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Tiptoeing Toward Vulnerability

Intimacy frightens me. Being brave–being vulnerable–sharing weakness—no.way.  Exposure is scary. Trust is required and I have not been super adept in that department. Beth Moore, in her study Living Free, refers to the “be strong, be independent” philosophy that was authored by satan. The one that sounds like, “no, I’m fine…I can manage this on my own.” Self preservation {insert my face as the poster child here} became my second nature as I honed this philosophy for myself.

12 years ago, I walked crawled through divorce. My two older children were just babies (2 and 3) and it was an extremely difficult season. Nothing had wrecked me more in my life (or so I thought, but that’s worthy of an entirely separate post). At their tender young ages, I began packing bags and sending them off for long visits in the summer. Extended periods of not knowing what they were doing, or even hearing from them, left me floundering between an all out identity crisis and loneliness.

That’s never gotten easier for me. My heart breaks as summer approaches every year. Dread hovers over me as I think about the hours that we’ll miss sharing laughter, home cooked meals, and making memories. It is so stinking unnatural for a parent to be separated from their child(ren).

Most of my friends and family move into summer in party mode…they spend hours at the pool, look forward to lounging around the house, and plan awesome vacations making memories. Believe me, I celebrate that for them. Really. But I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum. Their joy is my dread. Their plans are my dreams.

God has been doing a new thing in my heart. Healing me from past wounds and experiences that had long kept me holding my hands up in a defensive position. I’m grateful to learn something new…something that not only benefits me, but my husband, children, family, and friends.

About two years ago, one phrase kept reverberating in my spirit …”it’s time to feel again.” When functioning in the “be strong, be independent” mode, there is NO need use for feelings.  As I tried to take baby steps in that all too unfamiliar arena, I realized that I could not feel without being vulnerable–without lowering my arms from the defensive stance. I knew I had to risk exposure. I’m not going to lie–I didn’t want to take the risk, but I knew it would be an outright act of disobedience to avoid the prompting.

I’ve decided to come out with my struggle. To dare greatly and share my fear and worry. To ask friends to cover me in prayer as summer approaches. All the while, a quiet voice tells me that people are weary of hearing my heavy-heartedness about summer visitation. I secretly wonder if I’m the one that provokes thoughts like “here she goes again”, or “when is she going to get past this?” My failure and rebellion invited this mess into my life, after all.

But…God understands {like no other} my longing. When I want my children home, to hug them, look in their faces and tell them I love them–He created those feelings in me. He is the originator of the longing. Can you imagine the agony He felt as He was separated from Jesus while on the cross? Or His anticipation of being reunited with those of us that call Him Father? It’s comforting to recall that He longed for His children long before I did.

Today I’ll just call bunk on that stupid voice-the old tape saying no one cares that this mama’s heart is torn in two each time I send my children off, or reminds me of all that I’m missing while the children are away. I will take another step in this journey toward vulnerability. It’s God’s design that the real me would show up, with real, raw emotions and all. In the revealing of our hearts, in the lowering of our defenses, and in the stripping off of the mask–the intersection of intimacy and grace is uncovered….need is exposed and nurtured.

So, I’ll keep surrendering my desire to control the situation…to have what “everyone else has.” I’ll lean into Jesus and ask Him to help me be intentional with the time I do have with all my children under one roof. But, I’ll still be honest about my struggle and I’ll keep asking for prayer.


What about you, friend? What’s holding you back from daring greatly and stepping toward vulnerability?


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5 thoughts on “Tiptoeing Toward Vulnerability

  1. This has blessed me immensely this morning. Please keep sharing. I’ll keep praying. Your sharing gives me courage. Looking forward to spending some time with you this summer, beautiful, brave lady. Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I didn’t answer your question. I guess mine would be fear of rejection. Rejection feels like death to me, and I guess in a way it is a kind of death. There are certain people that I am so fearful of disappointing. I know that I cannot please everyone all the time, or be the person they want me to be, so I know disappointments will come and I have to learn to rest in the approval that God has provided me through Jesus. As you know, 2 Cor 12:9 has been my life verse for the last several months, and I’m tiptoeing toward vulnerability too right alongside you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes-Christina, I believe fear of rejection is a very real obstacle in our journey toward vulnerability…which for me-finds it’s root in unbelief. I love what God is doing in and through you–it’s such an encouragement to me!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your heart with me and the internet world today. I am honored to pray for you and your babies this summer. Please continue to be vulnerable. It encourages us to do likewise…even when we sometimes afterwards hear “crickets” after we hit the publish button. One the question/comment, I would say along with Christina, fear of rejection. But, the more I am rejected, the more I no longer fear its negative ramifications personally. Hmmm. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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