Friday, June 17

Vulnerability

I've made myself vulnerable and I'd like an award now, please and thank you. {big smile}


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Perhaps you can't relate but you see, I'm a thick skinned sort of girl and while seemingly I shed things like water off a duck's back, more sinks in than I realize. My husband tells me all the time, asks me all the time ~ to talk to him. (Can you believe this?) I know women who would beg for this, plead for this, give up an arm for this. But it is true. My husband, though human and faulted, is pretty awesome.


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I took a baby step a few months ago and joined a book study online with a few gals (and one fellow, I think) I knew only from their blogs and with complete strangers I will probably never meet this side of heaven. Safety in anonymity, I thought. I had a place to bare my faults and struggles in an atmosphere full of grace and encouragement. The book study was on the book Equipped to Love by Norm Wakefield, which should be considered classic Christian literature and necessary reading for everyone; I cannot say enough good about this book. Buy it off of half.com and read it. It will open your eyes and convict your heart and open up pathways for God to work wonders of wonders in your heart.


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At my husband's urging, I've also been working at building myself real community with other Christian women and I've been so blessed, over and above blessed, to get to know a few different women heart to heart, over tea and babies playing and weeding the garden and purging of our daughter's room of *stuff* together in 90 degree heat and I feel blessed. I am blessed. Though I say "I'm doing the building" it has no doubt been orchestrated by the Holy Spirit as some of us are not even from the same church fellowship. They are awesome women who love the Lord, and the funny part to me is really we are all very different from each other, the common bond being the unity in Christ, and *perhaps* also a genuine appreciation for distressed furniture, tea and handcrafts, and rearranging the rooms in our homes. Last night I typed out a plea for tea to an older (older being lightly stated as she is still quite youthful and lovely) Christian woman I know as there are personal struggles I deal with every day for which I need her counsel. I clicked "send" and gulped and sent more vulnerability out into the world.




One of my girlfriends and I talked a bit last night about our issues with distrust or dislike for women. Admittedly pretty horrible since we are of the species. I am much more comfortable, as a rule, when in a large group of people, to congregate towards my husband and listen in on real and hearty discourse. Give me a good meaty conversation about politics or religion, parenting, the importance of building a Christian home in our nation, or the working of God in our lives and I'm satisfied. I've never been good at making chit-chat.




So while I've made myself a bit more vulnerable sharing with thousands of random, but I'm sure lovely, strangers ~ please join me in taking a step towards trust. And community. I know you may have been brutally hurt by gossip, abandonment, or weary of shallowness ~ but that is not the best of our gender. I can tell you that there are genuine women out there who love the Lord and are humble enough to share their struggles and victories and walk life in community with you. This is my prayer for you tonight.





Hannah














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12 comments:

Alison said...

Wow, I so needed to read this tonight. I have become less and less social and more and more of a homebody the older I get and the more children that I have. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing since it is easy to get stretched too thin and our children and husband need us the most at this point in life. But, you are so right in saying that God created us for fellowship with other women. And it is good to share with another person. I am going to be praying about this in the upcoming week. Also, I, too, would much prefer to discuss religion, theology, politics, literature, child-rearing, and parenting. I don't have a husband who discusses feelings or wants to talk much like yours, which has made me even less likely to talk about my heart. Thanks for this post!

Anonymous said...

This is such a great post! I really agree with you, I have a hard time opening up to others and making myself 'vulnerable', but it is important to be able to trust and be encouraged by others, with all the gossip and shallowness out there (especially among other women). I have been praying about this a lot recently, and this post was very helpful- thank you.

Anonymous said...

Maybe there is 'real and hearty discourse' and you are too busy following your husband. Not all women are shallow and gossipy.

Hannah said...

Alison, I'm so glad my heart in writing this was "readable" to you. Thank you for taking the time to leave an encouraging comment. I hope you have a fabulous week!

First Anonymous, thank you, too for *kindly* commenting. I'm so glad you found the post helpful.

Anonymous the second, if you'll gently read over what I've written, I believe you'd see that the entire heart I am sharing is that not all women are so and that it is worth being vulnerable to find that such real and genuine friendships as do exist.

I do not endlessly follow my husband around, though he is my best friend and I enjoy his company, as I'm assuming you're assuming {smile}, but I do look him up when the conversation is lacking some "real and hearty discourse". Certainly, not all women are as those who give our sex a bad reputation.

Anonymous said...

I'm offering a hearty..."AMEN"! I can so relate to everything you've said. My husband teaches our couples Sunday School class and we recently did a survey to ask what needs they had that were not being met. #1 on the list was opportunities for true fellowship among the women through Bible study and prayer times! God has been prompting me (one who tends to be a loner) to reach out to these ladies and He has used your post to do so even more. Thank you for being vulnerable:)

Natural Mama said...

Wow, I see me all over in this post. I would much rather be at a table with my husband, talking amongst him and his friends than mingling with other ladies. Why??? I guess he is my comfort. Without him, half of me is gone. Without him, I have to worry about someone critiquing what I say or feeling intimidated. I'm not good at making plans with other women either. I assume they are too busy and I know I am. I guess I will be old and my kids grown and I will have to join Bingo or something to make new friends. :) Oh, and I'll add the book to my library list for them to get for me.

Emily said...

I have just recently found your blog after reading a post at Raising Homemakers.(I think that is where it was! :))I appreciate you sharing your life through your blog and your vision for living a Godly life is refreshing. Your post today was a blessing to read. It is so difficult for me to trust and to allow other sisters in to really know me. That being said, I do know that, with out a shadow of a doubt,we as sisters, in Christ NEED to invest each others lives. I too, love to discuss and be challenged in conversations that build me up in a Christian world view!! :) Blessings to you and yours!

Anonymous said...

Hi Hannah,

I am so glad I am not the only one who struggles with this. We moved from a big city to a very small town last year and we lost the tight community of our church there. Our church is very small here, and I have felt like an outsider in many ways. I am sure it is mostly in my head and I have made myself feel that way. My husband is the worship director and I've been praying for a way to connect with other women. I am praying about starting a woman's Bible study because we don't have one and it would hopefully encourage community,honesty, and openness between women. I have always struggled with being open with other women I don't know. Thank you for this, so much!
Amanda

The J's said...

I came across your blog when I googled "how to butcher a chicken", found the post very helpful and enjoyed your writing and photos. SO, I had to come and explore a bit more of your blog and I believe I'll have to add it to my "favorites"
Thanks for sharing your post!
MJ

www.mominapocket@aol.com said...

What is up with anonymous #2?

My perspective...I have found that a majority of women ( not all) in their thirties are still measuring themselves with their peer group. Women in their thirties tend to be more judgmental.

By the time you get into your fifties, I have found women to be more direct and honest. By this decade, almost everyone has been through struggle, heartache, and rough times.

Jackie Gagen said...

Hannah,
I am sure that most women who read your blog would love to be your neighbor, and best friend. I know I would! Remember if you look to man you will be disappointed-- look to Jesus.
Your first; however, only brief home birth midwife Jackie

Sherry said...

Thanks so much Hannah for sharing your heart. I myself tend stick close to my husband at gatherings. I always want to go deep in conversations and have realized women want chit-chat first then deepness. Here's vulnerability for you...women scare me...lol I didn't receive a lot of teaching from my mom in socializing with women for my dad was a violent alcoholic. Still struggling with some fear-based issues; if I’m too vulnerable I may be rejected then abandoned. With God’s help and encouragement from my husband I still ‘try’. The beginning of the year I made a kind of to-do list and since I was turning 43 I decided it would 43 things I wanted to accomplish. Some things on my list are: forgive others that have hurt me, open my home more to others-(this one’s a big, big step for me), Love more, fear less, create new friendships, becoming more genuine and transparent, stop trying to be perfect, don’t compare myself to others, be less serious and more playful, embrace the real me, give more of myself to God. I’ve even started helping at church with meal planning…big step there too. I asked God to give me opportunities to grow in where I need too even if I am uncomfortable, I know he’s with me always. Blessing to you Hannah & your beautiful family
Sherry