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A beautiful (I mean gorgeous) woman sat before me today and told me her story. Every person that sits before me and tells their story is gorgeous and radiant in my eyes because they are finding their voice and having the courage to speak their truth (even as ugly as it might be). It is not easy. There is no doubt. No matter what details make up the story, the abuses, the addictions, or the bad decisions we've made, the perceived failure, etc., we hesitate to put it out there for fear of judgment.

I think this is why my favorite story from the New Testament is the woman caught in adultery:

A Woman Caught in Adultery

"But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He returned to the temple. All the people came to Him, and He sat down and taught them. The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery. When they had put her in the middle, they said to Him, 'Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. Now Moses in the law commanded us to stone such, but what do You say?' They said this, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear them. So when they continued asking Him, He stood up and said to them, 'Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.' Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Being convicted by their conscience, those who heard it went out one by one, beginning with the eldest even to the last. Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had stood up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, 'Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?' She replied, "No one, Lord." Jesus said to her, 'Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more'" (John 8:1-11, emphasis added).

When I had my 'reversion' moment, now over 12 years ago, I remember vividly fear kept me from fully accepting I had anything worth offering to any one else. The fear of being judged by what had been done to me and what I had done to myself. I realized in order for me to heal properly I had to make a vow to do my best and hold back judgment in order to keep judgment from myself. I won't sit here and say I'm perfect. (Because I'm sure I'll have a HUNDRED comments (finally) letting you all know how I might have judged others.) However, I will say I've done my best to try, which I believe is what has ultimately led me to do what I do today.

And it is exactly why I am so forthright in everything I blog and write about because I don't want anyone to come back and say "But you don't know this about her!" Because you can all say "Um, yes we do! and we love her anyway!" 

Do you ever feel as if a multitude of stones would be thrown at you if your true self were revealed? Do you hide behind finding fault with others so that you point out their flaws before anyone sees yours? If so, maybe test the waters and try telling someone whom you trust and love something that you know keeps you from being your true authentic self. I think you'll find compassion over animosity more times than not. 

Shannon Dietz is the author of EXPOSED: Inexcusable Me...Irreplaceable Him and founder of Hopeful Hearts Ministry, an advocacy non-profit organization (501 c3) giving a VOICE to survivors of abuse. She is a featured columnist with Choose-Now Ministries.com "Shannon Deitz: On Hope", has been featured on catholiclane.com, Lifestyle & Charity magazine and Catholic Women's magazine. She and her husband, Neal, live in Kingwood, Texas, where they are active in their local church and community. The couple has two sons, Ryan and Seth, who provide them with endless joy and reason to continually count their blessings.

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