We come as we are. Don’t we always come as we are? Just whether we reveal ourselves to one another depends... Am I safe? Will they approve of me? What if they disagree and I am shut down? What if they can’t understand? What if they don’t believe me? For me, the biggest hindrance is the lie that my story isn’t worth listening to.
We all have insecurities and fears along with hope and dreams, and it’s a battle to trust and believe that we are loved - just. as. we. are. We don’t have to prove our worth to anyone - Jesus already proved our value by paying the highest price for us - His very life! We don’t have to hide - He will never put us to shame and even when we fail, He still approves. We are free to take risks, live our dreams, and just be honestly true to who He made us to be.
This is not an easy road to travel and living loved means taking risks. We all get down sometimes, and we need people in the arena with us to remind us who we really are - forgiven, loved, pre-approved.
It’s a fight to live life alive, to show our truest selves, to come out of hiding. To be vulnerable takes courage, but when we can be honest with one another, we open our hearts to healing and connection. We open our hearts to the greatest gift of all, Love.
Circled up, we each introduce ourselves and proclaim that we are grateful believers in Jesus Christ living in this broken world in which we all have struggles. I’ve never been in an environment where people are safe to share their own personal deep struggles and be lifted up and encouraged, but it is a beautiful thing to behold. It is pure grace.
Honest hearts spill forth and it is a sacred offering to our Lord. I can relate to every. one. In sharing our burdens, we know that we are not alone.
One woman confesses her addiction to food for comfort and how God is helping her to turn to Him step by step.
Another tells of her husband’s recent relapse and the pain and struggle to trust and love him even in his addiction.
In tears, one woman tells of the deep struggle of loneliness and the grief of coming from a broken family - struggling with envy when she sees others in happy homes and is reminded that hers is not.
Others share about dealing with anger and unforgiveness.
A young woman breaks as she shares how someone was kind to her in a way she had never experienced and it touched her deep - a love message from her Daddy-God.
Some pass with no judgement, just love and acceptance. We understand.
A mother eagerly awaiting to embrace her two children from a foreign land shares her deep longing to hold them close, safe and home, but is faced with unrealistic demands for paperwork that is out of her control. She shares how this trial brought her to a breaking point, feeling angry towards God "because if He cared,He would help." She told God she no longer believed, but as she escaped in her music, a song she never heard came on about trusting in God’s unconditional love. The lyrics repeated over and over again, “I will bring her home. I will bring her home. I will bring her home.” The words pierced her heart, and she said for the first time, she knew God’s love - not just in her head, but she felt it in her heart. Tears streamed down our faces - together. This is Holy Ground.
My turn came around. I confessed my deepest struggle is hating myself - not believing what God says about me - that I am His beloved daughter and I don’t have to do anything to earn it. Yet, even in my unbelief, God is doing miracles all around me. It’s like the walls of Jericho in my heart and in my life are falling down, and I picture Jesus carrying me through the rubble. When I can’t hang on, He holds me tight and close to His chest so I can feel His heart beating for me. He really is crazy about me!
Sitting in the midst of my beautiful sisters that Jesus holds so dear, I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness and faithfulness to each of us. So, in my turn, I ask if they don’t mind if I just share my heart in prayer. I thank God for being our Daddy who cares for each one of us and never leaves us - He meets us right where we are IN the struggles and mess.
My heart is filled with compassion and love for God's people. Then, He confirms in my heart that I am His. He has come and made His home in me! Something I’ve always doubted. But His Spirit in me cries, “Abba Father.” I know I am loved and I can trust Him. That gives me courage to share my story even in the middle, unfinished, messy place.
I am nourished by the beautiful women, each with her own story, who opened up their hearts. We all have hurts, hang-ups, and habits that weigh us down, but we are not meant to carry them alone! In sharing our burdens, we invite Jesus to lift us up out of the ashes. We laugh. We cry. We pray. Jesus comes down and meets with us - He doesn’t keep His distance. He enters into the rubble with us, reaching the unreachable parts, healing our wounded hearts, giving us hope even in the valley of death, and redeeming our very lives.
Love calls out the good in one another and inspires courage in each other to live confidently in our Heavenly Father’s unwavering love for us. My heart is full. "Let us love one another."
God is real and He really can do miracles in each of us no matter how dark and deep our pit.
“There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still.” Corrie ten Boom