. Nana went from a happy, wild, proud puppy to a cowering, head down nervous baby. Every dog seems to react to the cone in a similar manner, which is why it is commonly referred to as The Cone of Shame by dog owners.
At first it is entertaining to see them try to navigate around the house with the cone, but after a minute or two when you see how distressing it is to them, you can’t help but feel miserable for them. You want to bring them relief from the misery. Even though it makes life inconvenient as you have to watch them the every minute to make sure they don’t start licking their wounds, you make the sacrifice because you know how desperately they need the relief. As soon as you take off the cone their disposition changes and they once again stand tall with their tails wagging and eyes that say “THANK YOU!”.
I needed a break last night so we put Nana’s cone back on. She immediately began to anxiously freak out. We tried to calm her down but she turned and walked away with her head down and tailed tucked in. It was very painful to watch and I of course caved in and removed the cone even though I knew it meant I would not sleep well that night because I would wake up every time I heard her move to make sure she wasn’t licking her wounds.
As I watched her walk with her head down and tail tucked in my heart broke as I suddenly thought of all the women in the world that walk around wearing their own cone of shame. They wear their mistakes, guilt, and shame around their necks and it chokes them and makes it impossible for them to look around and see the life God has planned for them. They go through life with their head down, trying to go unnoticed because they do not want anyone to see their shame.
The Bible is full of women that could have remained in their personal cones of shame but decided to trust in the LORD and in His words “neither do I condemn or accuse you.” Take Eve for example. She was literally kicked out of paradise as a result of the mistake her and Adam made. She could have wandered around the rest of her life with her head down bearing the shame of paradise lost. However, she understood that God still loved her. We know this because it says in Genesis 4:1 When she gave birth to Cain, she said, “With the LORD’s help, I have produced a man!” She knew it was God who blessed her.
Eve is the first of many scandalous women in the Bible, women that were definitely worthy of cones of shame. We have a woman who tricked her father in law into sleeping with her, a prostitute, and an adulterous- all listed in the genealogy of Jesus! I believe God did this knowing the world would be filled with women broken by their own mistakes and shame. He wanted us to know that there is nothing we can do that would ever disqualify us from not only being loved by Him, but also being used by Him.
Ladies, when Jesus hung on the cross he removed our cones of shame! He sacrificed his life, so that we may live ours to the fullest. To continue walking around with our heads hung down in shame is to say that his sacrifice was not enough and we deserve more punishment.
If you feel choked by all of the mistake sin your life I encourage you to sit at the feet of Jesus. Pour your heart out to Him and let Him remove the cone of shame you have been wearing for far too long. Not only is He willing to do it, he WANTS to do it. You can’t do it alone. No amount of good works will take it off. The only way to lose the cone is to let your Abba Father remove it. Will you sit still long enough to let him?

“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of your widowhood. For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.” Isaiah 54:4-5

Love, Grace, and Freedom from the Cone of Shame to You All,

Jen

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How He Loves Us

I used to think the story of Adam and Eve was one of the saddest stores in the Bible. I felt so bad for them when they got kicked out of the garden. I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to go from walking and talking with God to suddenly being escorted out of the most beautiful, perfect place created just for me.
The worst part was the thought of how mad God must have been at them. After telling them the list of horrible curses that were now attached to them, I always pictured him marching them to the edge of the garden, pushing them along on their way and then watching as they sulked off, crying with their heads down, occasionally looking back to see if he was watching them and possibly changing his mind. When they would look back on him I pictured him standing stone faced with a tear running down his cheek pointing straight ahead commanding them to continue wandering in the opposite direction. It was truly a heart breaking scene.
I see this story differently now. I see it as one of the many love stories in the Bible. Not between Adam and Eve, between God and us. It is a story of redemption, protection, and grace. Let me explain.
When God came looking for Adam and Eve after they had sinned, he found them hiding in the trees, covered with fig leaves. One of the first things they realized when their eyes were opened to sin was that they were naked and for whatever reason their now “knowledgable” mind told them this was wrong and they should cover themselves. God agreed, they should be covered. However he lovingly covered them with animal skins. It was the first of many sacrifices offered in the Bible. It was the first example of the blood of Jesus covering our sin.
As I was studying this I learned that fig leaves, when broken off their tree have a horrible pungent smell, and quickly shrivel up and die which would have left them exposed quickly. It is symbolic of the way man can only hide his sin for so long and then it will be exposed. The only way mans sin is completely covered is by a perfect sacrifice, by the blood of Jesus. i now picture God looking at them in their fig leaves and feeling pity for them. I now picture him sacrificing the animals, placing the skins on Adam and Eve, stepping back and saying “There. That’s better”, as he gives them a Fatherly smile.
If He forgave them and covered their sin, why did he still kick them out of the garden? That too was an act of love. Remember way back in Genesis 2 it tells us that God made all sorts of trees and in the middle of the garden he made two special trees- the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. If they would have eaten from the tree of life, they would have to live forever in this fallen state with no chance of redemption. They had already proven themselves untrustworthy by eating from the tree of knowledge, how much more desperate would they be to eat from the tree of life in hopes that they could somehow undo what they have done? The only reason God sent them out of the garden was to protect them from themselves.
I was also wrong about God no longer walking and talking with them. I know this because later in Genesis 4 when God confronts Cain after Cain kills Abel. Cain begs God not to banish him from God’s presence, which means they were all still in Gods presence. This shows us that though God could no longer walk and talk with them in the garden, he still chose to walk and talk with them where they were at.
Girls, I want you to see just how he loves us! Even in our worst moments, even when we are tangled up in sin and shame, God loves us. He lovingly reminds us that we are covered by the blood of Jesus. He never leaves us or forsakes. In the times when it feels like is has walked us to the edge of the garden and pointed for us to go in the opposite direction, is always an act of love. We may not see or feel it, and we may not understand it, but God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and when you find yourself removed from what may have seemed “perfect”, you need to trust that God is protecting you.
Maybe you find yourself identifying with Eve today. Maybe you have been trying to fix and cover up your own feelings of guilt and shame. Maybe you are asking yourself if God has given up on you and set you outside of the garden. If that describes you, please take a moment to sit at the feet of Jesus. Wherever you are at, close your eyes, take a deep breath and simply pour out your heart to God. Tell him your fears, your sin, and your shame. Tell him you want to feel his presence and protection. Let him cover you in his love. He did it for Eve, he will do it for you. In fact, it is his very favorite thing to do!

And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

Love, Grace, and a Day in His Presence For You All,

Jen

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