Unless we are brave enough to become vulnerable, we commit others to the same fate. The self-preservation that once helped us cope, now only breeds death. Once, your voice was stolen. But now you are silencing voices--sealing others in a similar tomb. We are broken people. We are hurtful and hurting. We are messy and beautiful. A paradox existing in one skin.
Terry Tempest Williams tells me that for a woman to find her voice she must commit a betrayal. It makes sense, right? When I read the words, my chest tightened and my throat constricted. When I shared them with the women in my eCourse, there was a collective gasp.
It's an idea we recognize immediately to be true because for so long our stories have rendered us silent.
And while there are plenty of people who I feel I must betray in order to share my story completely, the person standing in the way right now is me. This is why I curled up under my covers and was on the brink of tears for close to three days after publishing how I struggle with sex in marriage. For those of you who commented or sent me emails and texts about my bravery - know I was always this close to unpublishing that sucker whenever another person shared it. I didn't publish that post out of bravery, but necessity.
Hear me, ladies: we've been silent too long.
I remember sitting in a coffee shop this past summer with my best friend. We were wrestling through the most recent controversy and googling words like complementarian and egalitarian. The whole time, I kept thinking that we were missing the boat. All of this fighting, all of this pointing fingers and blaming the church, it wasn't going to do anything.
The real issue - the one haunting me and keeping me awake at night - were the stories.
I couldn't get away from them and I couldn't understand why no one was talking about it. Stories of women asked to publicly forgive their rapists, stories of emotional abuse, stories of my sisters dealing with what it means to have someone else's hand covering your mouth. The more I looked around, the more I realized we were a movement of walking wounded, invisible to those around us because we spend our lives invisible to the darkest parts of our story. We walk around half alive, attempting to avoid attention because attention is what got us hurt in the first place.
And I'm done.
A few weeks ago, a friend tweeted about the French troops liberating Timbuktu. She said women were leaving their houses and ripping off their head coverings. I read articles where twelve year old girls started dancing in the streets and dug through their closets to find their earrings.
This is what I want for us, church. I want women to feel as if they can rip off that which binds them, even if it's a story sucking the air out of their lungs.
So for you who know - I told you before that your story belongs at the table. This is your invitation. Sister, if you've been hurt - if you've been silenced - if you've been begging for a chance to share the story that runs electric through your veins - I want to hear it. Write it out and send it to me. Or we can skype and cry together. If you're local, let's meet for coffee.
Every week, I'll share a different story here, written out as best as it can be told. All will be anonymous to protect those who share. Some will be bare bones and others combined in a form of fiction if necessary. My prayer is that for every post published, someone else will find freedom.
Freedom to share. Freedom to believe. Freedom to heal.
It's time to rebel against the silence - will you join me?