Come out of Hiding
I believe I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13
It has been well over a year since I have written here on my blog. And while I have not been hiding exactly, my mental health and the demands of my life conspired to keep me away from sharing my story. And, of course, covid. Then, the longer I stayed away, the harder it became to return. I felt embarrassed, ashamed, unworthy. I was full of self-criticism for being lazy, unorganized, not making time…only the last of which had any truth to it.
The truth is the mission of Let Yourself Be Loved was flourishing behind the scenes as I finished my manuscript and began the process of submitting my book to publishers. The truth is also that the mission of Let Yourself Be Loved allowed me to be in a safe enough place for God to reveal some shocking and life-altering wounds that had been locked inside. This time away from the blog has also been time for God (and my husband, and my therapist, and some faithful friends) to love me back to life as I began to process and heal from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse.
I am convinced that part of the reason God revealed this particular mission to me through John Paul Raphael’s life is that I needed to hear it for my own rescue. I know without a doubt that the proclamation to "let yourself be loved" was spoken from the heart of Heaven to my heart. Whispered from my baby into my deepest soul. Mommy, please let yourself be loved. From the heart of Jesus and his own mother. Betsy, my daughter, let yourself be loved. THIS is what I have wanted for you from the beginning of time. The freedom and joy and peace of eternity can be lived RIGHT NOW on Earth if you will just let me love you. And believe you are loved.
I had the immense privilege this past weekend of participating in The Story Workshop through the Allender Center at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. The weekend brought over a hundred people together to hear teaching on repentance, forgiveness, and redemption in the context of the narrative of our own stories of harm.
In our small groups, we each read aloud a painful or traumatic story from our childhood and vulnerably allowed the kindness and care of others to speak truth and goodness into those stories. Perhaps I will write another day on the profound sacred privilege this was; on the miracle of transformation and restoration that occurred as God shined through my newfound story sisters and through me to illuminate His radiance in each one of us.
At one point I shared a lie that I struggle with, one perfectly crafted by the enemy of my soul: Who do you think you are? Your blog is a joke. You're writing a BOOK? There is nothing you can say that hasn’t been said before. Your story has been told 1,000 times already. What is even the point???
I shared with my group how I wage a battle with this lie every day, retorting fiercely like a young David slinging his stones against Goliath, “Yes, but not with MY voice! Not with MY colors! Not with MY heart!”
Our wise and gently leader affirmed me, “Yes, the plot of your story may have been told before. And that’s okay. We need ALL the stories in ALL the voices. We need a chorus of truth.”
So, here I am sharing my story again and prepared to keep sharing it. My story is beautiful because it is in my voice and from my heart and from my perspective. The same is true for you. No one else in the history of the world can tell the glorious story of how love and beauty came for you, found you, held you, healed you, and set you free.
I am free to accept and honor – even reverence—my extraordinary, ordinary, brilliant life and yours. I am free to let the glory of God radiate through me to reveal the glory of God in you. During the Story Workshop, Dan Allender shared that one meaning of repentance is to finally show up at the party God is throwing in your honor.
Friends, together we can be a chorus of hope to come out of hiding. The world is in desperate need of our true selves, of yours, of mine. Let us have the courage to speak the truth. Come out of hiding. Let your story shine. We only get this one radiant life, this one chance to live a full, whole-hearted journey. Come home to yourself.
Throwing off the shackles over here. Let’s get this party started.
Let yourself be loved.
PS - this song has been on repeat in my head for months. If you haven't heard it, it is a beautiful invitation to come out of hiding! The Lord is already loving you.