For some, the biggest fear in life is not death, but the fear of cracking open their mask and allowing others to view their heart.
That was my biggest fear for most of my life – that these little cracks would eventually give-away the bruises of an aching heart. A life afraid to go deeper, avoiding the hard questions and in no way ever requesting assistance from anyone.
I was strong.
I was indapendant.
I was moving along just fine.
Until brain cancer and a high-risk pregnancy.
Moving along just fine on the outside, yet shattered, broken and silently doubting Gods love on the inside.
Granted, I smiled as meals streamed into our home, as volunteers lined-up to help with our kids and cards filled our little mailbox. If I needed anything, our amazing church family was just a quick phone call or text away. Yet, most often, these amazing friends hit a brick wall with me. I refused to share what was truly raging war inside of me. I refused to let down the wall to my emotions, my doubts, my fears, my physical pain and I could barely allow myself to cry in silence. I could barely allow myself to cry at all. Emotions completely gone. Letting down my guard was not an option…nor was it possible in my current state.
God knew that.
I stumbled upon Proverbs 31 Online Bible studies one day in my family ministry office. They were advertising free online Bible studies for women.
I signed-up in hopes of getting a few more resources for my ministry bookshelf. I gained so much more.
A few weeks later I remember sitting in a waiting room, awaiting another routine MRI verifying that my tumors were indeed still ” absent.” I sat there, alone, feeling the flutter of my little guy moving around inside. The more he moved, the more I started questioning what God was doing. The more I questioned, the more alone I felt.
Loneliness in the moment of uncertainty in unbearable – heart-breaking, literally.
I found myself using the remaining battery of my phone to check-in with my private Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study small group. I posted quickly that I was “concerned” about this appointment and I was alone. Seconds after clicking post, replies began to stream in. My phone screen illuminated with prayers, concerns, encouragement and inquiries for me to check back in with updates.
Check back in I did…continually.
The more I started to get involved with our study, digging into Gods Word and watching the sharing occur in our group, the walls of my mask began to shake, slightly. Over time, I started to share fragmented pieces of my little reality. Questions were safe here. No judgement. No public eye. In fact, the more I started to share, the bigger the changes appeared in my life. So much so that people in my offline life began to notice…a lot.
I started gaining confidence as I studied how God wired me to serve.
I started actually memorizing Gods promises, relying on His Word to be my hope and my strength.
I started understanding this story God gave me to share.
I started believing that maks are not needed anymore.
These ladies I walk through life with are absolutely extraordinary women of God. We struggle sometimes, yet we support one another. We dig deep into Gods promises, allowing His Word to take a deep root in our lives. His Word is as real as these relationships I’ve formed with women across the US, doing the same Bible study together…at the same time! Oh, how we really do realize how much in common we are as we share and carry one another’s burdens.
I started this journey with a broken, yet completely guarded heart. God used these ladies to show me how to trust in God and others again. When you begin to trust in God, a crazy event begins to happen – you start seeing yourself as God sees you. Your mask begins to break as His truth and real life relationships redefine your priceless value.
I hear Abba whisper:
But I AM faithful Bethany; I will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. And be confident that you are doing and will continue to do the things I commanded you. I will lead your heart into a full understanding and expression of My love and the patient endurance that comes from Me. (2 Thessalonians 3:3-5 NLT)
Sometimes God uses a broken heart to lead us directly to where we need to be, and daily reminds us we never have to do life alone as long as we trust in Him.
Sharing life with others can be challenging. Are you part of a small group? How has God brought the right relationships you need into your life at just the right time? I’d love to hear about this in the comments below!