This is a post I wrote on my Facebook page back in April. Just one of many lessons learned in 2016…
…Sarah and I sat at her kitchen table. I listened to her momma heart walk me through the journey she and her family have been on. Her beautiful 6 year old daughter, Hannah, had been recently diagnosed with a large, rare brain tumor. She had brain surgery on Good Friday and now, one week later, she was home continuing recovery. I had stopped by to drop off a gift of encouragement for Hannah, and hug my friend.
This was my first visit to Sarah’s house. She and her family had moved less than a year prior, and I had been meaning to visit ever since. Sarah was luring me in with tales of how her home was so secluded that you could drink coffee on the porch in your underwear! I may live in the suburbs now, but I’ll always be a country girl at heart, so I just had to see for myself! But as it often does…nearly a year flew by. Weeks and months went by. School breaks and weekends passed and I never made it by for that cup of coffee with my sweet friend. Now, seeing her face this trial, my priorities shifted, or rather, I shifted my priorities and I made time.
It was a nice visit – one of the refreshing kind. Sarah and I talked and laughed. We cried a little, too. We marveled at how God was using them, even in their valley, to minister to many. She joked about how she had met me at the door – messy bun, yoga pants, t-shirt wet with Hannah’s bath water…How she hadn’t bothered to pick up the house when I texted her just 2 hours before to make sure it was ok to stop by. She told me how this situation had freed her from the feeling of needing to present herself and her home with perfection.
I had arrived at Sarah’s in a similar condition, minus the bath water…Ponytail, no shower, no makeup, second day clothes…because I knew I could. I wasn’t ashamed of my lack of perfection that day because I know Sarah well enough to know that she would welcome me in. Regardless of my condition, I knew she would see past my flaws.
As we sat and talked, I reached out my hand to trace my finger over an imperfection on her tabletop. It was one of those moments when you do something mindlessly, and without intention…but your breath catches for a second as you unconsciously take it in.
In my days since my visit with Sarah, I can’t stop thinking about that imperfection. Not because I was bothered by it, but because I saw the beauty in it. I saw love in it. I wonder how many family meals have been shared there? How many conversations with friends? How many difficult times have dropped salty tears there? And I think about my own kitchen table and all the many imperfections it possesses. It would be so easy to throw a tablecloth over it all – to hide the scratches, the stains, the dents…the superglue (don’t ask).
Sarah didn’t cover up her table that day, she welcomed me to it…She didn’t hide the difficulty of what their family was facing, she welcomed me into it. She met me without pretense and allowed me to be a friend and a sister in Christ.
It’s even more true with how we do this with ourselves…when we cover up, when we hide our imperfections and imperfect situations, it creates a sense of seclusion…to ourselves, and to those around us. But when we welcome another, without pretense…it lets them know they’re not alone. When we allow others to see our broken places, our scars, our trials, our flaws…it frees them from the shame of their own.
To Sarah, and my many other friends who have loved me enough to let me see their scars…Thank you. And thank you for letting me bare mine.