People don’t need Christians to act like we always have it together. They need us to be real! What kind of healing would come if we all just got real before God and others? – Beth Moore.
Beth Moore has a way with words ~ but this quote is something that hits me in the heart. Somewhere between the pages of my life story, this quote explains exactly where I was and how I got to where I am today. Something that I really learnt along my life’s journey is that being transparent with people is a great blessing, not only to them, but to me.
Most people who know me, will know that I got pregnant before I was married. Me? Yes me. The brought-up-in-Christian-home, on-the-worship-team, dating-a-Christian-guy girl. Lessons I learnt from just getting pregnant as a Christian girl, before I was married? That’s a different blog for a different day 🙂
Anyway, I can remember sitting down with my friend, who’s also kinda like my mentor, and saying “I’m so tired of everyone always pretending that everything’s always fine, and everyone is always “good,” everyone is always seeming like they’re all holy and “tight with God” ~ nobody wants to be real.” I will admit I was a little angry and maybe that was because I couldn’t pretend I was fine anymore, I couldn’t pretend I was all HOLY anymore ~ I carried the evidence of my struggle on my body, for all to see so no point in pretending really. It was clear.
It’s like God forced me into a corner. Matt and I had stumbled, and we could’ve kept it a secret if I hadn’t gotten pregnant but now here I was, 6 and a half months pregnant, and having to be public about how I’d stumbled? Whether I liked it or not, it was glaring people in the face!
Being transparent about my struggle ~ that was HARD to do! Pride is a huge factor with Christians, I think. I think most people assume that because we’re supposed to be doing life with God, we’re never NOT having a wonderful life and nothing is ever difficult. We don’t experience hardship ~ it’s just rainbows and roses! And in my opinion, us Christians give them good reason to think so because we confirm their thinking by putting up this front that we are ALWAYS fine, and that can’t be true, surely!
I think that making yourself vulnerable, coming to terms with the fact that’s it’s ok not to be ok, is a massive leap of faith. It’s putting yourself out there, for scrutiny and for judgment possibly, but you’ll be amazed at how many people actually identify with you, appreciate your honesty, and walk with you, because they’re either going through something similar or they’ve been there before. I learnt that first hand. Being real with people gives God the space to work PUBLICLY in your life ~ His providence and His grace become apparent to everyone as they journey with you, in whatever you might be dealing with. You’re releasing and sharing your burden with people, not so they can judge you for it but so they can help you carry it.
I can only speak from the journey I’ve had. Having been pregnant (and not married…yet) within the Christian community, where I was heavily involved, really knocked me down a peg or two ~ in terms of how I viewed myself and how I thought others would view me. Once I’d admitted to God that I wasn’t ok and I needed Him basically to make it through every single day without beating myself up over what I’d done, and I admitted that to other people that I needed their help too, it was like God and His supernatural comfort and provision invaded my life.
There are dozens of examples of how God provided for us during this time ~ but as I said, different blog for a different day. Not only big things but small things, made a difference to me. People would come up to me and hug me and say “This doesn’t change anything. We love you the same.” They didn’t have to say that but seeing where I was coming from, and how I was walking through probably the darkest valley of my life, they knew it was important that I knew that, even if I didn’t feel I deserved it.
I always told everyone that I knew that God had forgiven me, but it took me years to forgive myself. It humbles me that God used my biggest trial to give me my greatest blessing ~ my little Noah. God can take my mistakes, and consequently my struggle and use it to bless me more than I can ever imagine. Sometimes, I think I take that verse for granted ~ Romans 8 v 28 ~ “All things work for the good of those who love Him, and are called accordingly to His purpose.”
It took me ages to accept that God might have called me to a struggle, a time of hardship in my life for His purpose. Yes! I can tell you without a second’s hesitation that I needed that struggle in my life. At the time, I didn’t think I needed it and I surely didn’t want it, but when I look back, God refined me through that and I wouldn’t change it. The person who I was back then is not even close to the person I am now. The level of involvement I thought God would ever have in my life was made clear to me when I was at my lowest ~ God got real with me, when I admitted I couldn’t make it on my own. Not only through God Himself, but I saw God get real with me through other people. Would I tell you to wish struggle upon yourself to see how God works and changes you? Never. All I’m saying is that if you are heading through a time of trial, God can still be found in that place. He hasn’t deserted you.
Would I recommend any of you go through what I did and make the same mistakes? No! And that’s exactly why “God uses rescued people to rescue people.”* My story can help or encourage people who are struggling with the same things I was, and am still working through today. I wouldn’t want anyone who was walking the same journey I was, to think they were alone in it. Being open about where I’ve been can help someone who’s living the struggle right now ~ just so that they know they’re not the only ones who’ve fallen, they’re not the only ones who’ve felt they failed and disappointed people, they’re not the only ones who’ve destroyed dreams. Getting real before God and before others, brings about healing that we can’t even imagine.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank Noah (and God) enough for showing me the importance of transparent struggle. I had always said that when I had a son, I would call him Noah. Look, if I’m honest, I liked the name but I had no clue what it meant. I just thought it was a really snazzy name ~ and it was biblical. Bonus! 🙂 Noah was born, despite having been through my greatest struggle and trial leading up to his birth. When he was born, one of my friends texted me and said “What an awesome name! Did you pick it because of its meaning?” I didn’t even know the meaning! I looked it up and it said “Noah: of Hebrew origin meaning to find rest, to be comforted.”
As I held my little boy about an hour after he was born, it was almost as if God said “ This little boy is My reminder to you ~ never forget who to run to. No matter what you’ve done, I’m here, waiting. Find rest in me, I will comfort you. Look! We made it ~ you, Me and Noah.”
*Quote by Christine Caine