Transparency is a scary word, especially when that means sharing our thoughts and actions, even our mistakes, with others. Being transparent means being real, and sometimes being real means showing those raw places of our hearts that we buried deep and tried to forget. After all, we have to make room for that plastered smile and polite “fine” that we throw around so easily. But, are we really “fine”? And why is that truth so hard to admit?
I will tell you, I am not fine. Life isn’t easy or comfortable and it includes a lot of pain. Most days are met with tears of frustration and wrenching from agony. But, honestly, I wouldn’t change one thing about this journey, because it is just that – a journey. And the journeys God places us on are always for a reason, for a good reason, and every once in a while I get to see a glimpse of the work He is doing in me. That truly makes it all worth it. But what good is knowledge from a journey, if it isn’t revealed and shared to those walking alongside me?
Ever since I found Jesus nine years ago, I have felt called to be transparent. And honestly, it comes pretty easy to me. I was blessed to have found Him later in life, and when you have lived and survived in darkness most of your life, you fully can appreciate His magnificent light. I’m not ashamed of where I have been and what I have learned, because it’s all part of my journey. Through my Savior’s grace, my eyes have been opened. I have been changed. So, if you ask me anything, dear one, I will answer. Why? Because in the midst of my trials and struggles, I have learned a multitude. I have learned to not be too proud to share my hurts. I have learned that grace and mercy overflow daily. I have come to understand that all I have learned is to be shared and every bit to be used for His glory.
I will tell you how I’ve messed up and what I’ve seemed to get right, in spite of myself. I don’t mind revealing what tortures my heart, or what I’ve missed. Friend, I will even reveal the hard days of abuse I have endured. Why? Because if that turns you towards our Christ, it did not go in vain. As I’ve cried, as I’ve learned, as I’ve screwed up, my God never let me go. Never. EVER. He not only was forever by my side, holding my hand, but He chose to TEACH me along the way. What love He has for me to not let even one tear go in vain. He is using my pain and calling me to share with others, so they might know His mercy and grace, His overwhelming grace.
On a long trip to see family, God laid this transparency post on my heart. I picked up my phone and quietly tried to get down the thoughts that God was whispering me to share. I didn’t say a word about what I was doing or what word God had given me, after all, it was a very rough draft. An hour later, my husband brought up some things that had been weighing on his heart. He wondered how much of the connections in relationships we make are through our own transparency? How can we expect others to be as open and real as we wish they would be, if we ourselves are silent? Would that help those shallow relationships reach new depths? I smiled and read to him the notes God had just directed me. The last phrase I had written simply read, “With transparency comes connection”.
Connection. We all seek that don’t we? We desperately want someone else who has been in our shoes to tell us they understand, the only way someone who has walked our journey could. Whether it be potty training a child, living in a tense marriage, losing a loved one, or struggling with illness, we all are in different stages of different journeys. We tend to give into the urge to put smiles on our faces and pretend life is “fine”. So when someone opens up and shares their raw heart, the same raw hearts we also share, we feel drawn and connected in our brokenness. I have some friends who are currently walking very rough, very different journeys. Their journeys are ones I haven’t faced, yet my heart breaks for them and cries out for mercy on their behalf. They have been transparent about their distress, which has opened my heart for their prayer needs. If they had just tucked away their agony, I would never have known their true heart’s cry and how I can specifically lift them up to our Father. With transparency, comes connection.
That day in the car, my husband could have kept quite about what the Lord was asking him to ponder. He could have just turned the radio up and I wouldn’t have known what was going through his mind. But, he chose to share and in that sharing, God was revealed. In my husband’s transparency, we got a front row seat to God’s mighty hand at work. He loves us enough to open up our hearts on the same subject – and, as usual, His timing was perfect. When we open up about our lives, where we have been, where we are now, and where God is leading us in the future, it opens the door for others to follow. And in that sharing, we find just how great and magnificent our God is. We hear stories of unexplainable peace, in the midst of dire circumstances. We hear true joy revealed, due to hard storms gently changing hearts. We even hear of words spoken to hearts from our Father that bring tears to our own seeking hearts. Do you see? Hearing of God’s workings in each other’s lives, reveals more of His character, His love for us, and it is there we find hope for our own broken path. God is revealed in our transparency.
Years ago, I went to a mom’s conference with some of my MOPS friends. I was a brand new Christian. I had found Jesus just a month before, and couldn’t get enough of Him! I was eager to hear from Him and follow His callings, yet when He called me to talk to a speaker there, I was reluctant. I was scared! This lady was leading one of my break-out sessions and it was filled to the gills with 200 women. I heard God’s voice telling me to go to her and tell her my story. Now, I would love to tell you that I marched right up to her and instantly obeyed that calling. But I didn’t. Fear kicked it and before I knew it, I was doubting myself. Who was I? Why on earth would this famous lady want to hear my story?! After she finished speaking, I turned to leave and got funneled into the crowd of women hurriedly leaving to go to the last session of the conference. But I just kept hearing my God’s voice, beconing me to go to her and tell her. I must have looked like an idiot in that crowd, for I kept turning around – towards her, away from her, towards her, away from her… But His voice just got louder, so I gave in and went to her. (There may or may not have been a foot stomp of defiance in there.) What came out of my mouth went something like this “Hi. God keeps telling me to come talk to you. I don’t know why, but He wants me to tell you my story. So here I am. If you need to go, that’s totally fine!”
What happened next was a beautiful moment I will never forget. We sat down, just us, in a large empty room. She gathered my hands in hers and she listened. I told her everything, of my past abuse, being a single mom (at the time), finding Jesus. She smiled and opened up about her past, which surprisingly was very similar to my own. She taught me about forgiveness that day, and moving on and letting the past lay behind me. She taught me about seeking Jesus in the midst of trials. She taught me not to fear, and encouraged my heart. It was the most beautiful moment of transparency… that was only made possible through my obedience. Through obedience, we find transparency.
“You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to Him, that you will keep His decrees, commands and laws – that you will listen to Him.” Deuteronomy 26:17
Do you find it hard to open up to others? Would you rather hide your wounded heart behind your back, then to share the deep cuts it holds? Dear one, I encourage you to open up – be raw and transparent with someone you trust. You will be blessed by it! Your eyes will be opened to God’s workings and He will use you, if only you allow Him to. Think of all you have learned and all you have been through – you are valuable and needed to share that knowledge and encouragement with someone else who is needing to hear it today. Your hurts will not go in vain, if only we are obedient in our sharing. Through transparency, we see Jesus. And what a sweet Jesus He is.
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17