Because Sometimes, Stories are Hard to Share.
There is a piece of my life that at first I was not proud of and would have been fine if no ever knew about it. There are moments I fear what might happen if others knew my story. I also have worried my story isn’t good enough to share. Sometimes it seems like a story best kept hidden rather than one to be shared. However, I am aware there are many other women out there who are waiting to find their “me too” person, someone who can relate to what they are walking through. And, I realize for someone that may be me. So, today, I break the ice. I choose to do the hard thing; embrace my fear and share my story.
I have always considered myself to be a brave and capable person, a woman who could do hard things, until the day I couldn’t. Five years ago I found myself terrified as I performed CPR on my husband, while simultaneously trying to remain calm as my 5 year old son fearfully watched. My husband had a substance abuse problem that had slowly begun to escalate and led to this gutwrenching, “would rather hide it,” moment. By the end of that year, my husband came home to tell me that he was surrendering his nursing license, admitting he was an addict who needed healing.
Suddenly, I found myself in a battle- a battle facing a choice to fight for my marriage and my husband or to walk away. I had been praying for years that God would deliver me from what was happening to my husband and essentially our family. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know how to fix it. I was broken hearted, hurt, and felt like I was being rejected while my husband chose to repeatedly make the choices he did. I didn’t know exactly what was happening or why.
The worst part was that I was living a façade. No one around me knew I was feeling this way. They didn’t know I was embarrassed around family and friends because I knew my husband would be drinking, They didn’t know I was fearful for my children’s safety and my husband’s. Or that I was angry because I lived with an alcoholic father and now was living with an addicted husband. From the outside, I held it all together. I ran my household, I kept my boys safe, I kept up on playdates, and with friends. Everyone around me called me “super mom.” The truth is I wasn’t really super mom, but I played the role well because I thought if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be enough; I would be less than. So when my husband essentially lost his job and wanted to recover, I was skeptical. I was tired, I was broken, and I was just about done.
I made the choice to do the hard thing. I chose grace, to give love, and to trust that God would somehow carry me through this difficult time. With counsel, close friends, and many prayers, I began to experience a renewed sense of hope that God could heal my husband and restore our marriage and family. The road to recovery and to trusting again was not an easy road. It was filled with celebrations and relapses. Before things got better I had to be real with my husband and set a boundary; I would not continue to live a life where he was choosing his addiction over our marriage and our family.
I have always been hesitant to share my story because I felt as though I would be defined by the circumstances our family found ourselves in. I feared I would be judged for living a life with a substance abuser. Slowly, I began to realize who God created me to be is not defined by my circumstances. I am a citizen of heaven, who was designed to be an example of grace and to give love and my story was and is the perfect place to live that out. Grace means I need to embrace the story God placed me in. I have learned to embrace the brokenness because God used that very brokenness to heal me and to bring hope and healing to others just like me.