She and I hadn’t seen each other in more than a year. My dear friend Laurie and I live in different states, so our lunch dates are rare and all the more special to me. I sat across from her at a quiet restaurant and gave her the quick update on my life: “Work is fine; my husband is fine; the kids are doing great; life is busy but good,” and so on. Then I stopped. This was a very real friend who cared about more than just surface-level stuff. I could be honest with her.
“I don’t want to pretend with you,” I suddenly said. “My husband and I have had a rough few months. It’s been hard. It’s getting better, but we’ve gone through some of the hardest days in our ten-year marriage.”
She didn’t even blink, just nodded.
I’ll be honest with you; even typing those words to you now makes my heart race a little.
It’s not so easy, is it? Being real with people?
Going through difficult times is the opposite of fun. I’d choose fun any day of the week over moments of crying and hurt feelings. But here’s what I shared with my friend that day:
“Laurie, I would never choose to go through that difficult time again. But I think God met me in those moments; I think He’s using those moments. And I was so desperate for God’s presence in my life that even in the pain, I felt relief. Relief that I could see God working in me again. Relief that this time I didn’t doubt His involvement. Relief that when I needed Him, really needed Him, He was there. I’d reached a point where I wasn’t sure anymore.”
She shared a story with me that told me she understood exactly where I was coming from, and I felt this sense of gratitude. I’m not the only one desperate for God. I’m not the only one who has struggled with doubt. I’m not the only one who’s had difficult moments propel her into God’s arms.
I realized something after I opened up and told Laurie the truth of where I was at that moment in my life. The honesty felt good. In the midst of blogging and facebook and all the social media we send into cyberspace, our lives can look like a constant reel of highlights. We’re always smiling in the pictures we post. But those are just snapshots of lives filled with good days and bad days and moments of pure joy and moments of brokenness.
All of us experience joy. But all of us go through difficult seasons of life too.
My husband and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary this year. We’ve been a couple for more than 14 years. We’ve had a great marriage and have two wonderful children. So when we hit a difficult place in our marriage, I was shocked. I expected ups and downs in our marriage, but only itty-bitty downs, I guess. Not trenches.
Before we hit the trench, I’d known my relationship with God had cooled into a distant but cordial relationship. I also knew it wasn’t the best place for me, but I’d gotten used to it and hadn’t taken the initiative to change it. The predicament between my husband and me changed that. What a blessing to realize that God was right there, waiting to help us get back on track. I realized that I was desperately longing for God to pursue me. I needed Him. And He still wanted me.
It was a life-changing lesson to learn and it’s made all the difference in my marriage, my friendships, my role as a mother, and my heart as a believer.
By Brandy Bruce, A Little Bit of BrandyLeave a Comment