Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Find Your Village

Supportive : Portrait of three womenThey're out there - the people you need to support you and your children.  Click below to find practical ways to let others support you and your family.  Then add your ideas of locating encouragers.

I can't do it alone, no matter how hard I try. Learning who I could depend on hasn't happened instantly, it's taken some time for my "village" to emerge. Immediately following the first separation, many friends brought me sweets/dessert to cheer and encourage me. It was wonderful and so thoughtful and I highly recommend making this gesture if you have a friend or loved one facing a separation or divorce. It conveys a great deal of support. One dear lady brought me gorgeous fresh salad - it so was appreciated because let's face it; When your husband has an affair your self-esteem can take a nose dive and more sweets go straight to my hips and belly which is not good for improving my self concept.

I hope you have at least one person, a close friend, relative, for me it was my mother, with whom you can share what you really need. This one person can then act as your liason to others who may be able to help fill those needs. It's hard to speak up and ask for help, but when stuck in the aftermath of emotional upheaval it can be impossible. So, share your needs with that one person, then she can recruit the help on your behalf.

I had three very small children and was going back to work, I needed childcare. I needed time alone for therapy and processing my emotions. I needed professional therapy to help me understand how to move forward. When my husband left the first time, ladies from our church volunteered to help me with childcare - every day for a month. It was a huge gift that enabled me to get my feet on the ground and gain some traction. The church helped pay for some of my counseling, and then my parents gave me the gift of additional sessions. A neighbor who owns a lawn care service mowed my lawn for the full summer after M. left.

Now I'm able to ask for help myself and acknowldge where I can't do it all. I have set up a carpool schedule with another neigbor and I still have that neighbor help me with the lawn.  I let my family know when we have an upcoming need/want and they help by contributing through birthday money.   I share with my small group at church when big decisions need to be made and they really pray for me.  I joined a Divorce Support Group as an outlet to communicate with others about the stages of this process.
For you to be the best and provide the best, you really need to be a part of a community - somewhere, somehow. For me that has been church and my actual neighborhood. Then I've branched out to include people in our Parents Day Out program and sports teams. When you have a need, if you are active in community, your help will emerge. I've been so blessed to see how people step forward to help. One of my great lessons in the process of divorce has been that God really does provide and He has the solution before I even have the need.

Walking in this kind of faith is challenging, exciting, rewarding and frustrating - some days a bit of each. I don't know how my life is going to "turn out." My story is so very different from the manuscript I wrote, but the core values remain the same. The players, my village of support, encourage, relieve and refresh me by coming to my rescue or just giving me a break. I promise, if you open yourself up to others, have courage to acknowledge your own need, God has a plan to use others to provide. It's been amazing!

Oh - and bonus to all this, as God has supplied, my faith has grown and I'm able to trust Him even more.  The history of God's faithfulness creates a security that disappeared in my marriage.

Do you have a community?  Has your village emerged?  What is surprising you the most?