The Dear Me Series – #1
Tuesday, December 19th, 2017
One of the final exercises I instruct the ladies to do as apart of the RLFW support groups is to write a “Dear Me” letter. Although there is a ton of trepidation to take part in this exercise – time and time again, it proves to be really meaningful. To be able to look back and talk to your younger you and encourage and inspire her! To look back and tell her that she’s going to make it – it’s powerful.
The letters the ladies in my groups write are to the younger version of themselves when everything hit the fan and they felt lost, without hope, and were looking for that life preserver to get them through the day in front of them – not the next week, not the next year – just the next day. Can any of you relate?
Thank you, Erika, for going first. I hope each of you enjoys this first installment of the Dear Me series.
When you think of the early days and all the tears you cried. The number of times you cried yourself to sleep and even wept while you were sleeping. Only to wake up to a wet pillow, praying that it was just a dream. Know that God holds your tears. He was there crying right beside you.
You’ve come a long way since discovery. You waited many, many months for disclosure, and are still waiting for the amends letter. You constantly struggled with replaying all these years over and over in your mind hoping for a different outcome that is not going to happen. Slowly, you’ve learned to live with the facts of the past and forgive, not for him but you. Although it has been a long journey and came at the cost of innocence, you have peace you didn’t have two years ago.
You may never fully understand his choices of betrayal. But rest assured that his decisions do not mean you failed as a wife, or as a woman. Contrary to well-meaning advice, it wasn’t due to your lack of prayer, or encouragement, or availability to have sex or any other thing a Christian wife is “supposed to do and be.” Remember that no matter whom he married he would be this way. Your disability has not made you worth less than other women.
I know how desperately you wished you knew the truth a long time ago, especially before your health deteriorated. At times you have felt cheated, and that life is unfair. That’s because you were and it is. It is OK to feel this way at times. At the same time recall how God has been there with you, drawing you closer to Him.
Be kind to yourself that you didn’t put the pieces together. How could you? Who would think he was doing the things he was while at the same time having a fruitful ministry? Who thinks their husband is capable of such things? He was a master liar and manipulator who worked carefully to hide the facts and make you doubt the things you raised.
Be proud that you stand up for yourself now. That you realize you do not need to protect everyone and try to make sure everyone else is happy, especially at your own expense. As you continue to forge new patterns in your relationships, remember what you want matters at least just as much as others want. It is not selfish for you to want others to give and not just take.
As you go forward, listen to that inner voice. Let your words continue to match your feelings. Stand your ground and enforce your boundaries. It’s OK to be scared right now because you don’t know if your marriage will survive.
You’re not ready for this to be your story. That’s OK. You promised yourself that you would not let this experience harden your heart and make you bitter. Hold onto that promise.
A little about Erika – she enjoys listening to audio books, working on jigsaw puzzles, and mentoring people with cerebral palsy.