Saturday, 23 September 2017

The Me Too Moment - by Helen Murray

Earlier this month, a fellow ACW member reached into the hole I was sitting in, took hold of my hand and gently pulled me out.

I'm quite sure she didn't know that she'd done it, and it's possible that she'll be amazed when she finds out. When God takes our words and uses them for something unforeseen his creativity quite often astonishes us.

In her post, Deborah Jenkins speaks of her desire for her writing to touch people. To offer them comfort and encouragement as they navigate the ups and downs of life; to point them to God. The day I read her words was definitely a down kind of day. I can't remember the weather but let's say it was dark and cold and rainy. I was cross and miserable, feeling defeated and overwhelmed. Through that post, Deborah noticed me in my hole, stopped and spoke to me and offered me a hand.

Those of us who write do so for a huge variety of reasons, and I suspect that no two people's motivations will be the same. We write because we have something to say and we need to get it out there, because we are trying to earn a living, because we are called to, compelled to - because we can't not write.

I write because it's how I process things; I feel better when I've expressed what's in my mind and my heart and in the process of arranging words on a page I find the internal confusion subsides a little as well. Of course, I don't need a 'Publish' button to do this; most of the meanderings of my mind are not for public consumption. I journal, I scribble, I make notes. What actually goes out for people to read is the tip of the iceberg.

For me, it's about the 'me-too-moment'. A precious point of shared experience, where I read someone's words and something inside me responds, yes! me too. How powerful that can be. A moment where you feel a little bit less alone, less different, less isolated.

Life is difficult, much of the time. I firmly believe that not even the people who appear to have it all together have it all worked out. Nobody does.

We're all making it up as we go along, but we all feel intense pressure to pretend otherwise. The world can be a dark place, and not just when a hurricane blows off the roof and cuts off the electricity. In the middle of abundance we can be in utter poverty. I heard a speaker at a conference recently say that she sees people living in mud and dust in the wilds of Mozambique that have greater wealth than many in the cosmopolitan cities of Great Britain. Our problems are many and varied but one of the biggies is loneliness.

You can be lonely because you have no friends, you can be lonely in a auditorium full of people, you can be lonely sitting on your own sofa surrounded by a loving family. You can be lonely when it feels as if nobody understands.

And then how wonderful is it when you find someone who does? That's when a me-too-moment gets it's capital letters.

I write because I am awed at what God has done for me, and I look around and I see people just where I was. I want to reach a hand out to some of the people who are in the dark. Not everyone makes such heavy weather of life as I do, but there are other over-thinkers out there; other night-time worriers. Other people who have believed the lies that I have believed, and for whom it might be the wake up call that they need to hear that there is another way, a fresh start, a clean slate.

Nothing is wasted for God. Just as each of the troubles and difficulties I negotiate each day will hold a lesson for me, if I'm willing to learn it, there might be someone else who reads what I write, sits back in their chair and whispers, 'Oh, Me Too,' and feels a little bit less alone.

'Thank God it's not just me'.

Sometimes God has to tell me something scores of times before I pay attention. It could be a gradual understanding or a sudden, eyebrow-raising, penny-drop kind of moment, but those times where I have come across someone who has been where I am, who has found a way through it, something in me responds on a deep level.

To connect with someone (whether they ever know about it or not) has been a powerful catalyst in a healing process brought about by God himself. Real, shared experience is more profound than any number of theories or self-help books.

If I can do that for someone else, even if I'm never aware of it - how great would that be?

So what must I do? I am learning that I need to be honest and stand up for what is true in a culture that encourages us to dissemble. I need to say, 'No, it's difficult,' when I am supposed to pretend it's easy. I need to leave off the virtual make-up in order to reassure someone that it's ok to have blemishes and scars. I need to drop my defenses, let down the guard and reveal my vulnerability. That's a bit scary, but you know what else I have learned?

God provides the necessary courage.

Several times someone has told me how brave I am, and yet I don't feel one bit brave. It takes me much more courage to walk onto the poolside in my swimsuit than to write down what Jesus has done in my life. I haven't gathered up my courage to tell people my story - I know that God has helped me. And this is how I know for sure what it is I want to do with my writing.

I want to reach out to people and tell them that they're not alone. I have found someone who can help, and if He can help me, He can help you. God doesn't want me to keep that to myself.

I want my words to say: You're not on your own.  I did that too. I felt that way too. I believed that too. And you know what? I am precious and priceless and loved, just as I am. Really. God loved me too much to leave me in that mess, and He loves you too: yes, you. Here's what you need to do: don't look at me, look at Jesus.

I know that not everyone thinks or feels like me. Some people will read my words and think they are too emotional, too raw, too touchy-feely. That's fine. It doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with you or me. We all speak - or write - in different voices, even if we all do it in English. You connect with people your way. Me Too Moments come in all accents and dialects.

So Deborah reached into a hole and hauled me out into the sunshine. She says she wants to shine the light of Jesus into people's lives and that's exactly what she did. And I sat back in my chair and said, 'Me too, Father God.'

Helen Murray lives in Derbyshire, England, with her husband, two daughters and her mum.

As well as writing and reading, she drinks coffee, takes photographs, swims, breeds Aloe Vera plants and collects ceramic penguins.

Helen has a blog: Are We Nearly There Yet? where she writes about life and faith.

You can also find her here:

Pinterest: @HelenMMurray
Twitter: @helenmurray01


  1. This is lovely, Helen. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Even though I write about imaginary, fantasy worlds, there's still that "Me Too" moment that I hope to share. And just to prove that you've also touched someone's life without realising it, your example has inspired me to re-start regular swimming. :-)

    1. Thank you Philip! And well done on the swimming. Good luck with the goggle-marks. :-)

  2. That Deborah's a goodun! Lovely post, Helen. A lot of truth here.

  3. Helen, I can't tell you how much this post means to me. Particularly today. Some time I'll explain why, but suffice to say for the time being, my fellow over-thinker, and night time worrier, you have by God's grace returned the hole-pulling favour. Your post could not have come at a better time. Thank you for your honesty and your faith, but also your kindness. Xxx

    1. Ah, Deborah, thank you. Right back atcha. x

  4. Welcome back Helen. I love your phrase 'Me Too Moments come in all accents and dialects'. Indeed, and even realising that takes pressure off and frees us to be ourselves. Thank you xx

  5. Thank you Helen, for giving me a Me-Too.Moment when I thought the hole was too deep for anyone to see me. I know He always sees me but now I know HE SEES ME! (Capitals are useful sometimes, aren't they?)

  6. That is such a beautiful piece. Thank you.

  7. I love this so much and resonate with so much of it. Thank you x

    1. Thanks Georgie! I'm so glad. Thanks for reading and taking the trouble to comment. Means a lot.