Every year on October 31, my brother shaves his face and embarks on a horrible journey to not shave for the entire month of November. It’s part of a great movement called “No Shave November” or, ”Movember” as a man of both Latino and Middle-Eastern descent, the arrival of the unruly facial hair does not take but a few days. By Thanksgiving, the top of everyone’s list is the end of November being near and the glorious shave that will accompany the first day of December. Every year, he does it again. Like clockwork. He puts away the oils, creams, razors, and scissors and lets the hair run wild. He has no shame that month; he says it’s for a good cause. And truth be told, he talks a lot about men’s mental health and cancer awareness during that month.
Whoever started these movements knew what they were doing. It has worked. For years, men all over the world have participated and raised awareness for their causes all by simply not shaving for a month.
National Adoption Awareness Month Is About No Shame
This same month, our team came together and thought, What if instead of ‘no shave’ we did ‘no shame’? Hear me for a moment. What if we decided to loosen the bonds of societal shame that we’ve relegated ourselves to? What better time to do it than National Adoption Awareness Month?
I’ll go first. It seems only fair since I’m asking us to cast off our shame that I be the first to be vulnerable. My shame stems from my womanhood. I’ve always felt less than when it comes to being a woman. Whether it be my athletic proclivities, fashion preferences, or over-all tom-boy nature growing up, or my inability to bare children as an adult, all have had a part in my having this feeling. These things have molded how I see myself and how I’ve allowed society to make me feel like less than a woman, time and time again. So now, I say, no shame. I’m taking it back. Claiming who I am, and more importantly whose I am because the God who made the Heavens and the Earth saw fit to make me, and He made me the way He chose me to be with all my idiosyncrasies.
Psalm 34 is one of my all time favorite Psalms. Shane & Shane do a beautiful rendition, if you’ve not heard it sung before I highly recommend it. Verses 3 through 5 of Psalm 34 say this, “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! 4 I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.5 Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”
Therein lies the key. Those who look to Him… shall never be ashamed. Read it again, “those who look to Him are radiant”, the key here is looking to Him. Not at our perceived failures or shortcomings or lack of societal ranking, but to Him who created us and has called us for a purpose.
No Shame Means We Are Free To Be Who We Are
I am a strong woman, fearfully and wonderfully made by the God who makes no mistakes. A woman who has fought hard to be where I am and who I am and I no longer accept the shame I’ve buried myself under, because I look to Him to give me radiance. The valleys and mountain tops He has walked me through have all come from His sovereignty and my purpose in this life is to bring honor and glory to Him through those very things that refine and sanctify me.
No, I’m not the ‘bakes apple pie in my pearls’ mom or the wife who has dinner on the table and a spotless house and all the family errands done on a weekly basis while being photo ready for the cover of the next Southern Living magazine. But, I am down on my hands and knees playing with my babies every day, praying with them, and calling out to the LORD because looking to Him is what I do best. There is no shame in not wearing make-up.
There is no shame in loving a good ball cap and jeans and a t-shirt. No shame in caring much more about the playoff game than the runway or the name on my back than the name on the tag of my shirt. There is no shame in becoming a mother through adoption. No shame in holding my son for the first time outside of the womb and not within my own body. There is no shame in the many things that make me his mother and certainly no shame in the one thing that does not.
Do Want To Go No Shame Too?
What does It look like for you to cast your shame off? What shame have you carried along your journey to parenthood? How can we as a community of adoptive parents embrace and empower one another to let go of the shame and move forward together? Let us claim November as a month of No Shame. In fact, let us claim it as the start of a new page in our story where we laid our shame down and never picked it back up. Let’s look ahead together and pray for one another as we challenge each other to live in the freedom of the radiance of God.