Freedom Friday: 20 Years of Torture & Unnecessary Shame

img_20160930_144721You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex. Your workmanship is marvelous.”-Psalm 139:13,14 NLT

I will admit that this has been one of the hardest scriptures for me to believe in the bible. It has been very difficult for me to say, “Thank you for my body.” This is due to all of its deformities. I have a severely clubbed right foot that makes my right leg and foot significantly smaller than the left side. I was born with a dislocated hip, congenital scoliosis, and missing chest bone. I will admit that after my hair and face, in my most jaded opinion, my body goes downhill.

To add to the disfigurement, I am also left with scars on my foot, leg, and back as doctors made attempts to correct the way I was “knitted together in my mother’s womb.” It has been very difficult for me to believe that a God who carefully created creation seemed to have missed a few steps while creating me. Of my mother’s four children, I seemed to carry the physical deformities for everyone. No one else was born with a physical deformity. For years I never questioned it, but I would be lying if I said at one point or another that I did not find myself envious of their “normal” bodies and disgusted by mine.

At 12 years old, I pronounced a life sentence of shame and hiding upon myself. I stopped wearing clothes that would reveal what I hated most about me. I stopped wearing sandals because I no longer felt like explaining my condition to people. I did not want pity or sympathy. I just wanted to be normal. So I became a hider, and into my closet I went hoping to never have to face these legs of mine again. If I hid them, they would eventually go away. Now that I am 31 years old, I can say that was the dumbest idea ever in the history of Charity’s dumb ideas. I literally signed my life away when I decided to start hiding my legs. I stopped swimming. I did not try out for any dance or cheer team because it meant I would have to show my legs. I almost quit softball one year because I thought they were going to make me wear shorts. I removed myself from any activity that required your legs or feet to be seen.

As God would have it, the one activity I could continue was dancing. Our liturgical attire was always long and covered! The only thing that gave me assurance that God meant to put me in this body is that even with my deformities, I am still able to dance. Some of my moves are limited, but I am able to dance unto His glory. He gave me a voice, and I use it for his glory. He has given me the gift of counsel, wisdom, and writing. I use them all  for his Glory. The interesting thing is nothing about my physical deformities have stopped the gifts of God from operating through me. The only thing that has hindered those things at any time have been my mind. I have allowed the “what ifs” to keep me from doing. What if my legs become a meme? What if the men who follow me find out and unsubscribe? What if people start treating me with pity because they discover the truth? I never considered what if I share my story and help others overcome their own insecurities? What if my process of freedom convinces others to find freedom? What if God placed me on this earth as an example that the package is only limited by the mind not by its deformities or flaws? For 20 year I have allowed something that I had absolutely no control over ruin and rule my life. I was completely convinced that because I was born this way I was undeserving of love, friendship, and fulfilling my dreams. That was all a lie.

For years I was afraid of  photo tag notifications. I just knew that someone from elementary school would post a picture that would expose the secret I was hiding, and I would lose everyone once they found out the truth. None of my friends from junior high up until now have been privy of this information, minus those who knew before I started hiding and those who were at Oral Roberts University my Freshmen year. I was just too afraid of rejection, and the enemy had my mind convinced that if people knew the truth about me they would not want me around. However, now that I understand my purpose I must take that risk. God cannot get all the glory that is due Him if I remain in hiding.

The photo being used for this blog was taken on my birthday, July 25th, as I declared the 31st year of my life to be my year of freedom. I asked my sister to capture it because I wanted to see what freedom looked like. It has been twenty years since I have seen myself photographed in a dress and sandals. I had every intention of posting this pic that day but fear convinced me to wait. Well i’m tired of fear and shame ruling my life, and I did not consult them this time. I am tired of preaching freedom and living enslaved to thoughts of fear, rejection, and shame. I am tired of worrying myself with how people will respond to something beyond my control. I am tired of being hot during the summer LOL, and today is the day I free me for good. Even with what is deformed, disfigured, and ugly about me, I am still His workmanship. I am finally choosing freedom over fear, and that my friends is a marvelous thing!-Charity Israel

55 thoughts on “Freedom Friday: 20 Years of Torture & Unnecessary Shame

    • Wow! Sis you got me crying. I am so glad you freed yourself up. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. I lived your story for other reasons but alit longer. I haven’t had the courage you just released. You have given me so much hope. Thank you thank you thank you! Transparency is what will draw people to Christ. Your testimony I pray goes viral around undo the world and free others. I believe I will be freed as well. Be encouraged.

      • I didn’t mean to make you cry, but I truly appreciate you reading and sharing your lovely words of encouragement. As you said, “Transparency is what will draw people to Christ,” and there are a group of people who need to hear your story. I know the process is not easy, but God will provide you the strength, love, and grace. You are truly in my prayers. Our wounds go deep in this life, but God’s love goes deeper. I pray you trust Him with them, and allow your story to bring Him glory. God bless you!!!

  1. Hi Charity. Im so happy for you, yes girl show yourself because you are beautiful. The enemy loves for God’s children to live in shame. You have blessed so many including myself with this vlog. ❤❤

    • Veronica thank you so much for reading and sharing those kind words. I truly appreciate the support. The enemy can only bring shame for so long, and then God steps in and declares “you’re free!” There is nothing the enemy can do about it!!! Thanks again for your kind words!!!

      • Thank you so much for sharing. I have lymphodema in my left leg which causes if to be much larger than my right leg. For years I’ve worn long dresses and pants all through summer. Last summer I decided to wear shorts and shorter dresses. I’ve come to realize that God makes no mistakes. People will accept me for me are not at all. You have truly put a smile on my face. Thanks again and be blessed.

      • Ms.J1220 I’m so glad you are rocking your shorts and dresses now!!! I’m sure you can definitely relate to what I felt in that dress! I rejoice in for your freedom and thank you for partaking in mine! God bless you lovely lady!!!!

  2. You have no idea how many people you have helped with your raw honesty. I know I have so many things hidden inside of me and have masked it for years. In fact, my best friends or family have no idea what shame I walked with daily. Until God decided to have me expose my hidden shame in a very public way. I never regretted it. I thought I would take it to the grave, however, He had other plans that involved me helping others that are going through what I was going through. What a God. You are an inspiration to me as well as to others. I wish you all the best as you go forth in your journey as being whole, perfect and complete! God Bless…..

    • Diana thank you so much for your lovely words, and I am so glad you are helping others through your story. I completely understand thinking you were going to keep it to yourself for the rest of your life. Then God starts to work on your heart, and you find freedom to be more desirable than shame. I am so glad you have been set free. Thanks so much for sharing. The encouragement is a blessing!!!

  3. You are a beautiful woman! Thank you for sharing your story and wnd not hiding!!! This just makes me love and admire you more!! Thanks for being real and transparent!! You are gorgeous inside and out

  4. I was really encourage by your blog, it really open my eyes about alot of things. I can totally relate bc I work with special needs children and they are defintely a blessing in so many ways. You are a beautiful person inside and out and don’t you ever let the enemy tell you different! Stay Bless!

  5. To say that I enjoyed every word of this is an understatement. You my friend are my shero, my woman crush all day everyday. What a blessing to be free from the shackles of shame and lies that you were not good enough to show your authentic you. Every inch of you is beautiful, perfect, and whole and I’m so glad that you let us see a perfect photo of an imperfect you. Oh how wonderful the world would be if we all showed our imperfect selves to an imperfect world. The clothes are about to come off! I can feel it. No more hiding! Thank you. I love you.

    • When I say I enjoyed every word of this is an understatement. I was literally smiling the whole time reading this! I’m so happy to finally be free from my self-imposed prison! God knows it had been far too long, and I am so glad that people can find their freedom through my story. I agree the clothes will eventually come off as I truly embrace every inch of what is perfectly imperfect about me. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! It is truly appreciated!!!

  6. I have goosebumps… You are a gem and absolutely beautiful! THANK YOU for sharing your story and your beauty with us…

  7. Thank you for sharing. I rejoice in your freedom as it has encouraged me today! Whom the son has set free is free indeed!

    • Shelly and that scripture is all I ever wanted to experience in my life. I am so grateful that it is no longer a desire but reality!!! Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  8. Soooo proud of you for writing this blog!!!! It’s so interest how the enemy can come in and blind us to the point where we don’t see ourselves like how others who know us see us. When I met you at ORU, I saw you as beautiful , confident, hilarious and very genuine. And so many people who know you see that. So happy to know that you are no longer allowing the lies of the enemy to keep you from experiencing life through the lens of God. Love you Sis! I know that this blog will definitely be a blessing to sooo many others.

    • Hey lovely lady!!! Thank you so much for blessing my page with your presence. I truly appreciate every word, and I am so happy to be free! Thank you for the love, acceptance, and encouragement. I’m forever grateful for it!!!

  9. Great read!!! I have an eight year old son who have vertical talus & I’ve been convincing him to not be ashamed, even though I am only because I have tried to have doctors reconstruct what God put in order. He too is ashamed of the scars & ‘cover up’. I do let him know how special he is because he is imperfectly perfect. I can’t wait to have him read this! Thanks for sharing. You’re a blessing.

    • Wow I hope my story encourages him to not be ashamed of what He can’t change about himself. I can relate to his shame, but I pray that he won’t have to live in the torment that I did for years. As his mother just continue to encourage him to be great, and that being who God has created him to be will outshine any imperfection that the world sees. I’ll keep both of you in my prayers, and thanks so much for sharing with me!!!

  10. Wowwwww… I Love You blessed WOMAN Of GOD….You are Absolutely Beautiful Queen…I am incouraged by your message all I can say is wowww…

    • Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. I am glad that my story can encouraged you, and my prayer is that Freedom would come to your life in the areas the enemy of your soul or your mind has tried to hold you prisoner. Thanks again !!!

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your story!!! It is truly encouraging!! I am 32 and was born with a dislocated hip also. I have lived for years trying to hide and often denying this. I have had the same thoughts that you did about how others will perceive me if they knew. You are so right, this is beyond our control!! You continue to do what you love, and that is truly amazing!!! You are absolutely beautiful and I am encouraged to live free because God made us both in his image!!!

    • This makes my heart smile. Your freedom will encourage another to free themselves as well. Thank you so much for sharing, and the story of Jacob has helped me the most as it pertains to the limp I have. It’s proof we’ve been with the Father. I truly pray that this will be the year of no more hiding for you. You deserve freedom!!! Thanks again you really have blessed me!!!

  12. Beautiful and Brave post! Thank you for being an inspiration. I believe a great deal of people often feel as though we need to hide something that God isn’t ashamed of. God bless you on your courageous journey ☺

    • Royce thank you so much for reading and your kind words! You’re absolutely right, we should not hide what God was not ashamed of creating or allowing. If we hand it back to Him, He has a wonderful way of making it work for our good. This brings God way more glory than hiding ever did. Thanks again!!!

  13. what an awesome testimony! we “all” are hiding something; I thank God for you, your talent, and your transparency. May He continue to elevate you Higher. Your comedy is a true blessing to all that it reaches. Remember “He has a perfect plan”. with much love,
    -a new fan for life

    • Hey KB, thank you so much for reading and your encouragement. However, I have a little sad news for you I am not The Christi Show. I’m her sister. LOL I am glad to know her comedy is blessing you though! Thanks so much fore reading and your kind words. They truly are appreciated.

  14. Wow awesome story thanks for sharing.. NO WEAPON formed against you shall prosper.. you are strong .. a Delay is not a Denial. . Although you were delayed with dealing with your fear GOD still did not deny you of anything. You are breath of fresh air and sunshine. . Continue to allow God to use you.. you are truly a blessing.

  15. Hi Charity,

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful and extrodinary story of your process to freedom. When looking at the picture of you on your 31st birthday I only saw a beautiful lady standing to take a picture. You are wonderfully made! With beautiful skin, a beautiful face and beautiful hair.

    It is so true that “we are mainly enslaved in our minds.” Once we are free in our minds we are free!

    You are a perfect blessing just the way you are!

    Warm Regards,
    Tasha
    Nassau, Bahamas

    • Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate the encouragement. I’m finally able to see myself beyond this physical aliment, and I’m so glad that I am no longer allowing it to define me. Thank you so much!!! Wow my story has reached the Bahamas. Awesome!!!!

  16. Nothing better than freedom from bondage!!! 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽All praises to the King!!! You are amazing!!! Thankful you have reached this beautiful place in your life! Accept me as I am, or step to the left and let me pass.😀💪🏽💯❤️

  17. I work at an office for people with disabilities. The other day a lady came in with a prosthetic leg. She had on a semi short dress and some leopard bootie shoes, her makeup was done nicely and her hair was beautiful. This made me feel so good on the inside. This lady could have been limited by her problems and could have locked herself away. I don’t know how long it took for her to get to this point, to show all and still believe that she was beautiful, but I’m so glad that she is at that point, because everything about her is beautiful and encouraging to anyone who has any sort of problem. People need to see the people who have problems believe in themselves and still feel beautiful, because we don’t know what may happen to us one day and we’ll need someone to encourage us to continue believing in ourselves. Your story and her beautiful confidence encourages me to feel better about me now, and I don’t know what the future holds for me but these are great sources motivation for anyone. thank you for sharing your story, you are beautiful! So many people have mountainous problems where they can’t walk, or can’t see and face so many can’ts and life. So live your life to the full because you have so many CANs ahead of you! “You are wonderfully made.”

  18. You have an awesome story and testimony to God’s greatness. As another writer related, you have no idea how many women and probably men you have freed with your courage to share! I hope this will develop into a book or a WOMEN’S TOUR..I’d love to have you on my Sisters In Step Touring Soirees sharing your story of release with the many hurting women across the globe. ..stay up my sista, stay free!

    • Hello thank you so much for taking the time to read my story and share your lovely sentiments. Also, I would definitely be interested in hearing more about that opportunity. You can send me the information or your information to my email: lovelivesfree@gmail.com. The fact that you would even consider me is quite humbling. Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  19. wow. im a big dude and i promise you….i let one hit my eye lid!!!
    what an amazing story! one that can only come from knowledge of the unconditional love of Jesus. Keep ya head up sis! God aint no where near done with you yet!!

    • LMBO!!!! I didn’t mean to make you cry (smile). I’m glad it was able to touch your heart, and I agree only the unconditional Love of an amazing God freed me from the prison of shame and fear. I will definitely keep my head up, and thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond. God bless you tremendously for it!

  20. Wow… this blessed me. I think God gives us all different things that we all deal with internally about our external in some way or another. That’s true victory to overcome mentally because we know that the mind I’d the true battlefield. If you’re free mentally nothing can hold you back! Kiki Sheard said it best in her song Victory. “Mentally you’ve captured me. In my mind I am free in my heart if I am Yours I am free!”

    • Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts. I cannot count how many times the song you mentioned played on my computer, phone, and heart while taking this journey. “I am Yours” is a beautiful place of acceptance. Thanks again Charity for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  21. Thank you for sharing this. There are so many people out here with insecurities inside and out and the freedom of knowing that God takes us all as we are and loves us as his beautiful fractals, is soooo freeing to me. If I did not simply LOVE The Christi Show I never would have found you as a hidden GEM. Please keep sharing!

  22. OMG I LOVE THIS MORE THAN WORDS CAN EXPRESS!! I’VE DEALT WITH SOME SIMILAR FEELS. I HAVE HAIRY ARMS THAT I HAVE HATED MY ENTIRE LIFE. I WORE LONG SLEEVES, AND JACKETS EVERYDAY EVEN IN 90 DEGREE WEATHER. I WAS AFRAID TO ALLOW PEOPLE TO SEE ME AS WELL, AFRAID THAT THEY WOULD MAKE FUN OF ME, STOP TALKING OR EVEN STOP BEING MY FRIEND. MY FAMILY WOULD MAKE FUN OF ME AND CALL ME ALL TYPES OF NAMES SO I KNEW THAT IF MY FRIENDS FOUND OUT OR EVEN PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T KNOW ME WOULD REALLY LET ME HAVE IT! SO I KEPT MYSELF HIDING FOR YEARS UNTIL I GOT OLD ENOUGH TO SHAVE, BUT SHORTLY AFTER I BEGAN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD HE REVEALED TO THAT I AM MADE IN THE IMAGE OF HIM AND THAT I AM UTTERLY BEAUTIFUL AND THERE’S NOT A SINGLE FLAW IN ME “SONG OF SOLOMON 4;7”!!!! THE LORD HAS CHANGED MY LIFE AND I AM FOREVER GREATFUL! GOD MAKE US ALL DIFFERENT FOR HIS GLORY AND I CAN SAY RIGHT NOW I AM GLAD HE MADE ME HOW I AM AND WHO I AM… THANK YOU FOR THIS POST IT TRULY BLESSED MY HEART! THANK GOD FOR FREEDOM

    • WOW!!! Thanks so much for sharing your story. It’s proof that His love has the power to free us from the depths of fear and shame. Thanks again and I rejoice in your freedom as well!!!

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