Years ago, I taught my first workshop on a mended heart. Nearly 500 women had signed up for the workshop. They walked into the room chatting and laughing. On the outside they seemed to have it all together.
But after the workshop?
Many of them held crumpled tissue while others wept openly. A line formed down the aisle and around the room. One woman after another shared stories of past hurts. Some had buried them, afraid to be seen as unworthy in some way. Others had built walls that said everything was okay, when on the inside she felt a mess.
Brokenness has many faces. It might be the woman standing on the sizzling asphalt with a sign that declares to the world that she is in need. It could also be the woman sitting next to you on the pew. For each, healing often begins as they share their story.
How do we create that safe place in our ministries for women to share their story?
1. Offer Rest Over Recipes
Sometimes when we hear a woman’s story, our response is to try to fix that hurt. If you do A+ B, it’s going to equal C.
Yet most of these women have been trying to heal for a long time. They’ve tried recipes and formulas, and it didn’t equal “C.” They’re tired and feel like it’s never going to happen. Rather than recipes, offer a foundation of rest.
She can rest in His love. He came to heal (Luke 4:18-19). She can rest in the fact that she’s in a partnership with God, and He’s bigger. She rest as she stops running or hiding. God meets us right where we are.
Sure, there’s hard work ahead, but a strong foundation shifts her focus from what she has to do to what’s already been done for her on the cross.
2. Share Our Own Stories
Whether you share your own story, or invite others who once felt broken to tell theirs, she will be in a community of women who understand. The painful parts of your own story tell her that it’s okay to be honest. The Jesus parts let her know that hope and transformation is possible.
It’s okay to acknowledge that healing is a process. It’s truthful to admit that you might hit obstacles that feel impossible.
When we weep and laugh together, discovering who Jesus is in the hard places as we heal, it’s a beautiful thing.
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