Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Why I Write the Yucky Stuff

Last week, I shared a blog post, When Holidays and Birthdays are Difficult, that had some folks questioning why I write about such things. Some people prefer happy, cheerful, surface-level posts. Some seem to think I want the drama that posts like this may cause, which could not be further from the truth. To help readers understand why I write the yucky stuff, I thought I’d offer a little explanation.

I write about seasons of pain because there are many others who are in – or who have experienced – similar seasons, and some of those people are seeking hope. They are seeking someone who understands. Someone who will not judge, will not condemn. Those people need to know they are not alone. They may also need Jesus, so perhaps God will give me the privilege of helping point them toward HIM.

In her recent book, Colorful Connections: 12 Questions About Race that Open Healthy Conversations, author Lori Roeleveld wrote this powerful statement:

“Shame is a silencer.”

Let that sink in. When I read Lori’s words, they lit up like a neon sign on a dark, stormy night. I stopped and read that sentence again and again, finally understanding so many years of my own silence. How many times had I been silent when I should have spoken out?

I’ve been silent through a dysfunctional childhood. Silent through divorce, even after I was told divorced women belonged in the basement. I remained silent when I was told women should not speak in church. I’ve been silent since my younger son raised one hand in worship during a song in church, and the pastor pulled me aside afterward to tell me my son was not welcomed there. I’ve been silent ever since. Silent through pain and heartache that some mothers face every day with mentally ill children. Silent through extreme hardship. Silent in the valleys and even silent on the mountaintops, because after so many valleys, we know the mountaintops are only momentary.

I’ve been silent for too long, haven’t I? During my silence, I have learned one important truth: it’s always easier to write on someone else’s behalf than it is my own. God instructs us through His word to speak up, too, so how can we remain silent when we see wrong?

Learn to do good;

Seek justice,

Rebuke the oppressor,

Obtain justice for the orphan,

Plead for the widow’s case.

(Isaiah 1:17 NASB)

As we grow and mature, we learn (hopefully) how to bridle our pens, controlling when and where to write, not just lashing out in our pain or anger. We strive to write life-giving words, rather than words that do harm, because we know how this Story ends.

If words I write can offer comfort or hope or inspiration to one person – one weary, struggling soul – or point them to Jesus when they’re so thirsty for His Living Water – then any momentary discomfort, worry, embarrassment, or concern I may have about sharing my journey is worth it all.

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