Friday, August 7, 2015

My Story: Transparency

One of the most challenging parts as I set out to share with people my story is other people’s stories are intertwined with mine. I’ve always made it a point to not tell other people’s stories. For instance, I am married to a widower. Now, I have shared what that is like and dealing with grief, but I never have and do not believe I will write the details of Matt’s first wife’s battle with cancer. You will not see me retelling stories of his life with her and her death because that is not my story to tell - that is his if he chooses to share it. Now, I feel in a mission to be transparent, that yes if we sit in person and you are curious to know which cancer she battled and for how long then yes I do share those details with people - normally, those who ask are friends of mine. Even though my husband’s tragedy is a part of my story it really isn’t mine to tell. 

Now and somewhat unfortunately, other people’s lives and actions are part of my story. I do want to say though that it is not the totality of who they really are, in the scheme of things it’s is a small chunk of their life that bled over into mine. My writing will strain some relationships because it is hard to be written about. I’ve made a strong effort to conceal the identity of those that may not be shown in a good light - and really if you do not know me in person or are a new friend then you probably do not know the people from my past (except for maybe my mother). 

I have not tried to set out to hurt anyone with my story, but at the same time it is my story and if I were not being honest and transparent with my life,  and what I’ve lived through, then I do not believe I would be fulfilling what God has called me to do. 

I lived in a charade for a large part of my adult life. What I have learned is God loves me too much to allow my charade to continue. Now, I have shared with you my feeling when I started this journey of sharing my story, but I do not believe I’ve written about the moment God said, “the gig is up, it’s time to come clean. I’ve been asking you to do this for years, but you have not listened so now I will force you to let the really hard part out.”

It is true, I had been feeling the tugs for quite some time and honestly living in fear that my story would be told by someone to my family in a way of possible revenge. I am so glad I am past that fear. I don’t want to say that living transparently removes all fear because I’ve always feel a tinge of fear before I hit “post” and a blog goes live, but my life is so much easier now that I am not juggling different acting roles - trying to keep up with the story I want the world to see - not who I truly am. 

During the Fall of last year I applied for a position at the preschool associated with my church. The director knew me quite well and it was pretty much a given that she would be able to place me in a position after the new year. All I needed to do was take care of some basic requirements to work with children, one of them being a background check. When she said, “that should be no problem” I swallowed hard and shared with her the story of my arrest. (do not worry - you will get that story soon) After a good cry in her office, I faced the fact that now I needed to share that same story with my father in-law, since his position as the senior pastor may make it possible for him to have received the results of my back ground check as well. The last thing I wanted was for him to hear this from someone else. I do not know why I felt so heartbroken telling him that I wasn’t perfect - I am sure he already knew that, but again I cried. And I remember as clear as if it happened this morning, his response was “you know what? I love you.” 

A few weeks passed and my background check wasn’t an issue, so I was sent to be finger printed. For some reason that report did yield a different result which lead to the state wanting a copy of my police report. As the director shared this in her office I broke into tears, again. That poor woman. I didn’t tell her at the time why it was all so emotional for me, but I was scared. That document that recounts the events of the evening I was arrested also gives away one of the biggest secrets of my life - my second abortion. And that is when I knew that God was forcing my hands off those bags of secrets I had lugged around for so long. I had recently sat through so many conversations with friends and family where the topic of abortion and the women who went through that process had come up. Again and again I stuffed it way down deep and prayed that no one would learn my secret. 

I remember talking to my mom while sitting in the school pick up line to get Shelby that day, I said, “It’s time for the secret to come out and I strongly believe I have to tell people especially my husband.” I repeated to her over and over again that I am not my mistakes. I think I even turned right into preaching that she is not her mistakes either and we all need to embrace forgiveness. We needed to stop the cycle of woman in our family hiding their brokenness. I wish I could say that I sat there pumped about what my life was going to be like free from this secret, but I was scared to death. I was scared because I now had to share my secret with my husband. 

I am quite sure he thought I was leaving him or something major when I walked into the bedroom and said, “I need to talk to about something” while a look of grief was plastered on my face. I told him that I needed to produce my police report (that my mother had been hiding for me for years) and on that report it will say that I aborted a pregnancy. Shear fear ran through my body as I spoke those words to my pro-life husband. I was ready for disappointment, to be honest I was ready for anger and rejection since that would mirror my previous relationships, but that is far from what I got. I saw Jesus’ love through my husband that afternoon and I knew that God was confirming something loud and clear for me - it was time to get the brokenness out. This was reconfirmed again as I told my story to my in-laws. Their response echoed Matt’s and shined of Jesus’ love for me. 

With a lack of other words to describe it, keeping up falsehoods just sucks and feeling I have by being transparent in my writing and everyday living is amazing. 

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. ~ James 5:16

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