The Ugly Truth Made Beautiful (part one)

We all have a story.

We all have an area of brokenness that needs healing and repair.

And so what do we do when life hurts?

When dreams die?

When heartache comes?

I’m learning this all myself. I’ve checked out scads of books from the library and researched well-known “Christian” blogs and articles. I’ve read dozens of scriptures and scratched notes and quotes on papers and in journals.

Eventually, our wounds from life move us from the proverbial ER to physical therapy.

Just like a broken bone is reset, so must our broken dreams be. And so we can take them to the shelter of Jesus…and the work to rise again begins.

Our vision may be changed…or the course of life altered from what we thought would be our path.

But by resting our cares in Our Father’s hands and relinquishing our hold on the life that we feel has so greatly disappointed us, we begin to see again that He has great plans for us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. —Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

What I HAVE learned and what I HAVE derived from weeks, months, of intense searching of what the next step after my broken dream is this…

The need to be REAL.

The need to be open and honest about who I am. About my struggles, my fears, my dreams…all that I feel that God has released for me to share.

Over and over again, that is what I feel has reverberated so intensely with me. REALNESS.

Realness in order that it might strike a chord in another’s soul…that someone who struggles the same as I do would see a little bit of themselves in my stories and know that they are not alone. That they would also understand the continual and ever-present need for grace. The heart cry to take repeatedly to Our Heavenly Father our needs and our brokenness…and our interrupted lives.

A book I read recently titled Nurture by Lisa Bevere, presented some beautiful ideas of how women can NURTURE other women by simply being real and honest.

When we draw near and are honest, God can turn around our issues and then take what blesses and heals us on an individual basis and magnify it for the healing of many–sometimes even the healing of nations.

Whoa. The “healing of nations”?

I, in my own strength, would never be able to even help with the “healing of one”, let alone nations. But I think we limit God sometimes by putting limits on ourselves. If that makes sense.

We say, “Oh God could never use me to do THAT.” Or “No. I can’t do THAT.”

And I don’t mean to come off as arrogant, but rather to point to an all-powerful God and say, “HE can do anything. And if He wants to use me for it, then who am I to argue?”

God has used some messed up people to pull off some amazing world and history changing events, friends. Read about Moses or Abraham or Jonah or Paul or David. We are no more broken than they. It is what we choose to let God do with that brokenness that brings about the changes in our lives as well as the lives of others.

So…for me, it is time to get REAL. It is time to spill out the ugly truths that lurk underneath the exterior of Annette Parris. The ugly truths that, through God’s grace and presence, can be made beautiful.

No one benefits from any of us being dishonest or pretending that we have it all together. If anything, especially among women, it harms our self-images and destroys what could be opportunities for God to bring about beautiful and REAL friendships that are refreshingly honest in a society where we all tend to want to project an image of who we THINK we SHOULD be at times, rather than who we really are.

The following quote from Lisa Bevere’s book was one that leapt right off the page at me. I would have ripped out the page it was printed on and taped it to my mirror…only it was a library book. :)

The daughters of our time are not interested in watching us as we pretend to be perfect…They want to know what we learned when we failed. They hope we will be brave enough to be honest, authentic, and wise with our words and life lessons. They hope we will STRAIN THE BITTERNESS FROM OUR STORIES AND PRESENT THEM AS WINE, LACED WITH PROMISE.

I bolded the last words because THAT is what I have harbored in my heart for months now.

Bitterness.

I wrote a post a few months back regarding how I wished to let go of the anger that had bound up my heart.

You see, MY story, involved some very hurt feelings. And although I wanted to let go of the deep anger that I had let take residence in my heart, I know now that I left it there. I only succeeded in shoving it down even further within my soul.

And that is where the seed of anger turned into a bitterness that pervaded my entire life.

It wasn’t just a bitterness at people, either. It was a bitterness, I am ashamed to say, at God.

If you had asked me if that was the case, I probably would have denied it vehemently. Because I was in denial of it with myself.

And it wasn’t a miraculous, blinded by the light moment, that opened my eyes to it either. I suppose for some people it is…but it was over the course of several weeks that I feel like the shadow was lifted that revealed that terrible bitterness that I needed to release to My Heavenly Father.

I have some work to do…I won’t lie. There are conversations that I need to have with people, and I often feel that awful stab of pain that comes out of nowhere sometimes when I think of my “story”, my “broken dream”.

What I have learned is this: it is a process for me where I need to repeatedly, over and over again, bring the broken pieces of my heart to my God.

I am a broken person, and I can only survive this life where things get messy and relationships get ruined and decisions are made that alter families by seeking His grace over and over and over again.

I fail and fall everyday. As a wife, as a parent, as a friend.

And that is why I cannot survive without God’s immeasurable mercies and love.

We all have a story. 

And I don’t think the “details” of mine really matter so much anymore. It is what I choose to do with it.

And what I am choosing to do, and must daily bring under My Father’s grace, is to be real. To use my blog, my little corner of the world, and my life as an example of no longer hiding what others may be able to glean hope and healing from.

And so it begins.

See! I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. —Isaiah 43:19

Comments

  1. says

    How perfect, that you should post this today, when I was sitting at my desk wallowing in my own darkness and jealousy, nursing my own bitterness and regrets. You’ve always had a gift for putting things in a way that touches the heart of a person, cracks open the shell to expose the bittersweet. =)
    I love the thought of straining the bitterness out and leaving behind the richness to share with others – like a cup of strong coffee, you come through the “hot water” richer, stronger, more flavorful and powerful.
    <3 Keep it up! Sending you love.

  2. Jill says

    Amen…and thank you! This post reminded of a quote that impacted me greatly when I first saw it.

    “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen.” ~Martin Luther

    I haven’t done that in so long because I honestly don’t even know what to say anymore. But this post blew a slight breeze on the embers of my heart that need to express. The way God made me to do so. And I suspect the way He’s made you too.

    Keep following the One who made you and keep being real. I suspect we won’t know real life until we’re worn and have places where our fur has been rubbed off through life’s difficulties. I look forward to hearing more of your story as God leads you to write it. You are loved!