To give you an idea of my filter free tendency, here’s a story I have to tell….
One day when I was a young, tired, overwhelmed mom, desperate for community and support, I decided to join a young moms Bible study at the church we had just joined. At the end of our time together, we had to go around the circle of 30 women, sharing prayer requests and praises aloud. “Yes!”, I thought. Maybe most wouldn’t be excited about this, see, I loved talking about the Bible, but what I loved even more, was talking about the stuff going on in our lives. This is where I’ll find the support I was craving, I thought. My turn was up a little sooner than I would have liked, being the new girl and all, but I looked around the room and saw all these ‘new friends” smiling and waiting for me to speak. So, I took a deep breath and said, “My husband came to me yesterday and said he wants to quit drinking. I feel like if I don’t share this, I won’t be bringing God glory because the truth is, I’ve been praying for years that he would quit drinking. He always got angry with me every time I told him I was worried for him and wanted him to quit and I’m blown away and so grateful that HE wants this for himself. My praise is that God is good and faithful in His timing. My request is that he would stay strong in his fight for sobriety.” Silence. Then, I looked around the room of open-mouthed women and surely must have stepped out of my body for a moment. After what felt like a century, the woman to my left spoke, and then the woman to her left and so on, giving their praises or requests. I found myself sitting there, listening to things like, “Please pray that my husband makes it home in time from his business trip so he can make it to Katie’s soccer game.” “My praise this week is that we got the house!” “We need a bigger car. Please pray that we find something we like soon.” “The house we bought last year has more issues than we anticipated and we might sue the sellers.” I started to feel my actual body shrink into the chair. “Oh”, I thought to myself. My stomach was in knots. We weren’t sharing like THAT. We were just sharing “safe” stuff. What happened from that moment on, if you can believe it, and maybe you can, goes something like this. I was rejected and ignored and those women never spoke to me again. The result = isolation, shame and a new belief that opening up to women was unsafe. And so, I stayed away from being vulnerable. I started saying, “I’m good” to the question, “How are you?” when I really wasn’t. I stopped trusting and I became really lonely. Sure I had friends, but it was all pretty surface. Nobody talked about anything real. Everyone kept the struggles inside and this made me feel alone. Alone in my struggles.
Then something happened. God told me to stop hiding. I was of course scared to put my struggles out there but I remembered the message he had put on my heart so many years ago when I was suffering through something hard, and that message was to help other women who struggled too, find redemption and hope in the Lord, just as I had. And from that moment on I decided I was not going to hide anymore. You see, it took a place of brokenness to make me realize I didn’t want any other woman to ever feel rejected or alone in their pain like I had. From that moment on, speaking up and being vulnerable about my own struggles has been worth it if it means I can help others.
So how am I going to do this? Through community with other women. Not just any community though. I’m boldly daring to dream of a community where we are real with one another. Where we let down the walls and laugh in the face of stigmas. A community where we are honest about our struggles.
Why? Because when we speak truth about the hard places we’ve been in life, instead of hiding it inside; we put out the fire. The enemy loves secrets. He loves to get inside our heads and feed our insecurities, our doubts and our fears with lies. We not only stay quiet but then find ourselves in communities of women who stay quiet too. Relationships stay surface. We’re afraid of being judged. We’re afraid of being rejected. We believe the lie of shame. So we smile, say we’re good and keep the pain inside.
I want more for you, for me, and for all women. This community I want for each one of us is a community where we learn to share the hard stuff. Release it. Let it out. When we do this, we’re not only freeing ourselves, but we’re also freeing the other women around us. We’re letting them know it’s OKAY to talk about the hard stuff, the struggles, the fears. This lets down walls while building up trust and empathy, encouraging other women to share their struggles and victories; leading to healing and REAL COMMUNITY and REAL RELATIONSHIPS. It’s actually quite contagious. But if this type of community is going to exist, I need your help!
How are you going to help? It’s really this simple; share your story. Be honest about the ways in which you struggle or have struggled in the past. Maybe you survived a trauma. Maybe you’ve walked difficult paths in marriage or motherhood. Maybe you’re the daughter of an alcoholic or married to one. Maybe you were a prodigal child or maybe you’re the mother of one. Maybe you struggle with mental illness. Maybe you are walking through grief. Whatever struggles you’ve faced, the thing is, we all have a story to tell.
Set yourself free by sharing honestly about life. But tell your story. Put out the fire. Don’t keep it inside. Your filter free story has the power to set other women free! And that freedom starts with you!
Are you ready to be set free? Are you ready to help another woman stop feeling alone?
Send me your story and I will post it to the “Set Free” page on this website and I just might read it on The Filter Free Mom Podcast.
Stigmas, silence, shame, rejection, loneliness – stops now.
Send your story by EMAIL
Question: What If I want to share my story but also want to remain completely anonymous in sending it. How can I do this?
Answer:. Go back to the Home page and click on “Contact” in the menu. Fill out the form but use the name “Rhonda” and list your email address as “Setfree@story.com” and submit your story in the Comment section.
You can also just list your first name if you’d like and that is all I’ll include when I share your story.
I’m excited to announce that you can now call in and leave your story on the “Set Free” voicemail box for The Filter Free Mom. Go to The Podcast Page and leave me a voice message and I’ll include it in an episode! This can be the quick version of your testimony or even a prayer request!