It Takes a Village

Ever since I was a child, I have loved writing as a form of expression. I remember winning a writing contest in elementary school for a book I wrote about my family. Going back years and years and years, I have enjoyed writing about life.

Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I get it wrong but these days I am trying to balance sharing my story while also protecting those who share it with me. There is no denying though, I saw the value and power in story even as a young girl. 
A little while ago, I got a message from a woman who had been introduced to my blog. She saw some similarities in our stories, and messaged me about it. Already a mother, she found herself unexpectedly pregnant in an extremely tumultuous and dark time in her life. She confessed that she had made an appointment to terminate her pregnancy.
I remember opening that message and feeling a whole host of emotions. Touched, that she would reach out to me. Burdened, to know what to say and how to respond. Overwhelmed, uncertain on how to make her feel safe and not judged. 
I didn’t know what to do, really, other than pray.
I have written out this story so many times, and I’m going to be honest with you – I cannot do it justice. I wish I could. I wish I could adequately describe how God orchestrated so many events in my life leading up to receiving this email. I wish I could share with you the people He put in my path, the choices I’ve made, the things I’ve experienced that helped me in this moment. I won’t, because it would take too long and truthfully the details aren’t the important part.
What I’ve taken away from this experience is this:
– there is power in sharing your story
– there is power in reaching out for help
It doesn’t matter whether you share your story through a blog like I do, or if you share it with just one other person. What I have learned is that God can and does use some of the darkest moments of my life for good. 
Reaching out for help is not easy. Most of us live with the idea that needing other people is a sign of weakness. We have a hard time knocking over walls, trusting others with our hearts and forgiving when people hurt us. 
So if you’ve reached out and felt rejected, I get it. There have been people, friends, organizations and even churches who have cast me aside when I needed them most. And even though I am now in a place where I remind myself often that I am dealing with imperfect people, it can be hard to bounce back from that. But I can look at myself and realize that I have disappointed people too. I have let others down, and rejected people needing help, even if I didn’t do it intentionally.

To live openly, to trust fully, to try to be vulnerable when other people handle you imperfectly is hard. It’s painful and usually disappointing.

It’s also brave.

For this woman to reach out to me, a stranger, and let me know she was in a dark place was brave. It allowed me to not just see how a deeply painful part of my life can help others, it allowed me to reach deep inside myself where God works continually to shape who I am becoming.

I am brought to tears virtually every time I think about this story. This woman has been connected to counselors and a church – not just through me, but through people God has put in my life and events that have taken place. Her baby is due this spring, and she sent me this message recently. With her permission, I’m sharing it here.  

I want to send you a picture of a little girl, my little girl, she wouldn’t be here without your influence, you made the calls and prayed, she’s still got a beating heart because of you.

When I read that message, I couldn’t help but look back and see how God had orchestrated so many things in MY life to help HER make a choice she felt unable to make. Because she was brave and reached out for help…because she was vulnerable and trusted me with her story….because God is such a great, great God who sees so far beyond what we are able to see, this woman’s life will be forever changed.

Is she in a perfect place now? I doubt it. None of us are. But she is beginning to feel like she has others who love her and support her and want the best for her and her family. She has a glimmer of hope.

Please don’t be afraid to share your story, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. I am forever repeating to myself this mantra: “We belong to each other” (You know I can’t go a day without a nod to Glennon)

What an amazing God we serve.

Y’all. We DO belong to each other. Our stories, our hurts, our triumphs, our fears – there is so much power in all of it. We can’t do this whole life thing alone. We aren’t meant to. You’ve heard the saying, it takes a village to raise a child…I think it takes a village to get through life. Don’t be afraid of getting messy with someone else’s messy life. And if you haven’t found your village yet, please keep going. Keep looking. It’s worth it. 

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