Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's Not a Competition

While wading through the crystal blue waters of Roatan, I met a very interesting divorced woman, also a single mother.  We commented on how nicely our children were playing together, and she quickly began telling me her "sob story."  She was a single mom of 4 children, who's ex husband had an affinity for sleeping with younger women while they were married.  It was a sad story.  As we spoke, I shared a just a few details of my story, not really wanting to divulge all the details to a complete stranger in search of their pity.  I'm not really a pity-party kind of girl.  I always end up pulling people out of the pit, instead of crawling in it with them. So right off the bat, this was an odd connection.

Fast forward a few days, to the beach on Cozumel.  This same woman arrives to the beach, shortly after me, along with her friend.  They find a beach chair right next to mine, and we begin chatting.  I begin talking with the friend, while this woman goes off to situate her children.  The friend and I happen to have a few things in common, and so I share a bit of my story with her; my way of saying, "I can relate."  As the woman returns, she comments to her friend, "My story is worse than hers, isn't it?" I couldn't believe it. Did I really just hear those words?  Are we now moving from a sisterhood of women who have "been there, done that", to a competition of whose husband was worse?  This is not a game that I am going to play!  I let the comment slip past, and continued a rather light and fluffy conversation until they left. But that comment has stuck with me since I heard it.  And it definitely rubbed me the WRONG way!

In contemplating that whole situation, I have realized several things.  First of all, the way she presented herself offended me.  It shut me off to her.  It made me feel that she wasn't sharing to relate or help me, but was looking for sympathy, even pity.  It was all about her.  I made a mental note to myself to be careful when I share my story to others to watch my motive, and how I come across.  Do not share for pity.  If I choose to share it should be with a sincere heart, and to glorify God for His faithfulness throughout a horrible situation.  I should always share with the intent of helping the other, not one-upping her.  As God has brought comfort to me in my affliction, now I must bring that comfort to others in theirs.  If I can keep this motive evident in the way I talk with women, then they will receive from me the words which God is placing in me.  They will receive the comfort and God can use me to help them through their time of difficulty.

Second, I realized that regardless of who had been through more drama, or the worst situation, is irrelevant.  Her pain was worse to her because she lived it!  She didn't live my story, so no matter how horrific it was, it wasn't real to her.  No matter who I meet, their story is worse than mine in their eyes, because they lived it.  What an powerful realization! As God continues to bring me before women who are hurting, women who have been abused, and women who have been betrayed I must remember this.  Their reality, to them, is worse than what I have gone through.  I need to talk with and treat them through this light.  It doesn't matter if my situation was worse, they didn't walk mine.  They are walking theirs.  And to them it is their own personal hell.

Finally I learned that we are not in competition.  As women we have a tendency to see each other as competition.  But wounded women shouldn't wound each other.  Instead of competing for pity, attention, or accolades, we should be joining together.  I feel a sisterhood with each widow I meet.  Each woman who has struggled with her husband's addictions, or has been betrayed,  I identify with her.  I want to link arms, walk together, and help her conquer the struggles she faces.  I don't view her as the enemy; someone who could steal my thunder.  But rather, I lay down my story, my attention, for the sake of her victory.  It is my hope that as you read these posts we continue to link arms and walk together.  That as I share my heart and my experiences you find strength and comfort.  That God is binding us together virtually as a sisterhood of women who are conquering the challenges of life.  

I don't want attention.  I don't pity.  I share because I want to help YOU! I want you to know you are not alone.  There is a woman out there who understands.  I get it.  I'm hear to say what you are experiencing is normal! Its part of the process, so keep walking it out! And I tell my story to bring you hope.  What God is doing for me, He will do for you!


  1. I get it!!! Sometimes when I am sharing my story, I think "I sure hope they don't think I'm looking for pity."! Because, I am NOT looking for pity. I'm just sharing in hopes of bringing comfort to another widow so she will know what they are feeling is 'normal'. Thank you so much for sharing.

    I lost my precious husband (of 39 years, 10 mos., 25 days) in April to a sudden stroke. Thank you for sharing your journey with me as it is very comforting to me.

  2. Kathy, I am sure that like me, your heart is conveyed as you share. I believe people can see our motives so clearly by how we speak and what we say. Keep sharing! I am confident God is using you to link arms with other widows. I am so sorry for your loss. Sometimes life is just hard. Keep walking out each day. There will be good days and bad days, but God is there with you to help you through them all! And so am I!