Dear Friend Who Is Being Abused

Dear Friend Who Is Being Abused

*This post is apart of our “Dear Friend” series. These letters have all been written by women who want you to know that you are not alone in your struggle*

 

Dear Friend Who Is Being Abused,

You are not alone.

Any form of abuse is devastating, tragic and wrong! I want to speak particularly to emotional abuse.

I have struggled and am struggling with both recognizing and stepping away from enabling the manipulation and control that make up this monster. A monster that hides beneath and is “defended by” even our own “beliefs” at times.

It is confusing and exhausting, especially when the evidence isn’t physical, yet just as insidious and damaging.

Jesus has shown himself faithful by speaking to me about who I am and my true worth, teaching me to educate and think for myself, and giving me the courage in the face of fear and confusion to see clearly, speak clearly and stand firm. This seeing, speaking and standing– is also messy, confusing, and exhausting. It is a process.

But there is more grace, mercy and love in the tension than you can ever imagine. He has called me out among the waters, into the great unknown and is fighting for me – and if God is for us, who can be against us?

Right?
SHIT YES.

Dear one, you are not crazy. If you needed to hear that, you know who you are. You feel it in that deepest secret place that only you know. WAKE UP!

Dear Friend Being Abused, you are not alone!

Dear Friend Struggling With An Addicted Spouse

Dear Friend Struggling With An Addicted Spouse

*This post is apart of our “Dear Friend” series. These letters have all been written by women who want you to know that you are not alone in your struggle*

 

Dear Friend Struggling With An Addicted Spouse,

You are not alone. Addiction is part of our story too.

My husband was exposed to porn at age 7, and formed an alcohol addiction as a young teenager. Twelve years into our marriage both of these addictions came to light, and nearly wrecked our family.

We both got into therapy and began to deal with our individual pain.

I had grown up in an alcoholic home and learned quickly how to keep things peaceful by not rocking the boat. I brought that skill into my marriage. I became everything my husband needed me to be, and in doing so denied myself, denied my feelings, needs and wants, and denied my own pain. I thought this was loving my husband until I realized it was hurting him and enabling him to stay the same.

In therapy I learned how to make healthy boundaries for myself, to value myself, and to communicate what I need and want. It wasn’t until I implemented boundaries with my husband, that he began to wake up and get well. I got myself into a recovery group with other spouses that understand the struggle.

This has been absolutely life-changing for me.

Today our marriage is stronger than it’s ever been. There are no more secrets between us. The healing we have received as a result of facing this struggle and dealing with it far outweighs the life of denial, loneliness, and pain we had been living in.

If this is you, there is so much hope for you! Recovery is your choice. You get to choose it, regardless of what anybody else chooses.

If this is you, you have probably lived a lot of your life for someone else. The time is here that you do something for you. Whatever it takes to get you the healing you need, do it! You are worth it! Your own healing and health will benefit every relationship you have, including your children!

Reality is we cannot truly love others in a healthy way, until we love ourselves.

Dear Friend Struggling With An Addicted Spouse, you are not alone!

Dear Friend Struggling With Body Image

Dear Friend Struggling With Body Image

*This post is apart of our “Dear Friend” series. These letters have all been written by women who want you to know that you are not alone in your struggle*

 

Dear Friend Struggling With Body Image,

You are not alone.

My goodness, are you in good company! Because friend, I am standing right next you staring into that carnival mirror. My hair never lays right, my right boob is bigger than the left, my belly pudges over every pair of pants except the maternity set, and don’t get me started on the back fat.

You are not alone.

But let me remind you that you are also a child of the Creator. He made you with intention. You didn’t just “happen.” He knew you and your name before you were ever thought about on this earth. He had a plan for you before there was ever time. And our God does not make mistakes. He makes worlds come into existence with one word, and with that same power, He made you, His most important creation–His child.

Regardless of how you see yourself, He sees His image in you. Remember that.

You were made with a purpose.

Dear Friend Struggling With Body Image, you are not alone!

Dear Friend Struggling As A New Mama

Dear Friend Struggling As A New Mama

*This post is apart of our “Dear Friend” series. These letters have all been written by women who want you to know that you are not alone in your struggle*

 

Dear Friend Struggling As A New Mama,

You are not alone.

I know you. I know the struggle of loving this baby so much, but wanting more than two hours without having her demand your presence. I know the insanity that comes at 2am when you have to feed again and you feel like you just fell asleep. I know the resentment that comes when you are feeding that sweet love of yours, and your husband lies undisturbed in his peaceful dreams. I know the loneliness that comes during the day while your husband is at work, and at night as he easily falls asleep. But your job is never done. I know you so well these days because I’m feeling these same things.

You are not alone.

You are like every other new mom, exhausted in every way possible. But there is hope. He or she will sleep one day for just a little longer, and sweet friends will show up just when you need them to sit with the baby while you shower.

Our God made Mama’s just for this. We survive, my friend. And we thrive as we do it. Keep going. One moment at a time. That sweet baby smile will come eventually. She will recognize your face soon, and the misery fades so quickly.

You are loved and you were picked out especially for this child.

Dear Friend Struggling As A New Mama, you are not alone!

Dear Friend Struggling With Singleness and Loneliness

Dear Friend Struggling With Singleness and Loneliness

*This post is apart of our “Dear Friend” series. These letters have all been written by women who want you to know that you are not alone in your struggle*

 

Dear Friend Struggling With Singleness and Loneliness,

You are not alone.

Coming from a small community and “farming” life style, it was normal for girls to marry young, pop out a few children and spend their days as a loving wife and mother. I thought for sure, growing up, that was going to be my story. I’ve always wanted to be a mom, always wanted to find that “Mr. Right” but just kept finding “Mr. OK”

I am 35 years old, never have been married and no children……..yet. But I am happy to share that God has brought an amazing man into my life just within the past few months and I can tell you all the things your married friends keep telling you like,”you’ll just know when he’s the one” or “it will happen to you when you least expect it.”

It’s all true!

Yes, I’ve been praying for a husband for years, and yes I’ve gone through all the emotions that we as women can’t help but feel; sadness, loneliness, and depression. Wondering if I’m just called to a life of singleness and I’ll never be a mom. But that was just Satan trying to knock me off track. Make me feel things that were just not true. Or wanting me to “settle” and be OK with a mediocre husband and a mediocre life.

That is NOT what God had planned for me. I’m beginning to see that He truly does want to give me the desires of my heart. Just from these first few months, I’ve seen God’s hand at work in so many ways. Silly things that I didn’t think I cared about, but I hear God whisper “here my child let me give you this as well.”

It’s been worth the wait, it’s been worth the loneliness. Please hear me! It’s been worth it.

I never thought I would say those words. When you are in the midst of the loneliness you don’t “feel” like it will be worth it, you don’t “feel” like you will ever be truly happy. But I am telling you, YOU WILL!

Hang in there. Don’t settle.

Know that you are never really ever alone.
God is there.
He hears your prayers.
He will answer when the time is right.

Dear Friend Struggling With Singleness and Loneliness, you are not alone!

Dear Friend Struggling With Your Husband’s Sexual Addiction

Dear Friend Struggling With Your Husband’s Sexual Addiction

*This post is apart of our “Dear Friend” series. These letters have all been written by women who want you to know that you are not alone in your struggle*

 

Dear Friend Struggling With Your Husband’s Sexual Addiction,

I want you to know that you are not alone!

This is a struggle very few people gather the courage to talk about, because sometimes the reactions of others are worse than keeping it hidden.

Sexual addiction has impacted my entire marriage, but I didn’t found out about it until several years into our marriage. Since founding out, I’ve kept it mostly hidden.

I was so ashamed. I felt like a failure as a wife. I felt unloved, rejected, replaced, worthless, and forgotten. I stayed in the darkness and let the darkness convince me that my marriage was the only one locked in this struggle.

If you are feeling that way today, I want you to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Your husband’s addiction is not a reflection of your worth. You are worth knowing. You are worth being loved. I want you to know that you did not cause his addiction, you can’t control it, and you can’t change him. That is something God must do.

This is a trial I never imagined I would be in. But God has been with me. Even when I’ve felt completely alone, He has been with me, pressing His truth into my heart. He has shifted my focus from relying on my husband’s love, acceptance, and faithfulness to relying on His.

God loves you. He is with you through this journey. He will use this in your life to bring light into the dark places. And through your journey you will be able to speak life to another hurting sister. (2 Corinthians 1:4)

You have great worth and beauty.

And, sweet Sister, whether you feel it or not, you are strong.

I am praying for you.

Dear Friend Struggling With Your Husband’s Sexual Addiction, you are not alone!

Dear Friend Struggling With Infertility

Dear Friend Struggling With Infertility

*This post is apart of our “Dear Friend” series. These letters have all been written by women who want you to know that you are not alone in your struggle*

 

Dear Friend Struggling With Infertility,

You are not alone; I myself have struggled with infertility.

All the counting days until your next cycle, wondering if every flutter you feel in your belly is the answer to your dreams, the ache when you see the mother with her pregnant belly, the mother holding her chubby faced baby. Wondering if when your friend announces that she is pregnant, you look happy enough for her. Because you really are happy for her, but you feel like everyone is watching you to see if you are going to break. You don’t make eye contact with those you think are watching because you don’t want to see the “poor you” look in anyone’s eyes because it will be the end of you.

The poking, the prodding and all the doctor’s appointments. The medicine that makes you crazy and the stress it all puts on your marriage. Your marriage bed has gone from intimacy to systematic, temperature-taking, day-counting, and schedule-keeping sex.

All the Hannah prayers going up to God that you think are going unanswered. The wondering what sin you are being punished for and feeling guilty for all the bad decisions you ever made, surely this must be a punishment.

Wondering if your husband can really love you the way other husbands love their wives, because these women have shown their ultimate strength as they championed through the laborious pain of child birth.

You are not alone, I have been there. Jesus has shown Himself faithful to me, not by opening my womb, but by blessing me with beautiful children through adoption.

Once we made the decision to walk away from our fertility treatments and adopt, I felt ultimate peace.

I have championed through my own sort of labor pains as I waited faithfully for the Lord to place our children into our home. While our road to our family is different than the traditional road, it is still 100% my family and I have never looked back.

I am praying for you who reads my letter, that the Lord will open your womb, or that He will make his path very clear to you and ultimately grant you a peace that surpasses all that we can understand.

God sees you and he loves you and he hears your prayers and he knows the deepest desires or your heart and he will meet you where you are and He will bless you more abundantly than you can ever ask or imagine.

Dear Friend Struggling With Infertility, you are not alone!

Dear Friend Struggling With Divorce

Dear Friend Struggling With Divorce

*This post is apart of our “Dear Friend” series. These letters have all been written by women who want you to know that you are not alone in your struggle*

 

Dear Friend Struggling With Divorce,

Oh the frustrations and heart ripping emotions of divorce, please know that you are not alone!

You thought he would stay forever, but instead he left, leaving only betrayal and a message that you are unlovable.
Sometimes you hide beneath your covers, with shattered confidence, crying endlessly. You don’t really sleep because you are not used to being alone with only silent walls to keep you company, and when you do sleep, you wake up lonely. Sometimes you yell at the top of your lungs because it hurts so much. Sometimes you feel like you are going crazy because you behave in ways that only emotionally unstable people act.

You never thought you would lose control like you have now. When you go to church, you sit in the balcony, hoping no one really notices you. You feel embarrassed. You feel exposed. You feel judged. And thinking about the future only depresses you further. What upstanding Christian man wants a divorced thirty-year-old? How will you pay the housenote on the new house with only your income? Will you have to find a second job? What will you do with all of your free time now? All of your friends are married and have busy lives of their own. How will you ever live in this same town with him and her? Will you ever find your restarting point?

The answer to all of your questions resounds in one name; God.

Divorce is like a dark tunnel, sometimes very long, and the end seems that it will never come. Please don’t think that through the darkness you have to wear a smile. It’s okay to feel the hurt, the anguish, the loneliness, the fear, and the worry. After all, you are mourning the death of one flesh made from two. Though it may feel as though you are alone, that no one really understands, Jesus does.

Divorce can deplete your self-esteem, cause you to doubt that anyone can love you, but God does. In the midst of your sorrow and seeking normalcy, God offers words of comfort and peace through His Word.
For the broken-hearted, Psalms whispers gentle truths which calm your anxiety and carry your mind from the troubles at hand. This biblical book speaks a different kind of tenderness to those who face the challenges of divorce. And though it may seem that God is far away, dear friend, He never leaves you. Never.

Don’t be afraid to fall on Him with all of your suffering, for He does have answers in time. When God is ready, He will give you new opportunities and revelations.

Until then, know that it’s okay that everything is falling apart, but that God is with you to pick up the pieces. God has not forgotten you. Trust Him. You are His forever, and He doesn’t break His commitment to you.

Dear Friend Struggling With Divorce, you are not alone!

Dear Friend Struggling As A Pastor’s Wife

Dear Friend Struggling As A Pastor’s Wife

*This post is apart of our “Dear Friend” series. These letters have all been written by women who want you to know that you are not alone in your struggle*

 

Dear Friend Struggling as a Pastor’s Wife,

My fellow pastor’s wife, my fellow-sojourner, my sister, you are not alone.

When life and ministry overwhelm you,
When the demands of your husband’s calling seems too much to handle,
When the darts and arrows of others hurt you,
When the pain of others is crushing you,
Know that you are not alone.

When the darkness seems unending,
When victories are few and far between,
When the future is uncertain,
When your own heart feels distant from your Savior,
Know that you are not alone.

Ours’ is an unusual path of such highs and lows,
A roller coaster of victories and failures,
Of joy and sorrow,
Of wins and losses.
But we are not alone.

“My soul finds rest in God alone,
My salvation comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
He is my fortress! I will never be shaken!”

Dear Friend Struggling as a Pastor’s Wife, you are not alone!

“Oh, Shit!’ Repost From August 13th, 2012

“Oh, Shit!’ Repost From August 13th, 2012

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, rather by the number of hilarious and “make you feel good” visits you take to the nursing home” ~Sara Littlejohn

I am a firm believer in the power of a well placed expletive.

Pretty sure that trickled down from my Mama.

Growing up I could count on ONE hand the number of times my mom used an expletive. It was never out of anger, frustration, or directed at another human being. It was ALWAYS very well placed and very purposeful.

We talked about one such incident in this post.

My mom never tried being anyone except herself, which in her line of business (pastor’s wife) can be extremely challenging. She was not concerned with who the congregation, elders, presbytery, WIC committee, or other first wives from first family churches,  thought she should be. She was just her bold, straightforward, “don’t beat around the bush”, truth teller, self. I have met very few pastor’s wives that embody the rich security my mom found in simply being a child of God. I think this allowed her to minister in a real, deep, authentic place.

I’ll never forget the first time mom cursed in front of a small portion of my friends. I asked her what we were having for dinner and she replied, “shit on a shingle!” My friends about fell out of their chairs, and they never again looked at my mother the same (in a good way).

All of this to say, first thing this morning I loaded the kids up to go visit Mama-Mama. I just woke up and HAD to see her. Mainly, because I wanted to touch her, kiss her, and hold her hand for a bit. This was the second time I had taken the kids, and they were just thrilled to be with her after spending three long weeks of being forced NOT to see her.

Almost every resident lit up when we walked down the hallway to mom’s room. Sweet faces, wearing blessings of a life time in their wrinkles, waved and smiled at my little clan. When we first approached mom’s room her door was closed, after a little *knock, knock* the CNA opened the door and out wheeled mama ready for the day. As the “hi grammy, hi mama, hi grammy, hi grammy, hi grammy” were being said, mom hollered out in a very loud voice, “OH SHIT!” Not the “I am so mad you are here,” or the “get out of my face” or the ” I forgot something”, but rather the “OH SHIT! I am so, so, so glad to see you!” Katie and I giggled out loud, the other three went about their business offering hugs and kisses having no reason to know that word is “negative”.

On the heels of her exclamation she shouted in a broken way, “aren’t…these… the most b-b-b-beau-TI-FUL grand….grand….grand cats you’ve ever seen?”

And there in that moment, we soaked up the small, but rather large pronouncement, that Grammy knew (if even for a split second) that her grand-cats had arrived, and it caused her to feel something real, deep, and authentic. So real in fact that Valerie Sue Fry Hall spoke up from the depths of her very familiar being and shouted, “OH SHIT!”

If that is not a moment to measure your life by, I might as well throw in the towel and head for glory.

I don’t tell you this story to defame my mother or dishonor the amazing, spiritual legacy she leaves behind. I tell you this because these past few weeks have been far from easy and normal. We will probably measure the rest of our days around these events. More than anything I am so glad that even the “shitty” moments are bringing us unexplainable joy!

~Sara