As a child, I loved swimming. I remember teaching myself to swim and the invigorating feeling of being submerged, racing to the bottom of a pool to retrieve a diving stick or a shiny coin. I have no memories of being afraid of water. I have been snorkeling in the Florida Keys, diving below the surface to view God’s miraculous handiwork on the coral reef. There is such beauty beneath the depths of the sea.
Thankfully, my children also love the water. The older three are able to swim very well. The youngest is on her way as she has no ounce of fear in her. Our rental home has a pool and we have eked out every bit of swim time as possible since the Louisiana heat has lingered longer than we are accustomed. For some reason, they can fight like animals all day, but once they are in the pool, they transform into mermaids and mermen, allowing the water to expose their imaginations and leave all animosity behind.
Just as some have a fear of water, I once had a fear of immersing myself in relationships; deep friendships. For a long time, I struggled with getting to know women on a level below the surface. I was scared to reveal too much of who I was because I didn’t want anyone to see my flaws. For years, the seamless cracks of my heart kept getting bigger and bigger. My pain ripped me in to so many pieces until I was a big pile of brokenness. I couldn’t keep up the facade any longer. It was exhausting. There, however, in my shattered mess, began piecing me back together. He did that through friendships with other broken women. God brought women in my life who didn’t necessarily share my specific pain, but were broken in their own way. Through our shards, we could feel one another’s wounds. One friend suffered the loss of her four day old infant. Although I have never lost a baby, I have felt the piercing pain of loss. We grieved different circumstances, but we shared in our grief.
There is a lot I miss about home. I miss family, my church, and the beauty of the valley in the fall. Above all, I miss those ladies I chose to dive deep with. I still talk or text with them regularly, but there is nothing like the physical embrace of a friend, a sister, who knows your hurts as much as she knows her own. Part of me feels like, when God started piecing us back together, he placed a few of my pieces in them and I have a some of theirs as well.
I broke through my fear of vulnerability and chose to dive in. My world forever changed because I now have a burning desire to see past the facades of others. I want to see their pain and their brokenness, because I can meet them there, better than I can on the surface. Slowly, here in the Bayou, God is bringing women into my life who are not afraid to share their shattered pieces with me. This is happening gradually because our fragments can be delicate. You can’t trust those pieces with just anyone. The relationships are not the same as those I left behind, but have their own intricate details that bless my life abundantly.
Dive deep. There is too much beauty under the surface for you to miss. God wants our relationships to be a blessing to one another. Hold your breath and slip below the surface. You may find more than you ever imagined.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2