As I have mentioned before, there are parts of my story which are painful to me. Growing up, one of the ways I learned to cope with these things was by pretending they either didn’t exist or didn't bother me. I was stronger, braver, smarter. I could handle this, and more, on my own, because I was not a victim, I was an over-comer. When I thought of the kind of woman I wanted to be when I grew up, I knew wanted to be one who could "keep it all together." The one who managed to take life in stride, with a smile on my face, ignoring the tears stinging the corners of my eyes. I’ve been seeing a thing going around Facebook lately which expresses pretty much this same thought, “Strong women know how to keep their life in order. Even with tears in their eyes, they still manage to say, ‘I’m ok’ with a smile.” (Some of the ones I see credit Joyce Meyers, some credit an unknown source, personally, whoever said it first doesn't make a hill of beans to me...)
The last few years of my life have been quite trying, with 2015 topping them all. Years ago, I would have plastered on a beautiful, but fake smile, lifted up my chin and pretended like it wasn’t phasing me. Life happens, you put on your big girl panties and go on. But God has been using the last few years of trials and hurts to help me see and understand a lot about myself and Him, and I am quite convinced that pretending I have it all together is not what makes me a strong woman. What makes me a strong woman is being able to admit that I can’t do it on my own, and allowing God’s strength to show up and compensate for my weakness.
Once I stopped hiding behind the pretense of keeping it together, and started being able to confess my weakness, I started receiving healing for so many things, many of which I didn’t even realize I needed healing for! I have come to realize one very important truth which proves how very wrong my coping-mechanism was: God can’t heal what I am not willing to confess is broken. For years, I cried out for God to change things in me and my life, but still couldn’t confess my weakness, because in doing so, I was admitting I didn't have it all together and I was broken by things. When I was finally able to stand before Him and admit all my pride and efforts to keep my life in in order were vanity, I was able to move out of the way and let Him do His much needed work in my life.
I still have a long way to go with my healing/restoration process. God is still working out a lot of old junk that I had crammed away in my pretense of keeping it all together. However, I have no doubts that I would not be where I am today, and would not have the experienced healing I have, if I kept plastering on a smile and pretending I was "ok."
Now, when I think about the kind of woman I want to be when I grow up, I know I don’t want to be a woman people look at and see as having it all together, I want to be a woman people look at and see God holding it all together. Because, honestly, I can’t do this on my own and I know the only way I can keep a real smile on my face is if I let God have it all.
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9