Today I am sharing my Devotional Diary series with a beautiful soul and lovely friend! Laurie writes over at “Beyond My Blue Door”, where she shares a variety of posts that range from recipes and anecdotes of her life to wonderful “Living Well Minute” vlogs that focus on encouragement and counsel. If you haven’t met her yet, you must go check her out- introduce yourself and become fast friends! Her friendship is a treasure I am grateful for and I’m sure you will be too!
Laurie chose to write about something very near and dear to her heart. I love this piece and I will be praying it reaches the hearts of women that need to read it…
Galatians 6: 4-5 says: Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.
I am involved in mentoring women. Most of the women I meet with have relationship issues, usually in their marriages and in various phases.There is no shame or condemnation in what is. Just don’t stay there.
Marriage can be difficult under the best of circumstances. What I have come to realize is a lot of marriages aren’t under the best of circumstances. In fact, many women suffer in silence in a difficult marriage, and so very alone.
We are surrounded by facades; at work, at social gatherings and even at church, maybe especially at church. The many happy pictures painted via Facebook and the myriad of social media platforms only serve to add to this false and painful living that is going on all around us. A picture paints a thousand words, but the picture is a lie.
Here’s the deal, no matter what you are suffering, no matter what secret life is taking place in your house, you can rise above it and live a healthy, godly life that brings honor to your family and is pleasing to your Lord. You just have to know how to do so.
It takes courage, my friend, not going to lie. That’s why you don’t have to go it alone. There is a line in a song my brother co-wrote many years ago that I love. It says: “If you could do it on your own, Jesus never would have left His thrown”. You were never meant to do this alone. God is with you always, true, but He provided people to help you through as well.
Find a tribe. It is imperative that you find a group of women who you can trust to help in your journey. You can lovingly detach yourself from the dysfunctional situation in which you may be a part of and stop living the lie. Find a group to lean on, rely on, talk to, and pray with. It’s a deal-changer.
You are only responsible for your actions; your words. You can’t change another single soul, no, not even your husband, but you can change yourself. You have the God-given freedom to choose to respond instead of react. You get to choose how you want to conduct yourself even under the worse of conditions.
Own your feelings. No one can “make you feel” anything. No. One. The actions of others (especially your spouse) may trigger things inside you, but you own your feelings. You can choose to go with it or not. Like they say, pain is a given, suffering is optional.
Submitting to your husband does not mean giving up who you are, your God-given thoughts, talents, gifts and those things that make you uniquely you. Be you. Be who He made you to be.
I come across so many women who are suffering. Some you would never guess who are suffering. Some you even admire and hold in high esteem. No one knows what goes on behind the smiles.
It’s time to be real. I could tell you my story. It’s long and not very pretty, but God has a way of changing things around for good, if we allow Him to work on our behalf.
Don’t become so consumed with the dysfunction that you forget to live your lives. Find your purpose and be all in.
This post may not be for you or apply to you, but you better believe it does apply to someone close and you may not even know it…yet. Be ready to help a fellow sister who this does apply to.
For not only are we to each carry our own load but we are to bear one another’s burdens as well. Galatians 6:2 says: Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
Janine Huldie says
I do totally know someone who this does apply to and it is one of my husband’s sisters. We have tried for years to get through to her about how her husband just isn’t pulling his weight. I will always be there if she needs, but truly said when a woman can’t do more to help herself and truly doesn’t think she is good enough to deserve better. thank you for sharing Chris and you are right us women need to stick together in matters, such as these.
Janine, it is so very important to let her know you’re there for her. I will keep her and others in similar situations in my prayers.
another jennifer says
“Don’t become so consumed with the dysfunction that you forget to live your lives.” Love this line. I think it’s important for women especially to not lose sight of who they are and what they want out of a relationship. Having a supportive tribe is so important to keep things in perspective!
Well said, Jennifer, very good points. And who doesn’t love when someone quotes a line! 🙂
Love this. Love you. “Don’t become so consumed with the dysfunction that you forget to live your lives. Find your purpose and be all in.” (just saw that Jennifer quoted this above too)–100% spoke me. Thanks for getting it. Thanks for being real when so few are…
Thank you, Meredith! I’ve lived through too much to not be real.
Laurie, I can not agree with you more that we all have to stop the self shaming and comparing our lives to the highlight reels we see on Facebook. I agree that all marriages have difficulties- even the best ones. I applaud any woman who is willing to work hard to stay in a marriage. Most of my friends in the blog world are aware that I chose to walk away from my marriage 16 months ago. For me personally, it was beyond saving. It was the best thing for all involved, including my kids. Since then, many women who are struggling with marital issues have reached out to me privately and have asked me for advice or support. I can’t tell them to stay or to go, but I always encourage them to make the decision that will help them find peace. This is a beautiful piece that will bring comfort to many. It’s a pleasure to meet you.
That is the cool thing Ilene, we each get to choose what’s right for us. I think it is awesome that you now get to use your experience to help others who are hurting, and they feel comfortable with you because of what you’ve been through. It sort of makes the pain we experience to not be in vain. That’s how I choose to live my life these days. The more open I am about what I have been through the more people trust me with their secret lives. It’s a pleasure to meet you too.
I love “Find your tribe” as well as “You get to choose how you want to conduct yourself even under the worse of conditions.”
Very powerful and how lovely to meet you at Chris’ place. She’s one of my favorites.
I know you didn’t mean it as such but today I’m having a day where I read this about parenting instead of marriage. How it can all look so perfect on FB with smiling kid photos and funny stories, but sometimes… I need to learn to respond instead of just react.
I have no place in it, but I see what you mean about the FB and promotion of the ‘idyllic’ family/kids/whatever. It bugs me, too. Feels very false and shiny. I wish there was less obsession with competition and appearances out there. We all muck up. We all fail. We all need that graciousness and support from others.
I know, Tamara, I love Chris! She is one of my favorites too! I like that you were able to use what was said and relate it to parenting. Life is about relationships. Healthy relationships all follow the same guidelines.
I dunno. The whole thing about owning our feelings and only ‘feeling’ the things we allow. I just…I can’t buy into that at all. That, or I’m completely dense and haven’t figured out how to detach from them.
I know I can choose to act IN SPITE of them, and perhaps that’s what’s being gotten at (I also know I often choose badly, and act badly based upon those feelings, rather than being mindful about it) but no.
Suffering isn’t optional. The absolute agony and anguish of somethings…just can’t be avoided. They are like molten hot arrows through the heart, and I’d suggest that anyone who can face such pain with an “Oh, perhaps I just won’t *feel* this one…” is in some kind of denial.
That said. I do like the empowering suggestions in your post. About getting other women around you, and building support networks. Those are wise words indeed.
Thank you for this encouraging, yet also highly challenging post. And thanks Chris for sharing it – I’m really enjoying your series.
I totally understand what you are saying and I appreciate such thoughtfulness about this post. You’re right, if you pretend to not feel, then you are in denial, thus “pain is a given”. I don’t advocate denial or pretending. But if I choose to wallow in the pain then I choose to suffer. If I choose to stay with the pain, then I give my power away. I feel the pain, I grieve the losses, but I will not become a victim and I refuse to stay with it. I strive to learn the lessons that are there and continue to move forward while letting go of the past. With all that I’ve been through, that’s the only way I have survived and grown as a person. Thanks for your comments.
I think I almost get what you’re getting at. And thanks for such a helpful response to my unhelpful comment.
I’m a bit mired at the moment, but I’m willing to try, soon, to get unstuck.
You never know what goes on behind closed doors. Marriages that seem idyllic, children who seem perfect, even finances that seem sound. Social media has just allowed us to keep up appearances in a more public way. You are so right, Laurie – we should always be aware that we may have friends or family members – or even acquaintances or strangers – that are dealing with a lot of hurt behind the smiles. Thanks for the reminder to be there for them.
Thanks, Dana. I believe that awareness is key. Really listening to what people are saying and being interested in those around us in the midst of our own busyness is where our personal joy will come from.
This is so true. We all put on a front, pretend to be June Cleaver to our friends & family. No one admits there’s trouble behind closed doors. We’ve all been there in one phase or another, no judging, just helping is what we need.
Amen to that Angela!
Amber Day Hicks says
What a wonderful post. I absolutely adore Chris, Laurie. I am blessed to have what I have but I am always here for others around me, I love your post for the encouragement for my soul. Thank you.
Thanks Amber, and I agree, Chris is the best!
I needed these words, this reminder, today. Thank you.
Glad to hear the post served as a reminder for you Tracie. 🙂
So true. I really wish more people would be honest about how hard marriage truly is. When you have a group of good girlfriends willing to say that, it makes life so much easier, because you realize you are not alone. Great post.-Ashley
Ashley, I know right? Girlfriends are one of life’s greatest gifts!
So well said and so very true. God has blessed me with a “tribe” and has used them tremendously in helping me navigate some rough patches and my own junk that has contributed to them. I wholeheartedly agree here!