** endorsed by my hubby, Bryan **
“Tell the truth” is my favorite line at the end of the compelling based on-a-book movie, The Help.
Something about Kathryn Stockett’s words, tell the truth, root themselves deep and inspire me to live in my truth, stand in my space, walk on my path forward into wholeness, healing and living alive. Living alive regardless of what my husband is doing over on his path, or how my kids are on their paths, or how my friend is on her path. You get it. Regardless of how anyone else is journeying. Telling my truth frees me up to spend energy I used to give elsewhere; shining a distraction light anywhere but here. Which usually looked like beginning my sentences focused on others: when my husband gets a full time job or when my boys stop bickering or when… When is now and my journey is the only one I am responsible for.
Do you know how freeing this is? To tell my truth? All my truth? To allow myself to be fully known – the ugly and beautiful – and in-between parts? This is living alive and I feel strong because of it. Like I am a weak soul but God’s power alive in me strong. We talk about being strong people- heck, I love myself a fellow strong woman. But I’m talking about telling my truth, standing in my weakness and letting God’s power rest on me strong. Strong that is tethered to His strength; not my own. This is truth-telling strength.
Truth-telling strength lives exposed and vulnerable with people we are in community with. Like the other night when friends were over for Taco Tuesday and over chips and margs, casually asked the questions we all ask: how are you guys doing?
Well, our marriage is currently a *&$# show, I say matter-of-factly. How real do you want?
Their eyes grew and then they laughed. Give it to us, they welcomed. So we did. I even ushered a nice cozy space for Bryan to share his heart because, friends, if we don’t live truthfully, we live in isolation. We put on a pretty veil and go to church and wish someone knew the deeper parts, even if that means they accidentally read our journals just to know the truth.
The truth? Our marriage has been a hot mess. Choices my hubby made years ago and is on his path to break free from. He checked out for years and I co-dependently took the role of family spokesperson and carried him. And I’m over here this summer angry (codependency is a life-long journey of unraveling and unraveling more) at how dang weary to the bone I was. If one more person asked about Bryan getting a job I was going to blow a gasket. Not because I don’t care about his heart in the process or desperately pray he does, but because I needed my people to rally around me. So I sent out the only thing I know to do: ask for help while I’m in the hole.
I’m not okay right now. I will be, but right now I need prayers for strength. I need you to rally and champion and encourage me to keep my eyes on my own path and march forward into my own healing and stop carrying him. I’m only one person.
Oftentimes as believers, this can be seen as selfish. No marriage is perfect we hear. Just pray for him. Offer more grace. Just submit.
And, if we take this a step further, I’ve fallen into the lie that my truth isn’t significant. Marriage is hard… for many. Finances are bleak… for many. Circumstances are super uncomfortable… for many. But… who am I to complain? I mean, we chose to trek out to TN and leave all security behind.
Other people have kids with cancer. Other people have lost their home in a fire. My truth is tiny and … see what happens? I dismiss my truth, my story. You too? Do you have an ache that weighs you down but quickly rush to cover it, or push it aside because a lie smirks, oh quit whining. You’ve got it good compared to others. Comparison. Damn comparison quiets our truth. But the beauty is this IS our truth. This is our story. Our real time journey. And what is happening matters because it’s happening.
I recently had a friend say that she confided about her disintegrating marriage to someone in her church. Just love him more. Just pray harder, was the response she was given. But what about when we reach out and confess we need strength? This is where I want to pull you who are tired or are hiding something- whether in protection for a spouse or because you still have yet to find words for what feels hopeless – next to me and say, you are okay. You aren’t broken. You don’t need to be coddled or rocked like a baby. And hey, if you do, that’s okay too.
We are strong people who need to have permission to be weak in ourselves and strong because God is carrying us.
Our taco tuesday friends? They are people who I want to know our stuff because we do life together. She told me later how hard it was to sit there and not try to fix it, or rescue Bryan, or give us a verse. Instead, they listened. They heard our honest confessions and loved us all the more. Later she sent me a clip of a new TV series airing this fall, A Million Little Things, about a crew of friends who do life together and get the news that one of their people took his life. Did you know? they ask one another. Did you see the signs? How did we not know? And then what happens? They start to get honest. To tell the truth. We don’t talk about the deep stuff, they discover. and out it comes: Marriage trouble. Financial stuff. Depression. Real life confessions that for some reasons we all feel we have to cover up.
But we are real people with real paths and telling the truth frees us up to live full and alive and honestly and I’m finding this is where healing and freedom comes.
I refuse to be a statistic that people say, they got divorced? They were having problems? Did you know? Who are we talking to if not our people? Who are we telling the truth to?
If I’m learning anything through traversing a season of reclaiming myself, surrendering codependency, allowing Bryan and my boys to be on their own paths and trusting God has them – He has them way better than I do – it’s how strong I am.
A quiet strong. A joyful strong. A compassionate strong. And for those who also know and lean in close and say, My marriage is numb. We feel like roommates. I get it. I also know financial strain. I know debt. I know the fear of becoming homeless. I know the weariness at looking for jobs, being let go, and wondering if faith is a sham. I know God’s protection and comfort comes in silence and solitude, and how His provision through people is like watching manna fall from the sky. I know humble spaces and have nothing but compassion for those who are journeying the hard and trusting still. Who are craving strength for each step.
So that’s my truth. My space I stand in today. I refuse to look around and waste one more ounce of energy comparing or wishing my husband would do this or my kids would do that. I can love and champion and pray and advocate for them. I am not their accountability partner nor a naggy shadow. I am a weak soul who is intentionally pioneering this path God has me on and I am walking wholeheartedly into life, healing and wholeness. I am telling the truth.
And my hope is to create a safe space for others to do so along their journeys and find strength along the way.
How about you? What’s your truth? What’s really going on? You are welcome and safe here. Here is where we say all the things and know all of it is welcome and that healing comes when we allow ourselves to be fully known and fully loved in our truth-telling.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)
Upcoming Events I’d love to see you at:
November 5, 2018: Nashville, TN She Found Joy Ladies Night Out.
November 9, 2018: Franklin, TN Leadership Event. Details TBA