Monica Lewinsky: The price of shame Ted Talk

Shame cannot survive empathy. – Rene’ Brown

This is an outstanding speech. I think it’s brave, intelligent and very well thought out. I’m happy she’s found a place of peace.  Say what you will about her, this is a great message regarding the cost of social media, public humiliation, and shame. I think it’s worth the watch. I agree, we need to change how we act online.

Freedom of expression comes with great responsibility.

Verbal Abuse, Know the Signs


This is a reblog from Domestic Violence No More’s Facebook Page. I believe this applies to men as well (I know men who are or who have been verbally abused by women). — Verbal Abuse is insidious and often times, the abused doesn’t even realize it’s happening until it’s too late.

Characteristics of Verbal Abuse

1. Verbal abuse is hurtful and usually attacks the nature and abilities of the partner. Over time, the partner may begin to believe that there is something wrong with her or her abilities. She may come to feel that she is the problem, rather than her partner.

2. Verbal abuse may be overt (through angry outbursts and name- calling) or covert (involving very subtle comments, even something that approaches brainwashing). Overt verbal abuse is usually blaming and accusatory, and consequently confusing to the partner. Covert verbal abuse, which is hidden aggression, is even more confusing to the partner. Its aim is to control her without her knowing.

3. Verbal abuse is manipulative and controlling. Even disparaging comments may be voiced in an extremely sincere and concerned way. But the goal is to control and manipulate.

4. Verbal abuse is insidious. The partner’s self-esteem gradually diminishes, usually without her realizing it. She may consciously or unconsciously try to change her behavior so as not to upset the abuser.

5. Verbal abuse is unpredictable. In fact, unpredictability is one of the most significant characteristics of verbal abuse. The partner is stunned, shocked, and thrown off balance by her mate’s sarcasm, angry jab, put-down, or hurtful comment.

6. Verbal abuse is not a side issue. It is the issue in the relationship. When a couple is having an argument about a real issue, the issue can be resolved. In a verbally abusive relationship, there is no specific conflict. The issue is the abuse, and this issue is not resolved. There is no closure.

7. Verbal abuse expresses a double message. There is incongruence between the way the abuser speaks and his real feelings. For example, he may sound very sincere and honest while he is telling his partner what is wrong with her.

8. Verbal abuse usually escalates, increasing in intensity, frequency, and variety. The verbal abuse may begin with put-downs disguised as jokes. Later other forms might surface. Sometimes the verbal abuse may escalate into physical abuse, starting with “accidental” shoves, pushes, and bumps.

Can you give me three days?

It is really difficult to make eye contact with someone when I’m feeling shame over a past event.  Even when I have reconciled with whomever, the very memory of what I said, or did, can come flooding back in an instant and render me helpless.

I hate moments like that. 

Being forgiven by someone feels strange at times. 

Have you ever been there?

Someone told me recently that it’s as if God doesn’t allow us to forget our transgressions, that way we never repeat them. But that does not line up with the God I know and worship. Nor does it add up with the person in question who has never brought this issue up again once we handled it, it’s as if he has forgotten. I apparently, have not.

I have a hot temper.

Sometimes I keep a lid on it.

Sometimes I don’t.

I once verbally crucified a man and instead of reacting in anger back, he asked for three days to think about it before he responded.


Was he serious?

Apparently so. 

Once he responded, with grace and integrity I might add, I realized that I had been in the wrong, and quickly apologized.


Christ was crucified.

He rose on the third day.

This man, meaning to or not, modeled Christ to me at a time when I wasn’t behaving very Christ-like.

Proverbs 16:32 New American Standard Bible (NASB) – He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

I never forgot that.  As for my friend’s comment though that God doesn’t allow us to forget our sins, he’s wrong. Jesus came as our arbitrator, not our accuser. Shame is NEVER of God. That’s Satan’s job.

Scripture says

Psalm 130:3-4

 If you, LORD, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

Psalm 130:12

As far as the East is from the West,

So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

As far as the East is from the West

To better visualize exactly how far the East truly is from the West take out a globe.

Put your finger on the state or country you live in. Start walking North. Once you reach the North pole you cannot keep going without walking South.

Put your finger back.. now start walking East on the globe.

You will circle the globe without EVER heading West.

Do you get that?

East and West do not touch!

That is how far He has removed our sin.

So when shame over comes you.

When eye contact is painful

and the Devil says “Did God really say?” Answer back

YES, the Lord DID say he keeps no record.

YES, the Lord DID say he has removed our sin.

And the next time you – or I – feel the urge to react rather than respond, remember Jesus took three days to rise from the dead; maybe we should try the same thing.

This is one lesson, I will never forget.

I’m heading home to Chittenango NY for three weeks. Have a great 4th and I’ll see you in August.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart, June 29, 2011. All rights reserved.

Scandalon: Susan Elaine Jenkins

Free book giveaway. One of my lucky readers will receive a free copy of the book Scandalon. Please be sure to leave a comment on this post for your chance to win.




Running From Shame and Finding God’s Scandalous Love






Susan Elaine Jenkins has lived in China for 11 years, teaching the performing arts in international schools. SCADALON is her provocative memoir which includes fascinating stories of people and life in the great country of China, which few of us have visited, but where God is working mightily. God has also worked mightily in Susan’s personal life and she has an important story to share.

Interview with Susan Elaine Jenkins ~

Q: First of all, tell us a bit about yourself.

Susan: I am a teacher. I was born into a family of preachers and teachers, and I always had a keen desire to teach. I began the first year out of college (Point Loma Nazarene University) and my career has taken me into the hearts and lives of many unforgettable students. Much of my time is occupied with continuing education and professional development opportunities, which opens up new areas of thinking and learning as I go.

After teaching in California private schools for 19 years, I moved to China, where I have focused on teaching performing arts in 3 different international schools. I am a seasoned foreign expatriate these days and yet, the daily adventures of living in Asia continue to surprise me.

Q: It seems that some parts of your book were passages right out of your journals through the years. Is that right? Is it hard to share these publicly, when you probably thought of yourself as the only audience at the time?

Yes, they were taken directly from my journals – especially the conversations between Dr. Travis and me. Those 3 difficult months were mind-numbing days. Writing everything that happened at the end of every confusing day helped me make more sense of it all.

Once I was in China, the conversations with Ouyang were important to me, as well, and I also kept detailed accounts. I knew I needed to have those talks recorded somewhere where I could retrieve them – they were too special to forget. The experiences I was having with my Chinese friends were very precious; China was rapidly developing and nothing would be the same again. I recently visited Tianjin and was stunned to see the progress made – the sleek commercial buildings and tall apartments that have replaced the ancient hutongs near the streets where I once lived and worked.

Yes, I assumed my journals were for my eyes only, and it has been difficult opening up these details to the public. There have been many starts and stops for me to this process and times when I wanted to forget the whole project.

Q: Was there any deciding factor that made you think you should try compiling your notes into a book and to try to get it published? What encouragement did you get along the way?

A friend from the UK convinced me to begin a blog. The idea of sharing my stories was inconceivable, at first, but as time went by, I got to know my readers. Little by little, I opened up the pages of my journals with them, interspersed with a few of the details of daily life in Asia. To my surprise, my online friends began commenting and sending me private letters filled with their own pain. I wanted to let them know that there really is healing and light ahead, that God’s promise really is authentic: He is a God who heals.

Q: Are there any character embellishments? Some people in your book seem almost larger than life!

No, the characters are written exactly as they are. Conversations are word for word, in most cases. I wanted to present the strong and good qualities of my former husband, Kyle, for example, as well as the perplexing reality of our marriage. The words of Dr. Travis (not his real name) were etched deeply into my memory, of course, as those were life-changing words of an experienced sexual predator – impossible to forget, much as I tried. And then the amazing friends I met in China were such distinctive people! I remember thinking: How can I tell the world about Mrs. Hua and her cozy dinner parties with fish swimming laps in the bathtub? How can I explain how marvelous Apple is, with her heart that simply listens to God as she finds her way around the French Riviera? I wanted to share the story of Angel’s frustration at being 30 years old and single in the Chinese culture. These are incredibly real and strong people who desire the same things we do in America. They taught me so much.

Q: Why a book about China?

“Well, this particular story began to be written in the summer of 1992. My friend, David, gave me the keys to his beach house in Pebble Beach and it began pouring out, as I walked along the ocean and typed in his massive kitchen. At the end of the summer, I returned the rented computer, put all the pages into a plain cardboard box and shoved it into a closet. It wasn’t until five years later, in 1997, that I realized the story was not going to rest quietly, just gathering dust. It was almost as if it had a life of its own, and refused to be forgotten…so I took the box to China with me and kept writing…for the next ten years. I wrote between classes, on long snowy northern Chinese weekends, on Chinese trains and sitting in plastic airport chairs. It seemed to evolve into a book that is really a combination of two lives: my life in California and my life in Asia; two very different worlds.

I think it seemed very natural at some point, to write of a remarkably poignant journey that met in a healing point while living in a crumbled country, broken by its own history. My life at that point seemed very much the same – broken, falling apart, and dark.

Q: You moved to China to get away from memories that were haunting you? At what point did China start feeling like “home” to you, and less like the completely foreign distraction it first was?

A great job offer came up, and yes, I was anxious to have a completely new start. Before I left for China, someone told me, “Susan, you can never get away from this. Sooner or later, you will need to face all that’s happened in your life. You will need to go through the grieving process and admit that you have lost so much.” He was right. I did have to face it, but that happened slowly, almost imperceptibly, over a long period of time. Being in China helped me gain perspective of what God wanted to do in me and through me.

I guess it was near the end of my first school year that I realized China had become a second home. I was walking along the hot, muggy streets with Ouyang, and I realized I was reluctant to go back to America. He said, “Do you have to go back? Why don’t you just stay?” That possibility hadn’t occurred to me until that point and I muttered something about it being too hot during the summer months to remain and that most of the teachers returned to their home countries for the holidays. Years later, I found I could stay for the summers and feel very much at home.

I think the idea of feeling at home in China has to do with the fact that I began feeling “at home” with God. And that, for me, involved a great spiritual healing and coming back to a point of rest within God’s heart; being glad to be in His loving presence; knowing that all my sins are utterly forgiven and cast away; and, sensing His divine heart of grace. Home has literally – for me – become His own Heart.

Q. Where might we find out more about you and Scandalon?

Please my website at

Disclosure of Material Connection: The only compensation I have received in exchange for this post is a free copy of the book Scandalon to give away to one of my readers. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Ashes for Beauty

Regret is an intelligent (and/or emotional) dislike for personal past acts and behaviors. Regret is often felt when someone feels sadness, shame, embarrassment, depression or guilt after committing an action or actions that the person later wishes that he or she had not done. Regret is distinct from guilt, which is a deeply emotional form of regret — one which may be difficult to comprehend in an objective or conceptual way. In this regard, the concept of regret is subordinate to guilt in terms of its “emotional power.” By comparison, shame typically refers to the social (rather than personal) aspect of guilt or (in minor context) regret as imposed by the society or culture (enforcement of ethics, morality), which has substantial bearing in matters of (personal and social) honor.

Regret can describe not only the dislike for an action that has been committed, but also, importantly, regret of inaction. Many people find themselves wishing that they had done something in a past situation.

I know, I know. Two blogs in one day. What is the world coming to?

I’ve been working on my garden today and I noticed some things. I noticed that my tulips are coming up and that my hydrangeas are budding. My tulips are some of my favorites. They are a bleeding heart variety. They open fully and follow the sun where ever it is in the sky. It’s breathtaking to watch.

God speaks to me in my garden. Not in an outloud burning bush Moses kind of way, that would be too wierd. But, he does speak to me, in my heart and in my spirit.
Every year, he shows me something new. The first year I had my tulips he showed me that if I stayed open, and followed Him (the real Son) he would show me my heart. My tulips had a rough year last year, but here they are trying again. As for my hydrangea? She did okay last year, not great but okay. They too are budding.

There is nothing in my garden that intentionally gives up on it’s own. My flowers don’t regret last season and refuse to bloom this season. They just aren’t wired that way.

You and I are supposed to be wired like those flowers. You and I are supposed to keep growing, keep blooming and keep trying. Sometimes we do, often times we don’t. Unlike my flowers who don’t need reminders, we sometimes do.

We need friends to come along side of us and ask, “Why are you hanging onto that? Don’t you know Christ’s blood covers a lifetime of regret. He carried that burden to the cross, you don’t need to.”

Normally, I save those comments for face time, but since you’re here – let me ask you, “Why are you hanging onto that? The blood of Christ covers a lifetime of regret. He carried that burden to the cross. You can let it go. Don’t let Satan use false shame to steal your beauty.”

What regrets do you have this Spring? What false shame are you carrying with you? Was it something you said? Something you did? Or maybe something you didn’t do?

I’m there with you.

Why don’t you join me this Easter as we both allow Christ’s death and resurrection to turn our ashes into beauty and lay down our regrets once and for all at the foot of the cross.

The singer in this video is Tammy Trent. click on her name to link to her page.

Copyright: Deana O’Hara, Redemption’s Heart. 2009.

Owning my insecurities

Written March 13, 2009

I have my days were admitting this is hard, but the truth is, I am my own problem. I am not your problem. Nobody, and I don’t care who you are, is responsible for my self-esteem. I keep telling myself that in spite of the fact, that I do at times try to make others responsible.

Yes, there are times and people who can take chinks out of it, or even add to it with a well timed compliment, but in the end – I stand alone. And so do you.

We all do.

And yet we don’t.

As believers, we stand in Christ. Filled to the measure with His Holy Spirit. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us – but sometimes, I’ll let false shame, push him away.

I’m presently in a place that I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be. I chose to take a risk, step out on faith, and come to the Professional Communicator’s Summit in Franklin Tennessee taught by Ken Davis and his staff at DCW. I am having a blast. I’m meeting people from all walks of life and from all places in ministry and I am learning things I could have never – ever learned anywhere else.

What blows my mind is how easily I could have talked myself out of coming. How easily – as recent as last night, the voices can start with how I don’t fit in, I’m out of my league, these people will never accept me. I haven’t done anything yet to warrent their approval or acceptance. There is no way I can earn that respect in just a couple of hours. I’m asking stupid questions, they are going to figure out that I’m the banana on the peach tree pretty quickly.

Now I have to tell you, it’s not just things like the Summit that can do that to me. It can be any thing, anywhere. And I have to know that about myself – repent of that kind of egotistical thinking. And yes, low self worth is still self obession and it’s pure EGO – I’m Edging God Out of my life when I get like that. And when I want to be liked, respected, fit in and approved of by people I’ve placed on a higher plane than myself, I’ve made them gods. Idolotry in it’s most basest form.

I did not invest the money I invested in this weekend to hide behind a frail ego, to be coddled and nurtured by anyone here, to simply hide in my room and feel sorry for myself for having a badly focused mirror. I am investing in the future that only God knows.

I have to let go of the fact that I did indeed have a ministry six years ago called Redemption’s Heart – it was growing and active. It had a focus and some direction and I threw it all away over hurt feelings, and anger. My being here, to learn how to improve is my active repentance. Carrying false shame over that – is not. God has not only forgiven me for that, He has opened new doors, new possibilities and new avenues for me to learn that I never had before.

I’ve made some really cool friends this weekend. I’ve learned amazing things from excellent professionals that I could not have learned, would not have learned otherwise. This summit has been 100% top quality professional work all the way. There were speakers and professionals that told me things I could not have known otherwise. Talk about your inside track, my gosh.

And to get the most out of it, I cannot just sit back and expect to be fed or taught or whatever. I cannot just sit there and think I don’t belong here and isolate myself. If I had continued to flow with my feelings when I first got here, I would have fulfilled that false belief. I would have been miserable. Instead, I have to act first and let the feelings follow. I have to step out, talk to people, listen to them, find out what they are doing that works, what they are doing that doesn’t work, and trust God with the rest of it. That means to keep talking until the stuttering and fear stops. If I stare at the floor the first time I talk to someone because of fear, so be it. Just be sure to speak to them a second time and not stare at the floor.

To get the most of out this and anything else, we all have to actively choose to be a willing, breathing, moving, and interested person in living life. And truly truly believing that God is a God of second chances, He will not bail on me if I do not get it right the first time and he won’t bail on you either.

That is a promise you can sleep on.