Thursday, November 3, 2011

Being Real

I realized if I was going to blog my journey, and invite people into my life, I had to be real.  I couldn't just give you one side of the story.  If you were to really understand what this widow's walk is all about you have to be a part of the good and the bad times.  Because let's be honest, there are both.  And in reading my blog on Monday, and then again on Tuesday, you see what a "yo-yo" a widow's life can be.  Its up, its down, even sideways.  Every night when you go to bed the reset button is hit.  Just because yesterday was beautiful doesn't mean today will be.  And vice versa.

When yesterday's post went live, I felt the slightest tinge of regret.  I thought, "am I letting people down because I had a hard day and wrote about it?"  I know that's not the truth, but admit it. You've felt that too. You have to be strong, "they" tell us.  Why? And who is "they"?  Have "they" ever spent a day or a week in your shoes? Have "they" ever planned their husband's funeral?  Have "they" ever told their children their father died? Have "they" had to raise a child on their own? Have "they" ever had to learn to handle everything related to their home and life?  The truth is "they" don't have a clue!

I'm here to say you don't have to be strong!  You don't have to wear a smile every time you see someone, or walk into the church sanctuary.  You don't have to do everything and be everything.  It's okay to have bad days... because you are going to!  And once you accept that truth, you'll find the bad days aren't as bad, because you don't feel guilty for having them.  For a long time I had this external pressure put on me that I had to look like everything was okay, and even more I was supposed to actually be okay.   I had this pressure that I couldn't have bad days.  When some one asked me how I was doing, I felt I had to answer positively.  But it wasn't the truth.  It was a mask, a facade.  I was taught that if I showed my weakness, and hurt that I wasn't giving God glory!  So I carried around hurt and pain.  I repressed it.  I denied it.  And when it arose, I would feel guilty.  I would question myself, "Why do I feel like this? What's wrong with me?" And the only thing that came from that was an emotional breakdown.

Unfortunately as Christians we are the worst at this.  The world knows you are gonna have bad days, and they expect you to tell the world when you do.  But step inside the church, and if you don't have a plastic grin on your face, you aren't a good Christian. You are labeled as having little faith, or you are "doubting" God.  The day I stepped out of this false reality, and entered a safe place, I started healing.  I started living healing.  I have been able to be myself, and share it.  And lightening has struck me yet, for being an ungrateful child!  Rather, quite the opposite has happened.  

When I began to share my struggles, even through a simple post on Facebook, something amazing happened.  People reached out.  They encouraged me, they prayed.  I realized that plastic faces rob the body of Christ from doing what God designed it to.  When we get real, the body steps up!  And that was exactly what I needed through those difficult times.  Just as Moses needed someone to hold up his arms so  Israel would win the battle, we need others to hold us up when we get tired.  We can't do it alone.  We are going to have bad days.  We are going to get tired.  We are going to be weak.  And God's okay with it.  

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I'm not saying, lay around and feel sorry for yourself, or indulge in a pity party.  How is God's power working through that? Its not.  But I am saying, take off the mask.  Be real.  Be real with others and be real with yourself.  Ask for help when you need it.  Let people into your world.  They don't know what you are going through, and why certain events may be hard. But tell them if your struggling.  Give yourself the freedom to feel. Its all part of the healing process.  And remember at the end of those hard days, God hits reset as you sleep.   "Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. "  Psalm 30:5  Tomorrow could be a better day.  Tomorrow could be full of hope.  Tomorrow could be the day where he turns your mourning into dancing.


  1. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post it is so true. May you continue to be real and you will be blessed for it. God Bless You!

  2. Michelle, Thank you so much! You have no idea how your response to this post has encouraged me. I have really struggled with this, as you can tell, and the reinforcement personally blesses me!

  3. Jenn, You are wise to understand the importance of being real on the roller coaster of grief. Never feel ashamed because you are suffering from the lose of someone you loved. The only thing predictable in this journey is unpredictability and it is important for those around us to comprehend the ups and downs we will experience as our hearts heal. God knows we are hurting and even collects our tears. It is a comfort to know we can always "Be Real" with Him! We also need to give ourselves the freedom to be real with the people in our lives. Know that you are never letting anyone down by being honest.

  4. Renee', Thank you so much for your encouragement. I have no problem being real with God, that's for sure. But people, with hard days, I guess has been harder for me, especially in the past. Just another thing I've learned from being a widow. He's taken me on this amazing journey of freedom and I'm never turning back! So thank you for affirming what He has been teaching me.

  5. Jennifer,

    I wore my masks before my husband died, but the moment he died, those masks were ripped off and I couldn't be anything but real after that. And, I have found it to be very, very freeing. Finally, I can be me and be real and let people see who I really am as a person. It doesn't matter anymore if I please them or not. It's all about me and God now.