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Opinion | Family

Before I Could Forgive, I Had to Lament

I needed to do more than hide my bruises and cover my pain.
Before I Could Forgive, I Had to Lament

I didn’t want to show up at church. The black-and-blue marks already beginning to appear up and down my arms documented another night of fighting between my mother and me. I hadn’t slept much and was sure I wasn’t ready to face the shiny, happy people in my church who never seemed to struggle with anything. But I knew that my absence from the Sunday service would raise more questions than not. Reluctantly, I covered up in a long-sleeve shirt and went.

The friendliest woman in the entire congregation greeted me at the door. Becky had a beautiful family. They were so picture-perfect that I felt embarrassed for her to know the kind of family I came from. Her home was always filled with her kids and grandkids, and they matched their outfits each year for their Christmas card photo. I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to be included on a Christmas card.

As I exchanged hugs with Becky, I did well at concealing the heaviness in my heart and my aversion to being there that morning. As I listened to Becky share her anticipation over her daughter Anna’s upcoming wedding, I felt even more miserable. Anna was her fourth child, and the last one to marry a godly spouse.

“Please pray for Anna,” Becky asked, a slight frown wrinkle forming on her brow. “She’s really struggling.”

I was confused by this request, considering how Becky had just gushed with excitement and joy over Anna’s wedded bliss.

“Anna doesn’t ...

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