A Promise to my Allume Sisters

In exactly 8 weeks I’ll be heading to Greenville, South Carolina to spend three glorious days surrounded by other bloggers.  There will be an opportunity to finally, and in real life, meet familiar faces writers I have come to know and admire on line and to build new relationships with other women.  I am so excited that I can hardly stand it.  However, somewhere in the middle of all of that excitement I am a little anxious.   So I wrote the following for Allume Sisters.  It’s my promise to be me and to love you. I can’t wait to meet you! 

Have you ever hid in your shame?  Have you ever done something, said something that has caused hurt to raise red and ugly in a relationship?  Have you ever spoken words that pierced a soul until wary replaced joy?
I have.
Have you ever held a secret?  A monkey that clings to your back and no matter how many times you try to shake it off you carry the excess weight around for days. Have you ever wondered what might happen if you speak it out loud, bring the fear right out into the light? 
I have.
And shame, it’s white hot.  It sears and scalds until we’re suffocating in a sauna of doubt.Every breath is shallow and your veins pump fear because what if someone is watching?  What if someone were to take one look in your eyes and see sin swimming in their depths?  Has pride prevented you from stripping your heart bare and laying it open for healing?
Sister I know these feelings.  I have lived with this shame.  My heart has pulsed with uncertainty because, what if the ugly parts of me, which lay under the Pinterest perfection and the witty Tweets, ever saw the light of day?  What, if when I hug your necks and breathe the same air, you will see those parts of me that are damaged and sin-filled?
And I’ve been stumbling on these thoughts this week as I prepare to go to Allume.  In October I will no longer be able to hide behind my carefully crafted profile, instead I will become flesh and blood.  Moving and breathing and being with other flesh and blood.
And it’s daunting and a little intimidating.  What if the flesh and blood me is not good enough?  What if the flesh and blood me doesn’t measure up?  And pride it is an ugly thing, a destructive thing.  It breeds discontent and malcontent and most importantly it breeds mistrust.
I’ve learned this week that, pride is less about boasting or hiding behind the you-really-don’t-want-to-know-me shame and more about not believing in the inherent value we have in relationship with God.  It’s about the not believing in the very things that God says are true.  Pride is about finding our security in our own opinions of ourselves, whether they be lofty of full of seeming humility, rather than God’s
Pride is living in the absence of God’s promises.
What if…
What if our shame was not a burden we had to carry alone?  What if our pain was intended to be laid open?  What if the hands of community would light on the edges of red and raw?  What if fingertips would touch those places in us that beg for healing and brush away tears? 
What if?
And it is with a renewed purpose that I prepare for Allume a new promise that I tentatively whisper to all of you – my sisters.
I promise to look you in the eyes and let you see all that God has created me to be.  I promise to lay open wide those places in me that have lived in the cob-webbed corners and allow you to come up and around and surround me with all that God has created you to be. I promise to see past the mess of some of my choices and see startling beauty blossom in the middle of community.
I promise to hold your hand and finger the edges of your own hurts.  I promise to surround you with love and whisper God’s promises to your own wary and weary heart.  I promise to pray over you and with you.
And in those moments when you need to lay your head down and when the tears fall I promise to be there with a handful of tissues and the piece of chocolate.
I promise Allume sisters to be in community with you, to forge deep and lasting relationships without the fear of abandonment or failure.
I promise to be me.

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