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Letter From a Friend

by Elizabeth Wyse Cook

My dear friend,

I know you have been through some rough times recently. Your family does not understand why you have done what you have done. Most of your friends are probably avoiding you. But deep inside, you know you did the right thing by leaving. You can no longer be a slave to other people’s opinions - opinions that they claim are God’s way of doing things, but you cannot find basis for in Scripture. You likely feel very alone and very small as you begin your new life. I’m sure there are some doubts at times. It is ok. All of that is normal.



I want you to know that I am proud of you. I’m proud that you are thinking things through. That you are taking a good look at the things you were taught to believe and re-evaluating them. That you are searching for truth - searching for the true God. That you are determined to have your own relationship with Him with no intermediary except Jesus Christ. He is not the vindictive, always frowning and upset God that you were taught He was. He smiles at you with unconditional love and acceptance of who you are right now. He longs to comfort you. He can’t wait for the time when you discover His true character and know that He is compassionate and kind and merciful and full of grace. He is willing to win your trust; He won’t demand it.

I’m proud of you for taking on the responsibilities of an adult and refusing to be a perpetual child. This is not easy for someone raised like we were. It means a lot of risk taking, when we were taught that it was unwise to risk anything, ever. It means getting more education, finding a job, learning how to live in this culture instead of a in a fringe sub-culture. It may mean learning to drive or how to open a bank account and balance a checkbook, if you weren’t allowed to do those things before.

I’m proud of you for facing fear head on. We were taught to fear everything. I’m glad that you are willing to learn that many of those fears are unreasonable and invalid. You can drive yourself to the store and shop alone and be ok. You can wear normal clothes and not stand out like a sore thumb anymore. You can walk down the street and not fear that every man who sees you wants to harm you. The government is not out to get you; in fact, they may be able to help you at times.

I’m proud of you for seeking healthy relationships. For refusing to be a slave anymore. For learning what appropriate boundaries are and being firm in maintaining them with anyone who is determined to treat you like a child and a servant. There are good people in this world who will be good friends to you; I’m so glad you aren’t settling for any less. I’m sorry for the pain of broken relationships right now. Hopefully, those will someday be able to be mended, when they are finally willing to acknowledge you as an adult and an equal.

I’m proud of you for seeking good counsel, but retaining the right to the final decision. You are the only one who knows what you are really thinking and feeling. No one else “knows you better than yourself.” They can’t; they aren’t you. Yes, you will make some mistakes along the way. That’s ok. Failure is part of maturity. If you aren’t failing at something, you aren’t learning and maturing. (If a young child just learning to walk falls, do you yell at them for not succeeding the first time? No, you help them up and cheer them on. Same for a child learning to ride a bike or learn to read or whatever. Have the same grace for yourself as you learn new skills.) Hopefully, those mistakes or failures won’t be too painful or cause too much upheaval for you. It is good to take these steps toward independence slowly and gradually, but some of us don’t have that luxury. If you can possibly arrange to have a safety net, do so. Find wise, caring, grace-filled people that you can trust to help you work through things and who will cheer for you as you need them less and less. Things certainly will go a lot smoother that way. If you can’t find people, then find books that will point you in the right direction.

I’m proud of you for learning to accept help from others. So many of us had to be the strong one, the one who helped everyone else. Now we have to learn to accept love and grace and help and finances and emotional support and knowledge and whatever else we need. Learning to receive is a crucial step in emotional maturity. The next step is learning to understand our needs and ask appropriately for help in meeting them. Don’t worry, eventually you will be able to give to others again. But for now, just learn to receive and enjoy the love others are giving you. Experiencing it is the best way to learn how to give.

There is probably more I could say, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. For now, know that I care about you and there are many others who care about you too; you are not alone. You can make it through this. You are stronger and braver than you know.

Love,

Someone who has been there

10 comments:

  1. I needed this reminder especially today leading up to the holidays and the family gatherings. I often feel "odd man out" because of the decision to step away from the lies and into truth. Finding strength and persuing my heart...thank you Hillary for caring about others in the stronghold of Satan's lies

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  2. I was experiencing some frustration and sat down at my computer and saw this letter in my inbox. I needed to hear this. Thank you for sharing!

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  3. (((hugs))) to both Anonymous! Sometimes we have to fight for our freedom. It is worth it, though. :)

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  4. "He is not the vindictive, always frowning and upset God that you were taught He was. He smiles at you with unconditional love and acceptance of who you are right now. He longs to comfort you. He can’t wait for the time when you discover His true character and know that He is compassionate and kind and merciful and full of grace. He is willing to win your trust; He won’t demand it."

    even with all the yeas of work, i wish this wasn't still so difficult to believe.

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  5. Thank you. I needed this today.

    For those who are learning about healing: it's possible. A long, hard journey, but worth every moment. Joy starts NOW. :)

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  6. Don't give up, Ame! :) It does take years. Do you have anyone in your life who is affirming on a regular basis that God is pleased with you?

    (((hugs))) Naomi T. You are so right! :)

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  7. Thank you Hillary (and Lewis at Commandments of Men) for peeling back more and more layers for me, it has been a journey. While my story is not so immersed into the picture of the Patriarchy cult, but rather more of Authoritarian parenting with the inability to let adult children go. I'm in my mid twenties and next week, I will be stepping out from under it all. Going to a safe place where I can get my feet under me and start making my own decisions with God as my guide. On one hand, I feel fortunate to have been able to do many things other girls have not, I drive, am self employed, have my own bank account, and other "freedoms". And yet, in this journey I can't help but feel a little "robbed" in my life. And now is the time, to proclaim my identity, as God made me, not what I look like in my family, persay. Oh, and I have a special guy who loves me just because I am me. It is the best. :)

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  8. Cheering for you, Anonymous 8:51! :)

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