Monday, November 5, 2012

No Mind Has Conceived

There was a time when I was a spiritual island. My deepest hurts and struggles were kept only between me and God. Sometimes I prayed them. Sometimes I journaled them. But I never, ever shared them with other believers. The problems seemed too dark and dangerous to put out there. I feared the rejection and shame that would fall upon me as I fessed up to being less than a spiritual rock.

I am a verbal/external processor, which means I like to talk things through with other people as sounding boards. Just saying the words, just finding the verbal expression can solve much of the problem for me. Having others that I trust who can speak into what I am going through is a giant help. When I am alone with my problems, I feel very alone with my problems!

And so I was alone with my problems. Because even my tendency to verbalize and my desire to share my heart was overruled by fear. I gave vague references to my closest friends, but mostly I covered it all and prayed it would all go away or Jesus would come sooner.

God has a special way of dealing with those fears. It's called pain. And it moves us to get out of the nest of hiding and into the branches of sharing the song of faith. It's not easy and it doesn't come naturally, but supernaturally. Pain is the gift we don't want, that accomplishes all that we pray for.

Supernaturally, God placed me in a safe place called City of Refuge. It was here that I sat in a circle of women as they poured out their pain, shortcomings, and grief. It didn't take long for this spiritually dry rock to crack under the gentle, continual pressure of the water of authenticity and acceptance. I wasn't going to be avoided for admitting the depth of my despair. I wasn't alone in the hiding and the fear. I didn't have to make God look good; He is good. I was safe. I could be real. I began in the smallest of ways to open up to this sunshine that was falling. The tightly closed bud began to blossom.

Ironically, it is in weakness that I found strength. Admitting fears and failures allowed God's power to be made perfect in my weakness. God tells us this in His Word, but I can't claim to understand. It is a mystery, but it is truth. Somehow and someway God uses our weaknesses, struggles, shortcomings and failures to declare His power and to draw others to Himself.

I still don't get it logically, but I can grasp it by faith. I have seen it in action. I have watched women open their hearts and be authentic and real. And I have been drawn to the beauty of  admitted weakness, vulnerability, and limited ability. I have been changed by this world of honest relationships, where pain and beauty collide.

If only we women could get this. If only we could let go of superwoman, mom-enough, and all those savior identities we try to take on. If only we could learn to say, "I am not enough. I need others. Would you walk this journey with me?" If we could learn to say that, our lives would change in ways we cannot even imagine. It's one of those, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" promises from 1 Corinthians 2:9.

And since our Father has prepared this for us, let's rest, let's be real, and let's walk in the grace of relationship with one another.

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