How Can I Get Up From Here?
I imagine there are many people who feel like Kasia Bernolak has—caught somewhere between pretending to be doing well and sitting in a corner crying. Alone.
The heroine of my book, Strains of Silence, says it’s the worst at church, when she ought to be an encouragement to others, but she’s running on empty. Add to that the pressure to be strong, to be a pastor’s daughter, or a missionary—it becomes hard to say “I’m not okay.”
And even if her mouth would willingly form the words, people don’t hear what she means. Her “I’m struggling today” gets a response like she’d just said she has the sniffles.
“Yeah, that’s going around.”
Once, she said she felt depressed, and a woman told her to focus on what was true and noble and right. [That’s not always wrong advice, but sometimes, things are happening to a person’s mind and body that make it impossible for them to think of anything except surviving. Or dying.]
The thing is, since believers are supposed to be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have, we get uncomfortable when one of us says they feel hopeless.
First, if someone shows up and speaks honestly about struggles and pain and suffering, let’s not blow it off the table like so much dust. Let’s listen. Let’s take it in quietly, even take a moment to pray before we respond. And let’s let our first words be something along the lines of weeping with those who weep. And let’s be deeply thankful that they’ve managed to get themselves motivated enough to be around others, to speak the words that are so hard to say.
It’s so much easier to hide.
Now, for you hurting people.
Find one quiet listener. (I am one, if you live near me.)
Whisper them if you have to. Share the burden your soul carries. Share it with Jesus, and share it with someone who can be His arms and hands and feet in this world. Who can stand beside you and hug you. But break the silence. The church is full of imperfect, hurting people. And it’s okay to be real about that.
Music was her driving passion and the truest expression of her faith, but three months before her wedding, twenty-year-old Kasia Bernolak can’t even pick up her guitar. Feeling like a fraud who will ruin her dad’s pastoral reputation, she can barely meet his eyes. When Kasia finds the strength to break off her engagement, she still doesn’t realize the dangerous truth: Blake Hamilton isn’t ready to say goodbye. And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her.
Alexander “Zan” Maddox has seen what a domineering man can do to an unsuspecting woman, and Zan is sick of injustice. He gave up a college baseball scholarship so he could protect his sister from her abusive husband. When he rescues Kasia from her ex-fiancé, he instinctively appoints himself her personal bodyguard. Now, all he has to do is keep from falling for her himself.
Kasia and Zan become fast friends, but true healing and justice might cost more than either of them is willing to pay.
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Bethany Kaczmarek loves to share her own journey of healing and redemption with anyone who needs it. Back from the Polish mission field where she and her husband worked with college students for six years, their home is often filled with twenty-somethings who come over for a listening ear (though she’s willing to admit it could also be for the board games and food). Other job titles: Wielder of Red Pens, Grammar Ninja, Wiper of Tears and Milk, Indie Music Connoisseur, and Friend. Bethany writes about places where grit meets Grace. Find out more about her at www.bethanykaczmarek.com