Yesterday a beloved sister in the faith announced her painful decision to divorce her husband of twenty-five years. Along with possibly thousands upon thousands reading the same email announcement, a state of shock and deep pain settled inside my heart.
“Rob, I’m reading something very sad,” I said.
In disbelief, I read her words out loud.
“I hate hearing that,” he said. “Really, really sad.”
We were both very quiet. Both intimately acquainted with the struggles of married life (August makes 33 years).
A bit later, my younger daughter texted me, “Mom, Lysa TerKeurst is getting a divorce. Did you hear that?”
She then included a thread from one of Lysa’s daughter’s blog.
Processing a Sister’s Pain
Today, Rob and I celebrate the birthday of our twins, Brooke and Grant.
A celebratory day in our own family clouded just a bit by hearing of someone else’s family in pain.
As I tore the customary eight Tazo Awake teabags and placed them in my Christmas tea kettle, tears welled in my eyes. I prayed for Lysa and her family. I thought of the beautiful conversation I shared with Lysa, way back in 2005, at her She Speaks Conference. We met while waiting outside of our scheduled “publisher appointment”—fifteen minute sessions to pitch book projects. She introduced herself, asked about me and my book idea and said how glad she was I had come to Charlotte. She had no idea that she was standing on the threshold of her vibrant, powerful writing and teaching ministry. Since that time, Lysa’s books have reached millions of women, including myself and my daughter.
Why the Christmas tea kettle? It started when Candace, our first born,
started traveling the world. I’d keep the Christmas kettle on until she came home (which
typically was Christmas time). I guess it was somewhat of a security kettle for me.
I missed her so very much. Maybe when she comes home in a few weeks (July),
I’ll replace it with the cobalt blue kettle in the cupboard. But, when she leaves…it’s coming back.
Momma’s do strange things, right, to keep the connection (smile).
Praying for Our Own Paths
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be sanctified.”
I picked up the eight teabags, twisted their threads, and lowered them into the boiling water. Something I do at least two or three times a week. I like a good strong black ice tea. As I watched the boiling water engulf the teabags, I was reminded of the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “A woman is like a teabag; you never know how strong it is until it is in hot water.”
Today, I stand next to Lysa, again. I’m guessing she might need a whole lot of strength today. Not only does she have to process her own pain + family pain, she has to do it all publicly. I can’t imagine.
I can’t stand next to her physically, of course, but I can [we can] spiritually and emotionally.
Heartlifters, this is where we shine:
- We pray.
- We carry one another’s burdens.
- We feel one each other’s pain and offer comfort and hope.
- We lend strength to each other.
- We caution ourselves from judging, shoulding and shaming. God help us, this is so very easy to do and so deeply regrettable.
- We follow the teachings of Christ—which beckon us to love others deeply—and, unconditionally.
We offer a refreshing, ice-cold glass of ice tea (sweetened or unsweetened), made by tear-stained tea bags—because we know how tough it is to live in this world and not be of it.
Be with our dear friend and sister in the faith, Lysa, and her family.
Surround them with your favor as with a shield.
Remind us that life and every relationship we hold dear is fragile.
Satan prowls. Satan devours.
Yet, in the end, we know Satan will be defeated.
Help us guard our hearts and affections, for they influence absolutely everything in our lives.