The year of my Cub’s first snow, the bitter cold took up residence as if the whole earth had iced over and froze some of us straight through.
Not a day went by that my clothes didn’t smell like formula from wearing baby spit up, I averaged four to five hours of sleep per night (thanks to teething), potty-training was in full swing with the three-year-old boy I babysat full-time, and I don’t know if I had ever felt so incredibly alone or defeated. Tired.
Welcome to motherhood, where they say it’s the “best job in the world”, but there will be a day you
might will inevitably feel like a butt-wiping, boo-boo kissing, time-out dealing, meal-making robotic machine set on non-stop repeat, living in a vacuum of diapers, feedings, endless crumbs, sippy cups, piles of dishes, never-ending dirt and tears.
We won’t even talk about the laundry.
It was a long winter and a hard winter, that felt like it would never end.
I cried a lot.
I prayed a lot.
I struggled a lot.
And by the summer of 2014, I started talking a lot.
Not so much about the trenches of motherhood or depression, although that was part of the story…
but more about the importance of transparency and why you should tell your story.
And it became a theme in my life I have continued to speak loudly.
“And this is why NOW is the time to speak. Because somewhere there is a mother in the trenches and a wife struggling to breach a chasm with her husband and a woman overwhelmed with the demands of her work, and none of us need to hear the clichés, but we all need to hear the stories of what He has done. How He has redeemed. How the Source of true joy is true to His Word and how every darkness is shattered by a morning light, ushering in unspeakable joy.”
Five years later, I wake up one early summer morning, open the blinds in my bedroom and find myself staring out the window, asking myself this question –
How do you stay vulnerable and transparent when your transparency becomes the target on your back?
Gossip is always easy, but never cheap.
Words are never cheap when they are spoken at the expense of someone else.
I don’t know how many times I have walked away from a conversation and felt regret. Regret, that instead of using my words to share my own story and exalt Christ, I shared someone else story and framed it in a way that exalted myself.
But the absolute truth is –
when you cut someone down to raise yourself up, you fall.
I stood at the window and the hurtful words played over and over again in my head, the gossip that was regurgitated back to me, criticism that questioned the integrity of my heart… when I share my story.
The same reasons I quit blogging for almost a year once and went AWOL on social media more than a few times, for short seasons.
If people thought I openly shared my heart and my story to get attention, I’d just quit.
For awhile at least.
But I could never quite retire completely, because I’d remember –
I’d remember the winter my heart felt as cold as the temperature frozen on the outdoor thermometer.
I’d remember how badly I wanted someone else to tell me how they made it through sleepless nights and crying babies and too many crumbs.
Sometimes all the hope we know in our head needs to be whispered back to our heart.
I didn’t need a pep talk, I needed a revival.
Tell me the story of Jesus…write on my heart every word.
Humanity is good at motivational pep talks and not so good at true revival, because revival only comes through transparency – with ourselves, with others, and most of all, with God.
Your gifts are about telling HIS story, and if you stay silent, the rocks will cry out.
This is why you can keep sharing with vulnerability and transparency, even if it becomes the target on your back –
because it’s not about you or earthly accolades or recognition or social media likes or shares, which means it’s also not about the criticism or gossip that may result from living into the purpose of Christ for your life.
Stand with Christ and you will rise above –