In 1994 my life was not going well. I had gone through a horrible divorce, lost a very good job and was in a constant state of conflict with my three teenaged children. It seemed as if every time I pulled myself up and recovered from one disaster, another one was eagerly waiting to take me down.
During my 19 year marriage to a raging alcoholic, I got tough. I learned to protect my feelings. I didn’t cry and I never showed vulnerability or weakness. I believed I was strong enough to handle any challenge, but I eventually reached a point where I couldn’t see how anything was ever going to work out, and I started to lose hope.
A friend invited me to attend a non-denominational Christian women’s retreat in the Rocky Mountains. When she told me the title of the weekend event was “A View From the Pit”, I said, “Sign me up!”
I had grown so accustomed to responding to emotional brutality, that when the women at the retreat treated me with kindness and listened to my story with compassion and a lack of judgment, I fell apart. I started crying Friday night, and I couldn’t shut it off. On Sunday morning we were told to go outside, find a solitary spot under the aspen trees and write a letter to God.
Mine started like this, “Dear God: Was all of this necessary? Is this really your plan for me? Seriously, is this your intention for my life? You want me to always be hurt by and disappointed in the people I love?” I ranted and raved and wrote and wrote and wrote until I had nearly filled up an entire legal pad. (I really gave God hell.) When I finally finished pouring out my rage and pain on paper, I felt totally spent and emotionally empty. That’s when I wrote, “Okay, fine. You win. I give up. Whatever it is you want me to do, where ever it is you want me to be, I’m willing. But for crying out loud, give me some help. Show me a sign. Let me know what you want me to do.”
That’s when things started to change. When I finally accepted that there were many, many things over which I had absolutely no influence, power or control, I began to find my way out of the pit.
As I reflect back on that period of my life now, I realize all of it really was necessary. If I had missed those experiences I would have never grown in my faith. Instead of turning insurmountable problems over to God, I would have kept right on fighting (and losing) battles on my own. I would have also never understood the benefit of allowing myself to be vulnerable. When I admitted my failures and weaknesses to a group of women who were total strangers, they didn’t condemn me, they embraced me and accepted me as a broken person who was still worthy of love.
I’m sharing this story because I want you to know that regardless of the problems you are facing right now, you are not alone. Trust in God and then attend a caregiver support group, go on a spiritual retreat, or send me a message. When you allow yourself to relinquish control and ask for help, I’m pretty sure someone will show up to extend a hand and help lift you out of your pit