A friend emailed me this week in the midst of paralyzing heartbreak within her marriage, asking for any advice I had as she struggled to navigate her next step.
I was surprised to find myself frozen in front of the computer struggling how to address her pain. Because heartbreak, is a real palpable thing. It’s the knot in your chest, the quiver in your voice. The moment tears fill the space where there are no words. The place on the wall you look every morning when you wake, wondering, praying, if it was all just a nightmare… The feeling of despair that washes over you when you realize it wasn’t.
Is there really anything comforting to say to a broken heart, I don’t know.
So I asked that she call me.
I listened as she wrestled with the shock and the lies, the betrayal and the rage. And then everything became suddenly still and she began to cry on the other end of the line. I knew it was my turn to talk. Thankfully the words came, and I spoke straight to her heartbreak.
I told her,
” You will struggle to believe it, but it’s not about you.”
I told her about a woman I met years and years ago. A breathtakingly beautiful woman who had done everything ‘right’ to the best of her ability, but was alone and struggling to make ends meet for her and three her children, because like a fool, her husband chose his porn addiction over his family.
(As a sidenote: Satan must pat himself on the back every time he gets a man to leave the one woman who vowed to love him before God, for copious women who don’t even offer their real name.)
It was obvious to me: this wasn’t about her….
And just months later God would use her to tell me the same thing as I cried in to my hands in a dark corner of a coffee shop because my own marriage had resulted in lies.
It’s not about you… she would say, and I would struggle to believe her. Because surely, there was something I did wrong.
…Maybe if I had lost the baby weight faster….
Worn lingerie more and cried less.
…I definitely should have cried less…
I shouldn’t have worn sweatpants so much. It’s my fault he lost interest.
I asked for this.
“It’s not about you…” again, she would hum to my fears and deepest insecurities.
And she was right, it wasn’t about me. And it wasn’t about her or my friend crying over the phone this last week.
…And it’s not about you either. Or the damn sweatpants.
” You are not alone, “
I told my friend over the phone.
It’s Satan who lies to our men by luring them into an ongoing rendezvous with the pretty little no-name with the well done plastic surgery. But know this: he lies to you, too. By telling you, you’re all alone.
All of us hurting are in a crowd searching for someone to make eye contact with. Someone like us, who is crushed under the weight of broken vows, who is secretly battling it out with depression and searching for purpose among the pain.
But the enemy knows the strength that can be found in someone else struggling, so he whispers the lie that you are the only one. Subtly instilling the fear that if people knew what was going on in your heart and your marriage, they would judge you. Humiliate you. Abandon you.
So instead of searching for someone to make eye contact with in the crowd, we stare down at our feet in fear until the storm passes. Succeeding in both shutting us up and shutting us down from ever experiencing the greatest gift God gave us a midst the pain: each other.
Understand, there are people hurting just like you and strength to be found in the crowd. People who have stood where you stand today, and who have lived to tell about it. People who are struggling to get out of bed each morning, just like you, who are unsure how much longer they can hold on.
The only question is, will you have the courage to find them?
I went on,
“ There is nothing more you can do,” I told her
Because here’s the honest truth. I would strap my husband to a chair and spoon feed him the ‘right thing to do’ every freaking day if I could. It’s just not that easy (or that legal.)
So instead I bought accountability software for the computer and the said (incredibly uncomfortable and expensive!) lingerie. You name the book on keeping the fire alive in your marriage, I’ve read it.
I have succeeded in losing both the baby weight in record time and my sanity, trying every thing I could possibly think of to keep my husband’s interest!
Were my attempts helpful? …Some of them, I suppose.
Did they work? ...Nope! And that’s EXACTLY the way God intended it to be!
In Luke 4:40 it says, “As the sun went down that evening, people throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of His Hand healed every one.”
Notice: only at the end of the day did people FINALLY start bringing the people in need of healing to Jesus.
….What took them so long to bring it to Jesus? I’m not sure, but I bet we could ask ourselves the same question.
Because just like the people in this verse, so many of us are in desperate need of healing in our lives. Pornography has run ramped and gone unaddressed, leaving our men defeated and the women standing beside them shattered. Affairs and addictions have torn families a part, slaying whats left of our vows and our hearts.
So what do we do? We do whatever we can; we set up accountability software, wear the lingerie, give the guilt trip and lose the baby weight so as to fix the problem on our own. It’s not all bad stuff, but just like the people of the village, it. doesn’t. work.
Day after day our attempts fail, and only after we have run out of all other options, do we finally lay it at the feet of Jesus!
When we choose to lay our hearts and our failed attempts at saving our marriages at the feet of Jesus, believing what is so terribly wrong can be made right in the presence of the Most High, that the touch of His hand heals EVERY ONE.
“Because it’s not about you,” I reassured my friend. You are lovely, you didn’t deserve this and you are not alone even when you most feel like it.
Jesus simply asks that we let go and give up trying to control that which was never ours to control in the first place, and instead, lay our marriages at His feet. Only then can the healing process begin.
…And may I suggest while we wait, that we would dare to catch the eye of someone in the crowd who is hurting just like us. And speak tenderly to their heartbreak.