About the Author

Bonnie Gray is the author of Sweet Like Jasmine, Whispers of Rest, wife, and mom to two boys. An inspirational speaker featured by Relevant Magazine and Christianity Today, she’s guided thousands to detox stress and experience God’s love through soul care, encouragement, and prayer. She loves refreshing your soul at...

Recent Posts

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. God sent this to me, at just the right time! I know He is wonderful and all-knowing; however, the timing of me reading this makes me giddy because it is though it was written just for me! My family is experiencing a change in community and it’s not due to a physical move but due to the season in our life changing. I spent last night bawling to my husband because we knew this change was upon us; however, I had clung onto our previous community because it’s comfortable; it’s what I’ve known for the past 5 years. Well, God knew I needed a big old sign to get me to emotionally pack up and move on, and in receiving this sign my heart currently fills broken because a dear part of my old community stomped all over my heart and emotions. This happened less than a day ago; however, in reading this I know God has a new community waiting for our family. I need to put a bandaid on for the time being and embrace those around me, in my new community,that will help mend my heart.

    • Dear Cdeejones — Jesus is near us and I am praying now, Lord Jesus, that you prepare at least one friend who can welcome my sister in her new community. Thank you for giving her the assurance of your Presence on this leg of the journey today.

    • Cdeejones…. I just glanced at your comment and couldn’t resist commenting too to let you know that I’m just so sorry. 🙁 Church community transitions can be incredibly difficult and painful… Praying you experience the Father’s tangible nearness to you and His supernatural comfort. Read Psalm 34:18 if you get a chance.

      Also… this blog post that I wrote about how God is waiting to encounter us in seasons of pain/loss came to mind… and I just thought I’d share it here, in hopes that God will use it to encourage you further:

      http://kcbutlersatimetolaugh.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-moments-and-invitations-part-2-messy.html

      Praying for grace for you to hear His whispered invitations to your heart in the midst of this painful stuff…. Hugging you in my heart… which might be weird – – sorry – I don’t even know you. 🙂 My heart just goes out to you.

      Bless you!!

      Dana

  2. I love how you said “Opening up to others when we are in the middle of our stories invites others to join us on the journey.” Being transparent is HARD stuff especially when we look around and it appears that everyone else has their life totally together (thanks Facebook, ha!). But once we tear down the walls and become real with one another we open ourselves up to healing, community and growth, together!

  3. I’m learning to share my struggles more openly with others. I like the list you made of the order you would share. I like the intentionality of it.

    • I’m smiling reading your visit here this morning, Steph. Love knowing we’re on this journey together. And yeah, I needed that list… so that I could keep on going down it. Without it, I’d never move an inch. 😉

  4. Beautiful, honest words, Bonnie. God’s healing in you is evident. Your willingness to share the process is a beautiful gift to others who are struggling along the way. Love to you, beautiful sister. Keep fighting the good fight!

  5. I love this and I love YOU, Bonnie. It’s women like you, sharing openly and honestly their broken places, that reminds me I’m not alone and that God can use our broken places to create something beautiful. When I first shared my struggles with PPD and anxiety, I expected rejection too. I hit that publish button and braced myself for ridicule and silence. I had only shared the pretty pieces of my heart in my writing, so sharing the ugly side was scary. I wondered what people would think, how they would react, who would still care about me after knowing how broken I was. But, like you, community surprised me and seriously blew me away. I was bombarded with emails, facebook messages, phone calls, hugs, and prayers from women from every part of my life saying they were not going to leave me and that they loved me even more for being so real. And, I also had so many tell me “I know…I’ve been there too”. And slowly, the facade I had imagined of all these “perfect” people I knew was broken and I realized we were all imperfect people with our own messes and struggles…and that Jesus is the only one who can take those broken pieces and make us whole. And community is a HUGE part of that story. This is why I love (in)courage and blogging, because it’s a big piece of how God healed me and made me whole again. Thank you for this, Bonnie, and for being so real. God is using you – keep on letting Him write your story, because it’s a beautiful one.

    • I’m still right there… in the midst of this journey. So, so grateful for you and your story. And thank you for … being *you*. much love from another sojourney alongside you, Steph.

  6. Reading this post today has touched me deeply and expressed for me parts of my own journey. I have always tried to be transparent in my writing and in my life, so when memories of sexual abuse surfaced in me after 57 years of keeping it a secret even from myself, I made the difficult decision to write about it. I needed to break through the silence and use my voice to take back my power. Dealing with PTSD has humbled and empowered me as God walks with me on my healing journey. The response and often lack of response has taught me a great deal. I must say what you have said here has helped me personally…..and I love how you say speaking out is an act of trust in God. My goodness your depth, faith, wisdom, and ability to write so well have amazed and encouraged me. Bless you on your healing journey.

    • You are so courageous to be able to look at the response & lack of response as an opportunity to learn from it. May you continue to write and allow God to heal others through your journey. Thank you for sharing some healing words here with us today, Renee.

  7. I yearn and ache to be a part of community. I cry over the loss of community in my life as I have literally spoken with every person on my list and have been turned away. Many have told me that they just don’t want our interactions to be so sad, but I’m welcome to be with them if I’ll be happy like I used to. I sit and listen to their perspective of me, not what God says about us, and find myself absolutely crushed and broken over the whole experience. I know that God has me in the place for a reason. I know that I desperately need HIS voice about me the loudest. I have not expected any person to carry me through my situation in life, but just wanted a friend to walk along side. I’m learning that there is hope (even though it’s painfully mustard seed like right now) through lack of community. God is becoming my friend who sticks closer than a brother. Ultimately no ones voice will quench the deepest cry of my heart, but honestly I don’t expect them to. I just want another woman to cry, laugh and sip coffee next to me. I don’t understand why I am barren in this season in life, but I am. God is good. I believe in Him, but sometimes I guess there’s that place where Christ found himself in the garden. Completely and solely reliant on our heavenly Father when everyone around Him fell asleep/wasn’t up for the task. I also realize that those that are not up for the task have hidden brokenness of their own that they haven’t dealt with. I get it. It’s just sad that we aren’t able to share in that together. My heart breaks for them as well. God is bigger than all of this. I know that I’ll hear His voice and be healed by Him. Right now is that crying out, sweating through feverish pain, wearing glasses because of puffy eyes, loneliness that will ultimately fulfill God’s purpose for knowing the deepest love I’ll ever experience. I want to taste that sweetness and pleasure of being known and considered worth hearing. And who better than my Father. I feel His presence. Thank you Jesus, for Your generosity of converging Bonnie’s life and ours for Your ultimate purpose and plan.

    • Dear, dear Shandra. I know EXACTLY where you are and EXACTLY what you’re talking about. You HAVE come out of hiding. Right here. Right now. You are right. God does have you in this place, for this season. And I am confident, in time, you will find the people in the skin — who will cry and love and sip coffee with you. Because I am doing this very thing with you this morning — in my heart, in my PJs — sitting in California. Right here. Right now — Along with every woman who has ever been completely annihilated by the pain and crush of broken community. We are your sisters… I’m wearing glasses with puffy eyes right now, too! 🙂 Much love and hugs to you, dear friend. Jesus is with you and He knows what’s it like to be left broken with a long list people who turned away. He walked through the darkest and He’ll continue to walk through yours with. You are beautiful, Shandra.

      • Shandra-I am right there with you sister! God brought that person into my Life and she took my hand and lead me back into the light-but God sadly took her home suddenly and unexpectedly last Sept. While I don’t blame God and am not angry at him I can’t help but be sad that she came and went so quickly in my life. She brought two other special ladies into my and I am grateful, but it is still NOT the same relationship! I have spent so many years in hiding and feel so easily hurt when I have expectations of others (hard not to have them, but try) I know that I must come out…no matter how difficult ajourney awaits me! Thank u Bonnie for yr honest and thoughtful words!

    • I’m sitting at my computer weeping, because you’re facing exactly the same thing I’m going through, and I know that pain. You are so not alone! I also tried to reach out, to several different people, but it did not help. Sadly, I feel more and more, that I can no longer trust anyone with the confessions of my heart. In one situation, I opened up…..COMPLETELY opened up about past hurts and my struggles. This person felt it was okay to take that information and pray about it with others. This is where I get angry. I just wanted her to listen,(and told her so), to HEAR me, and to let me get it off my chest. Instead, she got together with her “prayer partners” to gossip….I’m sorry, I mean “pray” about me. It just lights a fire under me to hear, “Did you hear about so and so? Oh, let me tell you…” followed by “Let’s pray for her.” I wanted to scream, “it’s still gossip and you missed the point. I was crying out and no-one heard, or cared. ” I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to go into that, only to say that yes, I get it. It’s hard to open up and it’s hard to find true, Christ-like servants willing to just listen. And Bonnie, you are precious. I am so up-lifted by your sweet, gentle spirit. Thank you for sharing!

    • Shandra,
      I so hear what you’re saying! I felt your words deep in my heart…it’s like you wrote what I’ve been thinking. I’m looking for that type of friend as well. It’s hard to find people that want to hear about the deep stuff, the real stuff. I would love for incourage to make it easier for us to connect with others looking for the same, by creating some board or forum where we can find others in our community that are looking for the same.

      • Just have to chime in and say I love that idea… the forum idea… that would make it easy for us to connect with others in our area.

        Just sayin’. 🙂

        You ladies are all a blessing…

    • Shandra…God IS near to you my sister! I can see that, because He is showing you this truth, that His love becomes so real and intimate expressly for you in this season of aloneness. In Him you live and move and have your being! There is nothing like this level of togetherness with Him when you feel alone. Pure straight honest love and communication between the two of you; poring out your heart like King David inthe Psalms; trusting He hears and knows and will answer His precious Daughter,
      His Bride. It will make the friends and community all the sweeter as you are being filled to overflowing with His presence like rivers of living water flowing out of your belly! This too shall pass and He will take you from glory to glory. Shalom

      • Wow, you women sure know how to touch this girls heart…I am overwhelmed and feel so surrounded. Thank you for your support and encouragement from the bottom of my heart…and the tears fall again…happy tears!

  8. hello, i have read your wonderful list bonnie, i love it and share the same beliefs. i also have experienced and still do experience what shandra posted. it is painful to feel the lonliness from the people around me. i do not feel lonely with god, he is faithful and always by my side. god is the only one i can always depend on. the only solution that i have for this lack of transparency and realness that is like a plague in the church right now is to depend on god, seek him and continue to behave in the ways god wants to see community. i then realize that i will be very hurt, many many times and i see that is an act of sacrifice to him because of my act of obedience. it still hurts though and it is very lonely. does church want to be comfortable or does church want to grow? i will do my part and grow because i know god wants taht for me. the rest i have to leave to god as i too cry andhave to wear glasses like shandra to hide the puffiness. rejection and lies is very painful. to now be loved and accepted in god’s church is incredibly painful. but on the other hand it lets me see who god really is and god is nothing like his people. he is much better. i just have to keep doing my part and being open and keep going back to reconcile and work things through wihch is even more painful. but i will do it for god because it is the right thing. god is training me not be COMFORTABLE. thank you bonnie.. you da bomb. and you too shandra. love your words.

  9. Dear Bonnie,

    I am so glad you are learning to experience community still. I love you and I understand your struggle. I am continuing to pray for you. I too am learning again to reach out to community. Love you friend.

  10. This is amazing for me! I have been searching for a group that I can be totally be transparent. God has called me out of my community into a new one not yet found. My husband has not heard the call so I am trying to patient. I am excited to move on to the new community but saddened that I need to leave my old one. I am unable to express this new freedom I have in Christ with my old community, they do not understand. Reading these wonderful words from these God fearing women has lifted me out of this isolation that I feel. Thank you for sharing and giving me the courage to continue on my new walk with God! Thanksgiving is so healing for my heart!

  11. I’m so desperate for community right now. My once community has dwendled slowly over the past three years. My closest allies are miles away. I’m praying for comminity in the here and now. But the stretch to be vulnerable is so scary!! I don’t want to hide though. Thanks for steps to move forward, Bonnie! *hugs*

    • Jennifer, I’ve totally loved getting to know you as you’ve opened your heart to us. Whoever can be a friend with you in the skin is going to be SO blessed. I’ve haven’t gained every friend that I’ve reached out too… but, I’m so glad came out of hiding, because I am no longer alone. That moment you find yourself wondering whether or not to be vulnerable, know that I’m taking that step right along you too! 🙂

  12. what a wonderful post Bonnie, God Bless You. I never could put into words what I was feeling but you did. Why is it so hard to find someone you can be really honest with and to just talk to about your journey ( which right now is very hard for my husband and I) I would love to have someone to talk with about my feelings – I sing in my church choir and it seems like I am always saying “I’m just fine.” If you try to share even a small snippet of something negative you can feel the wall go up. I didn’t think finding someone to share things with in my church choir would be difficult. I to pray for a community to share good and bad with. Thank you for your post

    • Dear Susan, I know how it feels when those walls start coming up when I’m sharing. 😉 I’m praying God will continue to speak to your heart and lead you to even just one friend who can know you and be known by you. Thanks for opening up this morning with us, friend!

  13. i really needed this. in fact, i have been coming across articles about honesty and sharing my story. i yearn for a community too; a community of God’s people. there is something so painful and difficult about sharing a story {of abuse, of separation, of divorce}. brokenness make {some} people uncomfortable. i dont want to be different from the familiar. but i’m really just afraid of rejection. i cant let go of my pride. the whole “saving face” thing is just awful. i hate being held in captivity by it. i know i have to release it all and trust that God is in control and He is the One audience that only matters. thanks for sharing your heart.

    • I know how you feel, faith. We share that same yearning to be safe and be known, broken as is. You are beautiful, faith. And I know with Jesus touching your heart, you’ll find your way through to real people, with real lives to share with you. You already are a blessing here to me today.

  14. Bonnie, the example you gave of how to express our need of support is PERFECT: “I’m going through a hard time right now. I’d like to confide in you about it, so I’m not alone in it. It’s not something I need solved. But, to make this journey, I need to know someone knows and someone cares. ” It’s honest, it’s succinct. I also appreciate the insight that rejection is just a sign that the person I’ve approached to be a confidante just isn’t a good match for that season in my life. No need to fret over it! Thank you for your wisdom and practical advice!

  15. I have learned to speak openly about the abuse I suffered at the hands of my supposed father, physical abouse that included sexual abuse. I’m old enough to not be afraid of what people think of me and if my speaking of it can give another girl or woman the courage to talk about their situation I’ve done a good thing. We hade abuse because there is that little niggling voice buried in us that says it was our fault and we should be ashamed. Please tell me how a small child is at fault for being sexually abused. I hung a framed picture of little girl Gayla on my wall and told her every day it is not your fault. You were a baby! Then I had to over come the feeling that God the Father was a good God even though he allowed my earthly father free will. I always laughted and said that I could easily relate to Jesus because he was an abused child too because his dad sent him to die on the cross. Not a good comparison, huh? I finally was able to fight my way our of that goofy thinking when reading a book by a famous Christian author and evangelist who’s abuse mimiced mine. She said that the whole Father/Son God thing was because God loves ME! Jesus was not an unwilling victim but a Volunteer Savior and that make a world of difference. I was not alone in the abuse in my home because my younger sisters had the same experience but for a longer period of time. I had the spunk to fight back by telling. They were not so brave or just more intimidated as our abuser got smarter and our mother got more over whelmed. Thank you for your wonderful post. I’m probably making some readers uncomfortable while reading this but if you are trying hard to push back memories you are pushing back God being able to give you the healing he wants to give you. I”ve experienced that Love and it’s so worth talking about. God bless you and your blog.

  16. Thank-you Bonnie for your transparency and sharing your heart. That is so refreshing in this world of people hiding behind masks of, “I’ve got it all together”. I’m balling my eyes out reading through all the comments because my own heart has been so broken and I share the pain. Maybe, somehow, God is using this to bring healing to my own heart in a way I never thought possible before and through the tears healing to my body as well.
    God bless you and thanks for the suggestions!

  17. I can’t believe what I’m reading. I didn’t understand the isolation. Every one I know or could have known have pulled away from me like I am a leper. I knew that Our Great God had me on a path. I’m still looking for that path. I am as isolated as if I were on a island by myself. If I’ve done this to myself I want it to change. I lost my mother nearly two years ago and I didn’t realize I was in isolation then; I had her and her care. She was all that mattered. Now, it is just me. My sons and siblings don’t come around or even call. I will reach out although, people seem to pull away from me. I will continue to come here everyday and grow if I can. Thank you for caring about the suffering people who are everywhere.

  18. Wow. This hurts. I have been hiding for the better part of 33 years, and I am desperately longing for community. I know I’m supposed to be working on this, but I’m not sure I’m to the place yet where the risk is worth it. And some days I drown in lonliness, isolation. I was very wounded in my childhood by many that were supposed to love me, protect me. Many. I had nothing to do with the pain and rage, nowhere to go with it, so I turned it inward. I have hated myself my whole life. I can’t, for the life of me, picture others liking me, much less loving me. I have spent so long isolating – burning bridges and covering tracks so as not to be sought, or found. I don’t even no where to begin…. But thank you so much for your honest post about coming out of hiding! It IS good to know that I am not alone, at least in this.

    • I was very wounded in my childhood too, Audrey. I can’t for the life of me, picture others loving me in my brokenness either. But, I’m learning that every one is broken in one way or another. Even Jesus had to suffer brokenness when He was human. He sees the tracks you and I have covered — and His heart is overwhelmed with aching and affection for all we had to carry alone. I’m so glad you came out of hiding here. Today with us all surrounding you with love and understanding. with much love, friend.

    • You are not alone, Audrey! I was mercilessly picked on from kindergarten to grade 9. I thought when I grew up it was all over, but I was wrong! Then I married an abuser. I am free from that now but still feel that people wouldn’t like “the real me”. I am sure you have a lot of amazing qualities, like I do, but we just need to let those shine through. You were brave to come on here, more brave than me, I won’t even put my real name, that’s how much I am afraid of rejection. Let me know if you’d like to talk more and we could be “online” friends? Maybe we can help each other! God bless….

    • You are not alone, Audrey! I was mercilessly picked on from kindergarten to grade 9. I thought when I grew up it was all over, but I was wrong! Then I married an abuser. I am free from that now but still feel that people wouldn’t like “the real me”. I am sure you have a lot of amazing qualities, like I do, but we just need to let those shine through. You were brave to come on here, more brave than me, I won’t even put my real name, that’s how much I am afraid of rejection. Let me know if you’d like to talk more and we could be “online” friends? Maybe we can help each other! God bless.

    • Audrey,

      Praying for healing from past hurts. Also for someone–just one good friend to come along side you & say they like you for you!!

      May you feel the warmth of God’s love surround you each day as He smiles upon His creation!

  19. Bonnie, I related to these words you wrote above: “It turns out I found great comfort in a friend I’d known for a decade, who I never knew she experienced panic attacks — until after I confided in her.”
    What a gift you two were to each other. Your opening up to this friend let you both be support for the other because both of you knew the other would understand the struggle. I’ve always said, the only way to make something good out of something bad in ones life is to be open and talk about it to others. One never knows who needs to know they are not alone on that journey.

  20. #6 really speaks to me as I face a ministry opportunity. I am still grieving, scared to share my experience, but through counseling women the local pregnancy support center, I may just find that healing I have needed. The other women are so loving, and so sold out to being the body of Christ that I shouldn’t be afraid to fall in among them, but I am. Still with all that said I am stepping into the light with the secrets of my past, and eternal amounts of grace, to hopefully be a light in the darkness that leads others to Jesus.

  21. I loved this post…. especially this concept: “View opening up as an act of trust in God rather than a test of someone’s acceptance of you.”

    It is so, so true. In choosing to come out of hiding, we are putting our trust in God, that He’ll “catch” our hearts in the places that other people fail to hold our stories well. He really does. He is so faithful in this.

    I loved your transparency in this post…. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  22. Hello I just join this site today…today I am home enjoying my day. I was reading Holley page that I receive in email. And I was reading this topic about “Hiding” I must say I lived in hiding for many years, and just this year came out. Something has happen once again, and I tell you I thank God that doing my healing with God’s help. I have been growing very much. Learning how to handle rejection, etc. I am not this time will stay hidden because of what has happen. I will continue moving forward with my own journey. God putting people as well in my life that will be a encourage, and that will be a friend regardless if i make mistakes. I am enjoying reading all the comments here, reading how there are many people that has experience the hiding from community. I could go on and on, but I wanted to step in this community to share my struggles as well. One has to be honest with yourself, so that you can move on. And I have learned that even when others are not ready for honesty, Don’t step back, keep pushing forward because there is someone out there that needs to hear honesty. God Bless you Bonnie and everyone else her in your journey! Agape! 🙂

  23. Thank you for sharing Bonnie, you are very brave and have been very brave. I too suffer from PTSD and only a couple of people in my face to face life know this. I have tried over the years on a few occasions to share with others what is the hidden part of me but have been met with the door shutting on our so called friendship. One person bought me a journal and then avoided me, another sent me a letter saying I needed counselling, others have just melted away or said they prefered the smiley me. In general I have not found acceptance. I also suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and sadly again I have not found in general acceptance on the main only criticism and judgement along with give yourself a shake, you look okay to me and so on. I think when you reach out to community and find rejection, hurt and non acceptance it is hard to reach out again in any way. You guard what is vulnerable even more closely. I do believe though that father God does bring certain people in to our lives to help us and although perhaps only one or two as In my case ,they are worth their weight in gold. I find it is those who have suffered that will notice a fellow sufferer a fellow hurting person and be willing to walk beside them. The blogging community is so vital I think in supporting others and finding acceptance, willingness to hear your story, struggles and even identify with them. In my journey to healing I hope, I try to be open and available to others in need of a true friend. I know how healing that alone can be in of itself and how having people to support you can help you face great struggle and pain. Of course with God along side you all the way. Thank you it is good to know you are not alone. Behind The Smile.

  24. “Early on, I had confided to someone who said my anxieties were caused by my failure to trust God — which then plummeted me into a tailspin of discouragement. ”

    Oh.My.Gosh!

    Okay, this is totally a case of, “What, you mean I really am not alone?!” haha Seriously, I know these words to some degree. They weren’t exact, but the outcome was the same as you experienced. The words spoken to me? “You’re too much for me to handle.” and “I am afraid you’re becoming co-dependent upon me.”

    The words spoken to me were from those who I confided in knew my background struggles with co-dependency, but also knew my healing from it…and continual walking out the healing. Tempted at times, yes, but never giving into the temptations…no. Yet, it came to a breaking point for them evidently that where I came to when I was in deep friendship with these people, was not where they could meet me. They couldn’t love me in my love language. They couldn’t simply meet me due to their own life issues.

    I recognized this truth, but it didn’t stop the sting and pangs of the feelings of rejection flooding my mind.

    Bonnie, thank you for this article…and laying out 8 ways to come out of hiding. After I heard the last words spoken to me about me being co-dependent again on someone, I went dormant. My blog still functioned…tweets and FB status updates still went out…but my voice became strained. I’ve been struggling to get back to a place where I am fully me…fully my voice. Fully everything He created me to be and do. It’s difficult, but doable engaging again…and I only pray my heart handles the attacks I know it will get from others again down the road.

    Community, especially with women, is tough. Words mingled with emotion can hurt the worst, especially when the women who speak them to us know us the most. It gets messy and painful, but it’s getting through these pains and messes where we find another element deeper of who we are in Christ.

    Thank you for this reminder today as I re-engage.

  25. I too find my self in isolation from community even though there is possibilities all around me to get envolved I can’t bring myself to do so. I’ve suffered from a chronic condition for a long time and get tired of trying to explain myself to others on “bad” days, especially when on the outside I look fine. So….I much appreciate all of you sharing your stories and knowing that I’m not alone. I will pray for each and everyone of you today. God bless you all.

  26. I thought hiding is only MY problem. I know I’ve been hiding all my life, so scared that I won’t get accepted. I have a wall up that is so thick, I’ve imprisoned myself since I was a little girl. I have problems so deep I don’t even know how to begin to talk about it. Only God knows. I thought it is just the way it is, no one really wants to hear how much you strugge. I’m afraid to speak because I’m afraid of being labeled weird. Truth be told, sometimes the things women comment on about another can be difficult for a sensitive heart to hear. So I store my secrets inside, but I know God wants those things out of my life because the parts of my life that aren’t working are exactly residues of those younger experiences, grandma who beat me, mom who had no time for me or favor my sister, and a dad who had mistresses. If coming out of hiding is a good thing….(deep down i know it is), then praise God He gives me courage to offer my first disclosure. And thank-you for your sharing, Bonnie, you have given me courage. The sentence that most strike me is “View opening up as an act of trust in God rather than a test of someone’s acceptance of you.” It’s so cool so see so many women wanting the security and freedom of community, especially a community of faith. May God grant us our deepest desire to be healed and to know His goodness, acceptance, and love for us as His Delight. I love Isaiah 62:4 “No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married.”

  27. Ho-leeeee moly.

    You kind of just told my story. It’s too long to write out in detail – suffice to say I was badly wounded a long time ago and it crippled me as far as community for years. It’s been a long healing process. I’m still healing in some ways. Things are better than they used to be but there are other things I’m still dealing with. I’ve had to let people love me, I’ve had to let myself love people, I’ve had to forgive and release a lot of stuff, I’ve had to see myself as having something worth contributing, and I’ve had to stop seeing others as perfect and realize they’re all broken and hurting in some way too.

    One thing that has really helped – it’s hard sometimes but it truly helps – is to ask God to help me see people with His heart. When I see others the way God sees them, it melts the barrier I try to build.

  28. Thanks for being so honest!

    I never realized that people could just reject someone due to past issues or hurts. I always try to listen & encourage people. I believe everyone needs someone to talk to & pray with.

    Praying for everyone here!

  29. I think the hardest part of being transparent is the rejection we will face. So many people can’t handle hearing the truth … Compassion just isn’t always the response, either people are embarrassed to hear the truth, or judgemental … I’ve faced deep hurt in my church as we dealt with a family tragedy. I’ve had others tell me to “just get over it.”. Broken hearts and lives don’t heal quickly. And sometimes learning to trust again can br hard. Bonnie your sharing with us, well for me has been very healing. Words and feelings you share are encouraging. Thank you for opening your hurt and your heart to us. You are in prayers..

  30. I know where you are coming from. As a child, things happened that I wish didn’t. I feel if I share that with people they won’t look at me the same. I feel they will judge me, and not act the same around me. As a young girl I was touched inappropriately by a male as I was searching for acceptance. I had also not developed physically until mid teens, so in my younger years and before mid-teens, I had no chest. I always asked girls if I could see their chests because I didn’t have anything and I was amazed at, what I though at the time was so cool. I never touched them, and didn’t want to, so I’m guessing it was just something I did because I didn’t have any, and found it amazing. I’ve grown up now and gotten married and have children, and have since gotten saved. I still feel so dirty when I think back to my childhood and those things. I’ve prayed about that and only told my husband about both situations, and a couple people about the inappropriate touching of the male cousin, but I just don’t know how to come to the place of healing because I’m so ashamed. Any words of wisdom?

    • Hiding, I don’t have words of wisdom but I can understand being scared of being judged and feeling bad about yourself. Things that happen to us in our childhood affect us in our adulthood so it is understandable you have those feelings about your childhood even now. As a child we can be hurt and confused about things which happen to us especially by someone we know. However what we need to remember is we were children and it was not our fault. Feeling dirty can be a result of the way we felt due to what happened to us which we felt or knew was wrong. Only you are the best judge of whether to tell people or not but my caution would be that it be someone or someone’s you know care about you and whom you trust to hold your confidence. It is scary and a risk to share anything intimate about ourselves with others but if you find a trust worthy caring person to tell who will walk this path with you that can be so healing in of itself. If you find that hard to do that is okay do not pressure yourself but perhaps if you have questions or need someone to talk to finding a counsellor who by their proffession are non judgemental would perhaps be a first step to coming out of hiding so to speak. I am no expert and it has taken me many years to speak to a counsellor and tell a trusted friend about my trauma experiences. I won’t lie to you it was not easy but my friend is still walking that journey with me and I am still walking the journey to healing. I pray you find the way to peace for yourself and God guides you on the right path for you. I also apologise if ramblings cause you more pain. God Bless and take care. Behind The Smile.

  31. Bonnie Gray,

    I would like to know how have you coped with PTSD. I am suffering with it myself. Your story has inspired me to be stronger.

  32. Thank you so much for your post. I can’t say that I have any “words of wisdom” to share, but I would like to say this post is definitely for me in my current season. I have struggled with anxiety and depression pretty much my entire life. It is now evident that it’s a chemical issue that runs in one side of my family. I’m 33-years-old, and I’m just now beginning the process of managing this disease. I have always hidden behind a mask out of the fear of rejection, mainly due to past rejection by people who I thought never would. I have been asking God for true friends, and He answered my prayer in His default manner…in a more incredible way than I could have imagined. He has placed some amazing women in my life, who I can trust, and He has asked me to trust Him enough to open up to them. In the last few days, I have allowed myself to pull away the mask and be real for the first time with a group. Granted it was on facebook, but it was still a very real post to a very large group. The response was humbling. No one offered advice, and everyone appreciated my trust in them to pray. I have asked God for this never to be in vain, and I’m learning to trust Him to write this part of my story…His way. Thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable and allow those of us who thought we were alone not to feel that way any longer.

  33. Thank you for this post, Bonnie. It’s a great opportunity for community, especially for starters. I have always had difficulty with transparency, and want to be real. I want to step out of my safe places, and just be able to reach out to people with out fear of rejection. It can be terrifying at times. Please keep me in prayer as God leads me and gives me strength to step out with out fear, and be who He wants me to be . The unique me that He created me to be. Not to try to fit in, not to try to be like others, but just be me, and feel safe.

  34. Your words so resonate with me, from the bubbly to the healing of grief through sharing and acceptance. I see by all these comments how much alike we all are in searching out healthy ways to relate, grow, move on. Thank you for your inspiration.

  35. Your words so resonate with me, from the bubbly to the healing of grief through sharing and acceptance. I see by all these comments how much alike we all are in searching out healthy ways to relate, grow, move on.
    It was difficult but it’s over, so good to know that there’s a rainbow after the storm!

  36. Thank you Bonnie for your courage and strength. I am in the process of coming out of hiding after 10 years. It’s scary at first but every day it gets easier, and life opens up as His purpose is revealed. Now if I can gain the courage to use my writing to help others…

  37. I can’t tell you how deeply this speaks to me. I’m finally coming to the point where I’m feeling brave enough to get involved in a church again. When life hurts, it’s hard when people in the church community reject. Thankfully I can feel God moving and working in a new way… I needed this!