I know a young woman who is the epitome of strength.
She has endured much in her life. First, she got pregnant at a young age and the father didn’t step up. Then a few years later, she met a man who she married and had a child with, but soon he began stepping out on her. Through all of that, he had her completely convinced that his family was part of the mafia and could have her or her family (parents, siblings) killed at any time. Eventually, she got the courage to end that relationship. When that happened, he skipped out on child support and their daughter. Some years later, she met a man who she made a life with. He was ex-military, a decent provider and decent father to one of her daughters. They eventually had a child and to stabilize their income, he re-enlisted in the military.
At this point, their marriage began to decline. With him being out of the country on assignment, their disagreements began to get very frequent. Their marriage weathered that storm until his military commitment was complete. He soon enough had a decent job with decent money and they moved so he could take the job. Within a short amount of time, their relationship became violent – he had PTSD. They tried hard to make it through the storms, but it soon became to violent so the relationship ended. At this point, she had all three children with her and none of the fathers paying child support. She lost their home and moved in with family. Through all the emotional abuse, physical abuse, and psychological abuse, she wasn’t quite the same person. Whatever happened while she was living with her family, something went wrong and she got evicted. She moved to a different town where she would have more opportunity for employment. She and her children stayed in a homeless shelter and she was applying for jobs every day. The shelter she was staying in had a curfew and one evening she was 20 minutes past curfew getting back to the shelter. When she arrived, they wouldn’t let her in and told her she shouldn’t have been late because she had kids. In the same breath, they kicked her out of the shelter with her kids.
I recently had a chance to visit with her. While visiting with her she told me, ‘You don’t know how lucky you are to not be so lost and broken. You are lucky to have someone in your life.’ She is right. I am blessed. I don’t think I could keep it together as well as she has, even if it’s not that well according to some people’s standards. I told her as much, but I also told her that I, too, am lost and broken in a different way due to the loss of my son.
She lives every day, afraid to be around people she loves due the shame she feels for her circumstances. She lives every day in constant apology for whatever she thinks she’s done to offend someone else. Every time I see her, she is smiling. She isn’t feeling sorry for herself. She feels too ashamed to ask for anything, but she has found the strength to wake up each day and continue on.
I want to commend this young woman. And I want to say, we all have our crosses to bear and none of us know anyone else’s cross they are carrying so rather than judge and condemn, we should be encouraging and uplifting. Not one single person can save the world, but one single person can be a blessing to someone.
She is clothed with strength & dignity and she laughs without fear of the future…..Proverbs 31:25
I will be the first to admit that I am sorely lacking in the faith department since the death of my son, but I believe this verse fits her perfectly at this time in her life……maybe for all of her life.
Let’s be the strength and love that others need in their time of need rather than the judgers and haters that they don’t need in their time of need.
Make it count.
For purposes of privacy, names have been withheld.