Friday, October 9, 2015

The Unhiding

6 years ago, I kept secrets.

I didn't cry.

I cringed when someone said it was my turn to "share" my feelings. What feelings, really?

On the outside, life looked perfect.

Newly moved into a lovely town and a beautiful house. Time off from a beloved job for a restful sabbatical. A beautiful preschool boy just starting out in school, learning to make friends and always down for a snuggle. A generous, intelligent husband in graduate school with big dreams ahead. New friends in the making.

Life looked perfect on the surface.

No one could look at me and see the baby we'd lost.

No one knew that when I was in the bathroom stall, I was injecting myself with fertility drugs.

No one knew that once a month, I would descend into despair when our dreams of another child were once again shattered.

I was good at keeping secrets.

So of all the feedback I ever receive about my blog, it is perhaps astounding that it most often revolves around my willingness to be honest, be vulnerable, be real, be truthful.

6 years ago, none of those things could have been said of me.

6 years ago, I was still in hiding.

From time to time, I look back and read something I wrote a long time ago. Something God was teaching me back when the secrets were drowning out God's voice of grace in my life. And I think about how far He has brought me.

The last six years have been one long journey of Unhiding.

Of saying out loud,

"I have lost a baby I will always love."

"I have been through infertility and it is lonely and fearful and silent."

"I know what it feels like to gear all your hopes up for that one moment of truth every month only to know that you have at least 30 days again until you might see a dream realized."

"I know what it is to wait and wait and wait on a dream. To doubt God, to rail at him. To be angry at your own body, your own limitations."

I have said it out loud. And while there was so much fear in the first saying, in every time I pushed "Publish" and waited to see how the honesty would go forth, with each saying and every push, it got easier. It gets easier.

The unhiding.

It's painful. It's not easy to go from a person good at keeping to herself to a person whose life is on display. It's never easy to change. Particularly to change into a person you used to fear becoming.

But every choice, every new life change all comes from this. This process of unhiding. Of baring the soul. Of being honest. Of answering questions. Of knowing that because of your honesty, maybe just one person that day has realized that someone else has been through the same thing.

About a week ago I stumbled on pictures from last fall. Pictures of me laughing and playing at the park with my (now) middle child. At the time, most of God's work of change in me had been on the inside, in the way he had been healing and bringing to light the ugly and redeeming it into something beautiful. And I remembered these pictures because, at the time, I was unwilling to post them. To share them with anyone. I looked haggard and exhausted and dried out and reddened. I felt like the pictures didn't represent who I felt I had become or who I was becoming. And I knew, by my unwillingness to post them, that I still had a long way to go in my unhiding. My struggle with my skin stole the joy from that evening.

So they sat in my files for a year. Forgotten.


Pics from September 2014 (with makeup)
And during this last year, I finally began to make peace with my need to see healing in my skin, to stop the hiding under makeup, to stop talking with my hands held in front of my chin because I was embarrassed at the acne at the age of 36.

For some who know me, the decision to share about my skin journey may have seemed shallow. Or out of character. The decision to then go into "skincare business", which for me is really just offering the same possibility of healing to others, may have seemed even more unlike me.

But for those who know me more deeply, who have followed this blog over the years, maybe it seems in keeping with what the Lord has done. To be able to finally post those old pictures and not care anymore but also to post pictures of a year later and see what God has done in healing my outward skin even as he has continued to heal my inner life. To be able to say that I am now "unhiding" my face. Not wearing makeup to cover it up. Not touching up pictures before I post them. Not finding my joy stolen because I am embarrassed over some pictures. Telling other people about it because I can't keep secrets anymore. I won't.

September 2015 (Makeup free)

October 2015 (Makeup free)
Just being me.

Is God finished with my unhiding?

Never.

This past year, for me, has been a surprise. I didn't see the unhiding going in this direction. But I am thankful over and over that it has. That even though most of you didn't see what I saw (because I was masterful at painting over it for 20 years), God knew that what I saw affected me in my deepest places. And had affected me for too long.

I am so glad I have a God who loves me enough to see the hidden places, to take the dark secrets and bring them to light, not just for my sake but for others who hide, too. And that I have a God who takes the business of healing very seriously.

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