When I was younger, I’d always put on a brave face when I was around other people and could talk about subjects that pained me deeply with little to no effect on my emotions. I didn’t offer up parts of my story unless I was asked, and I never cried. My hurt was a layer of myself that one had to dig at to release. Now there is no way I would’ve survived without “giving my pain” to God. God healed my heart in the way that only He can so my emotions didn’t dictate my life, but I wasn’t fully allowing God to “use my pain.”
I think a lot of that lack of openness with my weakness came from the fact that middle school is a really awkward time for one of your parents to die. I remember so vividly walking down the hallway after missing a few weeks of school when my Dad passed. A classmate saw me and yelled as she was passing, “Hey Tara, where have you been?” The truth just blurted out as I yelled back, “Oh, my Dad died.” “Oh, okay” she replied and kept walking. Not teaching each other to caringly react to each other’s pain is an epidemic in itself… a subject I could talk about forever, but maybe I’ll save it for a future post. She didn’t mean anything by her seemingly indifferent response, but needless to say, I wasn’t too keen on putting my pain right on the table anymore. I felt like I was punched in the gut at that moment and wanted to cry, but I didn’t shed a tear at school once.
In turn, most people probably would’ve described me as very strong. I went through something traumatic at a young age and kept hold of my faith, got good grades, did sports and extracurriculars and didn’t lose my joy… people always called my sister and I the “smiley girls.” I was strong. The only reason I had strength was through Christ, but it probably didn’t look all that supernatural when I kept it so together all the time. God in His kindness revealed to me as I got older that if I wanted to really show people how I overcome life’s obstacles I need to really show my weaknesses.