I was told many times growing up that I was brave. My mom would retell stories of my brave spirit to others like the time I picked up the harmless gardener snake at the zoo after walking through a "dangerous" snake exhibit or the time I jumped from the Wind Mill at the Wendland's pond when the rest of the girls were picking "seashells" on "the beach" (Ahem, in Iowa). I was always known for being adventurous and brave, but somewhere in my adult life, I became scared to be the brave soul I once knew.
The scariest thing? Vulnerability.
I wish I could say I didn't fear speaking from my heart - the pain or the beauty - but in reality sometimes I shudder to share my story out of fear. I just want to wrap my life up in a pretty bow and make sense of all of it, but many times I can't tie it up in beauty, but I have learned that brokenness is the most appealing thing to Him. I have learned telling the truth of your story could release freedom to another's.
It is a brave thing to be vulnerable. It cuts deep and oozes out the good and broken pieces. Last weekend, my sister and I went to Georgia with 450 like-minded women to share our love for adoption. I finally got to meet so many of my "online community" that shares with me in our journey of infertility and adoption and these women rocked my world. Lauren. Kailey. Mindy. Their stories changed me.
I have learned that there is nothing small about our stories.
When we tell the truth about our lives - the broken and beautiful parts - then the gospel comes to life. I believe story has the power to change lives. Stories move me. They make me see the hand of a good Father directing and guiding even when I do not know.
We were all bravely sharing the beauty and broken parts of our stories. Each one of us handed the cards of infertility. Each one of us knows the pain of waiting for a baby that is not from your womb and aches to have them close. Each one of us knows He is near to the brokenhearted but also the fears that cripple us sometimes. Each one of us knows His faithfulness and have seen His miracles and each one of us knows the sorrow of unfulfilled hopes and plans.
Each one of us knows our hearts and we stand unashamed.
We know the good intention and the faith it took to get us here. Isn't that the most beautiful anthem?
We have been heard and we have been understood. Isn't that what we all want and long for?
I am so thankful for these women who I call my cherished friends and whose stories changed me and made me brave. They told me:
- His story-line is written like this - Restoration, Redemption, & Resurrection
- You are created for more in your life than you allow.
- He will not stop writing till there is GOOD at the end of your story.
- This story is not just about you, it is much bigger.
So I am taking the risk - the risk of telling our story - with the beauty and pain all clumped together.
The broken places have to be touched in order to be found whole again. So, here I am writing the broken parts of our story to give Him the opportunity to put all the pieces together and show His glory. And maybe one more will find the courage to share their story.
Share your story. Let it rip out of your soul because I promise that when you do another life will be that much braver to tell their story & another & another. And before we know it the world will be better all because someone was brave enough to tell their story.
Thank you to these ladies who changed me by their story.