One of my friends takes care of her young adult son 24/7, who is paralyzed from a car accident.
Another friend has struggled with infertility for fifteen years.
Yet another friend is beaten so bad by her husband at least once a month that sometimes she has to wait two weeks before going back to church so that all the bruises will disappear and no one will suspect.
"Why doesn't she just leave?" you say.
It's a logical question. Perfectly reasonable to think that. And once she explains in it's entirety to a few close women friends, there are things we know that you don't. Things that if I shared here would "out" her, so I'm not going to do that. Could she leave? Yes. And there would be some very unique ramifications to face, different from those of your typical female victim of abuse.
When I tell the entirety of my life situation, roles and responsibilities to a few close friends, they say, "Wow. That's complex. No easy answer to any of that."
They can (and have) offered suggestions but every friend who is privy to ALL of the details of my life says the same thing: "There is no easy way to solve any of this. And in some ways, you just need a total miracle!"
So they pray for one.
It's easy to judge another and make quips like, "Just move on."
Or, "Come on now, you're too blessed to be stressed!"
And, "Just give it to Jesus!"
Have you ever considered that maybe they've given it to Jesus again and again and again?
But when 6 AM comes, they still have to lift a 170 pound paralyzed son all by themselves again, to the toilet and shower.
When they woke up this morning, they got their period and were desperately hoping it wasn't going to come. They crumbled to the floor in the shower and cried...another month, and they aren't pregnant.
My friend who is beaten on a regular basis has told her last two pastors about it. Each pastor acted immediately and took steps to confront her husband, to protect her. And within 24 hours her husband insisted they leave the church. (Yes. "They". Her husband is a church member.) She lost the last two beloved church families that meant the world to her, when she opened up about her marriage and the abuse. Her current pastor has no idea. She doesn't want to lose her third church family. She's told me, "Deanna, my pastors are amazing people! They are true shepherds who would act immediately to protect me, and that would be it! I'd never see them again! Just like the last two pastors..."
And there's so much more to it that you don't know.
But if you knew the entirety of the matter, you may judge it differently, I promise.
These ladies "give it to Jesus," every single day.
They love Jesus.
They are not whiners or excuse makers.
Every one of us walks in a unique situation.
All of the people you meet today bear something you do not know about.
Yet we are not alone. (Let's not believe that lie!)
We may walk in unique situations, but we are not alone on the journey!
Until you walk in another's shoes, you do not truly know what they should do.
Watch the "should's"! In fact, let's KILL "should". Bury it.