Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Putting on a brave face

Recently April and I recorded this podcast:

To Moms with Brave Faces

I was in a pretty good spot while April and I were recording that podcast. She was in a harder spot. But had we recorded it a different day, the roles easily could have been reversed.

I've had to put on a brave face for various reasons throughout my life. And the more I talk to other women about the things of our hearts, the more I find that I'm not alone. While it feels good to know that I have company, it also makes makes me sad to know that there is so much pain going on out there - and that so much of it is deeply personal or affects someone else so it the bearer of that pain feels they can't openly share what they're going through as they need to protect someone else.

Life is hard. This is no new concept. But sometimes life feels SO hard that it's downright miserable and you pray and you search for answers in your heart, in the scriptures, on the Internet, you name it. Sometimes you find something that feels like it could be helpful and you head down that road. Sometimes that road is a dead end. Sometimes you just get so tired of wracking your brain to come up with solutions and putting serious efforts into things that don't end up being fruitful. But you keep trying and hoping. And sometimes you aren't sure whether it's smart to keep hoping because let-down hopes hurt you again and again. So you try to figure out how to put your hope and faith in the right things but it sure can be tricky to figure out what those right things are.

I was talking to a friend the other day about some really tough things she's dealing with in her marriage. She's been married for more than twice as long as I have. We talked about how marriage is just plain hard stuff a lot of the time and realized that most people we know have had really hard times in their marriage but that somehow society at large doesn't seem to talk about how hard marriage can be. Sure, we hear about how high the divorce rate is but we don't hear how high the serious-marriage-problems-but-working-on-it rate is. We talked about how it would probably help a lot of couples to know that they aren't alone as they struggle and that it's good to get help, to find an online course to help you understand each other better, to go to counseling, whatever it takes.

Similarly, with whatever problem you're dealing with, you should know that there are probably a heck of a lot more people dealing with whatever you're struggling with than you might guess. And reaching out for help - talking to a trusted friend, finding a book or online course that feels like it might help, talking to a counselor, finding the right medication - is not a sign of weakness or resignation, it's a sign of strength and the willingness to fight.

I've spent way too many years of my life trying to figure things out mostly on my own. I've felt like my own ideas combined with some help from God through pondering and prayer should be sufficient. I've worked through a lot of issues through these means. But I've found that when I humble myself and reach further, I can often find resources that better meet my needs and that can more quickly move me in the right direction.

Anyway, if you're going through some hard stuff right now, listen to the podcast and enjoy a big virtual hug from me and from April.


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