Friday, May 02, 2008


There is a mom at my church that I have watched curiously for the last two years. She's beautiful, she's thin (even after giving birth four times), her children are perfect, her husband is perfect, her home is perfect, and she seemingly has it all together. We're always friendly with each other, but we've never really had a conversation that wasn't awkward.

Secretly, I've judged her.

A few weeks ago, I went to the mom's fellowship group at my church. One thing I love about this group is that every time we meet, someone has a chance to share their story. Some people call it a testimony, but I prefer to call it story.

So guess who was up to share that day? Yep, the mom I've been judging for the last two years.

My tears started falling soon after she began sharing. She told about growing up in a home that wasn't Christ-centered. She shared some of the bad choices she made at an early age, and how she continued living a rebellious life through her early adulthood. She was honest and open and completely transparent--and I certainly wasn't expecting that. She went on to tell how all the pain in her life left her empty and wanting something more. And after searching and searching for answers and calling out to the Lord, a friend's mother led her to Christ, and her life took a radical turn.

I sat there in shock listening to this perfect woman tell of her sin and her brokenness. She didn't have to tell us all that God has redeemed in her life--she and her beautiful family are evidence enough.

As I was driving home that day, I was convicted and saddened by my judgement of her. And thankfully, forgiveness was mine for the asking.

It struck me though, how important it is to know each other's stories, especially those we're in community with.

After my friend (and I use that word purposefully now!) shared her story, all of the things that were curious to me about her suddenly made sense. Her past experiences dictated her present convictions, and once I realized this, I was better able to understand her and extend grace to her.

Story is powerful. Each of us has our own unique tale, and when we share it with others we allow ourselves to be known, and hopefully understood. I think it also gives others an opportunity to remind us of who we are, and who we aren't when the devil hurls his nasty accusations our way. It always feels risky to share, but I think God can bless us when we do.


Jenn said...

Can I say I loved reading this post? Thank you Meredith for sharing both sides of this story.

I have been there many times with church acquaintances. Thinking either they are perfect or that they have it all together. Then in my heart I will hold resentment because either I want to be just like them or I am mad that I do not have it all together. It is not until they share in a public setting or until I take them time to get to know them that I realize they have real hurts and struggles in their own lives. Then I feel so guilty for the thoughts I had about the person and also the time I wasted by watching them from afar and could have fostered a relationship. But you are so right - God forgives us and we can start fresh with building a friendship with this person. :o)

Great post.

Gretchen said...

This is one of your best posts, ever. Thank YOU for being transparent, sweet Mer. We're all broken, and I'd likely have been in the next seat, judging her right along with you. Lovely, lovely post. xxxooogretchen

Kelly said...

Thank you. We are all so quick to judge a book by it's cover. We are all people. We all have a story. We are all insecure. We all have hurts and problems and pasts. I'm always working on loving everyone despite of my first opinions.

Deidre said...

Great, great post. So many times, I've thought to myself, "If they only knew my story, they would understand", yet I turn around and judge the woman next to me. We're all guilty, I think. We all have things in our lives that have shaped us to be who we are. I love how honest you are and thank you for reminding me to take a few seconds to understand 'why' some are the way they are.

Have a great weekend, Mer!

His Girl said...

I wanted to tell you how much I love this post, but I can't find words that Jenn and Gretchen didn't already use.

so, just copy paste, and know I think you're amazing.

Jennifer said...

Such truer words could not have been found! I just had some thoughts myself today and felt a little 'down' about it. Thank you for reminding me of how great our Father really is!

*carrie* said...

A very poetic closing paragraph. I think we can all relate, Mer!

Casey said...

I loved this. I am so guilty of casting judgment and this was spot on. Your writing is moving, Meredith. Thank you.