It was the end of June. We were headed to Nashville with a group of high schoolers on an old church bus we affectionately call “Big Momma”. I was sitting with one of the girls in our group and we delved into a pretty deep conversation. She was sharing a number of tough situations she was facing at home and how hard it was dealing with it. She continued to open up and at some point, she said something to the effect:
“At church it just seems like everyone has it all together so I guess we just pretend we do too.”
This young girl was sharing some struggles that I would have never guessed were going on. And as easy as it might have been to judge or criticize, the truth was…..I WAS DOING THE SAME THING!
Talk about the Lord convicting me.
You see…in the three months prior to this trip, I took another round of Clomid. We went through the same protocol as before: taking medicine, having an ultrasound to count follicles and predict ovulation, doing homework, the two week wait……only to take a NEGATIVE pregnancy test.
Adding a failed fertility treatment to my whirlwind of emotions, definitely didn’t help. I would have a good day, a horrible day, and everything in between. And yet, despite my inner turmoil, I strived to keep up the appearance that I was strong, confident, and happy Emily.
I was upset with God, I was completely broken hearted…..and yet I was keeping the miscarriage and our struggle to get pregnant a secret.
The rest of the week at camp was a struggle. Night after night, during the evening worship time, the Lord just kept weighing it on my heart to share my struggle. When they would play the final song of the night, my chest would feel like it had the weight of the world on it. But I would resist and rationalize the number of reasons I couldn’t share what was going on.
I was at camp as a chaperone. I was supposed to be there to help the students with THEIR struggles.
On the final night of camp, during the church group devotion, I couldn’t take it anymore. So right there, with a group of high schoolers, I bared my heart. I told them about the miscarriage and I told them about my spiritual battle. Here I was…..the youth pastor’s wife…..telling them how I had questioned God, how angry I had been and continued to be…..
There was relief in my transparency, but at the same time….there was fear. How would these kids be able to come to me now? Now that they knew the truth? Now that they knew I didn’t have it all together? What were their parents going to think when they heard what I’d said?
When I finished, I truly didn’t know what to expect. I know one thing, I definitely did not expect what happened next.
As I sat there feeling completely vulnerable with tears streaming down my face, that group of teenagers began to open up about their own battles. They shared about struggling with a family member’s suicide, they shared about dealing with depression, they shared about dealing with family situations….. Just like ME, those teens felt like they needed some kind of “permission” to just be honest about the realities in their lives.
The Lord taught me something very important that night. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we have it all together. That is the very reason we need a relationship with Christ… because we don’t have it all together. We have to stop pretending that we don’t have struggles. We are not meant to walk through this life alone. The love, unity and freedom we felt in the room that night is exactly what the Lord wants in the body of Christ.
And you never know… the very struggle you don’t want anyone to know about, could possibly be the very thing HE can use to help someone