A woman bared her soul to an online journal called “Love What Matters” with some of her painful life experiences and what she learned from them. At various points, her whole life seemed to unravel. Yet on looking back, she realized that “bad” encounters often serve as stepping stones to something better.
Amy Weatherly’s first instance cut very close to her heart. “I ran across an old boyfriend’s picture today,” she wrote. “Not just any ole boyfriend, but the one who broke my heart, the one who shattered it into a million pieces, the one I was certain was ‘the one.’ I prayed for him. I waited for him. I loved him.”
But it wasn’t meant to be. No matter how perfect Amy was, no matter how long she waited, no matter how many tears she shed, the stars did not align. And one day, her beloved “tossed” her away like she was nothing at all.
Amy watched as each of her friends got married, while she served as their bridesmaid, yet no wedding bells rang for her.
She wrote, “I kept running it over and over in my head, completely melted into my mess thinking, ‘God, why? I don’t deserve this.’”
I ran across an old boyfriend’s picture today. Not just any ole boyfriend, but the one who broke my heart, the one who…
More recently, Amy threw herself into her work. With all of her energy, she worked tirelessly to make her new business grow. After previous less successful attempts at business, she felt that at last she was succeeding. “I was having so much fun with it. I was successful. I was making money.”
But as time passed, she watched as her friends’ businesses took off while hers stalled, and no matter how hard she worked, it wasn’t working for her.
One day, during a business meeting, Amy suddenly heard a voice inside her heart saying, “You’re not supposed to be here anymore. Trust me. There’s something else.”
“So, in complete confusion and utter collapse, I closed up shop, embarrassed and defeated, and hoped my heart wasn’t leading me astray,” she wrote.
“I begrudgingly handed it back to God in a mixed state of hope and hardship thinking, ‘God, why? I don’t deserve this.’”
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I hope you have a drop-by friend. A friend who calls and says “Are you home? Okay good because I’m at your front door.” • • • A friend who doesn’t give one tiny rat’s ace that your house is a complete disaster, that you’re a mess and that your baby is running around naked. • • • A friend who will cuss at the most appropriate times and will make you laugh at loud. • • • A friend who will tell you the truth even when it’s hard to hear, and will leave saying “I love ya, and I believe in you. Now go believe in yourself and listen to a @jennakutcher podcast.” • • • Tag your drop-by friend below and I’ll send each of you a $20 Starbucks gift card. • • • @shopestilo – I don’t even know what I would do without you. Maybe get more housework done, but I’d be a helluva lot less motivated.
One day, someone mentioned the name of a person in a conversation whom Amy, at one time, had considered to be her dearest friend. They had grown apart, though.
To Amy’s great pain, that friend had drifted away from her, and no matter how she had reached out, no matter how many gifts she had sent, the distance between them only widened.
She recalled, “I remember wondering if something was wrong with me, certain I wasn’t funny enough or good enough or pretty enough or rich enough to even spend time with.
“I was wracked with loneliness thinking, ‘God, why? I don’t deserve this’”
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Friendship looks a little different in your 30’s than it used to. (20’s and 40’s count too because…close enough.) ❤️ Now it looks like hanging out together on the bleachers at baseball games. 🧡 Now it looks like “What kind of concealer have you been using? I need a good one.” 💛 Now it looks like “Hey, how was your mom’s surgery? I’ve been praying.” 💚 Now it looks like group texts that don’t always get returned. 💙 Now it looks like “I’ll be there, but I’m so tired I may fall asleep right in this glass of wine.” ❤️ Now it looks like half-conversations at birthday parties that keep getting interrupted. 🧡 Now it looks like “Was that really 5 years ago? Seems like yesterday.” 💛 Now it looks like hiding in your closet for a 3 minute chat on the phone. 💚 Now it looks like “What was that enchilada recipe again?” 💙 Now it looks like quick little hugs in the aisles at Target. ❤️ Now it looks like “Girl, I know. I’ve been there too, and it is so hard. I’m here for you.” 🧡 Now it looks like tagging each other in memes on Facebook and on your favorite Instagram pages. (Hint, Hint) 💛 Now it looks like “I dropped off a cup of coffee on your front porch.” 💚 Now it looks like “I’ll come, but only if I can wear stretchy pants.” 💙 Now it looks like fancy lunches at Chick-fil-A. ❤️ Now it looks like “I love your kids like they’re my own.” 🧡 Now it looks like “I’m not free until 2026.” 💛 Whatever you have to do, however you have to do it — make time for your friendships. Make time for the people who feel like home, because they matter.
For a time, in each episode in her life, Amy was left broken and needed time to get back on track with her life.
Then one day, years later, the answer came to her. She realized that all those things that had set her back had made her come back stronger and more mature than how she was when she had started out.
She realized that those tribulations were, in fact, stepping stones towards a better future.
“All of those nights where I thought God was holding out on me, he was really just holding me in his hand, protecting me from things that were never meant to be. Things that were meant to be a stepping stone and not my final destination, destinations that had been saved for someone else.”
She understood that her “old flame,” the one she couldn’t let go of, really taught her about love, so that she would know how to cherish marriage one day.
From her business venture that hadn’t panned out, she realized what would later become her dream job.
The friend who had left her behind allowed her to find an entirely new group of friends who would teach her the meaning of “sisterhood.”
Hug them. Kiss them. Hold them close. They don’t stay little long. Feel them breathe up and down when you lay them…
“Now, I look at my husband across the kitchen table at dinnertime—my good, good husband,” she wrote.
“I snuggle with my beautiful babies on the couch every night. I am crazy passionate about the work I’m doing. I laugh so hard tears stream down my face when I’m with my friends.
“But I can honestly say that I lay my head down every night with a heart overflowing with gratitude into every nook and every cranny and every weak spot thinking, ‘God, why? I don’t deserve this.’
“I don’t deserve this much love. I don’t deserve this many gift. I don’t deserve all this much goodness.”
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One day, I finally broke. One day, I finally stopped fighting. One day, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried alone until my eyes would barely open. I called my husband at work and muttered “I need your help today. I’m having a really hard time.” And I knew this wasn’t normal. I knew this wasn’t typical. I knew this wasn’t who I truly was, or who I wanted to be. I knew this was something else taking over my mind and my body and my heart. And I knew I had to get it back. I knew I had to open up and get honest with somebody, anybody who would listen. I felt like I was drowning. I felt like I was juggling too many balls. I felt like I was holding onto too much weight, just holding my breath waiting for permission to exhale. And I didn’t even know what I was waiting for. I didn’t know what I was holding onto. But I knew it was something. My husband came home, knocked on the door and picked me up. And suddenly, letting go and letting my feelings and my confessions come flooding out of my mouth to my husband was like coming out of the water. Letting him in on my pain was like throwing away some of that weight. Telling him my secret was like taking a breath of fresh air. He couldn’t save me. He couldn’t walk the road for me, but I knew he loved me and I knew he would walk it beside me. And having a friend in my depression made all the difference. Having a friend gave me a map leading back to myself and straight to the office of a professional. A professional who prescribed me some anxiety medication. The same medication I still unashamedly take every morning almost a year later. If you are out there and you’re struggling. If you’re dealing with something that goes far beyond the “baby blues” or being grumpy or being unsettled. If you’re dealing with something you can’t shake. If you’re dealing with a fog that just won’t lift, even in the sunshine — this is me telling you it’s okay. This is me telling you it’s safe to tell a friend or a spouse or a mother or a sister or a co-worker. This is me telling you it’s essential to seek help.
Amy realized that life is not supposed to be a bed of roses, but that it is what positive lessons we take away from negative experiences that matters. Amy shared some memorable words for anyone who is having trouble finding meaning in the midst of life’s hard parts:
So, to every girl who just got dumped by the man of her dreams, to every girl who just had a business fall flat and fail in spectacular fashion, to every girl whose heart is in pieces on the bottom of her closet floor over a friendship that didn’t pan out: hear me. Hear me loud and clear, my sister, my friend because I believe this with all of my heart:
Sometimes hard times don’t harden you. Sometimes, if you will just keep growing through them, they will teach you to be soft and strong. They will make you vulnerable and real.
Sometimes hold-ups don’t hold you down. Sometimes, if you can just believe, they will lift you higher than you ever imagined.
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