As I posted on Monday night ( at about 1.30am- a night of not sleeping, but writing and tears) I took quite a knock earlier this week. Tonight I want to write about how people responded to both my pain and my story of an affair, which I wrote of in that post. I think that I am called to tell of the reality of God’s love and tenderness by writing about the truth of that in my own life. I’m not hiding. I’m not pretending. I’m sharing the ups and the downs. It feels vulnerable and yet whole.
In the midst of my confusion, my hurt and my pain I was listened to, I was comforted. I was told that I was brave in my honesty and that the Father loved me. I was reminded that sins are not graded. I was told that women were ‘sitting with me in my grief’. A friend resisted my attempts to pretend I was alright, and came to sit with me physically. There were no trite answers, or blame, or ‘how could you’ responses. People sat down beside me. Identified with me. Acknowledged my pain.
I received two written responses which I have been given permission to share.
The first gives reason as to why we must keep telling our stories to each other; why we must be open about our failures and our weakness and our journeying with God through the reality of our lives, which are not and never will be, neat and sinless.
“I always appreciate your openness and honesty in sharing this painful, challenging journey. It has been helping me be able to look at things in my life that I’ve wanted to hide and never speak of or acknowledge. Hiding those things does give them more power and bringing them to the light takes that away. But I needed to see examples of this in other people’s lives to really understand how this stuff has been impacting mine.”
The second blew me away. I know that if I heard my story from a mature christian woman I might well have a fairly low opinion of her. Marriage vows are sacred. You have children. How could you be so selfish? What were you thinking? How can you say you know the Father’s love when you’ve done that ? But the woman who wrote to me, despite all she may have felt about what had happened in my life, allowed God’s grace to be sufficient for me. And in knowing it was sufficient, she was also enabled to offer me her encouragement, her sisterhood and her friendship.
“Your blog I read last night shocked me and sent me to my knees. I am praying for you, for your family.
Hearing of infidelity, causes me to look at myself and wonder how that can happen, and how do I stop it from happening it me? These are MY issues, NOT yours. What happened to you and your relationships to bring you to that point is for you and God to work through.
You are brave for sharing such a personal and private event in your life.
I believe our past is that a past, learn from it and move forward. I am praying for a peace in your home and your heart. I am praying Gods will be done. Here is a HUG for you. Your sister in Christ, your friend”
This is God in us. This is Immanuel.
We live in fear of revealing our full humanity to each other. The parts of our humanity that fall into temptation, that are deceitful, prideful, covetous, mean spirited, critical, broken, wounded, bleeding, fragile.
What I have always believed and am even more convinced of now is that when we do hide our real selves from others we deny ourselves something exquisite.
The opportunity to see humans at their best
At their most beautiful
Men and women
Loving, grace filled, alongside us
It is breathtaking
No-one needs to tell me that I’ve been down the wrong path. No-one needs to tell me that what I’ve done has hurt others. No-one needs to tell me that I have fallen short.