We were the girls with straight A's, the girls who actually cried when we got the occasional B and marveled how some could float through school just passing by yet seemed so unworried and free.
We were the mediators of our childhood friendships, trying to keep everyone happy. Trying to keep everyone happy would be a frustrating but constant companion of ours.
We were involved in everything, and excelled at much. We received many ribbons and awards. Ironically, in our own heads we never quite measured up. We were incredibly aware of second place ribbons and first runner up positions. Those were failures rather than successes in our minds.
We grew up to be women, women who wanted to excel and most of all, women who wanted to please.
God has been teaching me just how deep my desire to please people runs.
I always dreamed of being a wife and a mother. And my dream came true, beautifully true. I am a wife to a wonderful husband and mother to two incredible children. It is bliss, passion, teamwork, belly laughter, adventures and outings, creativity and color, magical moments.
But sometimes it is not.
And sometimes at the end of the day, no one seems to be very happy with me at all.
So I internalize and strive and sometimes unexpected tears fall onto my pillow.
Not only am I a wife, I am the wife of a pastor. I count it a privilege to be a pastor's wife. I have led people to worship, I have led people to Jesus. I have mentored, taught, helped, given, counseled, and enjoyed the sweetest of fellowship. It is a noble and beautiful calling.
But being a pastor's wife is not always easy.
In fact, sometimes it is very hard.
And any of us could tell you that we privately carry the weight of heavy burdens and a load of secret hurts. Our pain is very personal, often handled undercover and stamped confidential.
There came a season when I started to come undone. So I would cry in the shower for after all, isn't that the safest place to cry? And it was excruciatingly painful but it was also exquisitely beautiful because for the first time this pleaser realized that my most sincere and valiant efforts were futile, and in my brokenness and helplessness I experienced an unbelievable intimacy with my Savior.
I would bear wounds from others, but God would sovereignly turn them into sacred scars. I experienced His gentle healing.
I would forgive others, and I would also start to forgive myself for not being perfect, which in clearer terms meant I started accepting Christ's finished work for me on the cross. In this finality I would experience His breathtaking freedom.
Then I would experience some of His richest blessings when I least expected it. I would open a wounded, weary heart up to a few friends, old and new. And these women would become the faces of grace to me.
One day I would even find myself sitting make-up free across from one of these women, sharing coffee and hidden heart places while a baby fussed and cooed, and I would tell this friend I sometimes cry in the shower and instead of being disappointed in me, I would see her eyes fill with tears because, guess what, sometimes she does too.
We're all in desperate need of a Savior.
Even those of us with a pile of almost perfect report cards and dusty ribbons tucked away in some corner of our home or hearts.
And when we start to taste and see, when we cease striving and start receiving, when we accept the grace of Jesus we tell others about as being for us too, brokenness tears apart a seemingly seamless place inside us. It gets a little messy. We start to allow tears we've held back for far too long to flow. We discover the open arms of our Abba Father. We discover the open arms of a grace-filled friend.
Honestly, we discover grace.
The wonderful and matchless grace of Jesus.
The one that, like we sang about as children, is broader than the scope of my transgressions. The one that is deeper than the mighty rolling sea.
The one that can take away my burden and set my spirit free.
This is my story. This is my testimony of grace.
The wonderful grace of Jesus is reaching me.
And His grace can reach you too.
Yes, you - beautiful, broken you.
One day, your scars will tell a story.
Your own unique testimony of your journey towards grace.
Open your arms wide in surrender and let Him take you on the journey.
Oh, if there is one thing in life I could help encourage you to do, here it is.
Let Jesus take you to grace.