by Gina Gardner, Steppes of Faith
I went to a friend’s birthday party recently and I had the great joy of talking with some ladies I haven’t seen for a very long time. It had been years, literally. So it was really wonderful catching up on what’s been going on in our lives, what’s new, what’s past, what’s on the horizon. But there seemed to be an undercurrent of discontent that I sensed with each of the ladies. As much as they tried to seem like everything was fine, it became clear after a few moments of talking that they weren’t really.
It troubled me very much. I didn’t like that these amazing women were secretly and internally struggling with issues that they didn’t want to talk about, not even with their husbands. I’m not sure if they were scared, embarrassed, nervous, or what the reason was for keeping it quiet. But I could tell that, in truth, they didn’t want to be quiet and they wanted someone to reach out to them.
Why do we women often feel like we have to soldier on in complete secrecy? What propels us to put on the “I’m fine” or “I’m just tired” face when, in fact, we’re falling apart inside knowing that our deflection could be seriously, if not permanently, damaging our closest relationships?
Don’t Play Into the Devil’s Hands
I can’t truly say why we do this sometimes. Perhaps it’s pride or our insecurities or a sense of shame and guilt. I’m not sure. But I do know that when we give in to the temptation of secrecy, when we cut our loved ones off, that we’re playing right into the devil’s hands.
From the very beginning, right there in the garden, God called us to fellowship with each other (Genesis 2:18). God knew that it was not good for us to be alone and that we need helpers (friends). Women, in particular, seem to know this intuitively. We grab coffee together, go shopping together, have “girl’s night out” on a regular basis, and sometimes we even go to the restroom together. For the most part, we are hard-wired to connect with others.
So why do some of us grow silent, if not run and hide, when something’s not going so well or we’re dealing with something really serious? I know a number of women who are obviously carrying a burden. One so heavy that it alters their appearance. But when you ask them about it, they just blow it off and say, “Meh, no big deal. I’ll be okay.” And if you ask their husband or another friend about it, sometimes they’re just as clueless as you about what’s going on. And that’s a problem, especially for the husband in my opinion.
Satan is the Author of Lies. Trust in the Lord.
We have to always keep at the front of our minds that Satan is continually working and fighting to shut us up and keep us feeling miserable. His main goal is to seek and destroy everything God loves, including you and me. So he daily plays his games with our minds making us think that nobody will ever understand what we’re going through, that if we talk about it we’ll only embarrass ourselves, that we’re simply idiots for not figuring it out on our own and all we have to do is try harder, or that your problem just isn’t worth bothering anyone about.
LIES LIES LIES! Every one of them.
There are many articles and books written by many amazing Christian authors about guilt, shame, and insecurities. And what each of them has to say boils down to only one thing you must do. When you’re going through tough times, you have to trust God. You have to give all your troubles to Him, lay them at His feet, give Him control of the wheel, and continue to walk in obedience by faith. Easier said than done, right? Because let’s face it, as far as we’re concerned, God is a slow poke and you need direction and answers NOW.
Learning patience before the Lord is extremely important. It is absolutely essential that we let God handle things in His own perfect timing because He knows what’s best for us. But He knows we’re a fidgety bunch. So to make the waiting a bit easier, He gave us friends. Friends to do life with, share with, laugh with, talk with, and even cry with.
Friends are Blessings
Friends are blessings straight from the throne room of heaven. True friends will love you and stand by you no matter what. They’ll give you godly advice and aren’t afraid to tell you the truth. You can be open and honest with a good friend, and they’ll lean in and listen to you until the words or the tears run dry. And they’ll be right there to help you keep going or pick you back up if you fall down.
I’m so thankful for friends, especially my best friend. My husband, Dave. He is truly, in every sense, doing life with me. All the ups and all the downs, all the frustrations and all the joys, all the failures and all of the victories, through every issue, on good days, bad (or even super, horribly ugly, awful) days, or just challenging days, he’s there with me. And I’m there with him too. We talk about everything and nothing is hidden. That was a promise we made to each other when we got married, that we would always communicate. That promise has served us very well over the years, and now I can’t imagine going through a single moment of my life without him. He’s a true friend and a great husband and father.
I know many women whose husband is their best friend, but there are many others whose best friend isn’t their husband, or maybe they’re not married. And there are still others who don’t really have a best friend but rather a group of good friends or pals. However it is for you, the point here is that we all need friends (and if your husband is one of them, all the better).
Friends Hold the Church Together
It was interesting to me at the party that after a few minutes of gentle conversation with the ladies how quick they were to open up to me. It’s not that I’m some amazing person who can fix everyone’s problems. Goodness, no! But what it said to me was that these women really needed to reach out to someone who was willing to listen. And I feel they were prompted by the Holy Spirit to do so because God wants His church to remain as one body. Not go it alone and see how far we get.
The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:24,
“But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
That’s what friendship is about, especially within the body of Christ. That we take care of each other, rejoice over the other, and suffer together. I believe the Holy Spirit was at work in those ladies that nig
ht prompting them to speak up and reach out. If they weren’t going to talk to their husbands, then God was going to make another way.
I don’t what, or even if, I helped those ladies at all that night. All I could do was let God work through me by listening, asking thoughtful questions, offering suggestions, and giving hugs. All I could do was try to be a friend somehow. And I think that’s exactly what they needed. That’s what we all need.
God Calls You His Friend
How about you? Are you going through a tough time right now, one that you feel you can’t or don’t want to talk about? Are you nervous about discussing it with your husband or someone who is the closest to you? I encourage to get on your knees and cry out to God about it. He already knows all about it and He’s ready to help. Invite Him in and ask Him for strength and courage to talk with others about what’s going on knowing that healing and wisdom will come from it. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, ask Him to send someone you can trust. Ask Him to do a work in you that only He can do through the grace of Jesus Christ.
God wants to bless you and help you, not only in opening up to others but in bringing victory over what Satan is trying so hard to destroy, namely your faith and joy. God loves you and He cares for you. He calls you His friend (John 15:15). He stands at the door and knocks. It’s time to open the door and let His love in.