"Welcome to my blog space. I believe that God has carefully placed gems in our paths to fill our days with joy. The challenge for us is to take the time to notice them. My desire is to share the gems in my life so that, hopefully, you will see the ones He's placed in yours. I hope what you read here will be worth your time and you'll want to return often." - Cathy

Monday, June 18, 2012

Family Secrets

            Thirty-some years ago when times were a lot different than they are now, even in the small rural area where we live, we had a neighbor who was a champion at pulling information out of people. This neighbor didn’t have any children of her own but she loved children and they loved her. Occasionally our four-year old daughter, Kelly, would decide she was going to walk up the road and talk to the neighbor.
            Kelly was a talker herself and was easily enticed to tell everything she knew, or what she thought she knew. As she was going out the door, I’d always say, “Now Kelly, don’t tell all the family secrets.” This went on for several months before Kelly stopped as she was going out the door one day, put her hands on her hips, and with dramatic flair said, “Just what are the family secrets anyway?” I laughed and told her not to worry about it because if she didn’t know them, she couldn’t tell them.
            Cute stories aside, family secrets aren’t really anything to toy with. When I was twenty-one, my mother told me a family secret. I have been burdened with it every day since then. It is a life changing, hurtful secret for the ones involved. I don’t know what my mother was thinking when she divulged it to me. Maybe she was looking for a means of confession and absolution for her part in it. Maybe sharing it with me lessened the load she carried.
            In my research on the word “secret” as it appears in the Bible, I found Old Testament Hebrew words translate as: to be ashamed, disappointed, delayed, thing that is hidden, to hide, a mystery, inward council, weaken or become weak. New Testament Greek words translate as: hidden inwardly, concealed, and private.
            I’m sure my mother was ashamed and disappointed with herself so she hid it away inwardly. The problem with delaying the truth is that, eventually, the weight of carrying it weakens your resolve and you tell someone. For every person who knows the truth of the situation, there is the additional worry of knowing they might weaken and tell someone. The cycle continues until the thing that was meant to be hidden, concealed and private becomes public and it takes on a life of its own, destroying the lives of those involved.
            You may be wondering about now how there could be anything joyful in this revelation. It is hard to find, but when I dig deep enough, I do find reason for joy. In the forty-plus years I’ve held the family secret, I have not weakened. The Holy Spirit has kept my lips zipped anytime I was tempted to spill the beans. I have spent many sessions with The Father over this. He has been faithful to answer my questions and show me the consequences to revealing this truth. Anything that drives you to a deeper relationship with your Creator brings joy. Two scripture verses have helped me stay strong.
“Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34 NIV
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 ESV
            What experiences have you had with keeping a secret? Is there a word of advice you can share with my readers?
This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us be joy-filled and glad-


  1. That one is one of my favorites. Good writing!

    1. Thanks, MJ! It was the goal setting and accountability that made the difference!

  2. Wonderful testimony to having a deep resolve through the guidance of our Heavenly Father. Thank you for sharing another excellent lesson.

    1. Thanks, Tammy! Though life lessons are often hard, they prove to be the best teachers. Praying blessings over you.

    2. Cathy, just another example of how our Lord takes something the enemy would use for evil, and turns it into something to bring us closer to Him. Love ya.

  3. Cathy, this post really spoke to me. My family is all about secrets. I have seen the burdens that keeping the secrets has caused over the years. It has brought shame, disappointment, and weakness, just like the Greek word indicates. That shame and weakness has grown to encompass other parts of the family member's lives. Lies were also part of the process, because many times lies must be told to cover the secret. The lies have a way of growing out of proportion.

    I resolved that when I had a family, I would not keep secrets, but would tell my children truths at their level. I kept this resolve, even when we experienced the horror of my father's suicide. Instead of making this a secret, I shared with my children the word 'suicide'. When my daughter (8 years old) asked how grandpa died, I said his heart stopped. This satisfied her until she was older and asked for more details.

    Sometimes the secrets are kept because we don't want to burden children. But there are ways to give them enough information to satisfy them at that point, without going into the difficult details.

    I have never regretted being open with my kids.

    1. Thank you so much for your insights on this subject. It helped me and I am sure it will help others who read it. The truth is always the best way to go because, as the Bible tells us, the truth will set you free. Ahhhhhh, sweet freedom! May God bless yiou, Debbie!