For the past few Fridays, I’ve been participating in the #FridayIntroductions on social media. Here’s where I insert a shameless plug for you to follow me on Instagram and Facebook. You can follow me on Twitter too, but it’s really not my favorite hangout so I forget about it sometimes. Should I admit that? Oh well, I just did.
As a way of letting you get to know me a little better and participating in today’s episode of #FridayIntroductions, I’m sharing with you a glimpse into how I’m navigating this painful season.
A very close friend of mine was preparing to speak at a workshop about how we can be prepared for painful seasons. She asked me if I would record a video for her sharing what I have found helpful in my painful seasons. She has been a vital part of my journey for quite some time and walked closely with me in my sorrow and my joy. I was incredibly honored that she trusted me with this but it certainly challenged my vulnerability.
The request came just days after being blindsided by the devastating news that my marriage was very broken. I knew it would be hard to do but I also knew I had to do it. It brings me great comfort to think that some good can come from my pain. That someone might be encouraged and strengthened by what God has done in me. That is why this blog exists.
While I’m now a little more settled into this new way of life and journey to recovery, this video was recorded when it was all extremely fresh. I think that will be evident as you watch. I’ve included the text just below the video in case you’d prefer to read it instead of watching it.
Hi! I’m Andrea. I didn’t dress up for you today or go the extra mile on my makeup or hair. I didn’t even wash my hair. Heck, I didn’t even brush my hair!
You’re watching this most likely because you are in the middle of a painful season. You need real. You need authentic and you need vulnerable. You crave it. I know. Because I’m craving it with you.
I am currently in the early stages of the most painful season I’ve encountered to date. But it’s also the most grace-filled painful season I’ve ever encountered.
I’ve used my previous seasons of pain and loss and grief to learn. I’ve taken it all in. I’ve learned from my mistakes and my successes. I’ve been careful not to short-circuit the healing process. You’ve heard it said that wherever you go, there you are? I am not willing to take the same me with me into the future. Even in pain that was done to me, I can learn from. I can become better.
So, the gifts of grace that I’ve received that have prepared me for this season of pain are these:
Knowledge of God’s Trustworthiness
I’ve dug deep into my trust issues and found that my need to feel safe was misplaced on humans and not God. I’ve learned that God is the only one who is 100% trustworthy. When the bottom dropped out from underneath me, my immediate response was to turn to His comfort and faithfulness. I’ve come to the place where I 100% know that If I lose everything, God is enough. He’s always enough.
Another thing I’ve done for myself was to learn how to set healthy boundaries for the purpose of insulating my heart, not isolating it. As a recovering people-pleaser, this has been a revolutionary tool in my life.
Inner Circle – Community
Something else I had on the ready when my world collapsed was community. Specifically, a small inner circle, my trusted tribe. Modeled after Jesus and His inner circle of three, as my circle widens, the information shared widens as well. I’ve learned enough from my past experiences to know that I should only share my deep dark with those who can 1, handle the information with tenderness and trust … and 2, support me in it. Because I had my tribe already established, I was able to reach out immediately for prayer. This helped me refrain from word vomiting all over the internet which would only serve to add to the chaos.
I want to encourage you, while you’re in the midst of a painful season or as you prepare for one to come (because it will come, *John 16:33 tells us so), to place your full trust in God alone, set boundaries in place for your personal health not for isolation, establish your trusted tribe, choose to bring glory to Him even in your pain, and choose to be kind to others and to yourself.
I heard Gary Thomas speak once about how easy it was for him to take the door off the frame but how he needed help to put it back on. We need help.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but of immeasurable courage and strength.
You are not alone.
*I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33