Me, the One Exception

Jan 25, 2018 by

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I was in the middle of a phone conversation with a woman I only knew through Facebook posts and a brief e-mail exchange. A friend had introduced us when she realized we had things in common and needed to meet. Unfortunately, those things did not include writing, our kids’ activities, knitting, or “Are you kidding me, you have Achromatopsia too?!” We’d both lost our marriages and had sadly-similar stories behind the how. Her divorce had just finalized; the fun was just beginning for me.

“What kind of support are you getting?” She asked me.

“Oh, I have wonderful friends,” I told her, “And my church has been great.”

“What about counseling?”

My stomach tightened. “No. I haven’t really needed that.”

“Have you found a Divorce Care group? That helped me a lot.”

I pictured myself sitting in a circle of tissue-clutching people, talking about the word I was still learning to say out loud. That was the last place I wanted to be. “No.”

“Well, when you’re ready I would encourage you to take advantage of as many resources as possible. I needed everything—counseling, a group, books…”

I said, “I will” even though I didn’t plan to need “everything.” I didn’t plan to need any of that stuff. Books, maybe, but no groups with divorce in the title, and definitely no counseling. I’d been to counseling before.

I planned to be one of those remarkable Christian women who could only credit the Lord with healing her heart—the Lord and really good friends.

I planned to be one of those remarkable Christian women who could only credit the Lord with healing her heart... Click To Tweet

Some of my wonderful friends. I will love them forever.

The other night, I gave a talk on how to help someone through divorce, from the point of view of one who’d been there. My audience was Steven Ministries, one of the many forms of help that I received since moving back to the Bay Area. Yeah… it turned out I wasn’t above needing “as many resources as possible.” Over the past few years I’ve attended two groups, including the one with divorce in the title, and… you guessed it… needed counseling (after taking a baby step toward it by meeting with a Steven Minister). That woman had been correct when she told me friends could only help so much, and that there were benefits to groups and benefits to one-on-one support.

Today, a friend and I laughed over my avoidance of “as many resources as possible.”

“I guess I thought I was being holier by being the exception.”

But after standing in front of a group of compassionate men and women who truly wanted to know about my experience so they could know how to be more sensitive to people like me, I wondered why I ever considered it holier to be above certain kinds of help. It felt wonderful to share about all the people and groups that God had used to get me to a place where I no longer felt defined by what happened to me, and to realize that I wouldn’t be where I was without them.

I now understand that I needed to be ready for each source of help, and at the time I wasn’t. I will also admit that a lot of my avoidance had to do with fear. Legitimate fear, based on some bad experiences. I needed healing from those experiences too. Yet, at times I still convinced myself that it would be more “Christian” to not be too dependent on anything but God, and to simply trust Him to bring the right people into my daily life at the exact moment when I needed them.

When He had many other people waiting that He wanted to use too—people who really cared and had valuable training mixed with God-given gifts.

When our heart has been wounded it needs to be healed. As my friend Mary DeMuth wrote, “Grief is the threshold we must cross in order to be set free from the past.”

So why not get all the help we need from all the sources God wants to use? And if the list of sources ends up really long, we have all the more ideas to pass on to someone else who needs as many as possible.

When have you convinced yourself that it was godlier to not need certain kinds of help? Why do you think we do this to ourselves, and sometimes even others? Who are you most thankful for, for helping you through a painful season?

I guess I thought I was being holier by being the exception. Click To Tweet
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