{and a give-away}

I stood in the my drive way with dirty hands from pulling weeds. An acquaintance stopped to talk with me about life beyond the picket fence.

If someone’s life is picture-perfect, they’re not living” they said.

a profound statement

Last week I spoke to almost two hundred women about my journey of brokenness. As I shared about the years I struggled alone because of fear and judgment, I was greeted by dozens of women with fear and pain in their eyes.  They shared their own struggle.

You’re brave” they told me.

No, I’m just honest.

I’m vulnerable because we need to talk about our messy lives.

We need to be safe places for each other.

A parent says their child struggles with mental illness. They share about their struggle as parents.”We ask for prayer when our kids travel or when they are sick. But we don’t share about the struggles they have with depression, anxiety and mental illness” they say.

They were brave.

They were honest.

They were vulnerable and need safe places.

So do I.

Do you?

We need to talk about our messy lives. Your life might not be messy right now. That’s okay. You shouldn’t feel bad about not having a litany of stuff going on. There are seasons where things are good and restful, and there are seasons when all hell breaks loose or you’re simply living in a cauldron of simmering chaos and pain.

Whenever it happens, we need to safe places to talk about it.

Faith communities need to be safe places where people can wrestle, struggle, to not have everything our messy lives - counselortogether. We need to encourage and not condemn when the diagnosis is mental illness or when marriages fall apart. We need to encourage others when their gaping wounds need to be healed.

I hear a lot of interesting comments as a counselor.  Jokes about being “crazy” if needing to see me. Comments inferring that seeking counseling is like having leprosy – because it means something’s “wrong.”  Comments from family members who give me the “eye” when they say so-and-so is in counseling.

You know, it’s “that bad” that they need counseling

We need more safe places for us to talk about our messy lives. The health and wealth gospel is deep-seeded in our psyche whether we think it is or not.  So when things are messy, then what?

I struggle as I write because I don’t want to be a voice of doom and gloom. I don’t want to be criticized for not celebrating or acknowledging the good things. I get that. I’m living in a time of peace at the moment.  But I’m also okay with talking about our messy lives. I speak because too many people whisper in fear. They feel alone.  They need to know it’s okay and their feelings are valid.

No one should feel alone. 

No matter where we are or what season we’re in, God meets us where we are.

How can we reach out to each other?

How can meet each other in openness so we can talk about our messy lives?

What do you need in your messiness right now?

If you’re in a season of peace, how can you pay it forward helping another person?

What have been your experiences as you’ve reached out in your times of struggle? What has been helpful to you? We’d love to hear from you. This is a safe place. You’re not alone.

A Giveaway!

Colorful Confetti

It’s time for simple encouragement to my readers at Life Beyond the Picket Fence. This blog is growing into a larger ministry of bible study, social media connection, speaking, retreats, and expanded connections through other sites evolving from people seeking encouragement when life doesn’t fit the story-book image. I’d like to give back to you who support this ministry in faithfulness, prayer, and support.

If you are a current email subscriber and would like to have your name entered in a giveaway for a $10.oo Target gift card, will you email me at brenda@brendayoder.com indicating you’re a subscriber and would like to enter the giveaway? If you are not a current email subscriber, all you have to do to enter is subscribe to the blog by entering your email address “Subscribe to blog” area at the top of the page and then email me {brenda@brendayoder.com} indicating you’ve subscribed and would like to have your name entered! 

This is my gift to you as a “thank you” for being faithful partners in this ministry! I receive no compensation from Target for this giveaway – it’s something I’m doing from me to one of you! 

I’d love to hear from you and encourage you.  The giveaway to email subscribers will be open through Friday, July 19. I’ll announce the winner on Saturday, July 20.

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