This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a Fresh Grounded Faith conference. I heard Ann Voskamp, Laura Story, and Jennifer Rothschild share their stories and their challenges as women of God. I loved listening to these women because they were authentic and real. They didn’t paint a “rah, rah, everything is good in our lives” picture! Instead, they talked about our wounds and our challenges and our pain–our brokenness.
As I listened this weekend I thought about the multitude of women I know who have shared their stories with me through the years. Stories they have never shared with anyone, secrets so deep and painful they affected the rest of their lives. And I have been a keeper of the stories that have been told to me in confidence. My heart breaks every time I hear one of them.
I realize when I hear the stories that pain and suffering, shame and guilt are not mine alone. Sometimes I feel like their stories are a reflection of mine. The loneliness, the brokenness, the sorrow, the regrets for not making better decisions, the scars from rejection, abuse, and well. . . just life itself. Every woman I know has battled with brokenness at one time or another in her life. Sometimes it has been self-inflicted, but many times it has been thrust upon her without her consent. The death of a child, infertility, loss of a spouse, loneliness, or the loss of a dream happen all too frequently. Plans come undone in a heartbeat. Self overwhelms us—self-doubt, self-loathing, self-pity, selfishness—all bringing wounds and pain.
But the beautiful thing is that God, in his infinite love for us, can bring healing and wholeness from that which is broken and fragile. He can take our scars and use them to help others heal. He can take our pain and help us minister to the broken hearted. He can bind up the wounds, set the captive free, and make us new. But only if we are willing, only if we accept His love and His grace, only if we listen to His voice calling us to be His beloved.
We are not alone on this journey. One of the reasons I enjoy women’s conferences like this is because it reminds me—I am not alone. My struggles are not mine only, my doubts and fears are not mine only, and for that knowledge I am both grateful and sad. I wish the women I know did not have the same kinds of struggles, the same kinds of lonely days, the same kinds of fears for the future, but they do. We are on this journey together and sharing out of our brokenness helps us remember that there is hope and healing.
What about you? What deep wounds are you battling? What scars are you bearing? There IS healing and hope in the Savior. No matter how bad things look and how deep the scars run, you are worth everything to Him. He died for you and for me. On the cross he bore the weight of our sin, the burden of our pain and rose victorious so that we also can live with hope and healing.
In Jeremiah, the prophet reminds Israel of God’s everlasting love. The words written then are still true to today. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3.
Oh, God, our loving and precious Father. Today I prayer for women everywhere who are hurting and in pain. I pray that you will help us realize how much we are loved by you. Help us to not listen to Satan’s lies that we are not worthy, not enough, not loved. Help us to not base our trust in you on our feelings, but instead on your promises. Help us to remember that our worth does not come from what we do, but from who we are–your creation, your beloved. We are grateful, Father, that you see past our flaws to the beautiful potential within when we place ourselves in your hand to be shaped and molded for your kingdom. Amen.