Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I Hear Their Voices of Pain

#When a Woman Finds Her Voice

 I hear their voices.
My husband is drinking from the minute he wakes up on the weekends. I have to run the errands because he can't drive when he's like that. He gets upset with me when I say that we can't spend anymore on beer, that we've spent our limit. I feel like his drinking is more important than us. I am tired of doing it all. I don't think he cares anymore. I don't know what to do.

I had an abortion when I was eighteen. I didn't tell anyone. I buried it. But, a year ago I started thinking about it. I ended up going to a resource clinic and taking classes to deal with my past. I wish I had made the choice like _______, she kept and raised her baby and now she's a beautiful young woman.

When you're depressed and suicidal, you just want to know someone cares. It's like you're in a hole looking up, trying to find someone to help you get out, someone to give you a reason, any reason, to want to keep on living (fifteen year old).

Taking care of mom is getting harder (Alzheimer's). Last week at the doctor's office, Mom was accusing me of all sorts of things (neglect) in the waiting room. People were looking at us. She was making a scene. I've had to stop taking it personally. Her moods can swing so quickly. I never know what kind of day we're going to have.

My stepfather molested me when I was a teenager. When my mother asked me if he was fooling around, I said "No." I couldn't tell her. It changes you. I worry about some of the girls in our church youth program. I want to protect them.

My husband was a pastor. I found out he was going to "massage" places and doing "stuff." I confronted him. He was apologetic, embarrassed. Then he promised never to do it again. But, awhile later they sent him a 'thank-you for your business' letter. I couldn't believe it. The marriage was over. I couldn't do it anymore. My kids haven't recovered, especially one son. He suffers deep depression and doesn't have much to do with church.

Both my parents were drunks and used foul language. I never knew what it was to be treated with kindness, to not be cursed and yelled at. My husband had a nervous breakdown. We were in another country at the time, a military family. I held the family together. It was harder than anyone knew. I stepped up to the plate and took care of my family. I learned fast. It was difficult during his time away from us during his hospitalization. I had three young children and we didn't know what was going to happen. Mental illness is hard on families. Then I met the Lord. The pastor's wife took me under her wing. She taught me how to do things and how to organize events. I owe so much to her for teaching me how to study the Word.

My husband won't work. He doesn't support the family. He doesn't even keep the home up. I get tired of carrying the load. I try to help him to become more responsible but it's like having another child to take care of. He lacks motivation. I wish he would do something and treat me better. He doesn't appreciate what I do. It's so lonely. I just want to be loved for who I am.

He left me for an old high school flame. They got reacquainted at his reunion. She pursued him. We aren't divorced yet but he's left. I don't know what God wants me to do. He's not interested in spiritual truth. We used to have good times. We enjoyed our little farm. I guess it's over. What do you think?
They come to me. They whisper their hurts. They share their pasts. They're embarrassed.

I listen to them. I hear their pain. I see if they're growing or stagnated, depressed or hopeful. I give them what I can. I pray and I hope. I ask questions and I share lessons-learned as a co-seeker of God's grace. Most of all, I care. Pain isolates. Caring identifies. Love transcends the differences. 

I am only one. But I am one. I am only one voice. But I am one voice. Their hope is small. But my hope is big. I want them to catch the life-saver I'm throwing out to them, the life-saver to save their life, to bring them to safety, to a safe place--to a hope and healing place centered in the arms of Jesus, sweet Jesus, the Lily of the Valley the Bright and Morning Star.

You see, they know I've been there, that I understand what it is to hurt so bad, to hide the pain from view.

When my voice was silent, in the midst of a sea of women seeking God, I could not speak. I could not tell my story. I avoided events like this, afraid I couldn't manage my emotions. Here I was, though, Arco Arena, Sacramento, CA, Women of Faith event, top row tucked away in the peanut gallery, looking at the big screen because we were far away from the platform. 
Patsy Clairmont was sharing a story about a woman who she sat by on an airplane. This woman had been left by her husband for another woman. He and his new wife had the gall to move into a home on the same street where she lived (the family home where they had raised their daughters), then "they" proceeded to take over the family business. It was a bitter pill, especially at this stage in life. One day this woman was praying and seeking God in her brokenness. Slowly, her heart became full. She decided that her life was not over, the sadness would not consume her every moment--if she wouldn't let it. Later that day, she was ready to mop the kitchen floor. She turned on the music. Something came over her! She grabbed the mop and started to dance after turning up the tune to full volume. Just then, her adult daughters stopped by, in shock to see their mother dancing with a mop. Soon, her daughters were dancing with their mom, laughing and giggling. Life was not over. The woman was on her way to healing.
I listened to the story. My emotions barely in check. I wanted to cry buckets. I had known that same betrayal, more than once, but the women in my church did not know my hidden hurt. I was their Women's Ministry leader, a woman they looked up to. They didn't know my secret sorrow. I wished I hadn't come. The hurt was resurfacing and its alone feeling, even though I was surrounded by a multitude of women of faith.

A few years later my hurts would be healed and my life restored. I knew there were other women like I was, godly women, sitting in churches, hurting, and not being helped. I wanted them to know that there is always hope. There are ways to get help. And, there is God. I would begin to speak out, to dispel the darkness and expose the lies.

So, my unknown friend, you are not alone. Many have walked your path. If you are weary, if you are sad, if you have little strength, I want you to know, you are not alone. Some of us care. We care very much. We want to see you happy. We want to see you smile again. We want to lift you to safety out of the deep waters and into the raft above the danger. You can't do it alone. The Lord Jesus Christ will help you. He's good at it. Reach out to Him. He is reaching out to you. He is about living. The pain of circumstances is not the end. You must push through the circumstance to get to the other side. First, you must get into the raft. You must seek your own healing. It won't come to you without your personal initiative, a willing heart and the love of God. It is worth it, and it is possible. Trust me.

Here, let me help you. I'd like to help. Send me a private email if you need someone to talk to. 

Your Sister in Christ, 

* * * * *
Written in connection with the book, "When a Woman Finds Her Voice," by JoAnn Fore.

 To purchase this book: Live Amazon Link

All Rights Reserved 


  1. Lovely. Thank you for sharing your Story. #WhenAWomanFIndsHerVoice

  2. Hi Shandra, You are welcome. Glad you read it. Blessings to you.

  3. Powerful encouragement, Norma! Your willingness to just be there with those who are hurting, sitting with them in their pain, opens the door to healing through the grace of the Lord. Bless you!

    1. Julie, I am sure you are there for others much as I am. God puts people in our path and we pause to be there for them. Thank you. Blessings ...

  4. This is a powerful encouragement and a powerful endorsement of community as we know it - healthy, healing and encouraging! Bless you Norma. Love your voice.

  5. I once read that church should be like an AA meeting. Wouldn't it be nice to have openness and safety and the love of healing grace to bind us together? Thank you. Blessings ...

  6. So happy you know your voice matters and you have the ability to listen and encourage so many other women. You are a blessing!