When our counselor told me that his wife ran a bi-weekly support group for women dealing with sexual betrayal, I cringed. I have only had a handful of close female friends to begin with, and the idea of sitting in a circle with a bunch of crying women sharing their story sounded like a special torture that I wasn’t game for.
So I signed up.
I needed to see that I was not alone.
On one hand I was relieved to get around this group of ladies for the sheer fact that they might understand how shunned I was feeling. As Christians, they too, were not only navigating pain at home, but enduring the embarrassment of sharing with the church (another post for another day). On the other hand, I wasn’t as privy with the feelings wheel that I raved about last week, and its scary to wade through them with others watching.
Being vulnerable is hard.
These five women, whom I continue see every other week, have shown a side of bravery that I had not witnessed first hand prior to all this mess. They are easily a few of the most fantastic women I have ever met. My preconceived ideas of women sitting around in a circle crying, was a horrible assessment of them, therefore I repent. All have a different story, but all have in common the agony that deception carries, and while we do tend to sit in a circle, crying is only one expression of emotion, but being vulnerable is center stage.
A safe place to grieve is nourishment to the soul.
I still haven’t cried in front of them (its coming, I know it), but I would not be as far along in the recovery process without them. In addition to meeting in person, we exchange email, group text, and they are always a phone call away. The group thrives because its heavy on encouragement and validation, slow to judgement. The group brings about healing in a kindness that feels like balm to an open wound. Jesus resides in that place, a safe haven, when much of the time in-between the visits is spent in denial of pain, self loathing, what ifs, and the like.
What does this support group look like?
"She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened." Mark 16:10