I used to be a gung-ho advocate of spilling parts of my scary story to anyone who would listen, even complete strangers at the park. You can imagine how awesomely that went down! “Hi, I’m Christina. I have experience in depression and loneliness and I’m great at wallowing in mom guilt. Look at your kid go on the monkeybars! Yeah, I have a lot of anxiety and body image issues. Will you be my friend?” People ran like crazy in the opposite direction (after they wiped away what I threw up all over them), and I felt completely rejected.
I hope I’ve learned some tact and sensitivity since then.
Hosting the Scary Stories series for the past two weeks has taught me some beautiful nuances of honesty and trust, and of course, storytelling.
The nature of scary stories is that people don’t interact or respond with them immediately. They need time to process the weight and truth told in the story in light of their own experience. These aren’t the types of stories that get a lot of comments, but the numbers show these stories were read by hundreds. God is good. If one heart was touched, then it was worth it!
God is using the broken pieces to rewrite their lives into a tale that is just beginning from the shattered pieces.
I asked the ladies who bravely shared their stories what the process was like. Initially, some of them wondered if their story was too much for readers to handle, some were too scared to share it on their own blogs, and many had no idea what people would think. But they did it: they exposed themselves in moments they each desperately needed a holy God to show up. And He did.
The experience was cathartic for all of us: to wade through 16 years or yesterday’s hurt: this pain still heavily informs our present and our future. Remembering helped us mark moments where God picked us up off the floor, although we may not have felt it back then in the dark. It took trusting Him again with our stories to write them down and let them be read.
Many of their stories told us that miracles still happen. However, most of them weren’t neatly tied packages either. These ladies shared how God is using the broken pieces to rewrite their lives into a tale that is just beginning from the shattered pieces. This is hope defined and refined in us: Hope that is ever present, and always ours.
No story is scarier than another, really. What traumatizes me, may not scar you nearly as badly. In other words, we’re all scared of different things. And our stories are as unique and as nuanced as our DNA. I’m not a better person because I’ve been through something serious, and you are not a smaller person because your pain looks different. All our scary stories, big and small, are precious to God. He can redeem them all.
It brought healing, peace, closure, and an openness for others to share their struggles and say, “Me, too!” These were stories we were afraid to share. When we take the risk to share the tough stuff, it opens the door for all of us to heal. We find out we are not alone.
Telling our story feels like we are actually putting ourselves in harm’s way, at the mercy of the world’s judgement. Isn’t that the very risk of living? When I think about it, getting in a moving car is riskier than telling a story. I could lose my life or just the esteem you give me.
It’s time to let the story sing of God’s faithfulness, even though it feels counter-intuitive to examine our past.
Reliving our past hurts can be a traumatic experience as we write them down. Some of my friends risked panic attacks and depression, even potential physical harm to share their stories on the blog, and for this I am deeply grateful.
What tenderness and care our stories need! What an honor and a responsibility it is to listen and represent another’s story.
There is a time to share, no matter what we feel about our story or what anyone else does. It’s time to let the story sing of God’s faithfulness, even though it feels counter-intuitive to examine our past. That’s what these ladies did, and I am thankful.
What if our history is the key to what God wants for our future? Tweet This
Recently I tried to befriend a lady I’d like to get to know better, but she feels pretty closed off to me. No, I didn’t share my darkest secrets to get her to spill hers. Instead, I asked her a personal question. I thought if I asked her something below surface level, I might get a glimpse into who she is better. So I did. Surprisingly, she shared, and deeply.
She said she tends to be private with her life details. I immediately admired her more and the pain I knew she was experiencing with a family member near death’s door. She let me in for a split second, and I saw a beautiful part of her soul. Just knowing a small glimpse of her life gave me compassion and a newfound respect for the quiet stories we are all living. We’re all at different places on unique journeys.
I’m so thankful to the brave storytellers and the courageous readers. You stuck it out with us and followed along. Some of you commented. Some of you stayed silent. Wherever you are on the journey of healing and finding hope in the dark corners, know this: You matter and so does your story.
We’re not all called to bare our souls, simply to bring others with us into the light. Tweet This
Here’s a short video about what’s happening on the blog and what I learned from the brave ladies who shared their scary stories. Read them all here.