I miss the days of fairytales and daydreams. Of Barbie dolls and seashells. Of bikes with banana seats and suntans without concern. These days are full of bad news, worries, deception, and everything else the media throws at us. They’re full of friends with cancer and families burying loved ones too soon. I feel like I spend too much time in a performance of a prettied up face and well-pressed clothing, masking the me within. The me who craves sweatpants, a clean face, air-dried hair, and hot chocolate. The me who would rather snuggle under a blanket and watch a Cary Grant movie than attend a Tupperware party, Girl’s Night Out, or even go to church.
Because sometimes—as the pastor’s wife—church hurts.
I’ve been the subject of gossip, rumors, and even have had my own words twisted and thrown back at me by a judge with an eye looking outward so keenly it can’t see the plank protruding from it like a crazy unicorn.
So I put on my make-up and cover my heart. I build walls so high that even a Roman army wouldn’t be able to penetrate. I hide apprehension behind a forced smile and wonder what the next story will be or who will be the next person to sharpen their claws and practice their aim. Amid my wonderings I ponder the what-ifs.
What if, instead of listening to the latest scandalous news of an acquaintance we turned a deaf ear to the story?
What if, instead of sharing the sordid details of an unsavory encounter, we instead decided to pray for the person we’re unhappy with?
What if we decided to keep our information, assumptions, and thoughts to ourselves?
Not long ago my husband was out of town for several days and I worked hard to get everything done on my to-do list. Time whittled down and I found myself with a few hours to spare so I nestled into the couch, turned on Netflix, and indulged in a period film—the kind no one in my home likes to watch but me. I lost myself in The Painted Veil, drinking in the scenery and aching over the storyline. While I didn’t agree with the actions of the main character, the short conversation at the end of the film stayed with me for days.
“Who was that, momma?”
“No one of importance, darling.”
She had a story to tell. She was justified to be able to share what she knew yet she held back. “No one of importance, darling.” What if we used similar words instead of sharing the details? Some things don’t need to be known by others. Some things are better off not being shared. There is kindness in refraining.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Kindness reminds me to keep my mouth shut because the story I heard about Martha isn’t my story to share. It’s Martha’s story and if she wants people to know she will tell them.
Compassion reminds me that Martha may be dealing with more than what is seen or more than what she has made public and that my interaction with her isn’t what I should associate her with. I’ve had moments when I’ve acted in a way that is less than becoming. I’m sure you have too.
Forgiveness is what I must do whether it’s asked for or not. To forgive is something God has asked us all to do. I must forgive Martha when she offends me, not for her but for myself.
When we learn to walk daily in this practice we are free to grow into the women Christ has called us to be. He will open doors of ministry to us and He will trust us with more.