She’s doing all she knows to do.
She’s getting up every morning, though everything within her wants to stay in bed.
Her faith is battered, almost shot. Yet she holds tight to what she knows to be true.
She planned her life a certain way, and it didn’t turn out that way.
Whether it’s a marriage gone wrong, or a child who feels broken, or a life that was going one direction until . . . it wasn’t anymore, all she knows to do is to keep fighting, keep praying, keep putting one foot in front of the other.
The problem is she feels so stinking alone.
She sees that look of judgment. She hears that quick advice. She sees those stares, notices the whisper. She doesn’t have time to tell you how hard she fights every single day, just to have what comes so easily to others.
She’d like to tell you, but it makes her vulnerable.
Is it possible to put your heart out there, without it getting trampled?
Do you just nod at the advice from that mama whose baby slept at 6 weeks, and your child is still battling sleep at 2 years?
Do you listen to all the to-do’s from that woman whose husband cherishes her, while you pray for your husband who has slipped from a good man to abusive alcoholic?
Do you stuff, stuff, stuff the looks that say, “If only. . .”
If only you’d spank.
If only you’d try harder.
If only you hadn’t gained that weight.
If only you’d do X, Y, Z and be more like me.
The if only’s make you feel even more broken, because you’ve tried everything. You’ve listened to the advice. You’ve spruced up, read books, prayed until your knees were raw, and you’ve hung in there.
If doing were the key, you’d have opened the door wide by now.
You know they haven’t walked in your shoes, so you offer grace. . . again.
Why in the world do we judge each other so harshly?
Maybe it’s because we just don’t realize how powerful we can be. We can make that burden heavier, or stand shoulder to shoulder and lighten the load for each other.
To that woman who feels judged today, I want to say how sorry I am.
I pray that I haven’t made your load heavier, but because I’ve lived a few decades there’s a good chance I have and didn’t even know it.
I want you to know that I think you are brave.
You say your faith feels battered, even shot, but the fact that you are reaching for Jesus tells me that your faith is like a rock. For what greater definition of faith is there, if not reaching for Jesus when the enemy is hitting you with everything he has?
You are courageous and strong, even on the days it might not feel that way.
I want you to know that I see you.
I may not know what to do. I haven’t walked your particular path, but I’m game to walk it with you. Show me what your life looks like. Tell me how it makes you feel. Show me ways I can encourage you, and please tell me the things that I might do that make it more difficult (and I’ll try to do better).
Father, show me ways to encourage rather than judge. https://ctt.ec/r7dFS+ #livefree @suzanneeller
I won’t have the right words all the time, but maybe that’s for the best anyway. When I don’t know what to say, then I’ll just sit next to you. Just being there. Just letting you know that you aren’t alone.
I’ll be praying for you.
I believe in the power of prayer. It doesn’t always mean a happy ending, but I believe it wraps around us when the winds blow and the storms batter away at our hearts. I’ll call out your name and those you love. That’s my promise.
We can turn this around, friends.
I know we can.
We aren’t destined to judge each other. We don’t have to join in when others do it.
We can turn that conversation in a new direction. We can let down our guard as we share a time when we struggled. Maybe it will strike a chord with the crowd, but even if it doesn’t, we’ve not left her hanging out to dry.
When that child is out of control, we can ask her how we can help.
When that marriage is in trouble, we can pull her close and let her know that we care.
When her life is falling to shambles, we can lean in to hear what she longs to say, but is afraid to say out loud. Even if she doesn’t have the words, we can listen.
If she’s tried everything she knows how, and it’s still falling apart, we can sit next to her. . . shoulder to shoulder, and for a moment she’ll feel a little less alone.
I have this dream.
It’s burning me up, and I’m asking God what to do with it. How to take the next step. What it might look like. All I know is there was a time I tried to do it (faith, parenting, life, spiritual growth) by myself and, at some point, I refused to live like that any longer.
We are stronger together.
There are things we can do. We are difference makers and world changers, and usually this begins in the small things. It’s my heart — standing shoulder to shoulder. Loving others. Speaking truth, but in a way that builds each other up rather than tearing us apart.
Will you do me a favor?
If you know of someone who is struggling, will you take her by the hands today? Tell her how brave she is. Promise to pray for her. Don’t give even one word of advice, but pour in love.
If you are struggling today, let us know and we’ll pray for you.
If you want to take this deeper, you might love these past posts: