to those who hurt

Today, I'm reminded that amidst the perfectly posed, beautifully edited photos and stories I see on my Instagram today, there are hundreds of other ones I do not see. So many are experiencing the sting of loss, the brokenness of betrayal, the pain of fresh heartbreak... and you need to know that you are not alone. Though it might seem like everyone in the world has it all together, it’s a fallacy. No one’s life is perfect. In fact, I would venture to say that your life, much like mine, is perfectly imperfect.

It’s amazing what you can do to a photo. You can take a basic, nondescript picture of something and with a few swipes of a finger, transform it into something that is alluring and beautiful. On one hand, it is an art form. It takes incredible skill to be able to create beauty and elicit an emotional response out of the mundane, the dark, the emotionless. But when we use this ability to put forth an image of who we want to be, rather than who we really are, we feed into the spiral of shame and comparison--the ultimate joy-stealer.

We cannot edit our lives the way we can a photograph; remove the smudges and stains, saturate the good parts and fade the whole image to make it seem natural. Our lives don’t work that way. So, why are we so quick to display the polished, I’ve-got-it-all-together side that makes others gawk and spurns on jealousy when the reality is oftentimes the opposite?

I’ll be the first to say that I am guilty of putting forth my “best,” oftentimes on days when things are the worst. It somehow feels better to join the rest of the world in showing that I have an amazing life, when the reality might that I am crumbling inside and trying to pull together the pieces.

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This post is for all of those kindred spirits out there wishing you could trade shoes with someone you see today. For those of you who feel “other” than the rest of the world, left on the sidelines, alone in your suffering and brokenheartedness. You are not alone. In fact, God says that he is especially near to you. Listen to these truths:

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” - Ps. 34.18

“The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him and He makes known to them His covenant.”  - Ps. 25:

“For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help.” - Ps. 22:24

“For he will conceal me there when troubles come; He will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.” - Ps. 27:5

Be encouraged friend, knowing that God is in the business of healing and redeeming even the most painful parts of our stories. Remember, your story is YOUR story--it's unique and special, no less than anyone else's. Let His voice speak louder than the ones in your head and the ones of those in your social circles. God is not standing idly by watching your pain; He is holding you, listening to you, loving you, healing you, lifting you, empowering you, and will eventually strengthen you to send you out again.

To those who hurt: I hurt too. My heart is all too familiar with it’s broken state. But I am learning to trust in a God who can and will restore. May His voice be louder than all the others as we journey on the road to healing together.