“People lose their way when they lose their why.” Gail Hyatt
In the series, Finish Your Book in 2016, author Jerry B. Jenkins talks about finding our “why.” He asks, “What truly matters to you?”
It seems I’ve known since I was a little girl that relationships matter and we need each other.
Friends and I sit for hours in restaurants and coffee shops sharing stories about things we didn’t know about each other in high school, things we’ve been through since high school, and ways we wish we had been there for each other.
We stand in sweltering and freezing parking lots to catch up and confide with each other about the families we grew up in, the ones we couldn’t get along with, but we miss them terribly now that they’re gone.
We stay up past midnight to message back and forth about our marriages that never should have lasted, but they have and we’re grateful.
The more I tell the truth and listen to friends tell theirs, the more I realize how much we as women need to speak up. My “why,” the thing that truly matters to me, is living in relationships honestly and honestly telling my story.
[I’ll post a disclaimer here since I used to confide in the wrong people. Use discretion and discernment when you share since not everyone is a friend.]
Even though I knew I needed to write on this topic, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to open up about my life. It wasn’t until I read Lysa TerKeurst’s blog post on her site at Proverbs 31 Ministries, Jesus Loves Those in Messy Marriages, that I thought I may be able to tell anything. She starts her post, “I threw the cup of orange juice across the kitchen.”
Lysa wrote that post four years ago. It’s taken me a while to follow her lead. Until I reread it last night, I didn’t remember anything aside from the juice. I’d also thrown orange juice, except I threw my glass across the dining room while screaming at my husband to get out. The juice glass broke a pane in the French door. My husband left, only to have me call him two minutes later and beg him to come home. Doubled over on my hands and knees, I alternated between sobbing and sopping up sticky juice and glass.
Why share a story like this one? My secrets kept me despondent and in bed. So did my unwillingness to talk and write about our messy marriage, my scary reactions, and the depression they led to. My husband and I recognized healing happened when I talked about things like the broken windowpane. I felt less broken every time he listened and tried to understand. He said, “It’ll be uncomfortable, but I want you to tell our story. It’ll help us and others.”
We both realized …
If one friend had told me what she threw across her kitchen and how crazy she acted and how isolated, dark, and afraid she felt, we both would have felt less isolated, dark, and afraid. That’s how this works.
If one friend had let me know her Facebook post about being best friends with her husband wasn’t always true, but they’re healing, then posts about husbands sending flowers and couples going on cruises would have been less painful.
If one friend had let me know her home life didn’t feel safe or sane, I would have told her mine didn’t either. We would have felt safer and saner.
I am telling my story so we can help each other. That’s what Lysa did for me.
In This Together,
A big thank you to 16-year-old Abigail Sawyer for giving permission to use her drawing. Abby is a homeschooler and a self-taught artist whose family realized her talent when she took a painting class. She hopes to attend art school and draw for Disney. To see more of Abby’s artwork, check her out on Instagram @abigails_art13.