As a wife of a husband who “happens to be the Pastor,” the words “Secrets, Pastor’s Wife and Wishes” drew my eyes in. I was excited someone was thinking that Pastor’s wives really do have struggles and then wrote about it. Awesome! I left my “two cents” in the comments; it felt good to put my thoughts and experiences alongside others who know my struggle. I felt satisfied and blessed.
But over the next few days, I went back and watched this string of comments turn into MILES of heart cry…Miles of commenting people opening up their “can of worms” in response to this article. But why?? Why out here in the middle of cyber-space??
Because it was a safe place, that’s why. I know, because I was one of them.
A Voice of Hope
Shattered gave us a voice because we felt safe to share our struggles there. And when I started poking around the site, I saw one encouraging story after another. And the best part? They were all pointing to the love and grace of our Savior. MEGA WIN!! I was hooked!!
But while I was so very excited about seeing raw, Christ-centered story sharing on the Shattered site, I became disappointed in myself and in the church. Unfortunately, our culture has issued a proverbial “gag order” to the concept of openly sharing our trials so many times over. Many, if not MOST times, this is even the case in our Christian circles. And IT. SHOULDN’T. BE.
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (NKJV)
If we are not sharing our burdens with each other, then how can we be bearing one another’s burdens and offering help to those around us, like Galatians says to? How can we follow in His footsteps of carrying the burdens of “the world” if we’re encouraging each other to pretend to be happy and without troubles?
I can’t offer strength or encourage you with the hope of Christ if I don’t know the needs of your aching heart. (And vice versa!) We want everyone to think we are fine and that we have no struggles, but as long as we are human this is a LIE.
But here’s the thing: God intended for us to draw encouragement and help from each other. He NEVER, EVER intended for us to walk alone. When we miss this piece of what God intended for His church, we miss some of the beautiful design of community that God had in mind.
Enter Shattered Magazine
When I found Shattered, this concept had been shuffled to the back of my mind. I needed to be reminded of this, to bring it into the front yard of my thinking. Shattered encouraged me to be willing to share my hurts and bear the pain of those around me.
Shattered is modeling publicly what we believers should have the freedom and humility to do privately.
Shattered has collected story after story where God has worked mightily through these burdens. What an encouragement! We ALL need more of that!
Telling our stories of trials is vital because let’s face it we are pretty much in one of three places concerning trials—we have either just come out of a trial, are in the middle of one, or one is coming our way.
I am so thankful that God sent Shattered my way to remind me of this piece of what I was missing from my walk with Jesus Christ. That is why love—underline—LOVE Shattered Magazine!! I also LOVE that Shattered’s Mission is top-dead-center-in-line with the cause of the gospel.
So what do you do with this?
Share your stories. Share them privately and testify of God’s goodness in your life! Or confess them to a brother or sister in Christ and ask for help. It is totally okay, and actually, it’s biblical.
Share your story publicly. Post it on Facebook, start a blog, or write it in your Christmas letter. Or share it with place like Shattered that can help encourage others with how God has helped you through tough times. Here Are 5 Things to Remember When Telling Your Story. (And if you’re interested in sharing your story through Shattered, visit https://shatteredmagazine.net/share-your-story/ and read their Guidelines and Terms & Conditions.) It will be worth it.
Tell your story so that someone out there can know they are not alone in this walk of faith. When we see others fighting the good fight right beside us, this big, bad world gets a little smaller and a whole lot better.
And the best part? The glorious gospel is on display for all to see!
Find me on Twitter! @christylouhoo or on my Facebook page!
Photo Credit: Creation Swap, Kelsey Johnson, Feet in Fountain