In the summer of 2017, I found myself lost and lonely. I had just left a toxic work environment where I had been sexually harassed and bullied by one of my closest friend’s husbands who was also my boss. And while I lost her friendship, I found it increasingly hard to pretend things were fine with us in our group of mom friends, thus losing that group of friends as well.
I was back to being a stay at home mom and thankful for that option, but not necessarily choosing it and so bored, furious and alone.
She saw my reeling and one night, my best friend from childhood invited me out with her for dinner and drinks and as the night went on mutual friends tagged along. It was fun and a little wild and by the end, we had this group of us who were all moms in various forms, at various stages, with varied experiences. We added one more to a group text over the next week and ended up with a group of six women that carried me through the summer, fall and winter of 2017.
And then when, as it sometimes does, marriage got scary and hard again, they watched as I literally fell apart and so very carefully and tenderly held the pieces of me. They held space for my broken heart, whispered to me in the dark that I would, in fact, be ok and then helped start putting me back together again.
And then there were the lifelong sisters. The ones I don’t see or even talk to very often, but who are always there when I need I need to celebrate or when I need to grieve. They saw me in crisis and circled the wagons. They put their kids in front of the tv with food so they could make the phone call. They sat, listened, brewed coffee and prayed. Some are in it with me in their marriages, in their jobs, in their family situations and offered the oh so valuable “me too.” Some are further down the road and offered hope. Wherever they are, they know me. They see me and they call the real me out of my shame and fear back to Him, back to myself, back to life.
At a time in my life when I wasn’t sure which way was up, all of these women came alongside me and sistered me through. They carried, they held, they laughed, they loved, they cried, they spoke, they listened, they memed, they promised to set people on fire for me and bury the bodies. And it was everything I needed.
That’s the thing with pain. It needs anything but judgment and advice. It requires compassion, listening, space and some humor. That’s what these women gave me. They let me deal however I needed to, sometimes unhealthily, sometimes with too much wine, too much or not enough to eat, too many words or too few boundaries and so much fear. But there they were watching and waiting and always loving me, telling me I’d be just fine.
And isn’t that what Jesus does for us? He sees right to our core. He sees the whole picture. He sees the former boss and former friend. He sees the betrayal. He sees the disappointment and the disillusionment, the utter exhaustion from trying so damn hard. He knows who we are and how much we’re hurting and he looks on us with compassion. He watches us try to figure it out and he whispers, “I love you. You’re going to be ok.” He lifts our faces, sees our souls, reminds us we don’t have to run anymore, that we’re safe and helps us put our broken pieces back together.
To the women who are the hands, feet, ears, mouths, memes, hearts and words of Jesus to me, I love you so hard, and I will never be able to tell you enough. When my shame and confusion cover me up and I can’t see Jesus anywhere, He whispers your names. Thank you for showing me true holiness in your love for me and others. You are mending me piece by piece.