Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dare To Go Deep

Hey Friend,
As my mother would say...I have a bee in my bonnet.  I have a problem with our customary greeting.  The one that goes, "How are you?"..."Fine."  "How are you?"..."Fine, thanks."  Liar.
You who spewed like a volcano over spilled milk and cheerios before putting your four year old into a half nelson in order to get her coat on before preschool drop are not "fine". 
You who stopped by the grocery store after the biopsy that will take what seems like an eternity for the are not "fine".
You who are weary from caring for your mom with advanced are not "fine".
Why are we afraid to be real? 
Why is it not okay to take my story and reach into someone else's story?
In fact, I like that question better..."What's your story?"  Wouldn't that be a far better question to ask if we really cared?  I think what keeps us from real community with others...for daring to go deep is first - Fear.  We are afraid to reach out, afraid of being turned away when we are vulnerable and so we keep people at arms length.  Another possible answer is plain old Selfishness.  If we were all a little less self absorbed we might find that our heart truly knows how to bleed for others who are broken.
I have been criticized by some for sharing some things in a public forum that should not be shared.  In doing so, my aim was not to harm but to help.  But maybe I owe some apologies.  I do choose, however, to share my story (and that may include people around me) because I strongly believe that my story can bring honor to God and that, ultimately, is what I am here for.
Maybe your story is not all that interesting (or so you think).  But, we rob God and we cheat others when we don't tell our stories.
Why?  Because Jesus changes our stories if we'll let him.  He, and only He, can bring beauty from the ashes of our broken lives and build them into a beautiful testimony.  I invite you to take a moment and read my life scripture and take note of the last line, "Many will see and be in awe and put their trust in the Lord."  (Psalm 40:3)
"Only when you're broken are you tender enough to wrap yourself around anyone."  (Ann Voskamp)
About two weeks ago I nervously drove to an (in) Real Life meetup put together by the wonderful women of (in)courage:  These were women I had never met in my life and we were challenged to "Open up our ordinary lives" with others in order to build community and find belonging in the sisterhood in Christ. 
We watched compelling videos of some of the most well put together Christian women sharing honestly.  They talked about being afraid of community, brokenness, hurting places, striving to be perfect, ardently seeking approval, fear of abandonment, abuse, low self esteem...things you never thought you would hear coming out of their mouths.
Then, gulp, we were encouraged to answer the question, "What is your story?"
This was the really hard part...but the more we shared, the more we realized we are not so different. We are not alone. (Sigh of relief)  Each of us had to weigh: The cost of sharing my story vs. the cost of remaining quiet.  For a gathering with strangers that started at 2 pm., I didn't pull back into my driveway until almost 6 pm.  God had met us there and we had shared the fruit of openness.  We left feeling like the new "pretty" was showing yourself as a real human being.
"Friendship begins when you can say, 'me too'."  (C.S. Lewis)
I wholeheartedly encourage you to break the silence and be the first to share your story.  What you bring to the table is incredibly meaningful even if it only seems ordinary to you. Someone, somewhere needs to hear your story.  You were given it for a reason.  We need to learn to walk intentionally in the ordinary.
Don't look out for your own interests, but take an interest in others too.  (Philippians 2:4)
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  (Galatians 6:2)
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.  (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
Are you a safe place for people to share their story?  Are you brave enough to dare to go deep and tell your story?  Together we can "breath life into the space of need".  Are you willing to take the plunge with me?  
If you are would you take the challenge this week of truly sharing the story of your life with someone?  If that's too hard, will you share the story of your week, your day, your hour?  Don't waste it...God needs you.  Dare to go deep...beyond "Fine". 
In His love,


  1. I am so blessed that you shared your story so bravely (and continue to do so here). Thank you for not being just "fine," but for being real and beautiful and allowing God to reach through you and your story to touch other lives. You build community each time you allow yourself to be scared and vulnerable. Thank you!

    1. Bekah,
      Can't thank you enough for hosting our (in)RL meetup! You made us feel so welcome and comfortable. I, too, was blessed with you sharing your story. Please know that you are not alone! You have a very tender and caring heart and it comes through in all you do. Thank you for your encouragement to be "real" and let God use me as His vessel through which He can work. You are doing the same! So glad God caused our paths to cross...
      Hugs and blessings to you,

  2. This is super good, Bev. Beautifully written and such a wonderful message. I'm so glad you went to an (in)RL meet-up and that you were blessed by that time together. That made me smile big. I think of you often, friend. I hope we can catch up one day soon. Love you and (((hugs))).

    1. Hi Beth,
      Thanks for your affirmation on my "soap box" ramblings. I was so blessed by the (in)RL meet-up!! If you ever get a chance to go you should. I so wish we were closer in geographical proximity as I would love to share our stories over a cup of coffee! I, too, think of you often and keep you in my prayers.
      Love and ((hugs)),

  3. Hi Bev,

    I wholeheartedly agree that each of our stories are important. God uses EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, from our lives if we will let him, even the rejection from being real, and vulnerable, and honest, and overwhelmed. It is some better now, but often the mom's who have families with adoptions, and lack of attachment are crucified. They quit talking out of safety, because often even our husbands and families don't see the behavior, and fear, bewilderment, lack of validation, driving our behavior. If they are misunderstood, un-listened to, invalidated, over and over enough times, they quit talking. The rejection is not worth it.

    I was considered the crazy person and incompetent as a mother. I know that because I was told that. flat out. People outside of the family don't see the crazy behavior of the hurting child, they often look charming, if they don't have the scary acting out. This is all too common.

    I do tell my story verbally in the context of helping another person know they are not alone, and I do hear and understand the hard places. Even if I have not personally experienced it, the other person still deserves the dignity and respect to be heard, and validated.

    I have experienced many things that I don't talk about unless I feel the nudge to say something. I share a lot in the ministry I am involved in, parts of my story, as I feel would be beneficial to the topic, and the students in each particular class. If I can be real, and be vulnerable and be adamant the class is to be a safe place, I then often I watch the students begin to trust, let other people love them and heal. They are not alone. From the class' acceptance of them as a person, and their suffering, they begin to see themselves in a different light, as Jesus does. The class knows I also have done things I am not proud of from my own hurts, rejection, and desperation.

    I know my story is important. I am beginning to think I need to share my story outside the places I have shared, so people can understand more of my story and what may drive someone else. I now am not afraid of rejection of me from my story from me telling my story, when I didn't want to.

    The Lord told me I had to tell my adoption story with my daughter, and I said "Lord, I don't see how...there isn't enough time" I was obedient, and trusted the facilitator, and she let me speak. (I was taking the same class I now teach.) I spoke, and wept for an hour and a half. I don't remember much but remember my facilitator said to just let me talk because I reliving it. Instead of rejection as what I had been accustomed to, one woman very quietly said "You are a strong very brave woman because you did what it took to try and help your daughter" I wept again. This was so foreign to me. I

    think also, this would be a mouthpiece for those who have no permission to speak, no voice. I was commanded , directed and had permission to speak and had a voice and healing and understanding took place for me as a person.

    Thank you for listening.



    1. Joanne,
      It breaks my heart that you were crucified by others who not only heard, but witnessed your story. Why is our society so quick to judge - to see the speck in their brother's eye, but not the plank in their own? Your adopting is a wonderful response to God's calling in your life. People are so unaware of the very real complications that come along with that high calling. If only they could walk a mile in your shoes. I'm sorry, too, that is has made you so hesitant to share your story as I believe you have a real testimony to share.

      I am encouraged, however, that at least one time when you were given a voice you were affirmed for the brave woman that you are. Personally, I don't know if I would have the strength and patience to do what you do and therefore am the last to judge. I think you have a God-honoring ministry in your family life and in your ministry to others outside your family. Even in the trials you worship God wholeheartedly. I continue to pray for you and I admire you tremendously!! I will continue to pray for healing and understanding and for a platform for where your voice and message (story) can be heard and accepted. Thank you for sharing...
      Love and ((hugs)),

  4. Hi Bev! I am so glad that you could go to an (in)courage meet-up. I just heard about it and so I guess I'll be waiting until next year. I'm sure it gave you so much encouragement to tell your story. I think it's true that we all have so much to say. But will we? Maybe sometimes I think it won't help, or people won't care. It's fear I guess.
    Thank you for challenging me to keep trying!

  5. Hi Ceil,
    Yes, you definitely need to put the (in)courage meet-up on your calendar for next year. It was scary at first, but turned out to be a wonderful afternoon. We all need affirmation :). For the longest time fear kept me from sharing my story, but enough nudges from God and I finally gave in. I do find that if I ask first - ask others about their story - then share mine when the timing seems right. Just know that your story is important and worthy of being shared!


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