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God. My. Transparency.

May 15, 2011

When I wrote my first book, a memoir, I revealed things about my life I wasn’t exactly thrilled to reveal.  On the blog I’ve shared things I didn’t know I’d share until I prayed and sat down to write.  And this weekend at Women of Faith in Des Moines, I told an audience of thousands a personal family story I’d hardly told anyone.

And I am by nature a private person.

The irony astounds me.  Left to myself, no one would know much of anything about me.  I consider that safer, I guess.  But God won’t let me stay there.  He moves me to peel back the layers and show the stuff that’s ugly and even painful.  In doing so, I have to reflect on those layers and relive them, often reliving the emotion as well.  And it’s risky, not knowing how your layers will be received.

That’s what I dealt with this weekend.  I didn’t give the same message I’d given in Columbus two weeks ago.  During the speakers’ workshop, God woke me up early one morning with a new one.  I wasn’t sure about sharing it at first, knowing it was tied to my heart.  But when I couldn’t get back to sleep and instead had to get up and take notes, I knew I had to.

I did relive the emotion as I told the story Saturday.  Afterward, when I’d gone up to the concourse for a book signing, I was stopped by woman after woman—and even a male security guard—who wanted to share their own story and tell me that my message had inspired them.  It had helped to focus them on the truth that God is faithful, even when we can’t quite see it.

I know that’s why God transforms us “private people” to be transparent.  Connection comes in the layers.  When I reveal the deeper parts of myself, others feel free to reveal themselves.  They discover they’re not the only ones with painful stuff.  And together, we find hope and encouragement as we share how God has shown up in those layers.

If my transparency reveals the glory of God, by His grace, I’ll keep on peeling.

Do you find it easy to be transparent?  Or are you a private person by nature, like me?  Has God moved you to peel back your layers with others?

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19 Comments

  • Reply Debbie May 16, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Good Morning and I hope you have a wonderful day full of blessings! God is writing a story with our lives and at appropriate, God lead times we must share it — it really is His story after all and everything in it is intended for His glory to bless Him, us and others. Nothing is wasted and everything has purpose. What an amazing God! What an amazing adventure! (I know it sure doesn’t feel like an adventure to me sometimes — at least in the positive sense but God has other ideas!)

    I am a private person who tends to be transparent espescially in the “God context”. He is so worthy to be praised and others so desperately need to know that “no matter what” God is bigger than the “what” and praise be to His name He is bigger than me and my limitations and my failures. This helps others know that He is a God who is God over their failures, limitations and circumstances too and it brings hope.

    Bless you, for letting God take you out of your comfort zone for His sake and glory and to encourage, comfort and bless others through your story.

    Debbie

    P.S, my struggle is that there is so much going on (usually) in my life that involves others and the amazing work God is doing but I’m not free to share because its not just “my story”. Ah well, I just have to trust Him with the timing of such things….there is a whole realm that “sees” and is having to bow in wonder to His greatness even if the “human” realm that sees is limited.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate May 16, 2011 at 8:06 am

      Debbie, you are just a big ol’ fount of wisdom….”it really is His story after all and everything in it is intended for His glory…” Why didn’t I think to put it that way?? :-) So, so true. All the missteps, painful times, the shame…all part of the story of redemption. He works in and through it all. Yes, what an amazing God! I also love this part…”God is bigger than the ‘what'”…YES! Bless you as well for giving of yourself on this blog, though you are a private person. You may not be able to share all that’s going on because it involves others, but what you do share has blessed me tremendously. Thank you, my friend. :)

  • Reply Rebecca May 16, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Thanks for sharing the story about your son at Des Moines. It hit the nail on the head for many in my group of girlfriends. My junior high son has dealt with bullying for many years until I don’t think he or I can take anymore. I never had this problem growing up and find it difficult to understand how serious this problem is for my son. Thank you for sharing God’s faithfulness with us, I needed the reminder. I will be sitting down with my son to let him know God and I are on his side and that God has a plan just for him! Thanks again!!

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate May 16, 2011 at 11:21 am

      Rebecca, my heart is so touched by this. It breaks my heart when I hear that someone is being bullied, and I know how much this must break your heart. Your post reminds me once again of God’s faithfulness in moving me to change my message. He knows what we need, and I’m already amazed by the number of moms who are enduring similar pain with their kids. Thank you so much for sharing that the message hit home with you and your girlfriends. I’m praying right now for you and your son. Yes…God has a plan just for him! He loves your son with an everlasting love. (((hugs)))

  • Reply Shahmet May 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I am also a private person by nature but I have learned that in sharing I find healing and also I am able to help someone else. I believe that the things I have endured are not for my self but God has set me as an example to others who are currently in situations that He brought me through so that they can know there is hope. The most destructive thought is to believe that you are alone and that no one else has been where you are or can understand your pain. Many times people suffer in isolation, I did it myself, because we figure we have to for some reason. For a while, I used to not share things because there was someone else involved (my ex-husband) and I knew he was more private than me. However, all of that privacy kept me in bondage and once I released it, my situation improved.

    Here are a two excerpts from a couple of pieces I wrote a few years back that speak to this issue:

    from “Truth”

    There is power in the telling of our stories.
    There is healing in the telling of our stories.

    Shame and guilt fester in the darkness of secrecy.
    Fear, distrust and envy thrive in the isolation.
    But there is freedom in the telling of our stories.

    Made in the image of God.
    His divinity dwells within you and me.
    Empty words? No.
    Hold these truths that will set us free.

    There is acceptance in the telling of our stories.
    There is wholeness in the telling of our stories.
    Look inward, revel in the beauty.
    Purge yourself, own up to the ugly,
    There is freedom in the telling of our stories.

    from “We are the Same”

    Share your story, for there is power and healing in the telling and the tears, there is comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate May 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm

      “The most destructive thought is to believe that you are alone and that no one else has been where you are or can understand your pain.” Shahmet, that’s so true. Those thoughts (lies), planted by the enemy, can truly destroy us on the inside. That’s why there’s such power in our testimonies. When we reveal that we were there too, but look what God did…hope dawns in our hearts. I love that you said you not only help someone else, but you yourself find healing. So interesting how that works! The more we share, the more we find understanding and peace in our stories. Thank you for sharing what you’ve written on this…it’s so clear that God has done a work in your heart about being set free to tell your story. I’m greatly encouraged by your witness.

  • Reply Pamela May 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Hey Sis,

    I think you said it best, “If my transparency reveals the glory of God, by His grace, I’ll keep on peeling.”

    My pastor told me years ago, and I always remember it, “Christianity is not about my being comfortable.” There will be many times (and have been many times where I was led to do something that made me feel extremely uncomfortable, but yet, I clearly believe the Holy Spirit was leading me to do that very thing.

    **Do you find it easy to be transparent? Or are you a private person by nature, like me? Has God moved you to peel back your layers with others?

    I am definitely a private person, and have in the past shared private things about myself…as led to do so. I always feel naked (exposed) when I share those deeply personal things, esp. when people don’t give you (well, what I would consider) a proper response to my having bared my soul. I always remind myself (when I don’t get that proper response)of how the Psalmist in Psalm 8:4 considered…What is man that thou art mindful of him? My duty is to glorify God, and that will require obedience on my part…through the easy things, and YES, through the difficult things as well. I can’t stop and wonder how people are going to view me…I want to glorify God – that will lead to some uncomfortable feelings, but being uncomfortable is something that we Christians are certainly used to…this is not our home…we will never find comfort here in this world.

    So, and I say this with all love and sincerity (…and you know that I am a Kim Cash-Tate fan (smile)). I think it is a worthwhile thing to forsake Kim’s feelings of nakedness and that of being uncomfortable…in order to advance kingdom purposes. The Holy Spirit is there for you to run to for comfort. I am excited to see God peeling back the layers…you are a blessing to many of us! You moving as the Holy Spirit directs you to pour your life out, and share beyond your comfort, and neglecting your own feelings is the RIGHT THING TO DO!

    Keep clinging and trusting.

    Love you Sis.

    Pamela.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate May 16, 2011 at 11:08 pm

      Pam, that’s so hard…when you’ve bared your soul, you feel naked, and you don’t get an encouraging response. As you said, we truly have to keep our focus on God. He’s the One we seek to please and to glorify. If we’re led to share private things about ourselves, He has a purpose in that, and we have to trust…no matter the response. I’ve even seen where the initial response might be flat, but later, I find out that God continued to work in the individual’s heart and down the road, they tell me that something I said did have an impact. All we can do is plant the seeds or water them, but God will bring the harvest.

      I so appreciate your encouragement, Sis. It’s funny because once I sense that God wants me to share, I share. I know He has a purpose. I’m at the point now where I prefer to live beneath the layers. We talked about this in another post about friendships. I want deep, meaningful conversation, not surface conversation. And that means I have to be willing to go deep with my own life and story. Maybe it’s because I’m getting old :), but life is too short to not make the most of the time we have. I’m so encouraged by people like you who are willing to live totally for God, even if it means exposing yourself and the deeply personal things you’ve been through. Love you too!

  • Reply Candace May 17, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Kim it’s brave to peel back & reveal…and it’s beautiful to watch u trust the Holy Spirit n step out onto that tree limb or that cliff!

    I tend to be the person people come to n confide in…I find that letting someone share all the way to the end of themselves is one of the best gifts u can give them.

    Thx for sharing Kim xoxo

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate May 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm

      Candace, peeling back layers is one thing…stepping out onto a limb or cliff is something else entirely! Not doing that! Haha… Have I told you that you have a way with words? I love how you said this…”letting someone share all the way to the end of themselves….” Wow. I think if we’ll listen with a loving heart, people DO want to share all the way to the end of themselves. ANd it IS a precious gift to give. I always appreciate your wisdom. I can just imagine myself sipping coffee with you, sharing to the end of myself. :)

  • Reply Kara May 17, 2011 at 10:58 am

    My theme for the last year has been transparency. Oh how we need this, God works and He breaks chains because His people become willing to be used. How I thank God for you and have thanked God that here you are being transparent with us day after day! You don’t know how much I need it, it’s so hard to find it and be it. Thank you for being an example of being the “clay” so He could be the “Potter.” Love you bff:)

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate May 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm

      Wow, Kara, this has been your theme for the last year? I’m sure that’s how we’ve become bffs. :) Honestly, I think when we have a heart to be real and peel back the layers, we’re drawn to others who are willing to do the same. You’re so right…there’s chain-breaking power in being used by God that way. I’m so, so thankful that this has become a place where many of us are able and willing to be that. Trust me, I thank God for YOU. You’ve shared your heart from the beginning, and I appreciate it more than you know. Love you so much too! :)

  • Reply Jessie May 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I love when I see Christian women, or anyone Christian as far as that goes, willing to be transparent. Being Christian doesn’t make anyones life perfect or without trials. There was a period in my life that I started sharing, or being transparent. In fact, I got so that I felt God pushing me up to share a testimony now and then. In some ways, that was a very freeing time for me. As I type that, I know, more than anything, it had to do with the fact that while I was sharing a testimony I was sharing just how real God is. It was all about Him He just used me as a demonstration. Through some things that happened in my church, I shut down.

    Reading your blog made me realize how important transparency is. It is all about telling the world how truly powerful God is, what He can do, and even sometimes how not making something work the way we wanted it to was only because He had bigger better plans for us. He is our parent saying “I know what is best for you.” (Makes me think of the song “Unanswered Prayers” by Garth Brooks)

    I can’t tell you how great it was to finally meet you this past weekend!! I wish I’d had a voice and we’d had more time to just chat. I absolutely loved hearing you speak and your story truly touched my heart. Partly because more times than I want to admit I’ve related to what your son said out loud. Your son is so blessed to have such a loving caring mom to say “I love you, and God loves you, too, even more than I do”. I’m blessed to have a heavenly Father who loves me more than I could ever realize and I need to keep living for!! Love and hugs to you, sweet Kim!! P.S. My niece absolutely loved you as well!!:)

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate May 19, 2011 at 8:44 pm

      Jessie, it broke my heart to hear that you felt you were being used by God to be transparent, then you shut down because of something that happened at church. I hope you’re encouraged to step out again. You said it so well…”it is all about telling the world how truly powerful God is….” The enemy doesn’t want us to declare the truth about God and how He has worked in our lives. God has worked in very specific and special ways in your life. Your transparency will bless others. And I loved finally meeting you too! Please tell your niece I said hello. :) Love and hugs to you!!

  • Reply Rosanna May 20, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Kim~
    You gave an excellent story @Women of Faith Columbus but I would SO love to hear your new story as well. God has a way of pulling us out of our self imposed comfort zones, doesn’t He? So glad He walks along with us when the layers start peeling!! You met my daughter Sarah in Columbus. As you probably imagined she lives life differently than most. God has used her life to peel away my layers & transparency as well. Her disability has taught me many wonderful & tough lessons in life. Is it easy on a day to day basis? NO, but God has been with us every step of the way. Building us up & supporting us through community. Like you experienced last weekend in Des Moines, I too have learned that being open and honest about Sarah’s life has helped others in their life. Life definitely isn’t all “peaches and cream” but revealing my layers these past 26 years has given witness to others of our Great Friend, Jesus. In the good times, in the not so good times, I always try to see “who” God wants me to reach out to in loving & encouraging ways. God bless your lovely family. Congrats again to Bill! What a great Dad he is!!

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate May 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm

      Rosanna, it’s so wonderful to get your perspective as a mom with a daughter who has a disability. So interesting to hear that God has used her life to peel away your layers. I’m not surprised at all that your story has blessed others and made you an awesome witness for Christ. We don’t readily ask for trying situations, but God shines all the brighter through them. Bless you for being a light and an encouragement for all with whom you come in contact!

  • Reply alli May 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    God is leading me to reveal things about myself and life i don’t want to, infact I’d sooner…well let’s just say there r a lot of other things i’d rather do. It’s not my favorite thing to do..revealing imperfections i’d rather be private and thus perfect to outsiders, but God wants me to be real so that others who are struggling know it’s not easy and I don’t have to do it alone or have it all together. God is showing me just how much I don’t have it together and that I need to sit down and listen to someone else for a while. It is not easy but humbling and God gets His justice when it would be easier to be high and mighty.

  • Reply alli May 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    So in other words it hasn’t been easy, but when He gets to the root, He reveals and those things that perhaps I never wanted to talk about because they were no big deal, finally because a huge deal.I’m still dealing with it, but like you said layer by layer it goes to the root. Anger, all kinds of mess has been coming out that I never even knew was there but God knew all along. And there’s probably more ugly stuff too. Either way it comes out and someone at least gets to benefit from knowing they aren’t the only one. I am thankful even though its hard because you get to be honest and no wants wants to be around someone who’s perfect, Only jesus was perfect.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate May 25, 2011 at 8:26 am

      Alli, it’s so true that when God leads us to be transparent to help others, we often find out much about ourselves….and often we see the things in ourselves we don’t like. It’s so awesome when we can connect with someone at that level, both of us revealing our “ugliness” for God’s glory. He takes all the “stuff” and transforms it for His glory. Though it’s not easy, I hope you see the power of His work in your life. His glory will shine through you all the brighter! :)

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