Simply Sather · Soul Care · Story

sharing your story without shame

This past weekend, I shared my story with a small group of women.

It wasn’t the first time I’d shared parts of my story, but it was the first time I’d shared so many of the parts that have kept me shamed and stuck.

It’s evident that it was the right time and the right audience because I did not sweat it as I stood up to introduce myself, nor did I consider the outcome or place expectations upon their responses. I shared openly and without hiding.

It was dark stuff. The stuff that trolls and haters feed off of. The stuff that loved ones hear and then shut off a part of their heart because your story tries to address + awaken things in them, but they are not ready for it, and it affects the relationship. Things that make us feel like we’re completely crazy, damaged, and undervalued. The kind of things that we think sharing might actually kill us in some way. Like I said, dark…

Anywho, I introduced myself and started talking. Never once did I second guess whether it would be safe or appropriate or necessary. I did not spend time wondering what should be edited to be made better or censored to be more tolerable. I shared what happened to me after my first husband died, how people treated me, how I behaved, thoughts I’d had and that the thread keeping me alive and moving forward was/is my faith. I shared about being a single mom – many times, not the best one – and my “adventures” through dating and online dating to my third marriage.

I “went there” y’all, because the weekend was about empowering women.  And because I knew that there was no freedom like telling and owning one’s story – especially the messy, less pretty parts we bust our hind parts to gussy up for the public.

My particular connection to these women was to them being war or veteran-related widows. It had been a while since I’d been in front of a group of women as a sharer, facilitator, and leader – but I’d done some growing and believed I was ready and empowered enough to share.

Empowerment Gathering
March 2019 | Gary Sinise Foundation, Empowerment Gathering I

It was phenomenal.

Phenomenal not because it was easy, but because I shared without second-guessing myself or doubting that it was the right thing to do. It was liberating. And it was empowering. For me and these women whom I chose to trust these parts of my story.

There was a release because I’d done this courageous thing and did not apologize for any of what I shared or how I delivered it. And it wasn’t because someone told me what to share or how to share it. I had prayed about my role during this weekend and knew that the most earnest, valuable thing I had to offer these women was my story. To speak it from the depths of my soul.

More of it than I’d ever shared with almost no trust built up amongst ourselves; I shared on our very first night and after only a few hours of being in the same space together.

But I didn’t get there overnight. I wouldn’t have been able to share like I did – unapologetically and without shame – even four or five years ago and I have been telling parts of my story for over a decade; oftentimes to the wrong people because of what they wanted to do with it and even the right people but in the wrong season (either theirs or my own).

Part of knowing that I could share courageously was because I’d been doing the work.

For years, I’ve been hustling and running and hiding and circling back without much of a map. And then I realized I had been doing a few helpful things consistently. Here are three of them:


For years, I’ve been filling journals with all the words inside myself.

After deciding that it meant more to me to have a healthy release than concern myself with what someone might feel when reading what I wrote (that wasn’t their business), I wrote more freely. It has been incredibly effective for helping me understand what I’m feeling and process what may be happening in my mind. Most days, I read my Bible and apply what I’ve read to what I’m feeling and thinking, and then journal about it.

The contents are unedited and thoughts flow more easily when I journal daily.


I’ve been to several many therapists, participated in a peer-grief support group and shared slices of my story with many along the way. My momma also knows (almost) all of my stories. I’ve paid for some help, insurance has covered some of it and sometimes crying to my family and a few trusted friends was exactly what I needed to be able to remain curious about what could come from knowing and boldly sharing my story without shame.

This was the step that I needed to push through most often. In an effort to get help, it turned into wanting to please people; something that I’m still needing to lean on God’s promises about who He says I am to combat. It was also too much pressure to put onto people who cared for me and had the best intentions. Learning to boldly share without shame frees people up from feeling sympathy and pity (ick, ick, ick) effectively shutting down any desire for me to share more.

Finding the right people/person is key, but there has to be some “just you” work too.


Towards the end of my second marriage, we were asked to read, “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown. I read the entire book, but our sessions stopped because I was the only person doing the reading and the work attached. It was the beginning of understanding my own imperfections and how shame penetrates so much of our stories, which impacts how small we live.

Brown’s research and findings of shame and vulnerability were so eye-opening for me, often speaking to parts of my soul that I’ve often ignored or quieted because I was so overwhelmed. I’d stopped being willing to look honestly at the truths (the wonderful and horrific) in my story which made it near impossible to share it with others.

Since then, I’ve read her books, “Daring Greatly” and more recently, “Rising Strong” (got mine from the library) and have been convicted that the path to connection is directly related to how willing I am to own my story and then share it.


So when I shared so much of my story without hesitation, reservation or apology and did it with impact, I realized how important it is for me to keep sharing my story – the big tragic chapters as well as the smaller challenges – and inviting and encouraging other women to do the same; without shame.

What about you, soul tender? When’s the last time you shared your powerful, impactful story without apology?






Simply Sather

surviving shame + sharing about it

It’s so humbling when you come to the place where you realize the only way out is through.

a beautiful view of the goals, but what a rough road it is to get there

I’ve started and ended 6 blogs before this one on various topics knowing that the heart of the matter was the struggles God has brought me through. There have been disappointments in jobs and relationships (ones I’ve brought on and some shared by others) and hurts from misunderstandings, grief and sin. But, I’ve tried to write from a people-pleasing perspective or with a cultural, social bend. Inviting the voices of those I respect or who lead me to overwhelm the voice of God within me.

I have been silent about His work in my life and the good that I’ve hoped could come from telling my stories and it has made sick.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. | Proverbs 13:12

When considering what I have to offer people who follow my Instagram account, this blog or call me their friend, I keep coming back to the realization that they genuinely like to see me smile. Even if they only know a bit of what I went through (being widowed by the Iraqi War then being in a difficult, ungodly marriage, then divorced) they are cheering for me.

And I think that’s what we really want to do in this world.

We want to encourage others through the fire. Or at least we want to be in a place where we see the person overcome tough things, so we can believe that we can too.

Even more than being successful in our careers, owning big homes and driving fancy cars, I believe that every woman (person) is seeking to simply be loved well. To be seen, valued and heard, able to contribute.

When I was facing the death of my first husband all those years ago, I was most devastated by the reality that what we had built together, I would now need to go the rest of the way alone. Which felt cruel.

I’d been fine with my books and quiet, choosing unhealthy dating relationships because being in a relationship with a man who treated me poorly was supposed to better than no relationship and living vicariously through the stories of others.

But, I wasn’t fine.

And God wasn’t content to leave me in that state; hiding His gifts and talents away inside me.

It required a lot of work – and to be candid, it still does – to get me to realize that there was stuff inside – good and not-so-pretty – that needed to come out in order for me to be all that He has created me to be. And He could only do it through relationship and it would include me walking through some very, very, very difficult things.

I don’t know where this blog is going to go, but I think it’s time to get more real about what I’ve been through. To share more vulnerably so when people read about the blessing of my marriage to Mister now, they don’t think it was handed to me by God without strife, difficulty or pain along the way.

My desire is to share about the move from some things I thought I’d never survive to a place where I am growing more and more confident in the woman God is developing me into. This means embracing my blackness no matter how uncomfortable it makes others around me. It also means asking questions to better understand those around me and their hearts in pursuit of God. And finally, it means attempting to be vulnerable and share hard things in the hopes to inspire others that can relate to even a part of my journey to draw closer to God, surround themselves with friends who will say hard things with love and stick by them through the icky parts that cause many to flee.

I am stepping into the fire with this direction, trusting God to lead me through. I am terrified y’all. First it was that no one would read what I have to write in this space, now it’s that I’m not writing freely and authentically what He would have me share. That what I would share here – though it’ll my truth or version of the things have brought me to this place – will be denied, downplayed and disrespected by those who can not or choose not to understand. For those who think it’s too much to share, that I’m too much. I am fearful that I will be judged by women and men and then feel ashamed and just quit.

It’s what I’ve done before. I don’t want to do it again.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. |

Psalm 34:4-5

I meet in quiet times with God in my daily living and invite Him to clear out the cluttered, overwhelmed, wounded places. And invite Him into the spaces I get to occupy (home, work, etc.) and in my mind so that there is margin for hearing what it is He wants me to do. Then getting real about embracing true, godly love and learning to walk confidently with hope and joy in living simply as me.

I hope you’ll follow along – it’s been a wild ride; one that’s only getting better.