Offer your story
Some of the best words in the world are "me too."
Last week at church I met a family for the first time and as the mom and I exchanged small talk, adoption came up. I've noticed as I introduce my family these days I say that we have two daughters and are adopting our third sweet child. It feels strange not to mention our next baby, whom we feel so deeply connected with already even if we haven't met them yet. The other mom quickly told me she had adopted children also. As she shared her story of long ago, waiting by the computer for an adoption email to come through and how hard it is to put that season into words, I found myself saying "me too."
The truth is every time I bring up our adoption I try to gloss quickly over it so I don't tear up. One thing I learned very early on in this process is that it triggers tears in me I didn't know were even there. Usually happy ones. Sometimes hard ones. So this Sunday I could have easily kept the talk very small and the other mom could have too. No harm would have been done. But what relief and strength comes when we share our stories. I don't mean we have to go around unloading our personal lives on social media or even with those in our circles. But I do mean being real with others and offering a window into our hearts and who we are is healing. Our stories can encourage others, lead others to Christ, and banish the misguided stories of loneliness and discouragement. So often the devil has tried to trick my mind into thinking I am completely and utterly alone. That no one would ever understand my thoughts or even if I tried to explain them, they'd leave.
It's been through sharing my story with people both very close to home and far, far away that I've learned the value in praying those thoughts away and then talking to someone about it. No use in living a shut up, dark life with the doors closed. Instead, let the light in. I can think of numerous times my best friend down the road has listened patiently to me and then quoted scripture back when I've needed it most. The same goes for my twin sister. All because they also see the value of opening the window of their lives and minds and sharing their gifts.
Today, let the light in and share your story.