ftf – “Favorite Things Friday”…and this one CERTAINLY qualifies!
It’s been a long 5 months.
Earlier today my daughter (along with her husband) shared a really authentic post about what they have been through the last few years, and specifically since the start of 2017.
While Tom and I (and other members of our family) have never “hidden” that fact that they (under counselor’s supervision) decided on a time of separation, it was also not our story to tell. There were people who wondered what was happening (seeing Britt and Luke in Plano so much, etc.) and asked us…and, I’m sure, plenty of people who wondered and didn’t ask – either thinking it wasn’t any of their business or that Britt had grown an umbilical cord back to us and was visiting “way too much”. I get it, either way!
But today, Brittney did a very brave thing and shared the news on social media. I know that she did it for several reasons –
- To thank everyone for their prayers and support during this time.
- To encourage people to ASK/REACH OUT to friends in need/that you feel are struggling.
And most importantly…
- To give praise and honor to God for carrying them through and giving them strength and courage during this journey – as well as acknowledging that there is still work to do (just like all authentic/real relationships require).
Here is her post:
To our Facebook friends and family,
Over the past six months, we’ve had several friends reach out and basically go, “Ok, what on earth is going on with you guys?? Why is Brittney in Dallas all the time? Why is Phil still in Oklahoma? Are you guys ok?”
So, we wanted to address it. We want you to hear the story from us first and even more importantly, about how great our God is.
At the end of January, I left Tulsa and moved to Dallas. It is no secret that our three years in Oklahoma have been less than ideal. (Biggest understatement of the week.) During this time, we each developed some unhealthy behaviors in our marriage. We each looked to other things to cope with sadness, we didn’t have a strong support system, we never found a church to attend together, we became extremely co-dependent, and we did all we could to pretend things were ok even though we knew we were lying to ourselves and each other.
After being in counseling for almost two years, we (along with our counselor) made the decision that it was best to separate. I stayed with my parents in Plano and Phil stayed here. I drove back every 10 days or so so Luke could go to school, spend time with Phil and we could attend counseling together. It sucked. Like, really, really sucked.
During this time we each focused on how to better ourselves. We attended counseling sessions (as individuals and as a couple), got involved in different support groups and programs, met with mentors in our lives on a regular basis, prayed like crazy and did some real soul searching. We wanted to someday look Luke in the eyes and tell him we did everything we could have possibly done to save our relationship.
There weren’t many highs from the five months we were apart, but there were enough lows to last us a good long while. At one point about four months in I was ready to call it quits, and I really thought it was headed in that direction. But our God is a God of miracles, and our marriage is living proof of that. I won’t go into a whole lot of details here, but God softened my heart towards Phil. Phil became a much more humble, kind, and sincere person. And through that we started to rebuild our relationship.
I moved back to Tulsa at the beginning of June. Since then we’ve taken things day by day as we intentionally strive to make our relationship different than it was before. It’s been a little over a month, we know it’s going to take a lot of time, but we’re in this for the long haul.
I firmly believe that were it not for our faith in Jesus Christ we would not be here today. Our God is the God of hope, the one who restores and redeems, who unconditionally loves His children and pushes us out of our comfort zones to bring us into a closer and more loving relationship with Him. For both Phil and I, our relationships with Jesus grew leaps and bounds. For the first time we couldn’t rely on each other and we were forced to look to the only one who could fix this.
God showed up in a big way. So many prayers were answered. Like, a ridiculous amount of prayers!! My faith is solid. And while I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, Phil and I have both come out of this much better people. And we’re not done. We’re still in the thick of this and still trying to repair the hurt, confusion, and misunderstandings. We learned so much about ourselves and our “bents” and things from our pasts that affect us now. We’re working through it. But the amazing thing is, we know that when it comes to “fixing it”, it’s not our burden alone to carry. Jesus walks right beside us to carry that burden with us. And now we each have strong supportive friends and family that are also walking beside us, making this burden easier to bear.
My dear sweet friends, if you are struggling in your relationships, don’t give up! Marriage is hard. Like really hard. People told me that before, but I didn’t get it. I can see the light, a healthy, thriving relationship is WORTH IT. It’s worth the hard work and elbow grease. Go to counseling. Meet with an older couple. Talk to your pastor. Get in a support group. Find good community. Cut out toxic people. Find your backbone. Make your spouse a priority and give them the best of you. PRAY for your marriage. And not that God would just “fix” your spouse, but that He would change you to be more like Him. You are going to have to work at it, but it’s so worth it.
And finally, thank you. Thank you to all of you who either texted, called, or messaged us asking what was up over the last 6 months. That meant more to us that you will ever know. If you see that something seems off with a friend, REACH OUT. I know it’s uncomfortable, I know that maybe you don’t want to bring it up because you don’t want to be out of line or upset them more. Believe me, even on our darkest day, getting a text from someone checking in and asking about it made us feel so much better – that we were seen, that we were cared about, that we were worth looking in on, and that we were missed. Even if it’s uncomfortable for you, check in on your friends!!
At this point we ask that you pray/continue to pray for us as we make big changes in our relationship. We’re seeking wisdom from the Lord and from those who have gone through this before us. We are looking for a fresh start for our family and praying about what that looks like. We would be forever grateful for your prayers and for spending more time together with any of you who want to sit down over a meal or cup of coffee. Thank you again dear friends for your love and support!
-Brittney and Phil
(just fyi: Evidently she’s her “mother’s child” with her use of hashtags! #soooproud)
This time has been incredible hard for everyone involved…heartbreaking for Britt to feel the space was needed, hard on sweet #lukethomas going back and forth, gut-wrenching for Phil to be away from his wife and son for days/weeks at a time, and hard for both sides of the family (although I speak only for myself on this blog). This was not what anyone that loved them saw coming or wanted when they married on a firm foundation 7 years ago.
While we were thankful to have the space to open our home to Brittney and Luke (and Phil when he visited), we made no apologies for making it CLEAR that this couldn’t become HER/their “home” and that we were completely #teamLUCIA. We wanted and prayed for reconciliation and cried many tears as concerned parents/grandparents. We were thankful for friends (and new individuals that came into their lives) that reached out to support both Brittney and Phil…and for those willing to say really hard things – sharing TRUTH with a whole lot of LOVE. I’m thankful for my tribe of friends that checked in, told me when they were praying and encouraged me to love well but, not to attempt to “fix” or push (it’s like they knew me or something!).
As a parent, it’s easy to think “I just want my children to be HAPPY” but honestly, during this process, God has reminded me that I need to be more concerned with wanting them to have a personal/real/growing relationship with Him than I am with their “happiness”. I’m beyond thankful that I’ve seen growth (actually in ALL OF US) during this really hard time.
So- it’s been a long 5 months but today…I’m beyond proud and thankful.
I’m proud of Brittney & Phil – for sharing their decision for some time apart with family and individuals that attended their wedding…asking everyone to not take sides, to hold them accountable to only speak honorable about the other, and to pray like crazy for them.
I’m thankful for the many people that prayed during this time…for those that asked, “What is happening?” and those that didn’t (and prayed anyway).
I’m proud of the effort Britt/Phil put in to counseling and the amount of money they invested in meeting with professionals (making budget adjustments/sacrifices) as well as the hours they spent with “truth tellers”, support groups and caring friends who listened.
I’m thankful for our family that shared tears but also held firm to HOPE and did our best to TRUST that God, indeed, had a plan…for good.
Bottom line – I’m thankful for a brave young couple that sought wise counsel, worked HARD on themselves, knows the TRUTH that they are not “fixed” or have “conquered marriage woes”, and that has been reminded of the value and need of community and want to seek it together.
I’m also proud of their post on facebook – as I know God will use their vulnerability to continue to bring Him praise and glory for the way HE has worked.
This mom/”Fun-in-law” is just…overwhelmed with God’s grace and goodness. HE is amazing and worthy to be praised!
While I want to sit and rest in that I also feel “on alert” – because I know that while we celebrate what God has done and continues to do, the enemy is not happy about this. He is not happy that he didn’t tear this sweet family apart or that they are willing to be open about what God has done and will do. I would covet your prayers for protection over them.
To God be the Glory…GREAT things He has done!
#WeLOVEtheLUCIAS #teamLUCIA #proudMomMoment #GodisAWESOME #HEmakesBeautifulThingOfOurMess #justFYIweAreAllAMess