Isn’t it amazing the impact that friendship has on our lives? The love of a true friend has the power to refine us, empower us and give us joy. In my 2020 Guest Post series, Rachel Mullen shares how one special friend taught her to have fearless vulnerability. Something she’d never experienced before and something that would change her life forever.
“A friend loves at all times, and brother (or sister) is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
In one very particularly hard season of my life, God blessed me with a dear friend named Carmen. Amidst my deepest struggles with loneliness, feelings of isolation and insecurity, He gave me a beautiful, Godly and honest friend. Carmen, a handful of years older, was married with two little ones. She opened her home to me with generous hospitality and opened her life to me with what I call fearless vulnerability.
I grew up in a home that swept hard things behind closed doors or under heavy carpets. I was afraid to share my story because of fear of rejection. I was afraid to question God because I thought that meant I did not know Him. I was worried that people would not like me if I spoke truth about how they hurt me. I thought my struggles and pain were too much for others and they would not want to be my friend. I thought I had to be perfect to be accepted.
I had a lot to learn about myself and authentic relationships. My friendship with Carmen allowed me to experienced true honesty and vulnerability. Her courage to be known and to be a living example taught me many valuable lessons that changed my life, and that, now I can pass on to others.
Carmen lived out her life in plain view.
As she shared her story with me, I had a front row seat to watching her wrestle, pray, ask hard questions, and grow. She taught me that loving a spouse deeply and in the Lord can involve tough conversations but also beautiful reconciliation. She showed me that parenting can bring us to our knees in tears, but that our children’s hearts are rich places to plant seeds of truth and hope. She also shared that the path God chooses for us may not be what we would have chosen. But that He is always faithful.
Carmen was not afraid to share.
She shared her past of grief and brokenness, as well as her ongoing story of God’s beautiful faithful provisions in her life. She was not afraid to let me see the hard things while also always sharing the specific work of God in her life. Through her fearless vulnerability she became a testimony of God’s faithfulness and of the power of Christ’s work in her life. She always pointed me back to Him! The ultimate friend who chose to live among the broken in order to save us—Jesus Christ. The “truest” friend that heals, strengthens, loves, and knows us even in our most vulnerable times.
And because of her always pointing me back to the truth of Christ as healer, encourager and lover of my broken soul, I am no longer afraid to share my own story. I see Him at work in my own life. Now I can share with fearless vulnerability. I can walk alongside of others in their loneliness, pain, or isolation and even share with them my own struggles.
My friend courageously carried my burdens of loneliness and insecurity and taught me about community and love, about not fearing vulnerability or the hard things that may come my way. Similarly, Christ reaches out to us amid our struggles and our fears and calls to us to lay our burdens upon Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ( Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)
So, with God’s promise to walk this road with us, we can love others with courage and boldness. We can point them back to Christ. We can remind them of His promise to provide comfort and rest for their weary lonely souls. Simply by loving them through our own fearless vulnerability and courageously sharing the work of God in our own lives, we become a light shining them back to our “true” friend—Jesus Himself.
Carmen was the hands and feet of Jesus when I needed it most. By courageously opening up her life and authentically sharing she changed me. Now, I can return her kindness by offering fearless vulnerability to others. How about you? Do you have a friend like Carmen? If so, send her a thank you note today! Also, do you approach your friendships with fearless vulnerability? If not, be encouraged to try, because the power of one brave friend can make a HUGE difference in another friend’s life!
Guest Post Series 2020
Rachel is a writer, nutritionist, health coach, and a physical therapist and a fellow #hopewriter! Learn more about Rachel and her story on Instagram- @rachelmullenwrites or her website- www.rachelcmullen.com.