“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? (Psalm 131:1, 2)
I have been more comfortable in not being seen. My first piano recital, at age 6, initiated me into shame. I knew the piece inside and out but I froze mid-way while performing. My mind went blank and I turned to look at the audience and said, “Oh well!” I began the piece again with my heart pounding in my chest and fearing that I might throw up. My mind froze and my fingers stopped at the same spot. My piano teacher had my music and set it on the piano and I finished the piece. I had failed and this began a lifetime of never wanting to do anything on stage.
The shame of not being perfect was deeply rooted in my body. The demands I placed on myself were set-ups to fail. My presence seemed to go unnoticed and I remained unseen.
Being hidden sucks the life out of your soul. It adds a weight to your body that over time saps freedom and joy
Dan and I went to The International House of Prayer July 2008. Our friends arranged an appointment in the prophecy room and there were six people who had no idea who we were. After ten minutes of silence, they began to speak about Dan and, once again the hurt of not being noticed hit me as they spoke about him. I was astounded with their words and I cried silently as they spoke because they saw truth and spoke goodness into Dan’s heart.
How did they know this? It was encouraging, hopeful and holy. Then they began prophesying over me. Once again my tears fell quietly like a warm Seattle rain in summer. How did they know? Each person who spoke emphasized different aspects of my life, but a theme seemed to congeal. One said, I had labored and trusted in Jesus through deep and hard times. What I loved the most is that each of the four men and two women ended on the hope that my public speaking would become like soaring on a swing and that it would become easy and without fear. One man mentioned the weights on my feet would be released and lightness would replace the burden I so evidently carry.
I have waited eleven years for the prophecy to come true. When I get asked to speak it is as if a twenty-pound weight is on my back until the speaking is over. Every year I would listen to the prophecy recording and it always encouraged me. It seemed hopeful even though I still carried that twenty-pound pack.
There is a profound and obvious difference between hiding from the truth and hiding the truth deep within your heart. To store the truth in the cool cellar of your heart, like canned peaches and rhubarb, is to anticipate the cold winter day when the succulent summer fruit is ready to be eaten.
The weight of waiting is in and of itself one of the hardest labors we do. It is far easier to be cynical and doubt what is promised or simply allow the desire to lessen each year it fails to arrive. There are many days when the loneliness of hiding seems less demanding than tending to what is hidden and not yet come to pass.
Before speaking at Legacy Cru event this summer I listened to the recording a few times in preparation of talking about my book and my life. It made me cry with desire…would this be the time I would not quake and feel like my tongue was light without dread?
The evening arrived and as I walked onto the platform I was calm! I remained present and without fear! I did not lash myself with demands to be perfect in appearance or in speaking what I had prepared. I felt light and free! It was fun!
Why this time and not the time before or perhaps, even the next time? On the campus where my abuser groomed me and set me up for rape, I told my story and my mouth was not silenced, nor did I succumb to having the breath squeezed out of me. I don’t know why, nor do I care how the freedom came to be this time. All I know is hidden truth always rises to lighten the load for a hidden heart.
Becky Allender lives on Bainbridge Island with her loving, wild husband of 42 years. A mother and grandmother, she is quite fond of sunshine, yoga, Hawaiian quilting and creating 17th Century reproduction samplers. A community of praying women, loving Jesus, and the art of gratitude fill her life with goodness. She wonders what she got herself into with Red Tent Living!
All of this resonates so powerfully. The performance anxiety, the truth hidden in you like a seed waiting for its season to sprout, and then the triumphant telling of your truth in a context of change-making. Even the hidden do God’s work in powerful and mysterious ways. Blessings to you!
Claudia! Thank you! You are right…”even the hidden do God’s work in powerful and mysterious ways.”
I love how you said that. What is unseen in a mystery with power!!!
Blessings to you!
Becky, this was told so beautifully. From the Bible verse – How long, oh LORD? – to finally, having the weights lifted and being able to speak without fear. It sounds like God has worked out a beautiful blessing of healing and redemption in your life – in His time. I’m so happy for you and for all who will hear you speak! Someday, I hope we will meet in person. I sense that you have a very calm and loving presence. Blessings to you.
Barbara, thank you. I would love to meet you too someday. You have been a faithful encourager on Red Tent Living for quite some time…You have blessed me and others often.
As I read your story, I wonder what the ending will be. As it comes to fruition, my heart leaps for joy for you! The happy dance of freedom feels like experiencing play with God.
Thank youfor your beautiful sharing,
Thank you Marie. Thank you. I, too, wonder what the ending will be. It requires such faith…this life of being human!
It seems this venue was tenderly chosen. The place where you were meant to be forever convinced of your silence and where your breath was harshly squeezed from your chest became the stage for emancipation. I want to jump for joy. I think you and Jesus are both amazing.
Oh, Jill. Thank you. I have felt seen and loved by you. I am forever grateful for your presence in my life. Jesus is so amazing and good to have allowed our hearts, families and lives to intersect with prayer and love. Thank you. YOU are amazing!
Oh Becky… first I rejoice with you… I rejoice for for all the people who are going to be impacted by the words you speak…the chains that will fall from the Truth you give…keys to freedom!!! And your words here it me deep…stirs words given to me buried as well…”There is a profound and obvious difference between hiding from the truth and hiding the truth deep within your heart” … thank you for being vulnerable so others can be encouraged! Love you my soul sister♥️
Ro, it IS SCARY BEING VULNERABLE!!! Especially, posting this Red Tent Living entry. I desire to be more free and more about loving others and Jesus. And…the keys to freedom make the evil one hate us…so…our being “in the war” on this side of heaven is treacherous. Love to you, soul sister!!!
Thank you for staying in the battle all the way through to freedom! I’m so happy for you & thrilled for all the lives you will touch as a writer & speaker. It is delightful watching you grow in strength & beauty.
Linda, thank you for your encouraging note. May we all grow in tenderness for ourselves and others. May we see more and more of God’s hand working in our lives … our lives are not without travail.
Becky- thank you for sharing this very vulnerable piece…and for your tenacity to keep believing- it’s such holy and grueling work- Your authenticity shifts my heart towards truth and hope for my own story- keep writing and sharing Becky- your voice and life matters more then you know. Hugs!
Megan, you encourage me greatly!! For if YOUR heart shifts to truth and hope in your story…every vulnerable sentence is worth it. Thank you for commenting.
Oh Becky. You spoke with power and freedom in one of the places that so silenced you. Yes! That seems so right and good.
Evil does not finish this story. Your voice is so needed.
Thank you! Evil definitely does not finish this story! Thank you for taking the time to reply…
Of course. Grateful to have met you, and for your voice. ~Joanna
Wow, my friend. This is so encouraging. To speak publicly without fear feels like a fairy tale to me…but hearing your story gives me hope. And I so celebrate YOUR voice being heard!!! And the fact that it was heard so powerfully in a place that held such harm for you is wildly redemptive. Jesus showing off. I love that and I can’t wait for your voice to continue to be loud and clear!!! Love you!!
Dear Beth! I love your sentence: “Jesus showing off.” Maybe my body has crossed a threshold of saying to my brain: “No more crazy anxiety…just be Becky!” I sure hope so. What a grand surprise. Thank you for your care and encouragement.
Becky, Your story is still speaking months later, your voice welcomed and heard. Thank you for putting yourself out for all of us.