Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What Brings You Joy?


What Brings You Joy?

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5b
 

“I had no idea…I always thought you lived the perfect life!”

Her words still echo in my mind...

I am thankful that she heard my real story. I am thankful that I removed my mask, opened my heart, bared my soul for all to see.

I was speaking on faith at a women’s retreat at my church.

It was an amazing experience. Our retreat resulted from a team of 18 women who met for a year and a half, sharing our stories of gain and loss, life and death, triumph and tragedy.

We drew together each week, sometimes celebrating a sister’s breakthrough or holding another as she recounted her pain, unimaginable. We became so real to one another, no longer hiding behind the put-together outfit, the bright smile, the “Fine thanks, how are you?” that often marked our Sunday morning church greetings.

Buoyed by one another, we became brave enough to share our truth, the honest truth of sin and doubt and broken relationships and even shocking stories of what had gone on behind closed doors, beyond the brightly painted doors of homes that had “curb appeal.” We went “there.” And we held each other through and grew. Till we were ready. Ready to tell our stories to our sisters who didn’t know.

Why?

To dispel lies.

If just one person was set free, it was worth our rocky, tear-stained journey.

If just one woman could see that she was not alone. If she could finally open up, feel welcomed, unafraid. If she could share the truth of her messy, much-less-than-perfect life because she felt safe. Then we had done what we came for.

Oh let’s not be fooled by the gal who’s looking so good--hair perfect, nails chip free, stylish clothes, organized life, godly kids, smile flashing—even if it’s ourselves! (Though it’s surely not me…) They too have their bad days, sad stories, feel isolated, and wonder if anyone else is struggling.

Instead let’s welcome each other in a little deeper. And let the question, “How are you?” linger a little longer till we hear the real answer.

This is what brings me joy…pushing past the polite, the safe, the outside all wrapped up in a pretty bow…to you. Real you connecting with real me.

What brings you joy?




Let's Chat! Please leave a comment

20 comments:

  1. so wonderful to have that experience and a group of women with which to connect. I too have great joy in connecting whether it is with other women, my husband or children.
    Lately I have really been spending one-on-one time with my kids that has brought me great joy, the kind where well after they have gone to bed and the house is quiet I smile...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh this sounds so nice, Kimberly! There is no substitute for one on one no matter who it is.

      Delete
  2. Amen, Elise!! There is such joy in being known and really knowing another. Thank you for sharing this beautiful picture of biblical sisterhood with us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true Amy we all want to be known. I pray I would remember that in all my relationships. Oh how I love fellowship!

      Delete
  3. "Why?
    To dispel lies.
    If just one person was set free, it was worth our rocky, tear-stained journey."

    Absolutely. You said it all right there. Wow...what a post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Christine! I guess there was a time that I wanted to be seen as an all-together kind of gal. But that was a long time ago. Embracing our brokenness is so much more real.

      Delete
  4. I LOVE this post! Beautifully written and such truth- amazing what happens when we dare to be vulnerable and real. Preach it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cala! You're very real and vulnerable...one of the many things I love about you.

      Delete
  5. Hi Elise,
    I'm glad to meet you. How many times have I met someone who seemed to have it all together and thought to myself, "I wish..." Thank you for sharing. I'm glad you stopped by my blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So nice to see you here Betty! I know...and just in case I fool myself, there are times I do wish that I was like someone else in organization or productivity or successfully raising godly kids. But then I'm reminded we all have our strengths and weaknesses...and no one is perfect, despite appearances!

      Delete
  6. Yes, this! This brings me joy too! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shared joy...a beautiful thing! I love your photography Melissa Ann.

      Delete
  7. I love this! Going deeper in our relationships...beyond the "I'm fine." There is beauty in sharing our weaknesses. Thank you for sharing. Stopping by through Kristen's link-up. Blessings to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by Beth. It can be so easy to exchange pleasantries, but there is so much more to be exchanged. I loved your letter to your husband. Beautiful!

      Delete
  8. YES. I love that you are helping women finding freedom by being REAL with one another. Beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Emily...you help us get real through your writing. I so appreciate you!

      Delete
  9. God impressed this on my heart about 3 years ago, I realized that hiding and the "I'm fine's" we're doing more harm than good. I began to see what a stumbling block it was for others who were struggling to be around those that were "perfect" and always seemed to have it together and no problems. God's been peeling me away, it's hard being transparent and vulnerable, but it has also brought me the greatest blessings and close friendships.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true Alecia, it is a stumbling block to authentic relationship. And though being transparent can be hard, you're so right, the exchange for deeper friendships is worth it!

      Delete

Let's Chat! Please leave a comment

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...