Lately, so much pain has confronted me. So many people I know facing such grief. The loss of a job leading to the potential loss of a family home. Watching an old friend grieve via blog posts over the loss of a child born still. Marriages and families once so full of laughter and long hugs, now dead over coarse words, expectations unmet, feelings shoved deep.
What is it about these messes, these pains that we are afraid to enter into?
I found myself in a conversation about the soul mess, the soul mess that we all carry. We all cry like Paul “I do the things I hate to do and don’t do the things I want to do.” We all lament with David “How long, Lord, how long?” We all experience these seasons, long and short, of the burden of the messy. Be it from our own sin or just the fallen world we must endure for now, we all carry it. Yet, we hide from each other and from God. The web so easily entangles, and boy, we are caught. All of us, struggling, grasping, fighting with lungs burning to be free. All of us wanting loose of this sin-web we find ourselves in.
Yet, we hide. We bury deep wounds like forgotten prom dresses, packed away in the darkest nooks of the attic. We put the shield up to guard the onlookers from the agony that brews, tumbles, seems to breathe it’s own breath in our guts. We hide. Isn’t it the first reaction from the first woman, her first-man standing with her? Duck, hide, shallow breathing, be still, be quiet…He’s coming. I hear Him walking in the cool of the day. Shhhhhh.
And then He calls to us. Where are you? Come out. Come out and see Me. Come out and let me look on your face. Your newly sin-stained, apple-juice-dripping face. And we creep from our hiding places. We peer, timid into the face of the One who knows all. The One who knew the plucking of fruit before the thought was presented. And we point fingers, eyes darting, panic starting, breath heaving – it was the woman! It was the snake! It was…sin.
Isn’t that what it all goes back to? Sin. The original one, there in the garden. The one that brought the separation to begin with. The one that brought the gut-cry of wanting to be known. Wanting to be truly, deeply, honestly seen. It’s the cry of our hearts from the moment we emerge. The cry of feed me, change me, hold me, love me, see me. And the cry never changes. It only gets deeper, maturing with each passing year. It’s ultimately the cry for the intimacy that can only be found in God Himself.
But God spoke it…. it’s not good for man to be alone.
Do we believe Him? We fly high the banner of Jesus Saves, but we cower and hide and shield and stuff when He sends the friend walking in the cool of the day. We duck behind the bush. Tell our emotions to shush, breathe shallow, be quiet, be still. And there she stands looking, brow wrinkled: dear friend, where are you? Come out. Come out and see me. Come out, dear soul and be known. Will we be brave enough to emerge? Brave enough to walk into the light and be seen? Brave enough to share the ugly places that don’t make sense even in our own heads, the bruises, the cuts, the headaches…the festering, infected sores that no medicine can seem to heal. Will we be brave?
And will we hold these stories, these soul messes with honor? Do we cradle them as we would a fresh newborn? Do we weep over them as we would if they were our own pain? Will we hold our friend’s vulnerability in highest regard? Will we be the nurse to the Great Physician, delivering His healing prescription to the infected places in the dear souls bold enough and brave enough to reveal?
Will we honor those who have stood, ragged, raw and barren for the entire world to see? Those who have spoken boldly that this darkness would not win their soul, this season will not leave them emotionally numb. They have wailed and screamed and let loose the agony of loss regardless of the onlooker. Or will we shrink away? Fearful, scared, uncertain, ducking and darting behind the bush left vacant by the brave ones?
Oh Lord, may we never be found hiding. May we always be bold and brave with the truest places of who we are. May we always cradle our story with care and gentleness, but always be prepared to wield it for Your glory. May we trust that Your word is true; it is not good for man to be alone. And may You graciously grant us the people we need to make this life more full.
Julie Forman is a wife and mama to 3 tiny humans all under the age of 4. A Texas transplant from the great state of North Carolina, she finds the heat unbearable and the people charming. She enjoys dance parties in the kitchen, the magic of the coffee bean and writing. You can find her blogging here (though the dance parties get in the way of that a bit) and filling her days with laughter, diapers and sippy cups.