Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went… So Tamar lived, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom’s house. 2 Samuel 13:19-20
Try to take in the pain of this godly woman. She feels so wretched that she disfigures her own beauty by putting ashes in her hair. She tears the royal robe she no longer feels worthy to wear. She feels completely and utterly worthless. Shame was heaped on her, and she feels the weight of it. And she lives with this unanswered question: “Where could I carry my shame?” (13:13).
In the book, Rid of My Disgrace, Justin and Lindsey Holcomb point out that anyone who has had to endure this kind of experience will have struggled with the question, Am I a piece of trash? But to answer the question Who am I? you need first to answer another question: Of what story do I find myself a part?
The Holcombs say, “Being a victim of sexual assault is part of your story that you should not deny or minimize. But if it becomes the story of your life, your whole identity will be founded on a sense of shame.”
Where can we go with our shame? The answer lies in the great story of the Son of God who loved you and gave himself for you. Jesus Christ came into the world so that neither your sins nor the sins committed against you would be the defining story of your life. He came so that your life could be part of a great story of Christ’s marvelous redemption.
As you bring your shame to the Lord, take him at his word that he is able to take your ashes and crown you with his steadfast love (Ps. 103:4).