I remember the first time I came to my support group.
As I told my story, I looked at the other women there. “I don’t belong here,” I thought, “I’m not like them. These words aren’t really coming out of my mouth. This isn’t real.”
It was only a month since the discovery. At that time, and for several months afterwards, I really did believe on some level that this was all a bad dream, and I would surely wake up.
Denial is the natural first stage of grief. It’s a powerful force, and I believe God gives it to us as sort of an emotional anesthesia, when the loss is just too much to comprehend at once.
And there was some pride being broken. I’m ashamed to admit, I thought this wasn’t supposed to happen to me. I chose my husband for no other reason than I believed he was a godly man who wanted to serve God with me. I had been faithful and loving to him. I had followed God with my whole heart and done all I could to honor my husband. I had made good choices. Good choices were supposed to yield good results.
As I told my story, I noticed one of the women weeping. For me.
She was broken over my story.
And something in me broke (in a good way) when I saw her empathy.
I had a horrible counselor at the time. When I told her about the support group, I had just finished telling her about some of the many ministry and relationship doors that had suddenly closed to me because of what my husband did.
She said something that I understood to mean that from now on the women in the support group were the only people I could ever have human relationships with again. The way she said it made me feel like I was being banished from the rest of humanity. As if I and the other women in the group were a bunch of lepers, cast out from society.
(It didn’t help that this was the same counselor who had suggested I try to avoid shame by staying with my husband and never telling anyone what had happened.)
Nor did it help that right before that, she had told me that “Satan had won” in my life (by succeeding in taking me out of ministry through my husband’s actions). “He won,” she said, throwing her hands up with finality.
Great. That’ll cheer you up.
Well, I don’t have that counselor anymore, but I still have my support group. Some of the strongest and deepest friendships I have ever had in my life have come out of that group.
If we’re going to be one in Christ, we must first be broken as individuals.
He’s molding us into one vessel – one bride.
That can’t happen unless we’re first broken as individuals.
Since then, as I’ve slowly crept out from under the shame, and begun to share my story with others, I’ve found there are many other broken people out there.
And there are many who are still hiding their story out of shame. A few times, after I’ve openly shared my story, a woman has opened up to me and unburdened herself of something she had been carrying for years, but never told another soul. And I’ve been broken for her.
We need to be broken to minister to the broken.
We need to be broken to be built up together.
That day in the counselor’s office I felt like I was being cast out of human society, but now I realize I was being cast into the sea of humanity.
Because most people are broken.
So, if the only people I can relate to now are broken people, I’m in wide and wonderful company.
There are still those who are offended by brokenness. Those are the ones, who when I share my story, try to offer a quick fix, or tell me to cover it up, or tell me I must have had some fault in it too, or that the only problem is my hard, unforgiving heart.
Those people hurt me deeply at first.
But now I realize their reaction has nothing to do with me – it’s all about them, and what’s going on in their hearts, that causes them to be offended by my brokenness.
It still hurts when someone responds that way.
But I won’t let that dissuade me from telling my story. Why? Because it’s worth it to find the other broken people.
So, we can heal together.
I still wish all this had never happened to me.
But I wouldn’t trade the brokenness.
Copyright 2019 Rebecca Nazzer. All Rights Reserved.