Day 12 – When We “Mean Well” (Part 1)


Over the past eight years I have participated in many different bible studies with one of my closest friends.  It is a thread that has laced throughout our friendship.  We have gone to different churches in different seasons.  There were seasons when we sat holding our babies; now we have wide open mornings while those babies are at school. She and I have walked together through some of the darkest days you could imagine, and also through great times. She is one of my people in every sense of the word.

Since I am no longer a pastor’s wife, it has been difficult to re-engage at church, but I’m trying. So this fall we decided to do a small group study together.

It is a small class of 10-12 women, varying in age. The very first day the leader got up and asked us to introduce ourselves. She asked that we each share the following information with the group:

1) Your married name, along with your maiden name

2) About your family

3) What you do

These are the simplest questions, yet they are all difficult for me to answer. Immediately I started blinking back the tears.  I consider the exit but it would make too much commotion if I got up.

There are eight ladies ahead of me to share. I try to practice my breathing techniques and think about roses and unicorns while I wait for my turn. How hard could it be to introduce myself? Just when I think I’m fine, some little thing pops up and shows me how not-fine I really am. Or maybe I am fine, just a more emotional version of fine?

My friend shares right before me.  Her own introduction is very difficult. Listening to her share about her family is always heart wrenching, but she does it with dignity.

All eyes turn to me. I take a deep breath and launch. Before I state my name I’m choked up.  Eventually I say what my married name was. Then I squeak out that I am divorced.  My face burns with shame and sadness.  I list each of my precious children by name and age.  Finally I am to the last question: what do I do?

Yes, what do I do?

That is not an easy one either.  I don’t exactly know what I do, or what I’m doing. I’m working on it.  I’m working on all of it. I’m working on being fine, and I’m working on helping my kids be fine, and I’m working on my heart and my perspective. I’m working on being a good friend and showing up for people I love. I’m working on doing laundry more often, walking 10,000 steps a day, writing every day, and wrestling with my faith. I’m working on how to support my family, pursue my passions, feed my hobbies and still fix dinner. I’m working on it.  But what do I do? Do any of those count?

“I’m not sure exactly what I do, I’m working on it.” I finally say. I’m still sniffling.  I’m embarrassed.  I hate that I fell apart.

I’m working on that too.

Gratefully, the group moves on.  I pull it together for the rest of the class.  I leave thinking that in the end, it has gone alright.  But I am wrong.  I don’t know how wrong until I get a phone call a few weeks later.  I know the caller meant well.

It didn’t go well.

I will tell you more tomorrow…




12 thoughts on “Day 12 – When We “Mean Well” (Part 1)

  1. It’s better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all. We learn more from and are subsequently stronger from our mistakes – as long as they don’t kill us. FIGHT ON! Push forward and go get em! Go see “The Martian” to see an example of how a seemly impossible situation can be managed and turned around. Looking forward to tomorrow for the rest of the story!


  2. How very presumptuous or insensitive of the leader. To assume that everyone is married, everyone has a family. Your answer to “What you do” is about as honest as can be. What do any of us really “do”? We’re all “working on it”. A bible study, of all people, should recognize all of our own brokenness. If they don’t, they need you and the bible study more than they realize.


  3. What do you do? You DO it ALL. Maybe not perfectly. Maybe not pinterest-worthy. At least not all the time. But you’re doing. For others, mostly. You’re showing up. And you’re doing.

    Chin up, kid. Showing up and doing is so much more than so many people these days.


  4. I really needed to hear this today. You have a lot of wisdom to share…so often real wisdom comes thru painful experiences. You have been in my prayers today!


  5. Pingback: Day 13 – When We “Mean Well” (part 2) | Singled Out In Colorado

  6. I can’t stand the Christian Inquisition, I only like to share as much information as I’m comfortable with. I find the assumption of marriage to send the message that never-married and divorced individuals are incomplete. I had to leave such a denomination behind because they treated me with less respect than they did married people in order to find some peace about the life God has given me.


  7. Pingback: Day 14 – When We “Mean Well” (What now!?!) | Singled Out In Colorado

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