Have you ever felt like you were the only one that struggles with something? Like what you are going through is unique to just you and no one else could understand? Or maybe you’ve felt that even though others have been in a similar situation, they surely “handled it” better than you did? Like they were far more spiritual and steady than you are, and therefore, you are failing…..maybe even failing in your faith?
I recently sat in a room with some women as they shared their stories. They talked about their life experiences and their heartaches. One was raised in an abusive home, and experienced years of pain and grief. Another became pregnant at a very young age. Another wandered from the faith she was raised with as the years of life grew on her. Another has experienced addiction.
As I listened to their stories, I couldn’t help but to be in awe of them! Sharing their stories took courage! But something else happened when they shared. The others in the room had the courage to also open up about their own struggles.
God promises that we are never alone in our trials.
Isaiah 41:10 says “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
God assures us many times in His word that He is always with us. That He will never leave us. That we do not need to walk this life alone.
But the enemy likes to isolate us and make us believe that we are alone. He whispers the lie that “No one struggles with this like you do.” And “Her faith is stronger than yours is, so this is easier for her to go through.” How about this one, “If you share that part of your life, they will think badly of you. It’s better to keep it to yourself until you fix it….”. Lies.
The enemy is constantly trying to keep us from community, from fellowship with Jesus and with others. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “strength in numbers”? There is such truth there. When we choose to be connected to the body of Christ through church, small groups, and bible studies, we are exercising that principle. We are placing ourselves in community with others for support and encouragement. When we do so, we have others around us to love, support and remind us of God’s love and faithfulness.
When we choose to be honest and open about our stories, it not only helps us, but it truly helps others as well.
Think of it this way; When you are experiencing a difficulty in your life, isn’t it easier to talk it out with someone who has been down a similar road? It is our shared experiences that bind us. Often our situation is not exactly the same as our sister’s. But just knowing that she also wrestled in her heart and faith to get through something can help us feel less like the failure that the enemy wants to convince us that we are. Hearing her talk about it opens up a place in our souls for healing to begin.
2 Corinthians 1:4 “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” The idea here is that we share our struggles to encourage each other. This way no one needs to feel alone. Too many women feel alone in this life. But as we share life, we realize that not only are we united in our struggles, but in our strength as well!
The women I spoke about today are beautiful women of God! Each one has changed and continues to grow in her faith and trust in God. The beautiful thing about our stories, is that The Author still has the pen in His hand. If your life and story is not what you want it to be, take heart! It is not over yet! As long as there is breath in our lungs, there is time to grow. And there is time for God to work.
If you are currently in a struggle, don’t keep it to yourself, share life with your faith community. If you are without a faith community to plug into, I strongly encourage you to seek one out! Share gently, and within the walls of trust inside your connections, but share. You are not alone. Don’t allow yourself to continue to be isolated in your trial. Help and healing begins when we bring the truth into the light.
If you are “on the other side” of a struggle, someone needs to hear from you. Someone is hurting and isolated. Someone needs to hear how God brought you through. God WILL use our trials for good. Nothing is wasted with Him. He can use the fragments of broken pieces in our lives, but we must share them for that to happen. He didn’t bring you through the pain just for yourself, He wants to use it in the lives of those He connects you to.
God, I know you want to use my story for your glory. Lead me to share where you want to shine. I trust that you will draw my heart to another who needs to see your face reflected in mine. I want my life to bring you honor as I share all that you’ve done for me. Please give me courage to be transparent.