Tag Archives: july 4

Shame Prevents Your Independence Day

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

photo of fireworks during nighttime
Photo by Miguel Acosta on Pexels.com

Negative self-talk destroys and paralyzes dreams.  Period. That is all it accomplishes.

Have you ever credited daily guilt and shame with pushing you to success? Not likely! Most of us can probably remember a time when those negative thoughts held us back. I fueled self-doubt and fear for decades by using words born out of shame. 

Shame can keep us from creating or achieving. Dreams die on the altar of negative self-focus.  I’ve heard the theory “fear of success” used to describe why a person with skills may not pursue higher goals.  How many of us fear moving forward due to shame?

It seems a type of dependence on people’s approval was actually a perceived need for permission to accomplish anything despite the shame I felt.  Anger was the superficial emotion, fear lay under that, and shame was apparently the real culprit.  It whispered each night, “You do not deserve anything good.”

I met a plumber who noticed a symbol of Jesus in my house. He asked about it, and when I explained Jesus’ loving plan for humankind he said, “I was a sniper in the Army. And good at it. There’s no forgiveness for me.”  Guessing by his age, he may have been in Vietnam. 

Self-inflicted wounds were bleeding this veteran dry of hope. I said, “The ground is even at the foot of the cross.” I meant that not one of us deserves forgiveness from Jesus and he does not ask us to become worthy of it.  His grace is a free gift. God looks beyond our false guilt and true guilt to embrace the person who comes in faith to him in the present. 

The plumber said with a sigh, “Yeah, that’s what my son keeps trying to tell me.” Then he left. 

Did you catch that? 

Read his last statement again. The only reason his son had to try to convince his dad of the best news of his life is that the truth disagreed with the man’s negative self-talk. Years earlier he had bought the lie that his actions made him unworthy.  

What we believe and whisper to ourselves is a strong chain when negative. As long as we are bound we are not free to enjoy relationships or pursue dreams.  We will not get over the past.  Today’s troubles will only add to painful memories and disappointments.

Is that what you want?  If not, do you need an independence day of your own?     

Independence Day is here for America. I want freedom too!  Fear of success, aka shame, has been holding me back again. It’s time to challenge negative self-talk and march forward.  

Today’s Helpful Word  

Jeremiah 29:13,14

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”


NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!






Not Left Behind: My Mom Dies with Her Daughter at Her Side

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2014 Nancy Virden

lovely fireworksJuly 4th, along with other patriotic holidays, reminds us of the warriors to whom we owe our freedoms. One of the mantras of our armed forces is that we never leave one of our own behind. It’s a great philosophy in other areas of life as well.

My mother would have been 83 next week. Breast cancer took her life twelve years ago. She had been diagnosed after feeling a lump. What followed was surgery, chemotherapy, hair loss, exhaustion, desperate last-ditch efforts to find a cure, long talks, and slow walks. Then after two years of this, I received a phone call.

“Nancy, I saw the doctor today,” Mom said. “I have only a few weeks to live.”

Immediately I drove the 60 miles to her home to stay with her, my two sons in tow. Stepping-up was a no-brainer. Still, I had no idea what I’d signed up for.

When I arrived, she was taking a nap and a family acquaintance was doling out meds. While my sons carried our belongings in from the car, this woman tried to show me the basics of medication preparation and to warn me of things to come. 

My oldest son was almost fourteen and his voice was changing. When my mother heard him from her room she said, “There’s a man in my kitchen.”

The woman acquaintance smiled knowingly and alerted me that my mother was becoming delusional. I just smiled because I had caught the joke. Later, Mom and I laughed about her “imagined” man.

I knew her sense of humor. I knew how she liked her eggs, coffee, laundry, and conversation. I was familiar with her favorite chair, what could and could not be touched, how to hang her clothes, and all of her friends’ names. Her pastor and I were on first name basis, and no visitor was a stranger.

Nonetheless, it was my responsibility alone to be mom to my sons and watch my mother die. I tried to figure out what exactly I was supposed to do. Fear ruled at first. Periodically I asked if everything was ok and she always said yes, trying very hard to do for herself whatever she could.

I gave her morphine when she asked for it, and helped her from room to room. There was a deeper pain I could not relieve for her and that made me angry.

She hurt when her son and his family did not come by although they lived close. One afternoon, she hadn’t been out of bed or talking for a few days. Then my brother said he was coming. Somehow that amazing woman rose from near-death to insist I sit her in a chair and fix her hair. 

He was uncomfortable and left quickly, sparing himself the look in her eyes as she said goodbye to her firstborn.  I wept with the shared anguish of a mother’s heart.

Some extended family members stopped by to tell her she would not be dying if she were only more faithful to Jesus. She instantly forgave them, proving who was actually following him well.  Her request that we all sing together failed to put me at ease, but I will never forget the joy on her face. 

The death vigil was overwhelming. People kept asking for progress reports. At night I barely slept for fear of missing her calling out to me. In the mornings I rushed to be dressed before she could wake up. She had a baby monitor in her room in case she wanted something, and everywhere in the house I could hear her breathing. It was intense listening for that sound to stop.

She wanted to hear about heaven, and hymns sung. She asked me to read the Bible. For the most part it was just the two of us in her room, with me sitting on the floor by her head.

Then one morning she asked for grits which I didn’t know how to make. Having anxiously attempted to follow directions on a box, I nervously offered the dish. She scowled and refused to eat them. She asked for coffee, I spilled it. Then she wanted nothing at all. She stopped indicating if she was in pain so I gave her morphine at my discretion. She winced. I didn’t know if I was doing this right. 

Her breathing turned erratic. At her bedside I watched her pass away, and for an instant was afraid. It was later, after the hearse had driven away, the pastor had been consulted on funeral arrangements, and friends and family had been called, that my sons left with their father. It was only me, silence, and God in the house. I thanked him for leading me through many uncertain moments.

Laying on her bed I could feel guilt and regret. Our mother-daughter relationship had been destroyed early through interference beyond our control. For eleven years before her death we had grown closer. Doubt resurfaced that she had received what she’d hoped for when her only daughter was born.

I knew this, however. She had not been alone in the end. I’d done that much right. 

I’d not left one of my own behind. 

Happy birthday, mom. 


NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*photo from qualiystockphotos.com


Revealing One’s True Self

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2013 Nancy Virden

american flag on the pole

The closet in which I confined myself was named “Privacy” and “Image.” It is a popular type of closet.

Few people recognize when someone else is in a closet, and most never know when they’ve made a home of one for themselves. The nature of a closet is darkness. It’s tough to see or hear once inside.

From the outside, an onlooker may see a pristine showpiece; light on the inside is assumed. The closet-dweller’s eyes have grown accustomed to the dark, and he or she fails to understand the reality of the situation.  What are people hoping no one else will discover?

For me, privacy and image were so important I rarely allowed honest emotions to show. In fact, I didn’t know them myself. In the last twelve months, I inched my way out of that closet.

America too is, at least on the surface, becoming more aware and willing to talk about mental illness. A few old stereotypes are failing to hold up under increasing scrutiny. Stigma is rampant, however, and a high percentage of those who struggle do so behind closed doors.

This past week, I heard from a few readers of my second book who each stated their appreciation for my honesty and openness. Me? Open? That is flabbergasting, but I can look back and see my old closet is further behind me than even a few months ago. My desire to remain free has so far counteracted  a continuing temptation to return to safety.

Until we open our doors to listen to, learn from, and invest in those who are different from us, our country, schools, and churches will be shrouded in misunderstanding, polarization, stigma, and denied blindness. Compassionate love leaves its closets behind, shining its light of vulnerable realness in order for everyone to be encouraged.

Here’s to being free in America. Happy Independence Day!


NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or if you are concerned about someone who is,  please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*photo from qualitystockphotos.com