Last week my husband sat me down to shower me with words of encouragement. He decided to do this to focus on loving me and speaking grace into my life. I sowed heartache and sin into our marriage, and that has reaped so much destruction that has kept us from rejoicing in the mercies we have every day.
One of the struggles that have been born out of my foolish sowing is his bitterness. He has actively fought it, and I’m thankful for his very godly mentor, coach, and accountability partners who have walked with him in pursuing forgiveness. But he can’t help but sometimes focusing on where I continue to fail and where he fails.
When his coach asked him about ways that he has excelled and ways I have excelled in our marriage, he was convicted by how concrete his examples for himself were, but that he only had abstract pictures of what I was doing to make a change.
So that leads me to the two of us sitting in the kitchen with the dishes unwashed, and our needy dog gnawing and nipping at our hands and feet for attention. There in the midst of the normal of life, he spoke grace to me.
Through tears, we both rejoiced in what the Lord is doing in our lives.
During this conversation, he brought up that he appreciated that I was bold for sharing such shameful sin so publicly. He believed that took humility to share so vulnerably.
He gets me. He understands why I want to share, but I want to set the record straight for those who believe I’m sharing what I am to seek attention.
It’s not for Attention
First, I had a successful career as a managing editor for a well-known publication in my current city. My job was often seen as a stepping stone for very secure, comfortable jobs as marketing managers and directors in international schools, hospitals, and hotels, or step-up journalism opportunities in widely-known magazines and media, like ELLE or Jezebel.
I really didn’t need to seek attention from an audience as I already had a captive one. In taking this route with this blog, I’m actually losing attention since the subject matter of my blog is tricky where I live, and I can’t always share openly on my audience’s preferred social media (WeChat). Well, I could, but I might risk unwanted attention with unsure consequences.
It’s not for Praise or Catharsis
Secondly, the purpose for sharing something like adultery and sexual sin is so easily misunderstood, but I did not share to get praise or pursue an odd form of catharsis. I really don’t know what others think about it all, but judging by the thousands of clicks, it’s something that is rattling around in the brains of my readers. I don’t know if that’s because they think it’s gossip, it’s controversial or what… but I really honestly don’t care. In comparison, each month the magazine was printed, thousands of copies went to hundreds of drop locations. I didn’t have the privilege of engaging with each reader in their thoughts about my work, and I don’t have the privilege of doing that now with this blog either.
I am genuinely concerned about the readers who relate to my struggle. I also do care about what those who are living and walking with me every day think. I do care about what my husband thinks. I do care about what my accountability partners say. I do care about what my church says about my walk. They see my faith day in and day out.
It’s easy for someone to stop by this site once and make a judgment about who I am in Christ. That’s hard when it’s said with hurtful words, but I have to remember that there’s a lot of pain dwelling inside of them to react to my story with hate when I don’t have a single influence in their life. I’m just a story on a screen. That’s it.
It’s not to put on Face or be the next Christian Personality
Lastly, I have been hurt by the misconception that after someone becomes a Christian they are now forever holy and righteous. So what I see is that people do a lot of pretending. In China, there’s this concept called ‘face.’ That can be understood by residents of the South as honor or reputation. I myself have been guilty of worrying about my reputation and deciding not to be vulnerable when it’s time to go around in small group and share what I’ve been struggling with that week.
“Life is so good because I’ve been blessed with this amazing spiritual super power!”
Every time after I pretend that, God lets my mask fall off, and I’m humbled. My story isn’t pretty and it’s not glamorous. It’s gritty and real and now. I really pray that I don’t stick my big foot in my big mouth, but knowing my heart and how my thoughts plop out of my mouth before the filter is available, I will more than likely say something stupid, make a bunch of people angry, have some sort of sin processed publicly, or something else like that. I did great on PR when my personal life wasn’t involved, but I sometimes let the hurt of my heart show before I think what it will mean for others.
That pretty much means acceptance as a Christian personality will never happen, unless as a culture Christians begin to honor what is dishonorable and share about what isn’t even polite conversation at a friend’s dinner table.
The Number One Reason I Share
To set it all straight, I share my sin so publicly because I really, really want to see women and men set free from sin, especially sexual sin, by the truth of God’s amazing gospel. I want to see marriages healed. I want to see women’s groups learning to be vulnerable with one another. I want to see women rejoicing in the grace they have from God. I want to glorify God in this, even if I’m only used in a small way.
The conviction of my sin is real and painful.
The grace I have received is beautiful!
The holiness I want is tangible.
And the real relationship I have with the creator of this universe is not just for me.
That’s why I share my sin so vulnerably.
And when I do, I am able to reach into the hearts of others who would otherwise remain closed off.
Even if my impact is small, it is my joy to obey God in this way, to glorify him in my writing in a way that’s unique to me.
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