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  • Alane Stanton

Say What?!?

"I know just how you feel."


"You'll get over it in time."


"Did he kill himself?"


"Oh! I just assumed..."


Those are just a few of the STUPID comments said to me following my divorce and loss of my son. There's an old expression, "If I had a dime for every ...." Well, If I had a dollar for every stupid thing said to me following a life-altering event, I'd be a VERY wealthy woman!


Here's the thing. We all say stupid things in the moment; the proverbial foot in mouth. Do we mean to say stupid things? Of course not. Are we trying to be hurtful? Hopefully not. Do we say things with good intentions attached to them? Most of the time.


Upon hearing some of the comments above, along with many many others, I would sometimes have to bite my lip in order to keep me from responding. At times it hurt, because the well-meaning person would drone on ... and on ... and on ... but I don't think I ever drew blood.


I am a master of the plastic face. They will never know I think they are an idiot right now, because I will keep smiling and nodding until my face breaks. There. I said it for you and for me, because we have ALL been there.


I've been on both ends - the giving and the receiving. There are words I wish I had never spoken, but once they've been cast, there's no reeling them back in. Have I hurt people's feelings? Certainly. Have I been hurt by the words of others? Certainly. So what do we do with our words?


If I have learned anything in the last few years, it is to GIVE GRACE; to others AND to myself.


Following my divorce, some offered condolences, others cheered me on as if I had won the national championship, and others said nothing at all. I was humbled by the condolences, taken aback by the cheering section, and offended by those who chose to avoid me and say nothing at all. That was then.


Now I know that those who approached me were doing the best they could in an awkward situation. We were active in our church, then we sat on separate pews. We were leaders, then we weren't leading anymore. Those who saw us didn't really know what to say. AND THAT'S OK. Those who chose to avoid me did so because they didn't know what to say. AND THAT'S OK. In the moment, I wish they had said something stupid rather than say nothing at all, but I'm learning all about grace. We are all doing the best we can.


All this to say, a little grace can go a long way once we realize our situation may make others uncomfortable. Divorce makes the blissfully happy uncomfortable. The loss of a child leaves others speechless. We wish they understood, but are also glad they don't. Divorce is hard. Your family life is altered forever. Loss of a child brings about grief that stays with you the rest of your life. Pain is uncomfortable, and when our lives are not touched by the same pain as another, our words may come out wrong. The words we receive may have come out wrong. Give grace.


My mother was a Bible teacher for most of my life. She always began any lesson with, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." {Psalm 19:14) It is my prayer that the words written here would be pleasing in His sight. Words that encourage and build up. NOT words that would hinder another or tear down. May these words be a light for those stumbling in pain, divorce, loss, hurt, and grief. May they also lift up the fallen, the broken, the alone.


If Jesus loved me enough to extend His grace to me while on a cruel cross, shouldn't I be willing to extend it to others? Let us all strive to give grace when needed, even if it causes our lips to bleed. And I really hope others will give me grace when something stupid flies out of my mouth!


______________________________


What are you saying to others? How is it received?

What are you hearing from others? How is it received?


Words are powerful ... make them the words others need to hear.


"A soft word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1


"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Colossians 3:17


"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up." I Thessalonians 5:11


(More on giving grace to ourselves next post!)






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Kay Freeman Tapp
Kay Freeman Tapp
Nov 10, 2021

When I was going to divorce my first husband & our pastor found out, he sent me a letter with 3 points, 1. Don't bother to pray because God won't hear you. 2. Don't expect to ever be happy because you won't be. 3. You are bound for a fiery destination. He sent that to me by my husband, I read it out loud then tore it to shreds. Told my husband that the preacher was not my God or my Judge and he could tell him that if I had not already definitely decided I was getting a divorce, this would have been the icing on the cake to cause me to do so. Been married again 35 yea…

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