With my closest friends, I can pretty much talk about anything. And even when I’m feeling rather rambunctious (at smaller wedding showers) I’ve been able to let loose about personal subject matter that others might shy away from. It’s fun and it’s just me! When God called me to write and speak, I knew that the power of my testimony would be in revealing the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s just who I am. I know personally, if you tell me a bunch of facts as if reading straight from a paper, I will say, “That’s nice.” “Good information.” But when you add your story, then I’m hooked. I love people who can share their lives in all its natural form. No sugar coating or apologies, just, “This is who I am, love me or leave me, but this is me.” I’ve always respected people like that and in my writing, tried to stretch myself, in the truth of my life. But what I have come to realize in this journey was that it is a little uncomfortable sharing really personal stuff. That’s why I have such a high respect for others that do it. When we write about our past abuse and addictions, it feels like we’re naked in front of the world. And some may want to help cover us while others may want to throw stones. But what I’ve also come to realize through this journey of following whole-heartedly after God was that I’m not baring my soul for the people that are quick to judge and criticize. God’s asked me to be a communicator and bare my soul for those that realize they too have been there and just might possibly still be there. I reach out to those who realize we all have our issues and not one is worthy of throwing the first stone. When I hit submit on a blog, do I ever feel vulnerable? Every. Single. Time. So why do I do it? Because the more I can share my story and how God delivered me, and share how Gods helping me with stuff we all go through, the more I allow the light to overtake the darkness. The definition of vulnerable is: capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon: a vulnerable part of the body. When we are vulnerable before man, we do leave ourselves susceptible to being hurt by someone, feeling naked. But here’s what the Word says: Psalms 118:6- The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalms 56:11- In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?
Adam and Eve were fine running around naked until they realized that they had messed up. Then in shame they tried to cover themselves. In becoming truth tellers and sharing our stuff, we allow God to remove the fig leaves and He lets us run around naked so to speak. Truth shines the light on sin and darkness. The more we are okay with the fact that we’re not perfect and we never will be, the more leaves God is able to remove. The enemy wants us to be ashamed and hide all of our faults and weaknesses so no one will know and just think we’ve got it all together. But the more we can show others we don’t always have it all together, we have a messy past, we don’t know how to be perfect parents, etc. the more we will give God the chance to shine on all of our weaknesses. 2 Cor. 12:10- That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
So on that topic of feeling naked in front of the world, Jon and I have stepped out in pursuing what God has placed on our hearts. A family ranch here in South Texas. Our heart is especially in fighting for the fatherless. And having a place for all kids to experience camps, farming, swimming, animals, and a time of ministry. We have already stepped out six months ago when we quit our jobs, sold our house and moved in with my husband’s parents. But this week marks a whole new level of nakedness. Lets see when I say the word if you cringe for a second- fundraising. You did, I saw it! It’s okay. It took us like a year to be okay with this process. And honestly, no matter what happens through this process, God is changing us and we’re okay with whatever He chooses to do. (Obviously, even if we weren’t okay with it, He would still do it, so it’s better to be okay with it!). We have a peace. We have stopped trying to figure out how this thing is all going to come together in our own brain. Just like the Israelites, when God asked them to cross over the Jordan River (Joshua Chapters 3 & 4). He didn’t say to wait until the water stopped rushing and then they could step out, oh no, he said get your feet wet. Step out and trust Me. And the scripture goes on to say that it was harvest season (the snow had melted) and the waters were rushing (Joshua 3:15). The priests were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord and they were told to cross over first. Then the Israelites followed. It’s the same for us. The ark of the covenant of the Lord represents Gods presence, and we are not following after a man or a project, but Gods presence. And this is where He’s leading us. He leads, we follow.
I was telling a friend yesterday, I feel naked. It’s a vulnerable spot to be in. I’m not going to lie, I hear crickets chirping and they’re louder than they’ve ever been. Stepping out like this has caused us to be completely dependent on God. Being naked and putting ourselves out there also carries a weight to it. God has placed a huge responsibility on us when it comes to handling other peoples hard earned money. It’s a humbling experience like no other. We are accountable to God on how we allocate those funds and we do not take lightly the weight of that responsibility.
Being vulnerable, naked, is a process that the Lord has been walking us through. Just right at the very exact moment when we need a word, a seed, something- God has shown Himself and through His people has shown up. I think it’s significant that the first person to donate on this campaign was a single mom. Completely humbled. She’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. Right there. She sent us a message and had us both in tears. I asked Jon if we were going to cry everyday. He said maybe. We’re in it. There’s no turning back now. We’re invested, naked and all for the world to see. We’re stepping out into the raging Jordan waters, trusting God to bring us safely to the other side.
Regardless of the end results, we trust God and no matter what happens we will shout, “He is good!” We trust His character and Who He is, even if we don’t understand everything. He has taken us on a journey that has strengthened us and brought us closer to Him. We are learning to say yes even when we don’t see the whole picture or have every single detail worked out. Truly when you take on something bigger than you, that the Lord has asked of you, you are acknowledging to Him, “Unless you do a miracle Lord, it’s not going to happen!”
I wonder if there’s something that the Lords been asking of you lately? Is it something that scares you? It just might be exactly what He wants you to step out in faith and do. Do you ever feel vulnerable and naked when you step out? Just trust Him for His perfect timing and He’ll use your story for His glory. Always. Everything we do… points back to Him.
Lord, help us in this journey that we’re on. Help us to step out in faith even when we feel vulnerable and naked in front of the world. Help us not worry about what others think, but keep our eyes focused on You. Help us to step out even when the waters are raging. Let our lives be an offering unto You and may we choose today to live our lives to bring You glory. In Jesus name, Amen.