They stood within arms reach of one another, notes barreling from the core of shared experience. The music was their connection but their stories were the intimate bond. No words could explain the abuse each had endured and few were necessary to describe their faith. Sometimes all it takes is a look, a recognition in the eyes of another. The meaning behind the melody steals the spotlight.
"I used to sing like I knew 'what' I was doing, now I sing like I know 'why'..."
Those were the words of La'Porsha Renae, a contestant on the final season of Fox's American Idol. She had the privilege that night of singing a duet with previous winner, Fantasia Barrino. Despite divorce proceedings and raising a family, she's muscled through the grueling competition schedule week after week. Through tears and laughter alike, she's candidly shared her experience and reliance on God with viewers.
Why would anybody display her life story? Why, in all of it's pain and vulnerability, would she make it visible to the world?
"All believers, come here and listen, let me tell you what God did for me. I called out to Him with my mouth, my tongue shaped the sounds of music." (Psalm 66:16)
We, sisterhood. We have far too many secrets. Of failure. Of pain. Within all the quiet spaces, we hold onto the thought that we're safer storing those secrets just out of reach. We've told ourselves, "If I can just hold it down...if I can just contain it long enough on my own, it'll go away. Things will get better. I'll be safe and everyone else will be safer too."
As long as we keep our fists clenched around our experience...
As long as we keep secret the terrible things of this world...
As long as our mouths are gagged and the truth is concealed...
...the enemy will have free reign over all the details. He'll twist and turn and confuse, until the fear of judgment or loss is so big that our stories lay dormant. They're rendered useless.
La'Porsha and Fantasia know what it is so suffer silently, but no more. They are not their own and we are not our own. We were bought at a high price - by the very blood of a Savior who paid for our bodies in love. For our minds. For our stories. He bought the manuscript before we ever had time to edit our ugly away.
"And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces as I look for your truth and your wisdom; Then I’ll tell the world what I find, speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed. (Psalm 119:47)
When we surrender every last detail of our stories to the One who conquered even death, they become powerful. When the minutiae of our lives are covered by the Creator, our words become sharper than a double-edged sword. He laces them with truth as He builds our courage, and it's truth that sets us free.
That night, as one of the judges shook his head over the beauty of the womens' performance, he shared this, "It's like an unstoppable force met and un-moveable object. That's what that moment was."
He may have believed he was talking about their singing, but I know with everything in me, it was their unapologetic hope he witnessed on stage that night. Be sure that God showed up when He was given ownership of the story.
Maybe our stories aren't meant to remain 'ours' after all. Maybe they were never ours to begin with. The healing is always more miraculous than is the risk to tell the truth about the Healer.
Photo Credit: Dayne Topkin
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.