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More Than My Feelings

As the furor died down, reality set in and I realized that I'd be okay. In fact, I'd be better than okay. I took a month off to travel, rest, and reflect. As I opened these secret spaces and invited God in, he rushed in like a flash flood. He reminded me that he has me even in this and offered me the very things I convinced myself I'd never attain. He bathed me with grace and mercy and provision. Proved again that he can be trusted with those sore and sensitive places, and working miracles in my midst.

My friend Marilyn approached me recently with wet eyes. She'd shared my story with her sister, who in turn told her about a period of abuse perpetrated by their uncle. Somehow my story became one of the keys that unlocked the box in her life. The unspoken wedge that once divided Marilyn from her sister has now been removed, and healing is happening.

A woman named Crystal was one of more than a hundred who sent me an e-mail in recent months. She was raised by a single mother and abused by a neighbor whom she thought was a friend. She didn't tell anyone what happened, but the ripples from the trauma flooded her life. "I now feel free enough to share my story," she wrote at the close of her note.

God was setting me free by calling me to a place of honesty. And through my liberation, he was freeing others as well. When the storm swept through my life, I didn't know what in the world God was up to. Or if he was even involved. But the storm helped me see God in ways I'd never imagined. As it turns out, sometimes God lets our house burn down so we can better see the sun rise.

Though I'm still on this journey toward honesty, I can't help marveling at what God has accomplished. When I consider the freedom I now feel, I praise him. When I see others finding freedom, I rejoice yet again. God's mercies really are new each morning.

A woman in my church walked up not long ago and said, "I feel so bad for you. Your wounds are so deep." I appreciated her concern, but I also felt she didn't have the whole story.

"It's okay, ma'am," I replied. "I am wounded, and while I have deep holes in my heart, they are not empty. They are filled with grace."

Honesty has a way of humbling us, and it has me. It has softened my heart. As I've been honest about the bruised and broken parts of myself, the openness has become a doorway for God's healing.

For weeks, I slept like a baby, and by that I mean I was up all night crying. But over time, the pain dulled and God started working. I'd stopped worrying about perfect performance and shaping others' perceptions of me. I drew close to God's embrace and we conversed with a frankness we'd never shared.

After my moment of honesty, I spent two weeks with a counselor in the Rocky Mountains talking through events and feelings I'd never spoken out loud. There I realized that the ultimate key to move from secrecy to honesty is not telling the whole world, but rather letting God have access. Giving him permission to speak into the dusty recesses of the hidden places and letting him become a conversation partner as I sorted through the rubble.

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