By Laura Cisson
God’s been pressing me to write this for a couple months now. I’ve resisted because I don’t have all the answers. I’m usually all about trusting Him: Sure, I’ll move across the country and give up the life I’ve just gotten settled into…again, and again, and again. (In case you don’t know, we’ve moved a lot!) But you want me to write a blog post? Hmmm, I’ll wait and see if that’s really what You are saying.
For some reason the big things are easier for me than the little things. Isn’t that just like us, though? “God, I know you want me to do _____ but I don’t know how it’s going to work out so I’m just going to wait and see what happens.” That’s not what He calls us to. The God who calms the storm and casts out the demons calls us to obey, for His glory. He can handle it, right? So this is me obeying His prompting, without knowing the results. I’m trusting that He knows what He’s doing. Can you pray with me about the results of what I’m about to throw out there? Can you pray with me that God moves in ways we’ve never see Him move before?
What are you hiding? Is your house an absolute disaster? How about your car? Mine usually are a mess. Are your kids disrespectful and some days you feel like there’s no hope of them ever turning out okay? I think this at least once every week! Have you lost your cool? Have you screamed at your kids this week? I know for some of you that’s not a problem, but for me it is. Have you been disrespectful to your husband because you know you are right and he’s being totally irrational and not making any sense at all? Been there. Do you and your husband fight more than you should? Yep, count me in! Have you commented about how bad, old, fat, ugly you look? Have you said it in front of your daughters or sons? What are they learning? That their beautiful mommy isn’t really beautiful? That God didn’t make her just the way He wanted to?
How about this: Is your marriage failing? Have you lost hope that it will last? Does your husband look at pornography? Do you look at pornography? Are you involved in an affair, mentally, emotionally, physically? Is he? Do you or does someone in your household have a problem with alcohol, or maybe even drugs? The list of secrets could go on. I’m not going to list everything I can think of– we each know what we are trying to conceal. It might seem small or it might seem big, but it brings shame and causes us to withdraw. It makes us feel like hiding. We want to isolate ourselves because if anyone ever found out about it or if anyone found out how I really am then they would judge me, they wouldn’t like me, they would talk about me….The secrets cause us to keep each other at arms’ length. They cause us to resist discipleship.
We know the things that Satan is trying to get us to keep in the dark. But this is the truth I want you to know: You are not alone! I can guarantee you 99.9% that there are other women in the church (yes, at Heritage!) who are dealing with the same things you are. (Those of you that think you are the .1%, don’t stop reading!)
You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. I know we all look amazing at church. We are all experts at putting on our happy faces and looking put together. But underneath, under the makeup, wrinkle cream, and hair dye, we are hurting and we are hiding. There are women in our church, besides you, that are dealing with the issues I listed and many more. You are not alone! That’s one of the lies Satan wants us to believe.
He wants us to isolate ourselves from the body of Christ so that he can continue to point his bony finger in our faces and at our hearts to make us feel defeated, to make us feel alone, to make us feel like no one cares. He wants us to be exhausted trying to carry it all by ourselves. He wants us to put up walls and not allow others into our lives even though we desperately need help. He wants us to separate ourselves from the body and from our sisters in the faith. But the lies and deception are not what the One who calms the storms call us to. The One who never abandons us, or forsakes us; He calls us to come out of hiding and into the light. His light exposes and heals, it fills the darkness and shines through us into the world.
Hebrews 10: 19-25 tells us the opposite of what our enemy says: “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
I know this passage is all too familiar but I have talked with many women over the last year or so and this is the cry I am hearing. We want to be known by others. We want to be unconditionally accepted by the body of Christ, by those we meet with on Sundays and throughout the week.
Just yesterday, someone (from our church) told me that she was done hiding and that she wanted people to know what was going on in her home so she could have support. We don’t want to be alone, we want to have someone walk with us through a hard time. We want someone else who has gone through the same thing to help us navigate what is happening. We want to come out of hiding.
John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” When the darkness, shame, doubt, hurt is exposed to the light of Christ, the darkness has to flee. The darkness doesn’t have a chance against the God of the universe! Satan can’t accuse us of secrets if they are no longer secrets.
I used to be embarrassed about the mess in my car. Let me give you a visual: food crumbs, clothes, backpacks, random papers, trash, wrappers, toys, shoes, and other unidentifiable things. You get the picture…basically you could hardly see the floor. But one Sunday, another mom from church saw inside my grossly disgusting van door before I could get it closed. She later told me it encouraged her. What!? How is that possible? She told me it encouraged her because she realized that I wasn’t perfect. Wow! Please forgive me if I’ve ever portrayed perfection. Let me be the first to tell you that I am the furthest thing from perfect that there is! But you know what? She saw my mess and she still loved me and she was encouraged. If my car is messy, it’s okay. We are all really a mess, aren’t we? Or is it just me? Please tell me it’s not just me!! I’m so thankful for my Savior and for each of you, that we can go through this messy life together. I’m also thankful that there’s hope for healing as we walk together.
My car (and house) are messy, my kids are sometimes disrespectful (but slowly getting better…I think), I lose my cool with my family, and my husband and I fight (gasp!). But you know what? These are all places that Christ wants to expose and heal. These are the places He gets the glory of working in and changing my life. These are the places where His light shines, exposes the dark, and then starts to shine through me to others. So that maybe my car and house aren’t quite as bad as they were a few years ago, and maybe in a few years my children won’t be quite as disrespectful. Maybe the next time I feel like yelling at everyone in my family, I show patience. And maybe in 10 years I can look back on my marriage and hopefully be fighting less with my husband. And in all these things it will only be because the hand of God was and is continuing to work. Because that is how He gets the glory.
Here’s where I don’t have the answers. I don’t know how to get people to a place where they feel safe to share. How do you connect one woman to another with the same burden? I have no idea how to accomplish that. I know that it is a need for our church. I know women are desperate for connecting and discipleship. I have heard many women make comments or flat out honest statements about how they long to connect with other women in our church.
Maybe it starts with you being honest about a struggle. Maybe it starts with you setting up a coffee date with another sister who you know is dealing with some hard stuff. Maybe it starts with you texting or calling another mom, just letting her know she’s on your heart today and you are praying for her as she goes about her day. Maybe it starts with you obeying a prompting from the Lord to write a blog post. Maybe it starts with each of us, on our knees and in the Word, pleading with our Redeemer to open up honest, judgment–free, love–filled relationships with our fellow sisters in Christ as we journey together on our way to meet our Savior.
Years ago, I witnessed one person boldly confess a sin in their life. Amazingly, six other people were struggling with the same thing. However, they were so shrouded in shame that they couldn’t talk about it. Healing and freedom came after one person was honest. I know this is what God is calling us to but I don’t know how to make it happen. Will you pray that God will give us wisdom and grace as things get messy? Will some of you commit with me to let some of your mess out so that we can heal and help others along the way?
Come out of hiding, step into His glorious, powerful, all–consuming light! Let the body of Christ walk beside you as you are exposed, as you heal, as our Savior’s light and love shine through the broken places to bring our Lord’s glory to those around us.