This post is dedicated to my Mother, Jennifer Perry. She is a very Godly woman and like most Godly women, has had more than her share of suffering. I’m the 6th of 7 children. And I know I wasn’t her easiest. I was born via emergency C-section and I’ve been her special child ever since.
One thing she would tell me over, and over again was “Stephanie, you keep your cards too close to your chest.” And that would annoy me so much. I would think,
“I’m not as chatty like some of my other siblings, no big deal!”
But it WAS a big deal. My mom could see I had a shell, a very thick shell. You see, I came to know Christ at a very young age. My father was the pastor at our little church. I was home-schooled and we were always active in ministry. But I didn’t like opening up or sharing. I wanted to do everything on my own. I secretly battled cutting for a season. And even though I was a believer I wasn’t allowing God to soften my shell. I kept my battles secret, I thought my parents had enough people to help I could take care of myself. A BIG lie the devil planted while I was young.
Getting out of my own environment helped me grow and soften. I went on several missions trips before I moved onto a ship called the Logos Hope (more on that another day.) It was there that the Lord used hard situations and solid friends to slowly allow me to realize my need for people. My shell was starting to crack and my joy was increasing.
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17
When I came home she said I had changed, and I’m so thankful. My mom is now one of my dearest friends. She’s the first one I call. She now knows all my cards and we can freely fellowship.
I don’t just want my mom to know what cards I hold. I want my family, friends and neighbors. Is it uncomfortable, absolutely. However, if I can’t share what God has done for me personally and be open, what good am I to His kingdom? How can I overcome sin, depression, and hurt?
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? John 14:9
I as a believer am called to imitate Christ. I must be so transparent that all people see Christ. If I keep my cards to close, how can Christ use me to reach people. All they will see is a wall. It is a daily battle for me. When I am upset about something, or battling a sin, I lock up and get quiet. Just ask my husband, ha! But I will keep fighting and keep sharing.
This photo was taken on Easter Morning 2010 on board the Logos Hope. My parents flew to the Bahamas to see me. I was at a very low place but that visit meant a lot. ❤