Category Archives: Relationships

Trust is the bridge between two people

Coastline Bridge

What happens when you’re consistently lied to? Maybe it’s just one big devastating lie that shreds you to pieces. Sometimes the breach of trust is so big that the bridge blows up in a heated explosion. Other times it wears away, board by rotten board. How do you repair broken trust?  Are you the one responsible to rebuild the bridge?

Trust and forgiveness can walk hand-in-hand, but they are two very separate issues. When you add reconciliation to the mix, it can really get cloudy. Today we focus on rebuilding that bridge of trust and who is responsible for what.

Rebuilding trust – The responsibility for rebuilding trust is on the person who broke it. However, that can get complicated if the person is unwilling to admit they’ve done anything wrong. Lies have a way of clustering like clothes hangers and become so entangled you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. Lies cover up lies. You cannot do anything to rebuild trust with someone who cannot be honest.

Accept his efforts – When the person who lied to you chooses to admit their wrongs and begin rebuilding trust, be open to their efforts. Rise above the instinct to criticize, punish, or withhold from them. A simple “Thank you, I see that you’re trying” can go a long way in showing that you’re receptive to his rebuilding efforts. You can read here about other ways some wives hurt their husbands, even when they’re are doing the right things.

Encourage him when he’s honest – Breaking habitual lying is tough. When he admits he’s relapsed or slipped back into an addiction, or admits he’s lied again, accept this confession with grace. Resist the urge to shame or verbally punish. When you encourage truth-telling, it motivates him to do so again and again. You become a safe person he can go to when he’s failed.

Listen to your gut and don’t be afraid to call him out when he is lying to you – It’s easy to want to trust without hesitation, but you must not silence what your gut is telling you if you sense something’s not right or that he’s not been honest. It’s okay to confront respectfully. Do not automatically assume that he’s changed if he admits he’s lied once or twice or even a few times. Learning to be honest takes time. If there’s a history of lying in your relationship, you’ve likely muted your gut. Trust yourself and speak up when you need to.

Living in truth is a freedom like no other. When you can both live in truth, it’s a freedom shared.

For help learning how to trust him (and yourself) again contact me. You may also check out Recover.org for support.

Balance on the Tightrope of Life

Huffington Post image

I talked with my friend about the tightrope that we women walk today. While it is true that women have broken many social and occupational barriers, it’s ridiculous to think we can do and be everything to everyone. As sisters, daughters, mothers, wives, and friends we walk a thin line and wear ourselves out. Why?

Overcompensating?

If you or your loved one struggles with an addiction, you’ve likely fallen into the trap of overcompensating, living a false reality, and worn yourself out trying to make life more livable for you and your family. Much like walking a tightrope in the wind and fog, you can’t see where you’re going, yet you must trust yourself enough to take the next step.

I’m not a fan of Oprah Winfrey, but she is one of the most recognizable successful women in our world today who seems to have and do it all. She says, “I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time.” Yet, we feel like failures if we aren’t doing or being everything to everyone: having a perfect body, wardrobe, husband, job, children, house, image. That, my dear, is a tightrope and virtually impossible to walk without faltering. There are responsibilities and standards we need to let go of to maintain balance in our lives.

Staying Balanced

Have you seen Nik Wallenda, 7th generation funambulist, walk across Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon? (Take a couple minutes to watch one or both of those videos.) Are the circumstances of your life equally precarious? Nik generally carries a 40’ pole, which naturally bends lower on the ends and helps him maintain a balanced center of gravity. What do you carry that helps you stay balanced? What can we learn from this tightrope walker?

Balance requires focus.

Carry only what is necessary.

Staying balanced can also be influenced by what/who you listen to/watch/read/consume. Wallenda heard his father’s voice cheering him on as he walked the wire. Wallenda’s family has been walking tightropes for generations and they spend hours in practice and need the support of loved ones. The same applies to you and me. We need others who love and encourage us to stay on course.

Chasing the wind

Do you ever feel like you’re trying to do and say all the right things? Do you say yes to things you’d rather not do? Do you take on more commitments than you’re comfortable or simply able to fulfill? Do you feel like King Solomon who said, “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.”

Ladies, we must stop chasing the unattainable. Walking this tightrope is something we’re not equipped to do well. We’re wearing ourselves out and living unfulfilled lives as a result. We are tired women in need of rest and balance. The beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to consider what we need to let go of and what we need to pick up, like Wallenda’s balancing pole.

William Arthur Ward, American author and teacher said, “A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.”

Let’s make 2017 the year to get off the tightrope and live more balanced lives.

How do you love yourself? Part Three

Now that I’ve given you 10 ideas how to love yourself, I’d like to wrap up this series with a personal note and a prayer.

When my kids were young, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. My life as I knew it came to a screeching halt. I no longer had the energy or focus to do the things I was used to doing and loving all the people I was serving. I couldn’t even make a trip to the grocery store by myself.

The church urged me to be more connected and involved, which added insult to injury. It multiplied my guilt and weighed heavily on my weary soul and aching body. I felt useless to everyone, including God. I could barely get out of bed.

Maybe you’ve had a similar experience of loss or grief and been struck with the hard reality that no one was there for you. It’s okay to love yourself.

As we love ourselves

“…but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:18

In Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, we see a hopeful example of loving others as we love ourselves. “‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’; as heartily and sincerely, and as a man would desire to be loved by his neighbour; and do all the good offices to him he would choose to have done to himself by him. This law supposes, that men should love themselves, or otherwise they cannot love their neighbour; not in a sinful way, by indulging themselves in carnal lusts and pleasures; some are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; but in a natural way, so as to be careful of their bodies, families, and estates; and in a spiritual way, so as to be concerned for their souls, and the everlasting happiness of them: and in like manner should men love their neighbours, in things temporal do them all the good they can, and do no injury to their persons or property; and in things spiritual pray for them, instruct them, and advise as they would their own souls, or their nearest and dearest relations.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t receive much love from others during a time when I needed it desperately. I felt cast out by the very people I thought had my back. I’d been busy loving others and when I needed love from others, I heard crickets. I found my hope in God and learned to love myself.

Prayerful words

Today, I reflect on these words of Johann Albrecht Bengel:

“He who loves God will love himself in a proper degree without selfishness. God loves me as He does thee; and thee as He does me: therefore I ought to love thee, my neighbour, as myself; and thou me as thyself: for our love to each other ought to correspond to God’s love towards us both.”

May this be your prayer, as it is mine.

5 Things to Support Your Brokenhearted Friend

Your friend thinks her husband is having an affair.

A family has just lost a loved one to addiction or death.

A co-worker is continually late and unfocused at work due to family problems.

What can you do to support them?

5 Things to Support Your Brokenhearted Friend:

  1. You don’t have to say anything. Listen, empathize, and be available. She needs your support. If you haven’t had a similar experience, it is hard to know what to say. Reassure her that you’ll be alongside. There’s great comfort in facing life’s difficulties with trustworthy support, even if you don’t know what to say. Be there for her.
  2. Take care of her. Treat her to coffee, go for a walk, or give her a journal to write out her feelings and thoughts. Encourage her to exercise, eat healthy, and sleep. Offer to keep her kids so she can nap. Feeling unlovable may obstruct her ability to experience love from others, including God. Practical support speaks volumes.
  3. Check-in regularly. A text message, email, or phone call will brighten your friend’s day. Let her know you’re thinking of her. If you read or hear something that would lift her spirits, send it to her. An old-fashioned note sent in via snail mail is always welcome.
  4. Don’t downplay her pain. Leave Christian platitudes out of the conversations. Too many women are told they must put everyone above themselves. Validate her pain. Cry with her when she’s sad and laugh with her to relieve stress. Just be real.
  5. Help her find additional support. When in crisis, it’s difficult to think clearly. She will appreciate your support in finding a counselor or legal advice if she’s considering filing for separation or divorce. Your friend cannot do this alone. She needs you. She needs others. She needs safe people to walk with her. Help her find a support group dealing with her specific issue: grief, addiction (hers or a loved one’s), or marital problems.

Finally, remind yourself and your friend that you don’t have all the answers. But, God does. He knows us and loves us more deeply than anyone. He will sustain you both as you walk toward brighter days and she will appreciate your support.