Friday, June 30, 2017

Because I'm being honest...

There's a song called "If We're Being Honest" by Francesca Battistelli which talks about exactly what the title says- being honest.

Being honest with ourselves. Hiding behind the things which have us broken. Like if we hide in the darkness instead of coming out into the light, then maybe we don't have to face it? Or maybe it's easier to sit behind it because this world tells us we deserve happiness. We deserve feel good things- like new cars, new clothes, vacations, a life filled with sunny days. Positive vibes only kinda deal. Which don't get me wrong, no one likes a debbie downer - but it's also unrealistic to think we won't face struggles or periods of darkness. And it is EASY to make it look like we've got it together. We are livin' the dream. We are doing just fine.

Just fine? When the reality is we are crumbling inside. We are barely hanging on by a thread. We are drowning. We are living a nightmare, pretending it's just a dream. And I'd rather be better than just fine.

Why is it we shy away from the uncomfortable topics? We gloss over the pain? Or we hide from the things that are silently killing us? Yet, we love telling and sharing the good times. Like it's taboo if we are struggling?

Why aren't we being honest? With ourselves? With each other? With our Father?

In 2009, when I walked through depression & a miscarriage I shared and blogged in this little space. Shared as much I could but more for myself. In 2012, when I walked through post partum I can't remember how much I shared because honestly I felt like I shouldn't be complaining because I was a mother. Which so many others want and how selfish of me to complain? Once I broke free in October 2012 from that I also shared. In the 17 months my mom fought cancer, I shared. I poured my heart before Christ and felt incredibly peace. Those 17 months were some of the sweetest in my journey with Christ. Then my mom passed. All was well and I sailed through the first year. 

Year one, which everyone warns you about. They say it's the hardest and maybe it is for some, but that wasn't the case for me. Year one, I felt relief and at peace. I felt thankful my mom was no longer suffering. I felt God knows best and of course you don't question His ways. I mean I know what His Word says, I know His ways are greater, higher. All those things.

Then I found myself in year two. Silence. Only crickets. I forged through to finish Bible school but truthfully, wasn't really into what I was studying. It was more of a "job" than the love relationship I had before. I was tired. 

Because I am being honest and because I never want anything to think a girl who shouted His praises from the mountaintops is perfect or a saint- I am not. I am just like you, the girl or guy next door, and I am human- still flesh and bones.

I have only attended church ONE Sunday this whole year. I have maybe picked up my Bible a total of 3x to just read and sit in His presence. I can't really tell you the last time I prayed. Like poured out my heart before Him. Not the quick prayer before dinner or before I drift off to sleep.

And if I'm completely honest- I am indifferent. Numb would probably be the best word to describe it. I'm not angry necessarily, but definitely sad. Maybe even depressed based on all the sleeping I've been doing. Which I hate because I told myself I would never go back to that place. But this time, it's different because it's not the same horrible place I was before. The place I fought so hard to be freed from.

It's the realization that this is my life. I can't pick up the phone or run home to my mom to help me fight my battles. I can't have her speak truth into the dark places of my life. I can't her pray over me for deliverance. That I can't send my child to her when I'm feeling overwhelmed. That I can't call her to help me "get it together!"

While I'd love to say all the things I know like: "He makes all things new." "It's just a season." "It will get better." "Beautiful things come out of our brokenness." The truth is it doesn't diminish the pain. It doesn't change that my mom died. Or that it's been five years and not one single positive pregnancy test. It doesn't change the hurt.

It doesn't change this is my reality. Of course, I want to walk every season no matter how hard or uncomfortable it is but I also think He doesn't expect us to pretend it's easy. Because so far there isn't anything easy about this life and I know lots of people that face harsh realities.

He tells us to expect trials and suffering. No where, no where in His Word does it tell me "you deserve happiness." It does tell me to have joy, but joy can only come through Him. And joy is something that must be grow within us. It's a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) It must be pruned, watered, and nourished in order to flourish. 

Yes, I realize this is just a season and on the horizon there are great things. Yes, I realize it's only a season. It will get better or easier. Or whatever all the things people so lovingly tell you. But while I'm being honest- those things don't help. They don't make things better. Or fix my gaping hole that exist in my heart and life.

One thing I've learned is showing up is way better than words. Just show up to help those who are hurting. 

Probably the most beautiful thing of being honest, is He already knows. Yet, He still pursues me anyway. That I don't have to feel guilty or bad because His love for me isn't about what I do or don't do. He loves me simply because I am His. There is no checklist or score board He keeps. Truth be told, He knew during this season I would run or hide. Because He knows me. Which is what I loved about my mom, she just knew and would show up.

But isn't He the same? Throwing us a life raft, throwing us a rope, throwing us a place to catch our breath? We just have to be willing to pay attention. We have to be willing to share with Him in our sufferings. Sometimes I think it's easier to sit in our pain than to deal with it.

Because we're taught: "God is good." "All things happen for reason." "All things work for the greater good." I mean aren't believers supposed to cling to what is good? Yes, but that doesn't mean we don't struggle. Or we don't stand in the fire and not feel the heat. 

There's nothing I want more than for us to being more real and vulnerable in our struggles. To stop pretending. To stop hiding behind the highlight reels. To know it's okay to struggle, to voice your struggles, and to know there is nothing we can do or not do that makes us any less perfect in His eyes. There's not one disciple in the Bible that didn't struggle, doubt, or question what in the world is going on? I mean God asked them to do some pretty questionable things and faced some pretty awful things. Fire, lions dens, belly of a whale, chains, prison, even death. There's an entire book written on lamenting. And Psalm is filled with songs of despair. Yet, we fear sharing in our struggles. 

When we're honest and share in our struggles, it allows others to be honest and share. It changes the conversation and narrative of our lives. It allows Him to carry our allows our brothers and sisters to help carry us. It frees us from that thing that we're carrying. It allows us to live by His strength vs our own.

"There is freedom when we lay our secrets down at the cross."

Regardless what I feel or how I act or what I do- nothing changes who I am in Christ. Nothing. So while I waffle in this season, I know being honest is more than enough. Maybe that's all He wants anyway- honest, vulnerable, broken Nancy. Nothing more, nothing less. For His yoke is easy and his burden light. And that's enough for me. Enough for me to know I don't have to be strong or portray I am. As Paul said, I too will boast in my weakness so the power of Christ may rest upon me, for when I am weak, I am strong.