I thought that I would be talking about purpose for tonight’s post, but instead I feel that I should share from my heart and be transparent. This past weekend I attended a women’s conference that was themed around being seen, being heard, and being known by God. For me, the most incredible part was that I could be me, with all my shortcomings and weaknesses, and be accepted and loved and encouraged in a safe space with other women who were seeking God and yet willing to admit those same shortcomings and weaknesses. It was a very comforting and cathartic experience for me. You see, I have always been a strong woman. I have a strong personality, and it is something that has become a double-edged sword for me. Those who have been around me for an extended period of time, have come to see me as a formidable source of strength and encouragement for other people. And, most days, I embrace that. However, the unfortunate drawback of being the strong person in your inner circle is that they often forget that you are human too. So, when you have a moment of weakness, it becomes this monumental occurrence, instead of one human expressing a moment of weakness to another human who is equally susceptible to moments of weakness.
What I found to be so profound and such a blessing this weekend was that I was allowed to own the fact that there are things in my life that I struggle with from time to time, and be met with unadulterated compassion. I can be really hard on myself. It’s true that I am my own worst critic in life, but here, in this space with these women of faith with feet of clay like mine, I found genuine grace. When I admitted that I struggle with feeling like a failure, I wasn’t met with spiritual clichés or dismissed altogether. I looked into the eyes of my sister in the faith as I shared from my heart, and discovered that I was not alone in the way I felt, or the struggles that I face in life. I realized that, more than anything, I simply want to be accepted for who I am, with all my flaws and struggles and moments of weakness. I want to be able to look into the eyes of at least one person in my life who appreciates my strengths, but makes room and provides a safe space, full of grace and unconditional love, for my weaknesses. And this weekend, I reconnected fully to my First Love. This weekend, the unconditional love that I have been seeking after all my life materialized right in front of me once more, and I encountered Love in a way that I have never encountered before.
You see, the abundant life that Christ spoke about was an abundance that flowed from the inside out. There is a God encounter so profound, so life-changing, and so deep that it draws out of your heart and soul such a sense of connection to your Creator that nothing can shake your confidence in His love for you. This weekend, I fell in love all over again with the Man who gave His life for me. I had been going through life, encountering people and things and places that saw how strong I could be, and chose to only see that. I suffered in silence, in private, without a second thought, because I felt like I wasn’t allowed to be human. I had been robbed of the very thing that brought me life – my humanness. I couldn’t be emotional, or sensitive. I couldn’t be upset or fall apart. I couldn’t live, because other people’s lives crowded out my ability to live fully and authentically. But the most important thing I learned about myself this weekend, and my relationship with my Creator, is that I don’t have to do anything but be me with Him, and that’s enough. I don’t have to be strong, or smart, or brave all the time. I don’t have to be articulate or profound. I don’t have to be flawless or have it all together. Because He sees me just the way that I am, every strength and weakness; every mountain and every valley; everything I am proud of and everything that I have allowed to cause me to feel shame. He sees me, ALL OF ME, and He still loves me UNCONDITIONALLY. I don’t have to put on a brave face or put on a show in order for Him to accept me or want to spend time with Him. He sees ME, He loves ME, He knows all about ME, and He wants me just the same. Not only that, but He thinks I’m AMAZING! He’s enamored with me, obsessed with being in relationship with me, so much so that He sacrificed a part of who He is in order to bridge the gap, mend the rift that was torn when Adam and Eve fell in Eden. Just for me! He sees my heart and soul, and says she’s beautiful, an incredible work of art. This is the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I don’t know where you are in life, or what has happened in your life that has you worn down and torn down. But this one thing I know for certain: Your Creator sees you, flaws and all. He knows you, inside and out. And He wants to have a deeply, intimate relationship with you, where His all-encompassing love can wrap you up so tight that it mends all the broken places. Because, the truth is, I am broken just like you, and I have been more broken in the past. But the love of Jesus has made all the difference. He loves me, and you, enough, to walk with us on the journey to wholeness. And it doesn’t require that you do anything before coming to Him. You don’t have to get yourself together before you come to Jesus, because that’s His job, to put you back together, whole and healthy and complete. Don’t hide from Him because you think that you are unworthy; He doesn’t care about that. He will do the work with you, so long as you are willing to do the heart work with Him. Take it from me – there is no other love like the love that He will pour onto your soul. The warmth and healing and restoration that takes place in the presence of a loving and compassionate Creator is the most incredible encounter you will ever have in your lifetime.
I’m broken, and I’m okay with that. It may make other people uncomfortable, but I wasn’t created to make other people comfortable with who I am. I was created to reflect the glory of God in the earth. He is more than about to redeem and restore the broken places in my heart and in my life, where I have been humbled and brought low by the trials of life, and raise me to a place where I can openly share about the pain and turmoil that He was able to turn around and use for my good and the good of others. I’m so glad that He sees me and knows me and wants me, ALL OF ME. And the same goes for you, dear one.