Up until this date, I have blogged only about one place of grief in my life: the loss of my husband, Matt. I have often thought of how I could better reach out to those around me by using my life story. One problem with reaching others with my life story, prior to becoming a widow, is that it would require me to share this story. Brokenness resulting from an unexpected and unwelcome death can shed light on God’s great love, but what about the type of brokenness we choose? The type of pain inflicted from personal choices is often associated with such deep shame, it can feel as though that part of our story is just too disgusting to expose.
A gentle, Spirit led revelation has brought me to believe this lie isn’t worth hiding behind any longer. In chapter 5 of Ephesians there are two loving reminders of the new creation we are in Christ. These reminders have helped me to find the courage to open my heart to sharing pain of a different sort. I hope in doing this I will be able to reach others held down with their own shame.
The first biblical reminder given to me is found in verses 8-13; we read here:
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
I have realized that God can not use my painful past as a light unless I’m willing to share it with others. I often hear testimonies from Christians in regards to alcoholism, abuse, rape and addictions. Each one of these shameful, heavy topics is unfortunately part of my painful past – but these are not what God wants me to expose. God wants me to expose the pain of sexual depravity. In a world filled with porn addiction, sex trafficking and the societal demands on girls to be over sexualized in order to meet unreachable ideals, a generation is growing that will be completely detached from the realization of what intimacy should even look like. I am the adult version of what some of that new generation is entering. If I can reach the heart of even one woman, the weight of sharing my pain and recreation will be worth it to me.
The second part in Ephesians is found in verses 25-27 …
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
The love of Christ is what I was in search of during my darkest days and His love alone was enough to create a new heart in me – a heart of a woman free from the shame I carried. But it took the loving, gentle acceptance of my husband – Brad – to give me the courage to share this part of my story. From the beginning of our relationship I knew honesty regarding my past was a necessary evil. The evening I told him of one of the lowest points in my life was excruciating. I was unable to speak, unable to look at him, and sheer panic was radiating my body. His response was unlike any other I had ever received. I remember distinctly the feeling as though he was mourning with me. He wasn’t forgiving or accepting – those things weren’t needed because they were instant – instead, he wept with me.
I know that I need to share some of this journey. I know that in order for God to use my painful choices for good, I must expose them. I know that my husband has loved me to a place that I am free from shame, and no lie the accuser has waiting for me beyond these doors will be able to convince me of anything different. I will write more as the Spirit moves me to, with no rush to finish, or order I must proceed in. And I will remember that there is no stain left on my soul … the same goes for you. Christ can renew anyone who is willing – It is a promise worth investing in.