Do you really ever have enough strength to get through a trial or a storm that is heading your way? You can anticipate the pain and hardship that can come with news of a job transfer, a close friend moving away, or a diagnosis, but not fully prepare yourself for what is coming. How do you handle the situations you don’t get warning for? The sudden loss of a loved one, notice of a divorce, infidelity, an argument that results in the loss of a relationship…loss in these areas doesn’t quietly just come onto the scene, it bursts in! Most of these situations can instantly attack your psyche, cause fear and paralyze you with moving forward in the new reality you didn’t exactly ask for. All you can do is trust in God’s promises that He will be sufficient, He will provide enough strength for each day.
God’s strength is exactly what I needed on a Tuesday evening in August. I was not prepared for the heartache that was waiting for me on the phone when my bestie at the time called to inform me that we could no longer be in friendship with each other. I would like to say that I am a pretty strong person and that I always know what to do in hard situations, but when we are in unhealthy relationships or situations, this is not always the case.
Rewind to 5.5 years ago when I met her. I had recently moved to the PNW and wasn’t having an easy time making friends. Missing my friends back at home, I kept praying that I would find someone I could relate to, someone who understood my humor and wanted to experience life together. Our friendship started at a smooth pace; we had playdates, laughed a ton, went on fun adventures and celebrated birthdays and life events together. Our families blended well together and as time went on it was apparent our friendship was the answer to prayer. As life events happened with our families, mainly mine since we are the most accident prone family you may meet, we stood by one another and helped in any way possible. We eventually moved a mile away from each other and we had the friendship most people dream of. You know, the one were you have a key to each other’s house, you help each other pick up kids, you make meals together and laugh at all the Pinterest fails, you pick up things at the grocery store that the other needs, you watch their kids so the other can get their hair or nails done, you go on girls’ weekends together to catch a break, you just do life together. We became a well-oiled machine and everywhere we went, people knew we were a duo, a team. In fact, even now, people look at me and are instantly reminded of her, because this is what happens when boundary lines become grey and blurred…you start to not know where you end and where the other person begins.
Not many people I know jump out of bed in the morning and say, “I can’t wait to be codependent today!” It’s not exactly the goal I had in mind when I was going about our daily life together. Codependency in relationships can happen subtly and over time. It can happen when two people become so invested in each other that they don’t function independently anymore. We jumped in, wholeheartedly, with the right intentions of investing in the best of friendships, not realizing that we were in turn, filling a void in each others lives. We spent so much time together that there was hardly any time for any other relationship. We turned to one another for most daily issues, problems with kids, problems in our marriages, dreams, hopes, futures goals…we invested so much that by the time my husband came home, I didn’t have anything left to say because I was filled up and not wanting anything more. As women, we long for connectedness and rightfully so, God created us to be in relationship with one another. But when your priorities get out of alignment, this is what can become a Danger Zone. I started turning to my bestie for all things and not needing help anywhere else. Both of us were struggling to connect with our husbands and not knowing why they couldn’t be more like our best friend. This is the part where you are reading this and you cringe, but trust me it happens; there is nothing like the listening ear of a good girlfriend, especially when your husbands travel and work a lot. The red flags that started to go up in my mind overtime were quickly dismissed because I couldn’t imagine my life without her. By the time I realized we could benefit from an implementation of healthy boundaries, I was too far committed and afraid that it would ruin our friendship. Sometimes we can hold something too close to us, place too much value on it, let it even replace God, and not realize that it will eventually shatter. While neither one of us made it our intention to hurt the other, we became too reliant on our friendship for comfort and peace when we should have allowed God to provide that for us.
It has been a painful journey, one that I am still traveling on and you may read more about, but my faith has gotten me through it. After the immediate days of staying in bed and the crying had passed, I realized that I couldn’t move forward without seeking some help. It is humbling to admit that you need a counselor. Making the appointment was one of the hardest steps because you briefly say what it is you want to be seen for. Truth be told, I hung up twice before I finally could make the appointmentJ. 15 minutes into my appointment with my counselor she had me resetting my priorities, making a diagram that showed me everyday who comes first and helping me pinpoint areas in my life where unhealthy boundaries existed. I dove into God’s word and allowed Him to show me who I was again. Making these changes went against what my flesh wanted; healing has been a process, being open to hearing hard things about myself is not an easy task, but all of it has been used to make me into the person I am right now.
I still think of her often and miss all of the healthy positive attributes that made our friendship so great to begin with. I may not have the answer as to why all this happened, but I have figured out Who to go to with it all. God has been faithful and has kept all His promises of staying right by my side, wiping every tear and providing restoration to areas in my life that had crumbled. I don’t know what the future holds, or if our paths will ever cross again, but I know the best thing I can do now is just pray for her.
At times, the trials in our lives can feel like huge mountains that we cannot overcome. One look at it and it seems too large for us to take on, but whatever you are facing, God is bigger. I look at these mountains of trials in my life and think, "God could turn that mountain into flat land in a blink of an eye." But I don't become stronger by sticking to flat ground. When God walks beside me with His words of encouragement, He starts to reveal courage in me I didn't know I had. Overtime, I gain strength and perspective from my experience. The next mountain I am suddenly faced with won't look as steep, it won't necessarily be smaller, I will just be stronger and wiser.
So I ask, if you knew such pain was coming would you avoid it or attack it head on, no matter the outcome? In the shattered pieces of you, God may show you the beauty that is left and give you the strength you need to rebuild. He doesn't just want to sow together a few pieces, which we sometimes reluctantly give Him, He wants all the pieces to make you whole again.
I need your strength Lord to get over this mountain in my life. You make the impossible, possible,