Why we must speak out in the midst of the mess

Column Post by Aj Luck

“Mrs. Luck, I am here to repossess your car.”

It was the day before Thanksgiving and I had just walked out of a thrift store with my young son when the stranger approached. I stood there in shock. Thankfully, my son had climbed into the car to play with his train and was out of earshot.

I willed back threatening tears.  “I’m sorry—what did you say?”

He repeated himself, then said, “You’re 16 days late on your payment and we need to take the car.”

I tried to explain that there were payments scheduled to post through my bank in the next three days, even giving him transaction numbers. Nothing I said mattered. I glanced at my son and saw fear in his eyes. He didn’t understand what was happening. Neither did I.

The stranger got into the car, saying he wouldn’t “just leave” my son and me there. He told me to drive home and he would take the car from there.

Once we were home, I was told to take only what I would need from my car and assured it would remain in Orlando until the payments cleared. I moved in stoic motions, my mind reeling. I couldn’t think clearly. My husband tried by phone from work to convince the stranger to let us take care of things then, but the man refused.

As our car was driven away I told my son it was taken for repair. We later discovered the car had been taken to Tennessee and were told all ($1,400. worth) of our personal contents were thrown away.

The stress in our home was unreal. Our marriage felt it. Our son responded to it. My faith was shaken. I felt angry. Deceived. Broken. Worthless. Abandoned. Afraid. I cried thousands of tears, many through gritted teeth and with a broken and confused heart.

Why was this happening? Where was God in it all? My pride was hurt. I was ashamed.

What if people found out about this? What would they think? I felt completely out of control. I had worked hard in my life, in my relationship with God, to trust again. In those moments I felt cynicism suffocating again.

I don’t share this for pity. I share because you need to know that I understand LIFE IS MESSY, and sometimes it hurts! I’m tired of pretending it doesn’t. We must find freedom to talk THROUGH what hurts, not AROUND it.

My prayer is, “God, please give us the strength to stand up, speak up, fight back and hold onto you regardless of what we face.”

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”  Hebrews 4:16 NLT

Don’t be ashamed of pain or truth. It’s time we lose the masks and allow the stories to be told and healing to come.

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Aj is a blogger, bookworm, wife and mommy, and an author of children’s books, spiritual thrillers, and inspirational works. Aj’s blog, Shattered Perspectives, is dedicated to encouraging and helping women who have suffered and/or are struggling with abuse. In her spare time Aj can be found nursing cold Diet Cokes and searching for awesome bargains in nearby thrift stores. She resides in Florida with her husband, son, two dogs and the biggest diva of a Siamese cat ever, and can be reached by email at aj@shatteredperspectives.com. For media requests pertaining to Write Where It Hurts, please contact Aj at info@WriteWhereItHurts.org.

Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)

29 thoughts on “Why we must speak out in the midst of the mess

  1. I love you for being brave enough to share. I love you for being strong enough to endure. I love you because you have touched my soul today. gail

  2. Hi AJ. This post really resonated with me. I cannot even tell you the number of times I have felt like that over the 37 + years I have known the Lord. Life is messy! Even the Lord told us, “In the world you shall have tribulation,” (don’t have my Bible handy right now to reference this). Some things don’t make sense and never will on this side, but I do believe “all things work together for [our] good (Romans 8:28…ah..I .remembered this one!). I know that for me, I just felt like God was keeping me from a prideful attitude that I was a favored child (you can’t see this but I just laughed out loud).

    Thanks AJ!

    • Linda, I have been following your story for some time now. I have been so encouraged by your bravery. Thank you for your comment. 🙂
      Most of all, thank you for being another in the crowd willing to stand up and talk honestly about life and the messes it brings.
      Love and hugs!!!
      Aj <3

      • Thanks Aj. Part of what kept me stuck for so long in mental illness, even after finding the Lord, is because people weren’t willing to be “real.” I think (hope) it’s better these days (this was in the 1970’s). Thanks for reading my blog! Love and hugs back!

  3. AJ —

    I well remember having our car impounded due to late registration…as we were 2 blocks from the DMV. Nothing we said made any difference…nor did the fact that our two young children were with us.

    Sharing your story in the midst of the mess is such a gift. Seeing you refuse to allow shame to hold you captive, I remember I can make the same choice…instead of retreating behind a silent facade of “fine.” Seeing you wrestle with trust in the midst of pain helps me choose to engage both…rather than hide from them.

    Thank you.

    • Cherl- THANK YOU!
      It is hard to make the uncomfortable choices. I am so honored to hear you share your heart with me as well. I pray that you would continue to rely on God. Wrestle out the hard things. We can’t allow the messes or shame to keep us silent!

      In our weakness, Christ’s strength is perfected in and THROUGH us!!
      Love, hugs and prayers to you and your family!!

      <3 Aj

  4. I Love YOU so much Aj. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your lovely family. Thank YOU for sharing your heart. I can relate in simialr ways. Life is Messy..I am so glad God uses messes for HIS Glory..Love and Hugs..Dee ♥

    • Dee- I love you too sweet friend!!
      Thank you for your kind comments and prayers. They are appreciated.
      God is the MASTER of making messes into masterpieces!!!

      THANKFUL!!
      Love and hugs!!
      <3 Aj

    • Marljo- Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful link!
      I truly believe God honors the honesty and transparency if we are simply willing to yield to it.
      Love, hugs and prayers!!
      <3
      Aj

  5. AJ…thank you so much for being vulnerable…for being authentic. You are so right …”Life is messy.” So many folks are walking around hurting and afraid to share their pain, their sorrow, their hurt to risk telling their stories.
    It takes courage to be real…and I believe that it is what God desires from us as our stories connect us to others and allow others to see our trust in the Great Healer.
    Sending you a hug and pray that God will bring blessings in abundance on your family.

    • Cindie-
      Thank you for the hug. (I am a big hugger!)
      I have always said that we never go through anything just for us. It will always be for someone else as well. If we will simply allow God to use us, and our stories for His glory.

      It’s hard being this transparent, but I believe people need to know the struggles in the messes are real. God is right beside us, the entire time!

      Love, hugs and prayers!!
      <3
      Aj

  6. Aj, I relate so much to your story. Sometimes it is extremely scary to allow ourselves to become vulnerable by sharing our painful experiences. To remove the pretty mask we wear pretending all is fine when really we are greatly struggling.

    Last year, my husband got laid off for the fourth time in a three year period. It was right before the holidays; the most stressful time of the year. We had no savings account or extra income. How on earth could we manage to give our three kids a joyful Christmas when we had no money to afford gifts. Even worse, how were we going to pay rent and maintain the expense of daily living?

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. I prayed. I cried. I pleaded with God to come to our rescue. Determined in finding solutions, I put on my thinking cap. What I came up with is not something I would have ever considered in the past. Perhaps, some individuals would criticize me or tell me that I’m crazy?

    On a cold winter day, I sold my husband and my wedding rings for extra income. Although I ordinarily would not have done such a thing, I bravely sought all options. Selling gold happened to be one of them. What it meant was that I was willing to give up our precious wedding rings to provide a merrier Christmas for my children.

    When our rent was due, my husband sold his brand new truck. The trade off meant we had a warm roof over our families heads for one more month. It was not a decision done in haste, only in desperate prayers.

    When I kept asking God to show me what I could sell to earn extra income, instantly I recalled the five American Dolls sitting in a box packed away in my basement. Immediately, I asked my teenage daughter’s if I could sell their dolls for extra income? After explaining the financial situation, both daughter’s agreed. Then I placed the ad, while praying God would handpick the right children who would be blessed to receive a gently used doll this Christmas. I prayed and the Lord moved powerfully behind the scenes. Within one week of posting the ad, all five dolls were sold, and we earned extra income.

    The Lord was faithful. Somehow and some way, we were able to provide gifts for our children and remain in our home. While we may had to give up many valuable items and it was a sad loss, God truly made our Christmas brighter.

    • Dana- WOW!
      Thank you so much for sharing this amazing, beautiful story. God is faithful. I love your tenacity to push forward to hear and honor God.
      YOU have encouraged me today.
      THANK YOU!
      Love and hugs,
      <3
      Aj

  7. Aj, thank you so much for being courageous enough to share all of this while you’re in the middle of it. You’re right…life IS messy. Everyone’s life. No exceptions. You’ve inspired me today…thank you.

    • Rebecca,
      Thank you so much for your encouraging words today. They mean a lot to me. 🙂
      I pray that we would all be able to find His courage to speak up and press forward in difficult times.
      No. Matter. What.
      Love and hugs!
      <3
      Aj

  8. AJ, I can certainly relate to your dilemma. Your story brought back some bad memories of similarities.
    But, I have to confess to curiosity.
    Please tell us. Were you and your husband able to get your car back and how long did it take?

  9. Pat-
    I am sorry to hear that this brought back bad memories for you. I pray that they will be replaced by good ones. 🙂
    I love that you are curious. 🙂
    Yes, my husband and I did receive our car back. It took a total of eight days. God was faithful by providing us resources to rent a car over the holiday weekend, and to get our car released. Our personal property has not been recovered however.
    We are still in the middle of this story, but moving forward.
    God continues to encourage us to trust Him with each step.
    Thank you for asking. 🙂
    Love and hugs!!
    <3
    Aj

  10. I KNOW exactly what you mean! I was forced to go on permanent disability two years ago reducing my income by 80%! I struggled for two long years trying to keep things going. I was overcome this past summer and lost my car and home! Today I have a bank calling wanting me to pay for a credit card that I had insurance on to protect me in case anything like this ever happened! Unfortunately, this particular bank only “defers” payments and doesn’t pay off the account such as others do.

    There are days I felt totally defeated but the Lord always helped me to turn my focus back to Him and realize that He IS my Provider and if taking me of me through other means was what He had planned, well, then, I could do it! And, provide He did!

    • Jo Lyn- First of all I am so sorry for the things that you have had/ and are walking through.
      I know and understand the frustrations as well as the stress things like this can cause.
      I applaud your strength for continuing turning to the Lord for focus. I know it can be very difficult, even uncomfortable. Yet, always rewarding.
      Keep walking hand in hand with your Creator.
      He may not always allow us to understand the why behind the what.
      He just needs us to trust that He is with us through it all, navigating.
      Love and hugs!!
      <3
      Aj

  11. A.J. My first thought was great job at telling things like they are! Then I wondered if this was a legitimate repo. Either way you were not in a good place and yet you showed courage in sharing your feelings and the incident. I have often gotten in deep water talking about the “Elephant” in the room. Some may not like the messy truth, but it is freeing.
    Hope things get better for you!

    • Carolynn,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Yes, it can be very daunting to address the “elephant” in the room.
      Yet, he is there- obscuring our view of reality sometimes.
      He needs to be talked about. 🙂
      My prayer in all of this, is that people will know that it is okay to talk about the messes.
      We need to get things out so that we can allow healing in.
      Love and hugs my sweet friend!
      <3
      Aj

  12. AJ, I write this to you not for some contest to be entered into,

    You are right when you say that even when life is messy, the story needs to be told!
    Everyday I realize this more and more.
    I work with people who have a persistant mental illness and if it wasn’t for my story I don’t think that I could do this. Sometimes it devestates me to see what life can bring to people who were going somewhere in their life only to be knocked down by an illness that can take every goal you were working for away and leave you with only medication, fear, shame, pain, and embarassment.

    I had my own struggle with a mental illness, due to physical and mental abuse, that is another story for another day.
    Today, I am grateful for my struggle and feel that it was all worth it.
    Why? Because I understand what it feels like and I can relate to those I work with.
    I know alot because of those horrible experiences.
    I used to wonder why God would give me so much grief and such a horrible life.
    Today my faith is stronger than ever, because God brought me through those struggles, and gave me a life worth living. I can share my story with those that have an illness and be a living breathing example of triumph. Which I never could of done without God holding me up during those stressful, horrible years. I am not saying that my life is perfect, whose is? But the shame, pain and unworthiness is does not exist because I know that I am God’s daugher and I am loved.

    I now don’t ask God WHY? I ask God what are you trying to teach me?
    Love and peace be with you, and you are now in my prayers.

    • Heather-
      I am so touched by your comment. Thank you so much for sharing your heart.
      I am so sorry that you have had such pain in your life. I do understand the damages abuse can bring.
      I love the line, “Because I understand what it feels like and I can relate to those I work with.”
      I admire your strength and persistence to hold onto God throughout all of it.
      I have said “we never go through anything, just for ourselves. It will always be for someone else along our journey, if we will simply allow God to be glorified through our pain.”
      It sounds like God has placed you in a very specific place, where you can be a voice of healing and encouragement.
      Keep shining brilliantly for all to see, as our Creator shines through you!
      Thank you for your prayers.
      Love and hugs!
      <3
      Aj

  13. I am touched and inspired at your honesty. It seems that as humans we are afraid to be real, to speak what is truly on our hearts and minds. Jesus spoke boldly, honestly always. His words were few, inspiring, thought provoking and deeply disturbing sometimes. He is my Hero, my strength. Your story has inspired me to not be so controlled by being proper with people. I need to just speak up. Thanks for sharing your truth, your heart, your story.
    In Him
    Ingrid

  14. Amen and amen and amen to what Heather was saying. When life is full of pain and trial, God is always there. Sometimes we feel His presence, and we KNOW that He is there, and sometimes not. But our God is so big, and so faithful! I have looked back over the years of my life, and see Gods hand, watchful eye, and hand directing my life. I as a your child and teenager experienced amazing physical, mental, emotional abuses that no child should ever have to face. I think about them now and can’t belive that these memories are mine. Not a movie or movie, real life. When I came into a real, sincere relationship with the Lord, I felt this kind of love that I had never felt, experienced before. It was all encompassing!!!!! I felt the weight of sins from my past, felt alot of shame and worthlessness. However as I was able to confess the sins to the Lord, and go to some of the people that I had hurt in my past and say sorry. My life changed. I realized the power of humility and forgiveness. I felt the unconditional love of Jesus. I all of a sudden realized that He loved me no matter what!!!!!!!!!! This has changed my life, my thinking patterns about abusers from my past. I choose not to be a victim! I choose to be a victor in Jesus. Life is full of challenges, learning opportunities for me to grow and change. And I am thankful for that. God is gracious!
    Blessings to you Aj. I’m so glad that you got your car back, thanks for sharing. It has encouraged me to be not so concerned about being proper, but a whole lot more real in situations!
    Ingrid

  15. Ingrid,
    Thank you for your sweet comment. I truly appreciate it.
    It is never easy to be transparent, but it can be so rewarding. Not only to ourself but to others as well.
    I am so honored that post has encouraged you. Be exactly who you were created to be. God will honor that.
    Love and hugs!!
    Aj
    <3

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