Hope is a Journey….

Archive for October, 2018

Beautiful, Broken, and Bare….

The first glimmer of morning kisses my cheek through the window near my bed.  I greet the dawn with a breath of fire; a new day reveals itself with promise and purpose.  I wrestle off the covers and coax my body to an upright position.  Every muscle screams and threatens mutiny as I evict my body from my bed and stumble towards the door.  The air feels heavy, the room slowly begins to fade to black, my heart races and my limbs feel like lead as I fall into the corner of the wall – bracing myself until the world feels right again.  As I make my way to the bathroom in a single rider tilt-a-whirl, I am mentally preparing myself for my next challenge….the shower.  Over the years, I’ve perfected the art of ‘Speed Shower’ in order to minimize the risk of passing out (which I used to do on a regular basis).  As the steam rises from the belly of the tub, I take a deep breath and step in.  Within 2 minutes of the water meeting with my skin, I can feel my body revolting furiously.  My heart beats like a Happy Hardcore techno song, my arms and legs get weak, my chest feels like it might explode.  I quickly grab the handheld nozzle and slide down the wall, finding myself on the floor of the bathtub.  I finish my shower in a seated position and then muster up what strength I have left to get out, dry off, and get dressed.

Exhausted from my first battle of the day, I make my way down the hall and take on the next challenge….the stairs.  17 unforgiving beasts of their own…and each one eager to take me down.  With every step, my legs shake and threaten to retaliate as I hold on to the railing as my lifeline.  “You’ve got this!” I tell myself halfway through….hoping my words carry me better than my legs.

Victoriously down on the first floor, the rest of the day awaits with the same daunting presence as it does every day….but nevertheless, I embrace the challenge with a fierce spirit and a determined heart.  This. Disease. Will. Not. Take. My. Joy.

Sadly, the thing that threatens to steal my joy the most is not my disease, it’s the perception of others that my disease LIMITS me, PREVENTS ME, or DISQUALIFIES me from offering something valuable, meaningful, or important to this world.

Being so honest and open about my journey with my disease process is something I feel is important – not just for myself to do, but for others to do as well.  When we hide our brokenness, our scars, our wounds, our challenges, our shortcomings…it, in essence, creates a cloud of shame to envelop these parts of our lives.  By hiding and being secretive about the things that impact us so greatly on a day to day basis, we are creating a negative power for it to soak in.  There is no shame in adversity, there is no shame in your struggle.  We ALL have our own battles, hurts, and issues that we face and by sharing these things with others, we remove the negative power and we EMpower ourselves to not focus on the bad but to be able to see the GOOD that comes from it.  We highlight how we RISE above those challenges, we REMOVE the veil of ‘perfection’ that so many try to hide behind, and we REVEAL how beautifully broken we are by baring our souls to the world.

BUT…there is a price for this – and I believe this price is the reason why so many of my amazing warriors out there fear to be real with each other.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that my help wasn’t asked for because I had too much on my plate.  Friends have told me that they didn’t share their own struggles because they felt their issue was ‘mundane’ compared to what I deal with and they didn’t want to stress me out.  My peers have refused my help in professional settings because they felt I had ‘too much going on’ and they felt it was best to just let me focus on that rather than allow me to do what I feel called to do and what I am good at doing.

All of these statements were completely well meaning.  All of these statements were said with love.  Sadly, all of these statements were made because of an assumption that my life is too broken – my world is too broken, for me to contribute in a meaningful way – without risking completely breaking me even more.

I get it.  People truly have the best intentions when they say these things (most of the time!), but these statements remove the most important factor from the equation – ME!

Imagine being skilled in something, having the ability to do that (and do it well), and feeling called to do it…only to be told that someone else decided they knew what was best for you, without even discussing it with you.

What isn’t considered is that my life is mine – it is beautifully broken and I am fiercely fighting to not just EXIST within it but to THRIVE despite the challenges I face, and when people make assumptions without trying to fully understand, it hurts – for sure.  It’s HARD to NOT to be angry when people judge you or make decisions for you when they haven’t fought what you’ve fought or overcome what you’ve overcome – but let me encourage you to dig down deep, beyond that hurt and anger and get to a place of love, because it’s only when you get to LOVE that you can truly show them where your strength is through that brokenness that they are blinded by.

Never has it hurt more than when I wanted to throw my whole heart into serving others and being rejected because there was ‘too much going on.’  I think that what we fail to realize (as human beings) is that we look at the world through our own personal lens – and everything we see is interpreted by our own experiences.  When someone sees my life they see tremendous hardship, nonstop chaos, and a lot of heartbreaking stuff.  When *I* look at my life, I see tremendous challenges, peace within the chaos, and a lot of beauty within the heartbreak.  They see so much going on that they can’t imagine that *one more thing* would make it any better or wiser for me to take on.  *I* see so little reason to not take what is in my heart of hearts and give the world everything I have.  They see a woman who asks for prayers and support as a sign of weakness – that she is falling apart.  *I* see a woman who knows the power of prayer and the power of community – reaching out to tap into that…and I see that as a sign of strength and courage. They see my life as a melancholy tragedy and *I* see my life as a beautiful testimony of God’s Grace and Provision despite our adversity.

We’re looking at the same exact things, but our experiences shape our view of them.

I want to encourage you all to try to remember to change your view of the things you look at before you make assumptions or draw conclusions, especially about a person OR about what a person can/cannot do.  In fact, you might be closing the door on a very powerful and positive result if you aren’t careful and open about the people who surround you in your world.  You might miss out, you might be the stumbling block for someone, you might completely shut someone down who was finally brave enough to open up.

And for my amazing and wonderful warriors out there – DO NOT let the naysayers stop you.  DO NOT let the ‘judgers’ deter you.  DO NOT let the ignorant ones cause you to retract and withdraw.  You MUST push forward.  YOU MUST NOT GIVE UP.  You MUST persist.  You have SO MUCH to offer this world.  There is SO MUCH that this world needs to learn from you.  Let them see your love through the disappointment, let them see your strength through your vulnerability, let them stand in the light of your courage when facing fierce opponents and overwhelming odds, let them watch you shine through the darkest hours, let them get a taste of what GRIT looks like as you face the onslaught of battle after battle without reprieve.  My friends, the world NEEDS to see YOUthe good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly.  We’re all perfectly imperfect – and it is only when we are brave enough to show our beautifully broken hearts to this world…when we are bare to the core – that we can change hearts and live with joy….and THAT may friends is something I refuse to surrender…my JOY is my STRENGTH.

I am beautiful, broken, and bare.   I am not ashamed of my journey, my scars, or my suffering.  I will not apologize for being the woman that God has called me to be, nor will I hide that under a rock – my light will shine, and anyone who tries to prevent me from doing that will not succeed.

I will persevere and I hope you will do the same.  Let it be your power, not your shame!

BARE

It’s days like these that I long for peace
All I need is to find relief
I’ve given up trying to explain
We’ve lost so much with so little gain
Nights like these they can paralyze
Fear grows strong if you give it time
I can’t control what has brought us here
But one day maybe you will see things clear

I am not afraid to show my cards
Shred this skin and drop my guard
There’s nothing left, there’s nothing more
My naked heart down to the core
The walls will fall, the scars will show
In the breaking down and letting go
I’ve lived this pain, I’ve had my share
I’m beautiful, broken, and bare

Waiting for the other shoe to fall
Counting on another promised call
Don’t blindly look through the truth to see
You’re terrified of all the proof in me
Don’t need a fix, I don’t need repair
I know life is hard and it’s never fair
I’m raw and real, I’m not mended yet
What you see, it is what you get

I am not afraid to show my cards
Shred this skin and drop my guard
There’s nothing left, there’s nothing more
My naked heart down to the core
The walls will fall, the scars will show
In the breaking down and letting go
I’ve lived this pain, I’ve had my share
I’m beautiful, broken, and bare

And the weight of all this history’s
A war that I must wage
Even though I know it’s hard to see,
One day I’ll turn this page

I am not afraid to show my cards
Shred this skin and drop my guard
There’s nothing left, there’s nothing more
My naked heart down to the core
The walls will fall, the scars will show
In the breaking down and letting go
I’ve lived this pain, I’ve had my share
I’m beautiful, broken…

Oh I’m beautiful, and broken…and bare.

©2013 Hope Rising

Love and Light,

Stefani

Matthew 5:14-16
14 
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

 

 

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