The other night, I went to a Ladies night out event at my church. If I’m being truly honest, I didn’t want to go. This event was hosted by one of the elderly ladies at my church and I was sure the event would be geared toward the 60+ crowd.
I went to the event last year and the speaker was elderly and her skit was super cheesy and not relatable to me and my life—AT ALL. I really did NOT enjoy any of her act.
So when the woman who hosts it (who is super sweet and wonderful) asked me to go this year, I pulled the, “Uhhhh, ummmm, oh look, my husband needs me, gotta run.” And dashed off without agreeing or lying. I thought it was a pretty awesome move if I do say so myself.
Last Sunday she cornered me. This woman is a force to be reckoned with. In her super sweet, sovereign grandma way (basically I’ve lived twice as long as you so you’ll do what I say way), she told me I was going. I couldn’t tell that sweet grandma no. So I figured, what the heck, it’s just a couple hours. I’ll complain to my husband when it’s over about how impractical and irrelevant it was.
I went, and after the meal, we all (85% of the large crowd was over the age of 60) went to the sanctuary to listen to the speaker. I caught a glimpse of the speaker on my way in. She was a sixty-year-old woman, dressed in very loud, silly clothes.
I rolled my eyes, and threw a tantrum in my head, knowing I was in for another super cheesy, old lady skit. Just great, there goes an hour of my life that could have been spent doing anything else! I’d rather scrub my bathroom floor than listen to some old lady TRY to be funny.
I knew I was being a brat, and I shouldn’t think like that, so I silently prayed, “God, please help me to stop being so negative. Help me to focus on you.”
After all, that’s why I came. It’s important to love on people, even if we’re in different stages of life. And even though the skit last year wasn’t applicable to my life, I do know there are endless things I can learn from these elderly women. “So, suck it up, Amber, and stop being such a sour-puss.”
Well, the speaker came in, acting all silly and talking in a high pitched, fake voice, just like I expected.
I silently told myself to smile. Try to enjoy it.
To my surprise, she was actually funny. Now granted, I wasn’t nearly as doubled over in laughter as the elderly women, but I was for real smiling and laughing along with them, and not faking it. And yes her act was a little cheesy, but cheesy is a lot better to watch when it’s funny, right?
So I listened, I laughed, and I was truly enjoying myself, but then, about twenty minutes into her act, she took off her glasses, her voice changed to a more normal, lower pitch, and her smile faded.
Her act was over, but she was still talking. Now she was speaking from her heart. She was getting real.
I sat up straight. My eyes were wide open. It was getting really good.
She told us she was a pastor’s wife for twenty years. Her life was right on track, until her husband, a pastor, became addicted to prescription drugs!
He needed the drugs because of the intense pain he suffered. But those drugs led them down a road she never planned on walking.
He couldn’t pastor the church anymore. He had to go to rehab, and later on, due to all of his health issues, he went into a coma for nearly 60 days!
She told us about that long, dark road she walked. She told us how broken she was. She told us she didn’t always handle every situation with grace. She was angry at God some days. Some days she was angry at her husband.
She was broken. She was imperfect. BUT SHE WAS REAL.
This woman opened up the most sensitive parts of her soul and shared it with us. It was epic. It was touching. IT WAS RELATABLE!
There may be thirty+ years between us, but suffering is one thing that unites us.
I know a thing or two about pain. And I’m very aware that without the grace and strength of God, I’d never have made it through. I’ve fallen and I’ve failed time and time again. I get it wrong all the time. And I’m so grateful God never gives up on me. He never leaves me. And He’s always there to pick me off the ground when I stumble.
The broken hearted are my people, because I’m one of them.
As Christians we get so used to putting on an “act”, using our fake voice, and saying whatever it is we think others want to hear, and we forget to be real.
I try to surround myself with open people.
There are some people I’d like to be closer to, but I can’t get past their walls. They hide their pain. They hide their imperfections. They keep the world at a safe distance. They refuse to let anyone see their heart.
I don’t want to be that way. I want to surround myself with people who know my imperfections, but love me anyway.
I read a quote, (I don’t remember the author) it said, “Be who you are and say what you feel. Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter, won’t mind.”
Today, if I could hang a sign on the door to my heart, it would say:
NO ROBOTS PERMITTED. ONLY THE REAL, HONEST, BROKEN, IMPERFECT PEOPLE ARE WELCOME.