Over a decade ago my childhood friends and I sang the song “Count on Me”, the song made popular by Whitney Houston and Cece Winans, at a youth talent show in the church we grew up in. Even with all the relationship drama we had experienced as teenagers and young adults, this song was a reflection of our friendship. Little did I know, during the painful journey of my separation and divorce, that these same girls and many others would show me what that song truly meant.
It was the night I finally decided to break the silence and tell my family and loved ones about my separation.
I was crying hysterically while one of my closest friend’s tried to console me. She dropped everything to come over to my apartment after a brief phone conversation. I shared with her what transpired weeks before between my then-husband and me. She had no idea I was in a marital crisis because a few days prior she saw us “together” at our son’s school Christmas concert. My friend stayed with me for a few hours before she went back home to her family. I knew I could call on her because she’d been in my shoes before. Though I was ashamed, she never judged me or made me feel embarrassed about everything I was facing at the time.
That evening I also reached out to my mentor; I choked out a few words as again I cried almost uncontrollably. My mentor listened and gave me words of comfort, encouraging me to contact our church for marital counseling.
“Count on me through thick and thin, a friendship that will never end. When you are weak I will be strong helping you to carry on. Call on me, I will be there. Don't be afraid. Please believe me when I say, count on me.”
When I found the courage to tell my family a few days later, I must say it was one of the hardest things I had to do. I was afraid of how they would respond. When I told them, my family was hurt, angry, and confused. They let me know they were there for me and they would help me in any way possible with my young son. I was comforted, knowing I wasn’t in this alone.
Yet, I still had a secret I was afraid to tell my family…
I remember one afternoon I went to see my mom. I just sat in the kitchen while she tended to her chores. I was brokenhearted and voiced my concern about how was I going to take care of myself and my son. I was a stay-at-home mom who was in the early stages of growing my business. In her tough mom voice, she assured me that I was going to be okay. She let me know that my family would be there for me and that I had nothing to worry about because of how faithful God is. Then out of nowhere she said, “At least you’re not pregnant.”
I broke down and again the tears spilled down my cheeks. I had taken a home pregnancy test that came back positive just the week before. When my mom realized why I was crying, she stopped what she was doing to comfort me. She assured me she was there for me and that God is faithful. Weeks later, I had an early miscarriage and my mom walked through this with me every step of the way as I tried to heal from that experience.
“I know sometimes it seems as if we're standing all alone, but we'll get through it ‘cause love won't let us fall.”
Because of my fear of being rejected, hurt, betrayed, or even judged, I kept my emotions bottled up inside most of my life. I was a wife, mom, and ministry leader and so I believed I always had to be strong and have it all together.
It was at my breaking point that I realized I had to tell my girlfriend and eventually my family about all I was going through. After I had the courage to open up about what I was facing in my marriage, I began to realize how much pain I had stuffed inside.
The more you keep the pain hidden, the more damage it will do your soul. << Click to Tweet
I thought I was protecting myself from getting hurt even more, but I was really getting in the way of my own healing.
My family, friends, and church leaders created a safe place for me to be transparent without feeling ashamed or judged. I no longer felt a need to act as if I had it all together. Through prayer, counseling, and a whole lot of venting to the RIGHT people, I was able to get through one of the toughest seasons of my life and eventually feel freer than ever before.
God placed amazing people in my life that I could count on in my time of need. He showed me the importance of community and how I’m not meant to go through this thing called life alone.
Do you have a friend or loved on that is going through a rough time? The best thing you can do is to be there for them, listen to them. and love them.
Wodline is a mom and wedding planner who loves the Lord. She is also a consultant for start-up nonprofit organizations. She loves writing in her journal and hopes to share her testimony to help young women struggling with unforgiveness.