From a blog reader: “It would be great if you could write about how you started writing so honestly about difficult issues that lie at the heart and soul of so many people. Was it difficult? Did you ever face the fear of being judged negatively by people? If so, how did you overcome it and write anyway?”

For many years—the majority of my writing life actually—I wrote from the heart on every issue except my marriage. The irony was that my marriage was the largest part of my life and my biggest concern and heartache.

I kept the pain to myself (other than friends) for a few reasons, I think.

I was embarrassed. I had made my bed, knowingly, and felt I should lie in it. I was ashamed at how far things had gone and that I was unable to fix them.

I was afraid. I remember being terrified that if anyone at church found out how bad my marriage really was, they would ask me to step down from women’s ministry. So, I kept the mask on as tightly as I could for as long as I could. (Selfish, I know.)

I didn’t see the point in writing about it. I felt that all it would do would serve to lessen people’s respect of me and that I might tarnish any writing reputation I was attempting to build. I was a Christian mother and ministry director, and I wrote about Jesus and parenting and serving others, and that, in my mind, could not coincide with also living in the confines of a failing marriage.

So, yes, to answer one of the reader’s questions, it was very difficult to flip that switch in my mind. And, yes, I was (and still am) afraid of being judged negatively by people. This fear is valid because I actually am judged negatively by people who tell me what they think of me and my writing.

So how did I overcome it and push through anyway, seeing as the judgment continues?

The first part was purely circumstantial. It’s pretty easy to hide a hard marriage. It’s not so easy to hide that your spouse no longer lives with you. When my husband moved out, I felt I needed to let people know—people such as my speaker contacts, my next tier of friends and church family, and those I write for. I needed them to know that I understood I was now controversial and they could decide on their own whether to continue working with me (or being my friend). Some canceled speaking engagements, some probably stopped running my monthly column, and some friends stopped checking in with me. This hurt but was not unexpected. So, basically, my circumstances gave me a shove that I might not have taken on my own.

But, then there’s the now because I could’ve easily stopped after the first announcement on my blog or that first email I sent out to my contacts. But, I felt a pull and tug to keep talking. I had a sense that there was a conversation I was supposed to join, or maybe even start. I had the feeling that I was not alone in my circumstances (being a Christian woman leaving a difficult Christian marriage and possibly heading into a difficult Christian divorce). So I just started. I began to tell my story in bits and pieces. I would write something, post it, and sort of hold my breath. I would pour over an article, submit it, and close my eyes, not wanting to see the comments. Would people hate me? Would people judge me? Why was I telling my secrets of what a horrible wife I was and how I had been sad for the past 15-plus years?

But, the strangest thing happened. Turns out, there are a ton of women just like me. A ridiculous number. Though yes, I’ve gotten comments that have questioned my faith, that have been beyond hurtful and judgmental (something I still think so odd when they don’t know the full story, when they don’t even know me), the voices that are louder are the ones from the women who are hurting and feel alone and voiceless. Now, I keep writing because I know people are reading and because I know people need to know that God will still love them (no matter what), and that they are not alone, and that they will get through this, and that good always comes from bad if we let it, and that there is healing and joy not only on the other side but in the middle of the yuck and horrible. It also helps to remember that I’m accountable to God and God alone. No one else’s opinion matters (and that’s scriptural…look up what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:3-4.)

Yes, it was hard to be so honest…it is every time I sit down to write. But, if I weren’t being honest, really, what would be the point? I’d just be adding to the noise with no purpose or redemption, and I have no desire or intention of doing that with my words. Ever.

Elisabeth Klein Fisher
Elisabeth is a new wife, a mom and stepmom to five kids, an author, blogger, speaker and mentor. Her passion is helping hurting women by bringing them hope.

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  1. Love you for who you are, admire you for your authenticity and courage, Beth. My heart aches that the very people who are called to love and NOT judge — Christians, your church family, sister and brother spiritual pilgrims — are the ones who are banishing you to the leper colony. A good re-reading of the Gospels and to be reminded of how Jesus treated people would serve well. This fits right in line with Margo Starbuck’s new book “Permission Granted.” Kudos, by the way, for sharing your story in there, too. Hugs and blessings, sister.

  2. I think it takes a large amount of courage to write anything tough. I am not and have never been married but I have been through lots of stuff that people judge me when I write about it. So thanks for sharing your difficulties to help the people who need to hear what you have to say!! And encouraging others to continue writing the hard stuff.

  3. I am very thankful you were courageous enough to write about going through a difficult marriage and then the process after that. I am in the process of going through a divorce. I am in the Place for Us Facebook group, but don’t post a lot. I do get inspiration from it a lot of the time. I also love to write, but have felt frustrated with it lately. I don’t want to write specifically about my circumstances so feel some what limited. Writing is therapeutic and I want to pursue it more, in time. I have a long uphill battle ahead of me as our trial date for the divorce is in early May and I don’t know how things will go. Just wanted to let you know how much you have inspired me.

  4. Yes, it does seem funny the way some of the Christian people react. It seemed it was okay to live with my husband when he was having numerous affairs but when I filed for divorce I was given the cold shoulder by many people in my church where I grew up in. All I can say is God is faithful and will carry you through and never leave you or forsake you.

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