I have been struggling, and I mean, s.t.r.u.g.g.l.i.n.g. for several weeks. I can't accurately describe the why. I'm not even sure I know the why. And I certainly haven't understood the timing of it all.
I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my life...wanting to know why certain things happened the way they did, wondering how events shaped who I am today. I've had a lot of questions for God, many of which remain unanswered. I've spent quite a bit of time searching and researching. I've read several books, searched Scripture, read blogs, talked to friends, talked to my sisters, prayed, all in hopes of finding my answers.
Today I went to my local Christian bookstore to find...well, something. I didn't know what. I finished a group Bible study last week, and thought I'd try to find some study to do on my own. I aimlessly wandered through the bookstore and ended up in the Women's Interest section. After thumbing through several books, I muttered a quick prayer: Lord, show me which book to buy. I spotted a book with the word secrets in the title. I yanked it up, thumbed through it, and knew that was the book God had for me to read.
Over these past few weeks, I've felt God strongly leading me to share some of my secrets. I've questioned Him and His plans. The one thing He keeps placing before me is this: share your story...one step at a time. I've been gripped with fear. What if it wasn't God's voice I was hearing? Once I've shared my story, there's no taking it back. I needed to know 100% that this was from God.
So as I grabbed the book today, I knew. The book, written by Anita Lustrea, is titled What Women Tell Me: Finding Freedom From the Secrets We Keep. I read all 198 pages today. I highlighted and earmarked sections where I felt God was using her to answer many of my questions. Here are some passages from the last chapter of the book:
One reason we end up putting on masks of perfection is because we choose to become what others expect us to be. Living up to other people's expectations is a sure way to stay distanced from our authentic selves.
You don't need to know all the answers in order to share Christ with others. It's important just to tell people how he has changed your life; it's important to tell them your story.
I encourage you to share your story with someone. Our faith is deepened when we hear what God has done in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Telling our stories to each other builds up our faith.
I'm not sure yet what "telling my story" looks like. But I am sure that God is telling me to share it. I am sure that God is leading me to offer grace and to share the opportunity for healing to those who are often viewed as the worst of sinners...which, by the way, I happen to be.
I doubt that the struggling is over, as many questions remain unanswered; but I am certain of the "one step" I need to take first.
(Note about the book: if you happen to have grown up in a legalistic environment, as I did, this book is for you! If you are a rule follower, this book is for you! If you have secrets, this book is for you!)