Vulnerability is always a risk. Vulnerability opens us up to attack, ridicule, pain, or hurt. Vulnerability is rarely easy and didn’t come naturally to me. Learning to be vulnerable has been a process for me and I have come to the point where I feel like a big part of my ministry on earth is to be vulnerable with my story, the abuse I have been through, the pain I have carried, and most importantly – the healing that has been a years long process.
One question I am often asked (sometimes in a positive way and others not so much) is, “Why are you so open about your life and the things that have happened to you?”. I can usually tell when it’s a genuine question or more of a question to try and shame me for sharing my stuff.
This answer is 2 part.
The first reason – I value vulnerability.
I value people’s stories. I have found so much of my healing from listening to other women’s stories, from the vulnerability of other survivors of abuse, from the brave voices of women. Vulnerability brings healing, hope, and encouragement. So many women have been a big part of my healing and learning process by their vulnerability with me with no guarantee that I would truly hear them. Other women’s vulnerability has given me a deep appreciation for the emotional work and toll it takes to be vulnerable – especially when sharing deeply personal stories that have caused trauma. I have learned to value vulnerability because I know firsthand how hard it can be.
Vulnerability has been a learned practice and one that I have (generally) found to be rewarding – not just for me but for other women especially. Yes, there are times that I have had an experience thrown in my face by someone wanting to make little of something I have experienced, or someone who just couldn’t understand the trauma I was sharing.
The second reason: There is power in our stories
This is probably the main reason I am so open and vulnerable about my life, my trauma, my pain, and my healing process. I have learned that not everyone NEEDS to be vulnerable about their stories and people don’t OWE the world their stories. But, a few years ago, the Holy Spirit told me I was in a place emotionally where I could begin sharing my stories – if I wanted to. It wasn’t easy opening up about foster care, childhood abuse, sexual harassment, sexual and emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual assault, and racism I have experienced. It still isn’t easy – there are still a few stories I am not ready to share with the world.
I have learned the power of testimony. When we hear how someone has been through something similar to what we have been through it says – if God did it for me He can do it for you too. If I made it through, you can too. Our stories validate other people’s pain, trauma, and experiences and our healing gives hope, promise, and encouragement to them. When I share my story and bring what was done in the darkness out into the light – I take my power back from the person who stole it from me. When we shine light on the abuse, pain, and trauma inflicted upon us in the dark we expose the darkness for what it is – evil.
I believe testimony is a big key to healing. Sharing my stories requires vulnerability and courage I didn’t know I had until I started doing it. Sharing my stories is scary and risky. But, the truth is, when I share my story, I give other women and victims permission to call what happened to them what it is – evil. When I share how God has brought me so far in my healing process, I show other women that healing is possible. When I share my journey, I risk judgement, assumption, and gossip. But, I also am promised that someone will read or hear my story and find hope, healing, encouragement, and ultimately Jesus.
So, this is my why. Vulnerability is something we don’t honor enough. Vulnerability is so hard and scary. But, for me, it has been worth it and I feel called to a life of vulnerability. I feel called to a life of sharing my personal journey and my personal pain and trauma because I am a healer, a hope giver, a freedom fighter – healing, freedom, and hope are three of the deepest things that were given to me by other women (and Jesus) and now I am doing the same for others.
You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to understand it. You can call it attention seeking, over sharing, or whatever other negative thing you’ve got. But, this is my ministry. This is what I am going to do. This is my mandate – to bring freedom, healing, and hope to women and victims of abuse. To be vulnerable with my life so others can find hope, healing, and freedom.
God has taken my ashes and given me beauty. He has taken my mourning and turned it into dancing. He has taken my heartache and turned it into joy. He has taken my pain and brought me healing. He has taken trauma and given me freedom.
The light is comin to give back everything the darkness stole.
– Ariana Grande