Love is a powerful thing. There can never be too much of it in this world. In fact, in the last months, I have seen way too much evil and hatred. I find myself looking for ways to show God's love in this broken world. I find myself wanting to echo these words back to all those who think they are in the right when it comes to our worlds brokenness. The truth is that each of us has a different story, and our stories shape who and whose we are.
I am the daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness. Being her daughter has shaped me into the woman of faith that I am today. Sharing our story has opened my heart to love and accept so many others. Sharing our story has unlocked my own story which for almost 18 years was locked deep in the depths of my heart. I am reminded of the work of Brene Brown when she says, "The bravest thing you'll ever do is tell your story." Clinging to her words, the story has been unlocked and continually spills out into the world.
However, there are many who fear telling their stories because of the way they are treated. Are you willing to accept that Jesus himself was also a refuge? Will your words match your actions? Will you stand up for what is right and true in this world? Will you open your ears, your eyes and your heart to hear the stories of all God's beloved children? The truth is that Jesus himself was the first one to sit with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus flipped the kingdom upside down and I believe that God calls us to do the same.
To be honest, I am often outraged at the ways we treat one another. I think we can do so much better. The truth is that we let fear and the unknown get in the way. Yet in getting to know someone, our hearts are opened to the goodness each of us holds. In the words of my friend Kayla in her post, "We were not made to be perfect beings. We were made good and that in all, our mess and ache and trial, is what we shall be."
I could so easily be outraged at the fact that I didn't tell our story of mental illness for almost 18 years. In fact, if I am honest with myself, there were times I cried out to God from the very depths of my being; words that were filled with outrage for this part of my story as I yearned for God's peace to reign. Yet what I have come to realize is that this story is a part of who I am. It is the story that holds all of my mess and ache and trial in all its goodness. It is the story that embodies the power of redemption and resurrection. For the truth is, in the words of Gungor's song "Beautiful Things, "God makes beautiful things out of dust. God makes beautiful things out of us."
For we are all, beautiful, broken, blessed children of God, longing for peace, whose cracks and brokenness let the love and goodness of God shine through each of us.