For the next two weeks we will feature a different woman from #theFives as she shares her heart with us. In an attempt to break down walls and promote unity among women, we will uncover the real lives of those we haphazardly label and judge. Wanna grow in your own journey of loving without walls? Join #theFives HERE.
Here is the story of Bianca Churchwell, whose husband was incarcerated while she participated in #theFives:
“I feel like people automatically assume the worst about your marriage and home life when you tell them your spouse is incarcerated,” Bianca said. “I feel like they assume drugs and violence are involved or that he’s a total ‘deadbeat.’”
Prayer, she said, is the reason her marriage has survived her husband’s incarceration and the challenges since that time.
“There was always a slight moment of hesitation when I would start to tell my story,” Bianca said. “I wondered if they would judge me because of something my husband had done. I think the strain that incarceration puts on a family gets over-simplified.”
There was the fear of telling her youngest child — that the truth would prompt rejection by playmates’ parents. There were costs — the financial cost of hygiene supplies, healthcare and phone calls and the emotional devastation when parole was denied.
“I did ask for a divorce on more than one occasion,” Bianca said. “Some days I just wanted to give up. The waiting and uncertainty was stressful. There were times I let the hurt and anger cloud my vision. I was so busy having a pity party that I couldn’t see what God wanted me to learn.”
But God persisted, calling Bianca to lift up her head and pray for her marriage, and she now co-leads other participants of #theFives in praying for their own breakthroughs.
“Our marriage is evidence of the redemptive power of God,” she said. “Sometimes things have to completely fall apart so God can put it back together.”
Her husband also had been in prayer during his incarceration, and since his release the two have sought God’s will together, finding hope in Christ despite ongoing struggles.
“He is a felon, so it makes it hard when it comes to employment and even more difficult to find a place to live,” Bianca said, adding that some of the biggest blessings along the way have come in the form of grace and friendships.
“February of this year we found a lady who was willing to rent a house to us and help give us a fresh start,” she said.” Because of others showing Christ’s love, we were blessed at Christmas time while he was gone and even his first Christmas home. I was able to attend the Believe Boldly retreat last year because of another person’s generosity.”
Throughout it all, Bianca said, building true friendships with women who have walked many different journeys in life has brought wisdom and hope.
“Friendship is feeling safe enough to be vulnerable and being that safe place for someone else,” she said. “It is a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. It is standing by each other when life gets messy. It is celebrating life’s victories no matter how small.”
Have you found yourself in a similar situation? Share your story below.
We hope you can #findyourtribe here with us.
*All stories featured in the#FindYourTribe series were collected and written by Sarah Gooding. We love her so.