The Ugly Truth

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The UGLY TRUTH @ AVirtuousWoman.org

I want to be real honest with you today. Sometimes life really sucks.

As a woman who is on the other side of complete burn out and has learned to enjoy life again, I can honestly say that at least six years of my life – 2007 to 2013 – were really, really hard.

And sometimes I wanted to tell someone how I felt, but saying it out loud sounded horrible. selfish. wrong.

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But the truth is, sometimes life deals us a hand we didn’t ask for. Some examples might be:

  • Like when a parent needs constant care.
  • Or when your husband has an affair.
  • Or when your kid gets cancer.
  • Or when your kid has a disability.
  • Or when you have a chronic illness.
  • Or when your teenager gets pregnant.

So many ways for a wife, mother, daughter, woman to feel shattered and alone.

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You walk into a room – maybe a church, work, a social gathering – and you plaster  a smile on your face when really you don’t feel like smiling. You wish you could tell everyone your darkest secret – that life isn’t what you’d dreamed it would be.

I’ll never forget watching Susan Boyle sing this song and the tears I shed:

I still cry every. time. I watch this video. 

But in 2009, when Susan Boyle hit the stage, I was still in the trenches just trying to survive the battle. The words spoke to my heart on so many levels.

I Dreamed a Dream

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When the hope was high and life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving

Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame

still I dream she’ll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather

I had a dream my life would be
So diff’rent from this hell I’m living
So diff’rent now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed

Has your life killed the dream you dreamed? 

It might feel that way right now. But God has a plan for your life that is beyond anything you could ever dream.
You may be in a season of trial and hardship. I’ve been there. And I know it’s hard.

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

God sees your struggle. He knows your pain. He’s there in the midst of it all, cheering you on. My very favorite verse of all time is a verse that I had probably read dozens of times without it standing out in my mind. But when I needed it most, it filled my heart with hope and I’ve clung to it ever since.

“The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

The fight is HIS! And we know He has already won the battle. God wants to have victory in your life right now. Set realistic goals, however small, for your future. For tomorrow. Ask God to help you. And rejoice when you reach your goals.

I want to encourage you to bask in the small joys that fill your day. Find hope in the everyday moments:

  • listening to the birds singing
  • sipping of a cup herb tea
  • listening to your child laugh
  • climbing into bed on fresh sheets
  • tasting your favorite meal

It’s when we find joy in the simple things that life feels fuller  – even in the midst of crisis.

Photos are funny things. They show us a picture of life – but it’s not the complete picture. A picture represents a part, but not the whole story. And sometimes when we know the truth about the story – our story – the pictures can feel empty, a gross misrepresentation of what life was really like.

The happy smiles hiding the real pain. 

I understand. 

But I look at photos a little differently.

I don’t believe that my whole life – however hard it may have been in the past or present – was/is 100% horrible. Because even in the midst of crisis and turmoil, I have many moments of true joy.

The smiles of my kids are real. They fun we’ve had – it’s real. The joy I’ve felt and the successes I’ve had are real, too. Not just the pain.

Life is complex. It’s multifaceted – amazingly good and sometimes crazy messy.

But joy is fleeting. If you don’t catch it in the moment, you can lose sight of it. You have to pay attention to joy when it happens to really feel it. Be grateful for every single blessing, however small.

I use Instagram, and really all of the photos I take {about 1000 – 1200 each month} to record the simple joys, the blessings I find each day.

Permission to Share

Sometimes, though, it can be healing to share your painful story. Say it out loud. Share it with someone who won’t judge you for feeling like you do.

So today, I’m giving you permission to share your own truth. The Ugly Truth you’ve been afraid to say out loud.

Because the human experience is complex and rarely perfect and we need to support and encourage one another when we are struggling.

“Live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8

Because it’s not a sin to feel overwhelmed, hurt, scared, or disappointed. It’s life. It happens. It’s time to accept the truth of your story, however ugly and messy, and claim the promises of Christ to give you a new life.

What is  your Ugly Truth?

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  1. Life is a path that we walk, sometimes it is dark and then sometimes it is light. But at times we have to get through the dark in order to find the light, knowing that we are not alone on our walk is sometimes the only thing that keeps me walking. There is always hope...and love...and, well, just more. When all the dreams die, new ones are given, but you gotta get through the dark to find them. Working my way there! xo
  2. This post brought tears to my eyes along with the song. I've been there. I still am sometimes. It is a struggle to overcome my depression/anxiety but with God's help, I am. I hope you can stop by and enter my giveaway: http://collettaskitchensink.blogspot.com/2015/05/make-it-monday-springtime-in-paris-or.html Colletta
  3. I really agree with what you have said here. I am doing a series on Happiness that talks about some of these same things. I love how you compared our lives to a picture and how we often focus on one part of the picture (the bad part) but that doesn't represent our whole lives with all the good parts, too. If you are interested, you can find my series on Happiness here: http://icecreaminspiration.com/happiness/
  4. asive shared with you our familys lifes been a dark valley.our son just recently got a more severe diagnosis for autism and were looking to get him into a temporary residential program to help him get more stable. in the meantime things are getting broken hes at times bruising himself and i cant even go to church or anywhere without worrying about what people will think when they see bruises he inflicts on himself. we tried to get him in a hospital before because he was so violent but noone took a 4 yr old even though it was that bad. he can bvery affectionate but when hes bad were all afraid of what hell do next. its terrible to feel that way about your child but since he was 3 hes just done so many behaviors that grieve us.pray he heals or we can get him into temporary residential and that he wont resent me.were praying he can get help he needs
    1. Praying for this hard journey He has you on... Also have you tried SonRise program (I think out of Utah). It was a great start for our friends who have a now 13 year old (7 when he went) with severe autism
  5. Great post. Very thought provoking. I was brought up Catholic but I'm not practicing, I do appreciate where faith can give strength to some. A lot of wise words said in your post. It is very true that life sometimes deals us a bad hand but we can get through those times. Everyone probably has that ugly truth they keep hidden. I am lucky that my ugly truths I can share with my Hubby. I can say things to him that I know he won't judge me for. For example I sometimes get jealous of my friends who have children and no money worries. We can;t have children and have too many money worries at the moment on top of having me having MS. So I can say that to Hubby as a fleeting thought when I things get on top of me. But then I remember those lovely friends have their own troubles. But it just helps to say that ugly truth out loud every now and again. I work as a nurse and it does help me to keep things in check sometimes because I see the troubles or battles some of the patients have to face and it makes me count my lucky stars. But there are some days I have to paint a smile on my face when I really haven't felt like smiling but I know I'm not alone in feeling like that. Thanks for sharing :)
  6. Thank you so much for being willing to share your life and your heart. It is so nice to know that there are others out there who understand the things we go through. I have suffered from depression and feel like I have wasted a lot of my life being angry and sad. But I know God will help me look to the future and make the most of each day.
  7. I'm loving this! I'm always so impressed by your masterpieces. Pinned and tweeted. We appreciate you taking the time to party with us. I hope to see you on Monday at 7. Happy Mother's Day! Lou Lou Girls
  8. Have you read any of Rachel Held Evan's books? This topic reminds me of them. I have a link party going on this weekend, I'd love to have you join: Thanks, Bobi
  9. Thank you so much for this post. It brought tears to my eyes. I am in the midst of a trial and trying hard to keep up hope. I, too, am a homeschooling WAHM . A little over a year ago, I had a miscarriage and then in May my husband of 21 years left me. On top of financial concerns and just the everyday stresses of homeschooling and working from home, I have a long history of battling depression and anxiety which is a fight even on a good day. , My inability to keep up with basic housekeeping and organization has brought such shame to my soul.. So many years of my husband's criticism and disapproval didn't help matters. I used to be so full of dreams and I seem to have lost myself. However, God is good all the time. Even in times of trouble... well, especially in times of trouble. I cling to His promises each day and just keep pushing forward. You're right. It's never all bad. Even on a bad day there is goodness and beauty if I look for it. You and I haven't met, but through your uplifting blog, I consider you my friend. Thank you for being there. You are truly a blessing.
  10. I've almost shared my story on your site before, but always end up scrqpping it. Maybe this will be the time I hit that post button... If you went back to 2012, I would tell you my ugly truth was my bitterness about the infertility struggles and miscarriage my hubby and i were dealing with. What a difference a few years make. We now have 3 under 3. One of our beautiful children is our niece, Lily, whom we've had since birth. Her mama already had 2 other kids she couldnt raise and she was going to give Lily up for adoption. We found out and begged Lilys mama, Jamie, to let us help. Jamie was my hubbys baby sister. I was 12 weeks pregnant when Lily was born. Lily had a lot of feeding problems and was a very fussy baby. I was feeling very overwhelmed, knowing I had another baby arriving in a matter of months. When Lily was 4 mths old, her mama hung herself while her two other kids were in the next room. We were completely overcome with grief, especially my hubby. 2 months later we had a 2 yr old, 6 mth old and newborn. Life was more stressful than ever, and I suffered from mild postpartum depression (which never feels mild while youre dealing with it). Our youngest is now a year old, and we're working through finishing Lilys adoption. With our oldest in speech therapy and Lily beginning behavioral therapy, things arent much easier. My kids aren't exactly what you would call low maintenance, even on the best of days haha. But I'm learning to drag myself out of survival mode. Is life any easier? No. But I've started waking up early in the morning, praying and studying my Bible, and purposefully being a mom to these 3 beautiful kiddos. Your site has also helped tremendously. You mention photos of life, and I have some that stand out to me. Photos of a smiling baby Lily, none of which show the constant screaming. A photo of my hubby and eldest daughter fishing, but you wouldnt be able to tell we were visiting family the weekend of Jamie's funeral. Christmas photos of me and my family, unable to decipher just how fake my smile was at the time, in the midst of ppd. So, heres my ugly truth. I know that Lily can't help that her mom made bad choices while she was pregnant. She cant help it when she has meltdowns. But every so often, I imagine what life would be like if Jamie had been a good mom and raised her daughter. How much simpler life would be with just 2 kids. Just typing it makes my throat close up with tears of guilt. But it doesnt change it. As I grow closer to God through my trials I think it less and less, but every now and then the thought pops up again. Lily is my daughter and I would die for her. But I think Satan plants that thought in my head to trigger my guilt from time to time. That thought, along with "why can't i do better? Why cant i be the mom she needs?". But I'm learning not to let these thoughts define me. Slowly but surely. Its been a hard road, these past 20 months, but God is in it, and I know He's blessed it and has changed me for the better. Sorry for the loooong ramble. I never meant to spill my guts like that. But God put it on my heart tonight. Maybe someone out there needs to hear my testimony. Thanks for this post and bless you and your family. P.s., would you ever consider doing the whole Supernanny thing? I wish i was kidding! Lol. P.p.s. did I mention I'm only 23?
  11. I am crying now lol... this has been a hard year my son is 4 and was diagnosed with a rare and severe form of epilepsy. we also just had a baby who was a surprise baby and I am so overwhelmed and hurt at this time in my life. I am really trying to be strong and keep it together for my family but I really feel like im falling apart. its hard for me to get anything done and I find myself wanting to escape from life and all of the troubles we've been facing... and I feel guilty for feeling this way but I keep praying for Gods help and I know the morning will come soon. :)

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