We sat in a circle. I felt uneasy with only one familiar face, weighed down by a heaviness in the room - but maybe it was just my own. I was sitting among the hurting and broken, the lost and forsaken, the messy and struggling, young and old alike. All in different places and stages of recovery. Sitting there, with my heavy baggage on my lap, I listened. When my turn to share approached, I was freaking out inside. I passed - I could barely breathe, let alone put two thoughts together. All my walls went up to guard and protect myself - but those are the very walls that keep me alone - untouchable. “Oh God, please help me.”
I listened to the real stories, of lives and hearts shattered. I felt some compassion, but my inner Pharisee rose up in me - I didn’t want to be in this group. I didn’t want to be associated with the messy, struggling - I am strong, free from all of the hurts and pains of the world - and I wanted to put my mask on and say "all is well." I didn’t want to hear about all the struggles - I wanted redemption stories - and yes, they were there, but still with struggles. In my heart, I asked God, “really?! Is THIS what you have for us? Oh God, how long? Does the pain last forever? When do the struggles end? I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m scared.”
My ungrateful, proud, too good for this, ugly all came out. And I just said, “God, I’m sorry. Help me be honest and not think I’m too good for You, cause You are right HERE in the midst of us - in the faces of all of these beautiful women. And my turn came back around, and I shared exactly where I was - my desire to pretend and look good on the outside, the mask I struggle to remove, the walls that surround me, my shame for needing help, like it's all my fault and I'm not good enough, and my difficulty to even admit that I struggle. And from there, I shared my heart with the courage God provided - bringing darkness to light.
“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible - and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” Ephesians 5:13
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:6-8
I left with that gut-wrenching, uneasy feeling. “God, why? Why’s my life such a wreck? Why does everything come the hard way for me?” He answered - with only His Presence, His embrace, and that’s enough for me. “I wish You, Jesus, could just hold me all day long. I just want to hear Your heartbeat and never leave Your chest. May my heart beat with Yours. Change me and give me Your tenderness and compassion. Heal my broken heart and please never let me go.”