Someone once told me, “be brave and be kind,” and I have loved this saying ever since.
A beautiful way to live, I thought, that’s what I want to be.
That is also the very thing I had to keep repeating to myself as I struggled to finish up this book that I have been working on for the last couple years. Because it wasn’t easy.
It was, in fact, one of the hardest things I have ever done. The hardest part, however, was not scrambling to find time to write in the midst of mothering 3 babies, or painstakingly trying to pinpoint the right word out of the hundreds of thousands out there, or even maintaining the persistence to push through every phase of this grueling and seemingly endless process (although all of those were very real challenges as well).
No, the hardest part of this whole journey of writing a book was finding the courage to put myself out there. Although thousands of authors do this everyday, I felt like a tiny fish in a big pond trying to muster up the courage to dive off the deep end, timidly asking if I could perhaps, pretty please, take a small seat in the back and join this big league of published authors.
It was quite intimidating.
But when I say it was hard putting myself out there, I don’t mean just putting myself out there to be scrutinized as a writer, but I also mean putting all my business out there as well… because that is exactly what this book does.
I first entertained the thought of writing this book almost 10 years ago in 2008 after an intense season the Lord brought me through that involved taking off my makeup, and that is when the title of the book was born–No Makeup.
I excitedly pulled up a new Word doc and began typing away this story about lust, sin, and repentance, and when I was done, I had all of about one single-spaced page written before me.
There was then a seven year pause before the Lord reminded me of the story I once started and called me to bring it to completion.
But this time, I was hardly excited. It was more in obedience with fear and trembling I began to tell my story because in those seven years, much more had surfaced and transpired in my life, things I could hardly confess to the Lord, let alone the rest of the world.
There were hidden secrets I held onto, but more than that, secrets that held onto me and kept me in bondage. Hidden behind my put-together exterior, I had been moving through life as if on “good-Christian” autopilot for so long, I honestly could not truly see the depth of the sin within me for which Christ had to die.
I could name the “nicer sins” which were obvious and common to everyone, but when I began to struggle with the “worser” ones that are hardly ever uttered, especially not in the church, I felt the need to hide. And because they’re never mentioned, they do indeed feel like they are, so to speak, worser.
And what happens in hiding? Lies enter the scene, your mind becomes a dark playground for demons to toy with, and you remain chained to the very acts that are destroying your life.
I saw for myself a glimpse of these very things taking place in my life as I faced the hidden vices that I had lived with for so long, even since my childhood, this dark thread that had managed to remain quietly within me and was now coming out and tearing me and my family apart.
There was no more hiding, ignoring, or being blind to this all consuming sin which was there all along but suddenly seemed to be unleashed and in control, causing me to witness a side of me that was terrifying. Because it wasn’t just the one or two major sins that came out, but rather, as I followed the thread of these sins to its roots, I not only faced the reality of my dark past and present state, but I was led to peer down my very soul that was Sin.
I was sin. No better or worse than any known sinner in the world but possessing the very same devastating condition that was bent on destroying and dragging us all to hell.
This is the story I share. The absolute worst of me, which although I was cowardly ashamed of, I willed myself into submission and obedience to share in this story because in thinking of you, dear readers, I knew this was the very same Sin within each of you.
And reader, I wish you freedom.
The same freedom, absolute and pure, that comes only through Christ in wholehearted confession while inviting the Lord to search your hearts and unveil the vile Sin within you. Indeed, it wasn’t until I was brought to my knees in absolute knowledge of my sin and utter confession of my need for Christ that I began to receive true freedom.
Freedom, I found, involves–no, requires–confession. A scary thing to do.
But I did it before the Lord, and I do it again before you now because in remembering the call to be both brave and to be kind, I realize this is the kind of love God commands of me. Love that is kind and requires a brave heart to act despite my own fears and reservations. So in thinking of you, dear reader, I pushed myself on and gladly obeyed the Lord in sharing my wretched yet beautifully redeemed story with you.
I pray you not only see my life, but it causes you to see your own, and if you haven’t already, that you find complete freedom in the Lord. He is our only hope and He is absolutely bent on setting us all free.
So thankful for my family and friends who have encouraged me and celebrated with me in this one step of obedience. For Your sake, Lord, I choose to love and to be kind and brave every day, and I pray this story is used for Your glory and that Your will be done in all our lives.