Thursday, October 30, 2014

Vulnerablity

The cry of the Israelites has now come to me;
Exodus 3:9 NRSV

To be vulnerable is to open ourselves up to hurt. Yes, hurt. You ask, why would I want to be hurt by anyone or anything? Trust me, it is not easy to be vulnerable; it is not easy to expose our innermost feelings to others! We won’t take that risk! Revealing vulnerability to others is showing weakness. Better yet, it makes us seem like children. Yes, children. We hear words like, “You baby”, “cry, cry baby”, or “act your age”.

When I was young, I never wanted others to see me cry when they hurt me with their words. Why? Because in our culture, crying meant you were a baby. Instead, I hid behind an angry face and would lash out at my tormentors. That is, until my older sister took hold of me and started speaking words of wisdom to me. She would say to me not to become angry at people’s words, to remember that, “sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words would never hurt me”. Those words formed me in a way I cannot describe. They were a reminder to me that it did not matter what people said to me or about me; what mattered is how I handled the situation. Do I lash out or ignore? Many times, ignoring meant crying tears of hurt, which allowed others to see me in a new light, no longer hiding behind a face of anger or an attitude of “don’tcarishness” (an “I don’t care what you say about me!” attitude).

When we become vulnerable, we allow others to see our hearts. We allow them to enter into the most private space in our hearts, that space occupied by ourselves and by God alone. We become, in fact, like children, open to the wonders of being carefree and innocent. When we become like children we are dependent on others to take care of us, i.e., our parents. Without a father or mother, we cannot survive as children.

In Exodus, when Moses saw the burning bush and heard God’s voice, he hid his face for fear of looking at God (Exodus 3:6). But God had work for Moses to do, for he saw the vulnerability of his people, the Israelites, and Moses would be the tool he would use to deliver them from Egypt. 


The Israelites’ childlike quality or vulnerability is what called to God.

Carol Kent and her husband Gene, in “A New Kind of Normal,” allowed their vulnerability to shine for the world to see when they allowed the cameras of Dateline NBC into their lives and into their story. What happened next was a surprise for them – the outpouring of love and support they received from friends and people who they did not know was an encouragement to them during their darkest moments. That is what happens when we open up and become vulnerable, when we invite God into our innermost thoughts (which he already knows) and cry out to him for help. He sees our need for him, for his love and protection.

On another note, this blog is mainly for me to showcase my cards and art, however, oftentimes I get so busy with my work and ministry that I neglect to update you readers with what I have been up to. On occasion, I make cards or art work and forget to take photos (yikes!).  Since my last post I made these three cards and all of them were for special persons or events.  Enjoy!

For a Sistah in Christ battling Breast Cancer

A couple at church who celebrated 29 years of wedded bliss!


This is a couple getting married next month.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Why You Should Share Your Story

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,
and by the word of their testimony; 
Revelation 12:11 KJV

In the Small Group that I facilitate on Monday evenings at my church we are reading the book, "A New Kind of Normal, by Carol Kent. Today we were on Chapter 5, the title of which is, "My Heartache Is None of Your Business!"

The title of this week’s reading really got to me. We tend to want to keep our heartaches to ourselves for we are afraid to let others into our private lives; we’re afraid to be vulnerable and to be perceived as weak.

What if, instead of thinking of how we are being looked upon, we take the focus off ourselves and instead try to use our situation as an example for others not to experience and go through what we have gone through?  For example, if we share our situation as a means of empowering others; as an example of what not to do.

That is what having and sharing a testimony is all about.  Carol Kent makes it clear that “revealing our weaknesses helps others feel connected to us.”

It is important for us to share our testimonies because it allows others to feel connected to us.  When you are going through something, you never know who you are sharing a similar situation with.  It also makes you more approachable, more human.  People might see you and know of you, but not know your story.  When people know your testimony, it makes you appear less perfect and as having something in common with others.

Sharing your testimony promotes trust with others.  It allows people to come to you and open up about what they are going through because they will feel they have someone who they can empathize with, someone who can and will encourage them.

Your testimony offers hope to others.  It allows people to know that no matter what they may be facing there is hope of them coming through it.  It will give people the power they need to face their situation and confront what they are going through with courage and conviction.
 
Remember, the enemy of our souls wants to keep us down.  He wants to keep us in darkness.  However, when we keep our experiences to ourselves, we are empowering the enemy, who will use what we are going or gone through to keep us in shackles; he wants to keep us focused on our mistakes and our pain.  But, we need to remember that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. In other words, tell the enemy to shut his mouth when you open yours!

Here are some of the work I have done since my last post, I hope you enjoy just looking. I'm too tired tonight to give a description on how I put it all together.  That will have to wait for another post. G'night!

I created this piece for my sister's birthday.