Scripture: Romans 10:11
The first time I heard another woman tell her story, I clutched my heart and gasped. Could this be true? Are these things we actually talk about? Abuse, shame, failure, all the messes we make, and the struggles we go through—could there be an honest life on the other side of it all? She gave me hope that the gap between who I was and who I was pretending to be could finally start closing. She taught me a truth that day: My story matters.
Our stories matter. Many of us wonder if we are alone in our pain. The truth about our past has the power to heal. When another person we love and respect normalizes our lived experiences and our confusing emotions, we exhale; we decide we’re going to be okay and that we just might make it through this (whatever “this” is). We’re encouraged and inspired to respond. And maybe, someday, we’ll even be moved to do the same for another—to go first.
My story includes a long struggle to overcome the pain of addiction, rape, abortion, perfectionism, and broken relationships. I’ve found that real truth telling requires intimacy and vulnerability. Knowing what to share and when and how to share it requires maturity. Our deepest wounds come from relationships with others. Yet our growth and healing depend on our willingness to peel back the layers of comfort and security we hide behind, in order to reengage, trust again, and try again with others.
This requires us to take off our mask and risk showing all the ugly to discover that we are worthy of love despite our past, our flaws, and our fear. This requires inviting others to live inside that gap with us and committing to stand in theirs as well. Truth telling takes guts and gumption, grit and grace.
The world is hungry for people to own their stories and to create safe spaces for others to do the same. We need a release from shame, freedom from fear, and courage to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done.
When has hearing someone else’s honest story been freeing and empowering to you?