We all have them; stories we seldom share because they are still too painful, too small, could hurt someone if we shared, or that we are still working through.
How can I possibly talk about dropping the vacuum cleaner and filling the air with dust just as my asthmatic husband was about to come in and work when someone else’s baby is dead? Why am I so upset for so long about something small when something huge has happened to someone else? How can I even bear to pray for my small stuff knowing children are starving in Africa? How can we ask for prayer from friends or family about a missing pet when someone else is missing a child? How can we ask for prayer for a healthy pregnancy when someone has just had a miscarriage? How can we deal with all this stuff without laying our burden on others?
Instead of comparing ourselves to others, consider Esther (the queen, not my daughter) and Mordecai’s question of her, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” God can only use us when we are willing to step up to the plate, are willing to work through our stuff, to burrow through that baggage, and come out the other side and share what He has done. He uses us as we are willing and as we work through our anger, our frustration, our depression, and focus our eyes on Him, willingly seeing the good He has for us in the darkness. We are to be lights, shining on the world, showing them the way. If we are caught up in our own misery, focusing on the pain we have or avoiding it completely instead of dealing with it, then our hearts turn rocky, they turn solid instead of soft. We need soft hearts and open hands in order to be used by Him. We need to be willing to shine and burn all the way down to the nib. If we aren’t willing, if we are caught up just trying to keep the flame lit at all, then it makes it hard for Him to use us. If we look at others and see their problems looming or assume that they don’t have it as hard as us, then it makes it hard for Him to use our stories.
On the other hand, if we open up, if we share even the stupid little things willingly and without anger, we find that God can use it. For example: I have never lost a child. I have never had a miscarriage. I have never had an abortion. I have no idea what that is like, what that grief is like. Yet I have many, many friends and family who have lost a child, often not even talking about it except in whispers. Who knows how many people would be comforted to know that they aren’t the only one to have lost a child to miscarriage, abortion, adoption, or death after birth. What a comfort it would be to others who have also been there, to whom can then say, “Oh, me too.”
We are all in different places. Our stories are all different. What you are going through and what you have dealt with is what you alone have gone through, it is no one else’s story. Only you know how painful it is, how painful it was. Only you know your relationship with God through this thing, and only you can work it out with God. Just know that it is important. It is important that you work through it with God. It is important that you remember. It is important that you heal. When you are through it, when you come out the other side (and sometimes even when you are in the middle of it all), you will become a memorial stone for the next person on that same journey, on that same path. You will be a landmark and light for them. You will, once you come out the other side, be the person encouraging the next person in the midst of it that this too shall pass. If you let God use you through it, then He will use you to lift someone else up and bear the burden. If you hide it and keep it close then He won’t be able to do so.
God wants to use your baggage and turn it into a light for the next person on the path. Let Him do it.