surviving shame + sharing about it

It’s so humbling when you come to the place where you realize the only way out is through.

a beautiful view of the goals, but what a rough road it is to get there

I’ve started and ended 6 blogs before this one on various topics knowing that the heart of the matter was the struggles God has brought me through. There have been disappointments in jobs and relationships (ones I’ve brought on and some shared by others) and hurts from misunderstandings, grief and sin. But, I’ve tried to write from a people-pleasing perspective or with a cultural, social bend. Inviting the voices of those I respect or who lead me to overwhelm the voice of God within me.

I have been silent about His work in my life and the good that I’ve hoped could come from telling my stories and it has made sick.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. | Proverbs 13:12

When considering what I have to offer people who follow my Instagram account, this blog or call me their friend, I keep coming back to the realization that they genuinely like to see me smile. Even if they only know a bit of what I went through (being widowed by the Iraqi War then being in a difficult, ungodly marriage, then divorced) they are cheering for me.

And I think that’s what we really want to do in this world.

We want to encourage others through the fire. Or at least we want to be in a place where we see the person overcome tough things, so we can believe that we can too.

Even more than being successful in our careers, owning big homes and driving fancy cars, I believe that every woman (person) is seeking to simply be loved well. To be seen, valued and heard, able to contribute.

When I was facing the death of my first husband all those years ago, I was most devastated by the reality that what we had built together, I would now need to go the rest of the way alone. Which felt cruel.

I’d been fine with my books and quiet, choosing unhealthy dating relationships because being in a relationship with a man who treated me poorly was supposed to better than no relationship and living vicariously through the stories of others.

But, I wasn’t fine.

And God wasn’t content to leave me in that state; hiding His gifts and talents away inside me.

It required a lot of work – and to be candid, it still does – to get me to realize that there was stuff inside – good and not-so-pretty – that needed to come out in order for me to be all that He has created me to be. And He could only do it through relationship and it would include me walking through some very, very, very difficult things.

I don’t know where this blog is going to go, but I think it’s time to get more real about what I’ve been through. To share more vulnerably so when people read about the blessing of my marriage to Mister now, they don’t think it was handed to me by God without strife, difficulty or pain along the way.

My desire is to share about the move from some things I thought I’d never survive to a place where I am growing more and more confident in the woman God is developing me into. This means embracing my blackness no matter how uncomfortable it makes others around me. It also means asking questions to better understand those around me and their hearts in pursuit of God. And finally, it means attempting to be vulnerable and share hard things in the hopes to inspire others that can relate to even a part of my journey to draw closer to God, surround themselves with friends who will say hard things with love and stick by them through the icky parts that cause many to flee.

I am stepping into the fire with this direction, trusting God to lead me through. I am terrified y’all. First it was that no one would read what I have to write in this space, now it’s that I’m not writing freely and authentically what He would have me share. That what I would share here – though it’ll my truth or version of the things have brought me to this place – will be denied, downplayed and disrespected by those who can not or choose not to understand. For those who think it’s too much to share, that I’m too much. I am fearful that I will be judged by women and men and then feel ashamed and just quit.

It’s what I’ve done before. I don’t want to do it again.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. |

Psalm 34:4-5

I meet in quiet times with God in my daily living and invite Him to clear out the cluttered, overwhelmed, wounded places. And invite Him into the spaces I get to occupy (home, work, etc.) and in my mind so that there is margin for hearing what it is He wants me to do. Then getting real about embracing true, godly love and learning to walk confidently with hope and joy in living simply as me.

I hope you’ll follow along – it’s been a wild ride; one that’s only getting better.

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