A few weeks ago I smilingly, and yet with tears, told God this: “When I prayed for transparency, I didn’t picture this!

You see, God says to live in the light. To not hide our sins. We were not meant to try to fight these battles alone. And I have seen personally the value of letting our struggles be seen, it encouraged others who have the same struggles. But I also saw friends around me getting completely caught up in drama… which is something very hard not to get caught up in when it is so prevalent around you! Particularly for teenagers, but not exclusively. I was -am- faced with a dilemma: where is the balance? How do you avoid unnecessary drama, and yet be transparent? I think that the key is our heart behind it, the motive. Drama is to fulfill a selfish desire, to either talk about ourselves, or gossip about others. Transparency, on the other hand, is being open about our struggles for the benefit, challenge, and encouragement of those around us.

“If Jesus heals you instantly, praise Him. If you are still waiting for healing, trust Him. Your suffering is your sermon.” ~ Max Lucado,  “Before Amen” 

In your sickness, God has given you an incredible story. He has thrown at you something… huge. And it is your choice how you will respond to it. You can either fight the dark, painful struggle and have the testimony of overcoming it, of facing it with growing trust, faith, and joy. Or you can get lost in the despair that is always lurking, fighting to overwhelm your defenses, you can get lost in pain, self-pity, suffering, and sickness. And make your decision well, for it has such great potential and power to change the lives of those around you, even if you never talk to them, or them to you. I never realized how many people were watching as I spent months in my lonely quiet bedroom, or when my family spent days and days driving here and there searching for a place to live, or when we threw away everything that we owned. But they were. (And I want to stop here to thank them for letting us know, especially the entire families. Thank you, Dewey family, and Debbie Houghton, and all the Bright Lights girls! Thanks for letting us know you were watching, praying, and encouraged.).

When I prayed for transparency, I was thinking that people would be able to see God working in my struggles with sin, or with whatever. However, I didn’t picture that they would be seeing me when my brain was loopy, and I couldn’t follow more than three words at a time. I didn’t think that the transparency would be when the slightest chemical made me break down in tears. I didn’t imagine that it would be my exhaustion and pain that was a walk to the mailbox. They saw me completely fallen apart. I pictured that people seeing my transparency would be them seeing how God brought me through some dark trial or struggle and how He allowed me to amazingly overcome it. But instead they saw my worst, my mine turned to a child, where my best description was “Umm, I fee like… fuzz”. (Emmie, and Kaylin, I love you.) Definitely not the admiration I was unconsciously imaging. I tried hiding for a while, since I couldn’t trust my mind to make logical sentences, I hid behind not saying as much. I was afraid I would say something wrong, or hurt someone, or simply embarrass myself. And trust, me that isn’t me! Plus, I couldn’t hide it, and I shouldn’t. Didn’t I ask for God to teach me transparency?

Lyme/Toxic Black Mold is hard to be transparent about. First of all, very few people understand it, and it affects so many things that normal people should be able to do. Don’t doubt God’s power in your weakness, however. 2 Corinthians 12:9 . Be willing to be transparent, to be an example to others, to let them in, and to trust others to help you.

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4 thoughts on “Drama and Transparency

    1. Thank you, Valerie. God tends to do things in ways we don’t expect. At All. 🙂 But they always turn out to be better. A song I’ve really enjoyed is ‘Diamonds’ by Hawk Nelson, and in it at one point he says, “It’s not what I hopped for…It’s something much better”. And when God opens my eyes to see how much better His way is, I smile, and thank Him for it… but often I also cry, because surrendering to His way often means refinement that can hurt, or letting go of our way!

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  1. Some time during the last year, I quit feeling embarrassed about displaying my symptoms in public. Instead, I often end up making fun of them–humor has always helped me when I’m down anyway–and dropping information about Lyme and Mold (just little bits). I simply talk about it–the joint pain, the brain fog, the fatigue, the word block. No doubt about it, all my friends know I’m sick–though most of them haven’t seen me at my worst.

    I like what you said up above about we have to choose how we will respond to our illness. That is very, very true. I am finding, especially as I continue to improve, that my down days are harder to deal with with grace and patience. But now I have identified it–I can begin to work on giving God the glory even in the glassy-eyed, exhausted state I *will* find myself in.

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    1. Yes! The trick is to not make them unduly uncomfortable or unknowingly continuing to draw attention to ourselves for no real reason (drama), but yet, being embarrassed doesn’t have to be where we are! Our friends know we are sick, and it’s better to be open to talk about it with them than to try and deal with it ourselves or not let them ask questions. They need information to understand! When people come asking me (often very tentatively) about my sickness they tend to do it by saying “You don’t have to say, or talk about it”… but how can they understand if we don’t share? Come on! They’re our friends! 🙂

      Yes, Rachael, you are so right. As we get better the hard days suddenly feel so much worse, so much more scary, so much more disappointing. But 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV), says,

      ‘ But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’

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