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God Doesn't Overlook Our Sorrow: Why We Need to Share About Our Suffering and Not Shrink Back

By Whitney Akin

Brave Women Series - Whitney's Story


I was once a wallflower, the kind of girl who wished to sink into the background so far that no one would ever notice her. My wallflower tendencies were born partly out of my introverted nature and partly out of my experience with speaking up, which never seemed to end well for me. In elementary school, I was made fun of for the way I looked, the last chosen on every team, and the one the class sniggered at when I answered a question wrong. It’s a familiar story for many of us. So I learned to sit down and stay quiet.


I stayed quiet through high school, becoming a forgettable face in hallways flooded with students. I stayed quiet through college, throwing myself into my work but never feeling as accomplished as my peers. I stayed quiet into early adulthood, finding comfort in the friendship of my husband and close family. I was content to blend into the background of whatever rooms I entered.


 

"I was content to blend into the background of whatever rooms I entered."

 

In my mid 20s, my husband and I embarked on an exciting new journey to start a family, but, after a year of trying, I was diagnosed with infertility. I couldn’t imagine having the attentive pity of my friends or family and so, once again, I chose to stay quiet. I carried the weight of my suffering with only my husband for nearly two years. I hid my tears, my desperate longing, my broken heart. It was the deepest loneliness I’ve ever experienced.


But the God who finds his people found me in my hiding. He crouched with me in my sorrow month after month, another negative pregnancy test in my hand, and he saw me. He saw me in a way that no one ever had before. Although I became a Christian when I was a child I had never experienced that depth of closeness with God.


 

"But the God who finds his people found me in my hiding. He crouched with me in my sorrow month after month... He saw me in a way that no one ever had before."

 

After nearly three years of infertility I walked away with two miracles: a daughter and a transformational encounter with The God Who Sees.


My faith grew in that experience, but something else happened in my heart. Something I never expected. I came out of suffering no longer content with hiding. I felt so deeply compelled to share my story that this former wallflower risked stepping out and speaking up for the first time in years.


I began sharing my story of infertility and the God who saw me in my suffering at church, to friends, online, wherever anyone would listen. And I found that speaking up felt different this time around. To my own personal shock, though I was nervous, I was also excited to share my story. I realized the change that made all the difference was that this story wasn’t actually about me. It was about the goodness of God.


 

"To my own personal shock, though I was nervous, I was also excited to share my story. I realized the change that made all the difference was that this story wasn’t actually about me. It was about the goodness of God."

 

Hebrews 10 reminds Christians to hold fast to their faith, to remember the power of our salvation to help us endure through all kinds of suffering. The writer of Hebrews ends the chapter with this admonishment:


“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” (Hebrews 10:39)


In Christ, we are not those who shrink back, who are scared to stand out and speak up. We have a message of deliverance, reconciliation, and transformation that isn’t meant to stay quiet and hidden away. We are bearers of the Gospel, the good news that Christ called us to proclaim. But how can we proclaim the goodness of God if we are afraid to speak up?


 

"In Christ, we are not those who shrink back, who are scared to stand out and speak up. We have a message of deliverance, reconciliation, and transformation that isn’t meant to stay quiet and hidden away. We are bearers of the Gospel..."

 

Though I’m no longer lingering near the back of every room, I can usually spot my fellow wallflowers. They are the women in the room whose lips are carefully sealed even as a flood of words builds behind them. Though they might long to add to the conversation, though they probably know the answers to the questions asked, though they have their own experiences to share, they will stay quiet in self-preservation.


I understand how difficult it is to speak up, how we calculate and wait for the perfect timing, how much weight our words hold when we finally do utter them out loud, how vulnerable our hearts become when we are brave enough to open our lips.

If you struggle to speak up, I want to remind you that you are safe in Christ. He knows your words before you even speak them. (Psalm 139:4) He hears what you have to say, even what you don’t say out loud. He sees your vulnerable heart and loves you. Unlike the world, your words don’t fall flat in his presence. He doesn’t point and laugh. He doesn’t overlook your deepest thoughts.


 

"If you struggle to speak up, I want to remind you that you are safe in Christ... He hears what you have to say, even what you don’t say out loud. He sees your vulnerable heart and loves you."

 

As a Christian, you have a story worth telling because your story is a testimony meant for God’s glory. Your words matter because your words have the power to encourage hearts closer to Christ. Satan would love nothing more than to silence the stories of God’s faithfulness in your life. But in Christ, you are not a woman who shrinks back.


 

"Your words matter because your words have the power to encourage hearts closer to Christ. Satan would love nothing more than to silence the stories of God’s faithfulness in your life. But in Christ, you are not a woman who shrinks back."

 

Your story is worth telling. Your words matter. So speak up!


 

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story. And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.


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About Whitney


Whitney Akin is the author of Overlooked: Finding Your Worth With You Feel All Alone. Her heart is to see and celebrate the purpose and potential of the overlooked and invite them to live seen by the God who loves them. Whitney’s writing has been featured in (in)courage, Her View From Home, Proverbs 31 Ministries and more.


You can find more of her writing and speaking on her website at www.whitneyakin.com and connect with her on Instagram or Facebook. Whitney lives outside Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, Eli, and their three (crazy) beautiful kids.


1 Comment


Vickie Turley
Vickie Turley
Nov 22, 2023

While I have been someone who speaks up for a long time, my story wasn’t ever discussed until recently. Then God showed me that He wanted me to talk about Him and how He continually brings me through, strengthens me, loves me! So I’ve started telling my story. Yes, Satan wants you silent and He wanted me to live in shame. No longer! God’s love will always overcome any shame, any insecurity, and if you can touch one person, it’s all the better. Good for you for stepping out and up for God!!

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