He gently removes one layer at a time to the quiet revelation of bare flesh. Flesh adorned with the evidence of (current and past) wounds, but to Him, He’d prefer to articulate them as beauty marks. For in His eyes these scars are as stunning as stars fox-trotting across an October sky. And as He disrobes us – piece-by-piece, layer by layer – we (me and the five other women on my team) are being stripped completely bare. Yet what He’s doing within and between us is something completely extraordinary, something intimate, something supernatural… something we could only encounter through getting naked together.
Each of us vulnerable in this undressing process. Each a bit fragile, yet daring. Each slightly awkward in posture… as we become more and more exposed. And at times it’s a painful place to abide in. At times, it’s completely exhausting. Six women with marred flesh. Scars as wide and as deep and as long and as flawless as His love for us. Yet not nearly as breathtaking as the freedom He’s invited us into.
This month, He’s stripped us of our everyday comforts. He’s invited us into a place where our idols, our fears, our weaknesses and our insecurities can be brought into the light. Miles upon miles away from a Starbuck’s (or any coffee place for that matter), we’re tucked within the striking hills of Naslavcea, Moldova – a village of less than 1,000 people (though I’ve only seen about a dozen or so other people since we’ve arrived). Our two-room cottage is quiet and quaint – each room lined with 3 single, metal-framed beds. We have no shower or bathroom – just a squatty potty in an outhouse for a toilet. Our water (for drinking, cooking and cleaning) we fetch from a nearby well and heat little by little in a Russian-made, metal teapot. Food is minimal, and that which we have is refrigerated outside. There’s no heater, just a woodstove that obliges us to cut wood daily. Despite the stove and a few layers of clothing, the cold still taunts us. It’s a simple life… a challenging life… a life contradictory to the ones we knew in America.
This month, we’re being stripped… more than ever before. And in this place of spiritual nudity, wounds are beginning to heal. Lies are being confronted by Truth. Our insufficiencies are being replaced by His sufficiency. We’re in a place where true “community” exists. Where His love is manifested through people. Where grace becomes personified. Where fear is overpowered. A place where we are becoming completely unbound, free from the shackles of our previous lives. Free to joyfully dance around – in the buff — completely unabashed.
Every flaw, every imperfection, stunning to His eyes… because when His light shines upon marred flesh – the flesh we try so hard to hide beneath layers – that’s when it becomes transformed by His beauty and radiance. Transformed into His image (Genesis 1:27), His flawless, stunning image. This month, He’s stripping off and exposing everything that keeps us from being (looking and smelling and acting and loving) more like His son, Jesus. We’re becoming purified. We’re becoming bare – together – just as He intended. And it’s all so beautiful and lovely…
We’re naked and we feel no shame… (Genesis 2:25).