After sharing the news with the pastors that day around the table, one of the pastors in the room offered me the greatest advice ever. Through tears of his own, sharing one of his deep hurts, he said, “Stephanie, you don’t have to tell anybody you don’t want to tell.” I was totally shocked! I was already planning how to tell the leaders who serve with me, church staff, friends, certain people. He continued, “This is your family, your daughter. It’s nobody else’s business. People think it’s their business but it really is not. You don’t have to tell a single person you don’t want to tell.”
I cannot tell you the weight that lifted off my shoulders when I heard those words. I didn’t HAVE to tell anyone. That was one of my greatest struggles – how to tell, who to tell, and what to say. I realized after a few days of processing his words, I didn’t want to tell anyone except my best friend and a few people. I just wanted to love my daughter. All I wanted was to make sure she was loved and cared for. I wanted her to know God loves her no matter what and so do I. I wanted her to feel the grace and love extended to me but a gazillion times more!
As the journey continued what I learned is people find out. They hear, see, notice, put two and two together and they get it. If they are full of grace and love, they pray for you. Silently, without you even knowing. They wait for you to share it with them. When you do, they listen, and guess what they do? Extend grace and love!
Other people are funny! They try to ask not-so-subtle questions to get you to talk about it. They want to know. They ask other people. They whisper. Not because they don’t love you, but because they feel the need to know.
Can I encourage you to be the friend who silently prays, waits, listens, and smothers with grace and love? You will be there one day. Wondering what’s happening. Wishing you had the inside scoop. If you are a true friend, the person you care about doesn’t need you to know, they need you to pray. They need time to process and you to be ready to listen when they need to talk. They need you to love them through it.
People don’t have to tell anybody they don’t want to tell.
Be the friend your loved ones want to tell.