Up in this Mess

Up in this Mess

My phone rang the other day. It was my home phone. I never answer my home phone. Why do I even have a home phone?  I keep it in case I  were to ever fall off a ladder someday and my kids need to call 911 (Because I go on a lot of ladders. I never go on ladders.) But other than that, if you ever call me or a leave a message on that line, I will probably call you two months later because I forget I have a home phone. Anyways, this has nothing to do with what is on my heart to share. And yet, my phone rang.

I picked it up expecting to hear a recorded message about some great credit card offer or a political opinion call from someone zealously assuming I share their stance. But instead it was the voice of an older woman that I know, but not well. In the space between hello and more, I wondered how she got my number and what she might have wanted. She began to explain an experience she had at a woman’s ministry day called Collide (check it out on facebook), that had meant so much to her. She said that for the first time in her life (and she is probably nearing 60) she realized what God meant when He said ‘Confess your sins to one another and you will be healed.’

As she said this, it struck me that I have no idea what God meant when He said this. I  certainly have a lot of garbage and dirty laundry all over the place and boy do I need a lot more healing up in this mess. Her statement of realization beckoned a question within me. “What does it mean
that when we confess we are healed?” I was intrigued.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16

She said for the first time in her life as a Christian woman she was invited to share and be real about her story and wounds with other women. It was that day that her and another friend opened up to one another and shared what they were carrying. She said that moment changed things for her, “It’s not that when you confess you are healed that instant,” she said “ but when you confess to one another, that is the beginning of healing.”

Profound.

Simply profound.

This woman said she had been trying to get her story on paper for 20 years and now she finally felt freed up to do that. She said she opened up for the first time  with a friend about getting pregnant at a young age and her family encouraging her to give up her baby. The entire story unfolded leaving her with secrets and shame and longing for decades. She wondered what happened to her baby, she was left with deep pain but unable to speak about it. She felt guilty, dirty, promiscuous and silenced.

And then someone gave a woman permission to tell her story. And telling your story is the
beginning of healing.

Perhaps, if today you feel a bit broken, like I woke up, we can together begin telling our story, confessing to one another what we carry, and in that, we can experience God show up and begin mending those broken pieces back to whole. And perhaps we can be a people that invite others to do the same, and in that, we can be used by Him to stitch up the brokenness of others so that they can say “I am more who I am meant to be!”

For some reason, God wants us to open up deeply to one another and He promises to be faithful to the act of telling, of sharing, of confessing. He promises healing out of confession and prayer. Honest story telling actually begins to be the place God meets us in the midst of the most painful parts of who we are and rewrites our story with the touch of His healing Hands because of our vulnerably faithful mouths. Let us learn from this woman who called- to tell our story and to invite others to do the same and there our shame, secrets, pain, guilt and mess will begin to heal.

Where have you experienced the beginning of healing by openly sharing your story with another? What keeps us from vulnerably confessing to one another? Let’s share our thoughts here….

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6 Comments

  • Maddie says:

    Wow, what a powerful experience for this woman!

    In thinking about vulnerability, I am reminded of Brene Brown, an amazing author and speaker, whose research centers on vulnerability and shame.

    Here’s a quote from her that I think is pretty powerful: Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joythe experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. -Brene Brown

    I think we need the constant reminder that our stories were given to us for a purpose and that in sharing our story with others, we can begin to see healing and resotration – just like the woman you described here.

  • Dana Hope says:

    I’m so glad you answered your landline–and that you still have one. I do, too. Yes, sharing our stories is so scriptural Revelation 12:11…"by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.." It disarms the Enemy as we live in truth and healing. So powerful and yet so missed by the church. Christians don’t like "messy" and all of our stories are one big, hot mess. 🙂 Thanks for posting this!!

    • Willow Weston says:

      Dana,
      yes, one big hot mess…and yet loved so deeply in it’s midst! Thanks for sharing and reading what is shared here!
      Willow

  • Jennifer says:

    I don’t really have all the answers as to why we don’t open up to others, but I have learned through experience what a blessing it can be. For example, I struggle with some pretty deep depression at times. I had an aquantaince that was struggling too a few years back. Another friend hooked me up with her to walk alongside her through her struggles. She was in a pretty dark place. How close are we now because we shared that experience? I feel now, that when I struggle ,I can tell her anything. She will love me, support me, pray for me, and be a faithful friend. I felt so blessed to be able to help her, but in turn, she has helped me far more. Yes, we sometimes must choose who we can open up to and trust, but I would rather take the risk and gain a deeper friendship in the long run.

    • Willow Weston says:

      Jennifer,

      I love it when God grants us friends so we can walk alongside each other in the struggle! I am glad you keep taking those kind of risks and being the kind of friend you want to experience. Thanks for sharing so honestly here!
      Willow