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


You’re doing great! No matter where you’re jumping in on this Soul Tending Challenge, please know that you’re welcome and success is yours.

Soul Tending Challenge
you can do it friend! finish what you’ve started…

And if you’re doing the work but not posting, all of your work still counts; more than counts. Because it’s about you and what you need to be doing to grow.

Along the way, I’m hearing from many of you privately.  You’re wanting to reassure me that you’re doing the work or expressing your apologies for doing it differently or on the same day. You’re telling me that you value the opportunity but you are conflicted in some way.

Conflicted about posting publicly, the prompts, the schedule or something else.

And that’s okay friend. Truly. There have been days and prompts that have pushed me and made me consider quitting. But I recall my “why” and my desired outcome and I am able to keep going. I hope you’ll do the same.

Up this week…



If this sounds miserable to you, set a timer for 20 minutes and then you’re done!


1 post, 3 different photos of the same smile or three smiles of those you love.

My only encouragement is that you avoid using filters to alter your smile in any way, just be you.

Please share what made you smile – I hope you’ll be surprised.


This is important work in our souls.

Not designed to take you to a dark place but if you sit and consider a lingering thought, hurt or unresolved matter and how you contributed to it – you may unearth the need to forgive yourself.

The best photo I can think of for this is for you to share a selfie without fixing up yourself for the shot.

In forgiveness there is freedom. Show us you.


It’s not impossible.

To be quiet for an hour. I’m probably gonna read or maybe take a nap, schedule-permitting, but this is for you to put your electronics away and just daydream. Let your mind wander.


A place where you can go and just repeat what you did yesterday.

Kuddos to you.

Even if you don’t get to spend much time there, add a candle or a favorite photo and tell your people “mine!”


You know how sometimes you leave the grocery check-out line and you knew you were to say something kind and encouraging to that person but you chickened out for whatever reason?

Not sure who to write to? The World Needs More Love Letters can guide you.

Go into today intentionally looking for an opportunity to do something kind or speak kind words to a stranger or an acquaintance – without expectation but with sincerity.


Snap a photo of your view and then get back to it.


Remember to have fun, it’s work, but it’s still good to be silly sometimes.

Simply Sather


It’s okay when things get hard. Or when something may be easy but you mess it up with pride, anger or acting out of unresolved hurt.

Or is it?

This past week, in my soul tending work – on my journey – I’ve been focused a lot on healing some deep brokenness. It wasn’t what I set out to do but when I sat quietly and watched the clouds or when doodling quietly, I had to dig into the things that were bubbling to the surface.

And because I’d been burying them for so long or calling them less harmful things than they actually are, they came out ugly. It cost me somethings of value that I’m still regurgitating and attempting to leave in God’s ever-capable hands.

Simply Sather - Wounds
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your SOUL and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5


A lot of prayer and Bible reading – and a lot of unexpected encouragements – have helped me begin to see my why; really my wounds. And of course, like most of us, the reaction wasn’t really the entire story.

See, I’ve been through a lot over the past 35 years. And because wearing a mask and elevating what other people have felt or diminishing what I feel, think or have experienced is less than everyone else’s fill-in-the-blank, I have dug some deep roots around the lie that I’m not valued or good enough.

Since the first year I opened my black mouth to answer the teacher’s question (I so loved school – my top strength is LEARNER) in a room filled with white voices and registered their responses; not necessarily unkind, but definitely different. I began then to see different as “not good”, truly “less valuable”.

I began to wear “less” or “weird” or “not measuring up” as if they were my other names. My grades weren’t great because I spent more of my time trying to assimilate, adjust + fit in than pouring into the topics presented. And because I was working overtime at deciphering the hidden language or code that is often spoken in classrooms, organizations and government, I did not have the energy or strength to speak up when the material/content ripped open holes in my understanding of who I was in that version or perspective of education.

Now, you could say to a 10, 11 or 12yo that their identity should come from Christ. And that I shouldn’t have taken things so seriously or been so sensitive to the way that things were presented; I am after all a child of God. And it’s true. My family was living in church each week for h-o-u-r-s (that felt like days) every Sunday. (I ain’t sorry for saying it Mama, you know it’s true.)

It wasn’t so much that what was coming in was so lopsided or narrow in its focus, it was how this highly sensitive, deep thinking – even from the first grade – black girl in an all white world – except for black church every Sunday – was doing with it.

And it felt wrong. I felt wrong.

Simply Sather - Wounds
He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my SOUL. Psalm 23:2


Recently, some friends and I were discussing Serena Williams’ responses to her penalties at the U.S. Open. We are a smart group of women (librarians, sailors, chefs, hospital administrators, lawyers, educators) and all have opinions. I had extra.

As I was rambling my frustrations and couldn’t land the plane on my edginess in a direct flight (sorry ladies, I know it was more like a long domestic flight with 14 layovers) one of the women suggested how I and everyone speaking about Williams’ behavior from hindsight and – quite honestly from the outside – might need to consider “what happened to her”.

That maybe we would have more understanding and less judgment if we considered what she’s gone through to be at her level of professional tennis when the sport hasn’t always been the kindest to female players. In a country where there is so much animosity and tension about race, sex, class and equality.

It convicted my soul.

It dug into my wound.

Because y’all, I want people to like me.

Especially the people who look through me and don’t take the time to see me or know me. I hate admitting this, but it is my kryptonite. (Being vulnerable here, stay with me.) I feel so boxed in when someone rates and judges my reaction to WHAT HAS ACTUALLY HAPPENED TO ME but I perceive that, to them, it is not or does not seem relevant. There is no room in the conversation to ask (what happened to you gurl?) or if the question is asked, there is little patience or willingness to hear or understand. Probably NEVER intended, I hear what I learned and carried all those years ago as a 5th grader in that classroom – it doesn’t matter. You, Regina do not matter.

Rather, it becomes about bringing back control with the rules or the standard or the expectation. And in my foolishness, which I hate to admit, became about pushing ambition and drive to the top to prove the unknowing (in most cases unknowing- I hope) wrong.

Which you probably know only infected the wound more deeply.

Simply Sather - Wounds
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my SOUL pants for you O God. Psalm 42:1


Here’s the thing.

Once it registers within me that you’d rather be right in your perception of me than actually know or hear me, I begin to swallow the hurt and push away from you.

I may get really quiet but bristle with anger and frustration deep within. In my silence, I rot. I believe that sharing my opinion will make the distance I’m already feeling and stepping into uncomfortable for you and that that is my fault.

Grateful for wise counsel from a woman further along the road in these things than me, I was challenged to start the healing process once and for all. Here’s what she shared with me.

  1. CLEAN the wound.
  2. COVER the wound.
  3. EXPOSE the wound.

Simple right? I love me some checklists…

I curled up in my quiet soul tending space and got my candles lit, journal and pen ready and was ready to tackle step one until I realized, Regina…

Before you do step 1, you need to spend some time identifying the wound.

So, I did. And eewwww…

I had to dedicate an entire page in my journal to writing out the wound. It was the stuff I mentioned before and even more puss-filled, icky stuff that makes the infection in the wound really stink.

I came to the realization that it was not really the things I’d been outwardly professing that were hurting me (people, missed opportunities, injustice), it was the stuff that I’d internalized and buried deep within myself.

Yes, people said things that hurt. They judged. They ignored. They de-valued. They were rude, dismissive, racist, prejudiced, complicit, unkind. They laid curses over me and used scripture to condemn me. They boxed me in to grieving the way they thought I should and left when I didn’t consider their feelings first. They talked about me behind my back and they criticized my decision to leave. All of it and more.

But, the biggest culprit was me. I’d done all of the same things to others in response to what had been done to me. And instead of starving the poison in my wounds, I nursed the junk and let it spread. I was infected and rather than identifying the wound, then cleaning, covering and exposing it in safe environments, I kept nursing my hurt with more hurt and believing the implications, the judgments and curses. I kept growing them and letting them shape me and let it overtake what God says about who I am to Him.

Yesterday, I started this soul work by identifying my wound.

And now, I’m developing the other steps. I’m taking my time; I’ve been keeping my wound infected for 35 years, it’s gonna take a little time for this heal. God is working on me, I am so thankful for His patience, grace + mercy.

Simply Sather - Wounds
My SOUL thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:2

So thankful that when I cut a fool:

An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins. Proverbs 29:22

He is big enough and not bowled over by it and makes room for my heart:

All prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. Acts 10:43

I’m not even responsible for cleaning up my mess/cleaning out my wound. In this process, my responsibility in step one is confession + surrender, so that He can do what only He could do. Right?

Like, if I could have cleaned out the wound(s) deep within my soul, wouldn’t I have already done it? Or never let them become wounds in the first place? Oh to have such self-control and live so perfectly all the time in response to everything us hurting people (and everyone is hurting with something at some time) are walking through.

Today, I’m in the tension between where I’ve been living (uptight, angry, stressed and just deeply wounded) and where God is taking me (peaceful, mature, dependent and healed). I wish it were prettier. this process. I wish that the people I’ve hurt and who have hurt me would be so able to see and understand and love me anyway. I so want this. I want us all to be cleansed by the perfect love of Jesus.

This is the reason for the soul tending work I’m doing.

I’m not Jesus. (Stop laughing, I never thought you were confused. Ha!)

I certainly don’t act like Him and reflect His light as brightly and consistently as I’d like or others may, but I know Him. And I can introduce you to Him. I can tell you that even though I did some pretty hurtful things this week, He stayed by my side tending to my soul. He still let me eat (I used to lose my appetite when in conflict). He still gave me rest (I’ve slept every night and rested). He still let me laugh (I would choose depression because I believed I deserved to be sad – face must reflect wounding). He still let me receive love (oh this one).

It’s not about your wound friend.

Simply Sather - Wounds
A longing fulfilled is sweet to the SOUL, but fools detest turning from evil. Proverbs 13:19

It’s not about your grief, your mistake, your self-talk, your anything. It’s about the healing He wants to do in you, through you, for His glory. I hope you’ll make some time on Day 15: Social Media Free Day or any day to sit quietly and call out what your wound is so that the healing can begin. I’m cheering + praying for you.

You’ve He’s got this Soul Tender!