As long as I can remember, I’ve never really seen much change in one area of my life. In so many ways, I’m not the same person I used to be, praise God. I’ve seen God give me strength and courage to do things I would have never imagined myself doing years ago. Yet, in one area of my life, I keep it guarded, well protected and usually few, if any get in.
I don’t allow others to see me hurt
When I was pregnant with my girls, I threatened Jeff’s life to ever tell anyone in our churches that I had gone into labor because I feared someone would show up and see me in pain. I probably feared a little what they would hear me say, if I’m being honest. I don’t handle pain well, let me just put it that way! Even on into some of the most hurtful times in relationships, I’ve shown the pain on my face, but rarely did anyone ever see the depth of the hurt flesh itself out in my life because I don’t allow it. “They have to see me strong. Don’t let ’em see you down,” I’d say. I don’t really know why I’ve guarded that part of me so fiercely. I’ve always said the best compliment I want to receive, impression I could make or impact I could have would be for people to say, as a Pastor’s wife, friend or just a person in general that people see me as REAL. I realize that as a part of being REAL, one must be vulnerable. I’m OK with that…except when it gets personal about my pain.
Over the past month, I’ve experienced a shift in my health. As I sit here and type this today, I’m strapped to a power pack that is recording test results of a capsule endoscopy. As I sit here and type this, I have spent a month of seeking answers for pain I’m in, and what I’ve found is that pain is the answer. Even within the most guarded part of myself, I try to be a person open to what God wants to speak to me, and again, it’s time to get vulnerable. Let me say, I realize that so many others go through way worse pain than I’m going through right now, but the pain I’m in now is my journey…it’s my story. You see, several years ago God used my health to be my story, so I thought, “Well, He won’t use that again…will He?” As it stands now, yes, He is using this to be my story.
Three months ago I shared with Jeff that I felt that God had impressed on my heart that we would experience a season of change, a time of testing, if you will. I didn’t really know what that meant at the time, but as I see my story unfolding this past month, God is allowing me to be tested, and again, He is using my health. As we sat in one of my Dr.’s offices this past week seeking answers for the pain, Jeff shared with my Dr. how God had spoken to me three months ago. I had almost forgotten. God had not. To every Dr. I’ve seen, no one has provided me with an answer for my pain. More tests, more blood drawn, more medicine…all leading to no answers. Yet, I’m faithful to the process. Once thing I know, God never leaves me. I’ve trusted Him with my heart…yet, Friday, sitting in the Dr.’s office, God clearly showed Jeff and me that we haven’t trusted Him with our whole heart. We left the office, went to the closest Starbucks and poured our heart out and gave it over.
Yesterday, I sat in a room of some of the closest women influencers in my life. One had asked permission to gather a ground around me and pray over me. My initial reaction to being asked was that I would say, “No”. No one, and I repeat NO ONE, can see me in pain. People had seen me hurt before, and hurt me worse. People often see us hurt and question the validity of our pain…judge us. I couldn’t risk exposing myself to these women…these women that I even trust! God spoke in the stillness of my heart, “Go”. I went and never have I experienced a sweeter time, or a time when I’ve sensed the intensity of the Holy Spirit’s presence in a place. Jesus was with us. He comforted my heart, gave hope for this process that I’m in and overwhelming showed me that I need people. That’s it! In my attempt to hide the pain, I’ve turned away people who God has placed in my life to minister to me. Aren’t I supposed to be the one ministering to others? I would much rather be the giver than the receiver. I have to tell you, though, for this time in my life, God is using this to teach me that I must receive. Part of being real is being honest that times aren’t always good, and while I don’t have to share every sordid detail of my pain, I can trust that people are good and will be there for me. You see, also three months ago until now, I’ve been praying that God would send someone to encourage me. I find myself more comfortable being the encourager, and never go after encouraging others expecting a thing in return, but sometimes I need a touch of encouragement on my own life. Often people may assume that because I’m the Pastor’s wife, I have enough encouragement to keep me going for a long time. “Someone is always there for her. She’s probably just fine.” Yet, nope, I’m not. That’s been my life for these last months. In the midst of one of the most exciting times in ministry, I’ve felt empty…yet, God has still used me, spoken to me and put a smile on my face. Even in those times, things can be off.
Today I sit here typing this more encouraged than I’ve been in a long while. The outpouring from my sisters in Christ yesterday of praying over me, laying hands on me and speaking Scripture over my life have renewed my heart. Let me share with you what God has spoken to me. For right now, this journey of pain is my purpose. As I spoke Mother’s Day about finding our purpose by allowing Jesus to be our story, never have truer words come from my mouth. Friends, allowing Him to be my story through this is so worth it. Allowing you, my church family, friends, family and anyone else reading this to share my pain is worth it because I’m now giving you permission to see me in pain. Why? I need you. I need you to pray for me…to know I’m taking one step further to being REAL with you…that I’m saying it’s OK to let you in. People need people. I need you to be the lifters of my arms and continue what I already know to be true…GOD’S GOT THIS! And for you, whatever it is you are facing, there are people just like me that will be there for you, too…that want to encourage you and tell you today, “He’s got this for you, too!”
Today, I’m off to allow God to write more of my story. Will you allow Him to write yours?