everybody hurts

i have typed and deleted sentences in this post so many times and almost deleted the entire entry as well.  In business, I struggle with sharing too much or crossing over a line that no one wants to see or saying something that doesn't exude the joy i feel in my life every day.  i fear that i will expose a side of my heart that isn't accepted and that in itself is terrifying.

We recently had someone very dear to us go to Heaven and while yes, that happens every moment of the day, this person was struggling internally with mental illness and that made it that much harder.  It brought mental illness to the forefront of my mind and has made me think long and hard about those that are struggling in this terrible disease. 

But, it did more that that too.  His passing made me evaluate how much I truly know and understand those that I love.  Ask anyone close to me and they'll tell you that I am a firm believer in our stories and what they teach others.  Our paths have been blazed by our Creator and He didn't intend for those stories, lessons and memories to be brushed to the curb as we continue walking.  We all love, we hurt, we cry and we contain a beautiful capacity for His grace to paint a story worthy of telling.

It is when we keep these stories, lies, truths and dreams bottled and hidden that we in turn shadow God's goodness with our shame or fear.  We think that no one else has done what we've done or seen what we've seen.  That we are alone in our struggle, that we are the only ones that have ever heard words of discernment, discouragement or disappointment.  We somehow believe that our dreams could never become real life because we don't deserve or want it enough. 

We forget that our God gave us those dreams, fears, stories and experiences.  He paints us each with a paint brush that belongs to only us.  He never intended to wash our brush out in dirty water and start over with our canvas.  He loves the layers that each paint job tells.  We attempt to 'white out' the ugly picture we don't like then instead of living and drawing out a beautiful painting with what's left, we some how stay in that dirty water and think that is where we are to remain.

So, I say that TODAY, TODAY, you pull that bristled brush out of whatever dirty water you're standing in and for just one moment breath in the clean freshness of a dirty canvas craving to be repainted!  God is the ultimate artist and we are NEVER too far from his grace filled and redemptive paint brush.  He loves us enough to just wash over it all with His own blood and make it completely clean to paint anew.  But, don't ever forget that what's under the newly painted canvas are bumps, tears, mountains and valleys of stories that need to be told. 

You NEVER know who may need to hear that story and feel comforted knowing they are not alone.

always with joy ~ em