Just Hold On

I have here a letter from a young woman who will remain anonymous.

“Sean, I’m in a very rough place—the man I love and was supposed to marry ended our engagement and kicked me out of our shared house unceremoniously. A lot of days, it’s hard to see the point in continuing. I don’t know what’s going to happen in my future, and I don’t really want to make it much further into the future these days… But your stories give me something to look forward to every day.”

Well, you’re in luck. Because I have a story for you. This is a story about a young woman I am going to call Becky.

I have known Becky since she was 8 years old. As soon as I received your letter I called Becky for permission to share her story.

Becky and I weren’t close, but we used to be in church choir together. Although, saying we were “in church choir” is laughable, inasmuch as Becky and I would often skip choir practice to catch frogs in the creek and act like hellions while all the nerds were busy learning about obscure Biblical figures such as “Ehud,” and learning how to sing “shape” notes.

Becky was a tomboy. She taught me how to smoke my first cigarette. I’ll never forget it. We were sitting on a rock. She removed a carton of her mother’s Marlboros and I was terrified that we would end up in hell. Becky assured me that smokers didn’t go to hell unless they smoked more than one pack per day.

I choked and gagged and Becky laughed until she almost drowned in her own sputum.

Becky’s mother died when she was 10 years old. The woman fell down a flight of steps and died of a brain injury.

Her father turned into a shell. Immediately. And Becky became unofficial mother to her two brothers. She was always doing adult things like laundry, cooking, and cleaning the baseboards. Truthfully, it was weird seeing someone your own age, a kid, doing housework. But there you are.

A few years later, when Becky was 14, she began keeping company with older boys and she got pregnant.

I’m condensing a lot of stuff here. But the first thing that happened after her pregnancy was that her father—a devout Baptist—kicked his 14-year-old daughter out of the house. Officially, he sent her to live with her aunt, but her aunt was a wretched woman who disliked Becky and smelled of mothballs. The old woman mostly ignored her.

Becky might as well have been an orphan.

She dropped out of school. Her friends disowned her. Her boyfriend denied the baby was his. And whenever anyone brought up Becky’s name in polite company, most people, young and old, just looked at their shoes and changed the subject.

I remember seeing Becky in town once. She was walking the aisles of the supermarket with her aunt, trailing behind the woman like a prisoner of war, head down. Becky’s stomach was large, her shoes were worn, and she looked tired.

“Becky!” I said.

But she wouldn’t acknowledge me.

Becky eventually became so despondent that she tried to end her life. Thankfully, she failed. This landed her into a halfway house for trouble teens.

“The first night at the group home” Becky told me, “the old lady who ran the home asked if I knew that I was loved.”

Becky answered no, she wasn’t loved. Nobody loved her, she said. Not a soul in this world cared. Not even her own family.

She started crying. The old woman cradled the young woman in her arms.

“It’s hard to believe that this all happened when I was still an eighth-grader,” Becky remembers.

“One day, sweetie,” said the old woman, “when these hard times are over, everything you’ve lost will be restored. God will make your latter days even more wonderful than your beginning days.”

Becky moved to Oklahoma and raised her infant in a group home. She went to college online. Currently, she has been married for 22 years. She has four children, a degree in accounting, and her husband is a really great guy except that he cannot stop collecting overpriced guitars from eBay.

I merely bring all this up because Becky has a message for you, whomever you are:

“Tell your friend to hold on,” Becky said, “‘cause even though it hurts, even though you can’t see a way through this, one day when this is over, everything you have lost will be restored by God. Then tripled. Maybe even quadrupled. I don’t know how I know this, but I just do.”

Nevertheless, I feel it is my duty to remind you that this advice comes directly from a person who tried to teach me to smoke cigarettes.


  1. Miz Lz - April 3, 2022 7:04 am

    Dear sweet Sean,,…tell Becky and the young woman they are already being prayed for by MANY of your every day, plain ole people readers. I, for one, went through more than one really (‼️‼️) BAD times and Becky speaks and you write the TRUTH. WE just know. 💕💕💕🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  2. Jewel - April 3, 2022 9:09 am

    Please Tell Becky Thank You, it meant so much to me.

  3. Suellen - April 3, 2022 10:39 am

    Darling you can’t see it now but one day you’ll look back and think you really dodged a bullet. You could have ended up married to the jerk and been tied to him for a lifetime. God is with you now (and always). He sees your pain. He wants you to know He has better things planned for you. Look to Him and just hold on.

    • Susie Flick - April 3, 2022 3:17 pm

      as hard as heartbreak is, it can be a blessing

    • Evie - April 7, 2022 3:54 am


    • Kathy B. Jones - April 7, 2022 5:04 am

      TRUTH!! 😁🙌❤️🙏🙏🙏

  4. Connie - April 3, 2022 11:09 am


  5. Joy Jacobs - April 3, 2022 11:24 am

    Thanks for the uplifting reminder. Life is a roller coaster. At my age (70) I know this is true. Recently hubby had surgery which will unexpectedly be followed by radiation and finally a prosthetic for his nose. Life can get pretty depressing. God is good and our 40 year old son and his wife are expecting their first child in December. ❤️ So we have something good to look forward to at the end of a hard year.

  6. David Brown - April 3, 2022 11:48 am

    The Promises:
    (From pages 83-84 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous)
    If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
    Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them. Reprinted from the book Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book) with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.

    • Harriet White - April 3, 2022 3:08 pm

      I love this. Thank you

    • Debbie - April 3, 2022 3:32 pm

      Thank you for posting The Promises. I love hearing them when I visit meetings. Words said are so true.

  7. Paul McCutchen - April 3, 2022 12:45 pm

    Becky probably thought she was in the world alone but there is always someone that will always be there. When you are in a dark place they find you with a flashlight and lead you to the sunshine.

  8. Sharon - April 3, 2022 12:55 pm

    I too was a Becky and I’m in that “just hold on” phase after surviving a Cat 5 hurricane. Losing my home and having my husband of 22 years ask for a divorce a week after … 3 years later I’m still holding on. The worst pet though was having to give up my dogs for six months .. forget the husband 😉

  9. Shelton A. - April 3, 2022 1:00 pm

    To anonymous…God does heal all hurts, large and small. God will get you through this like He did Becky and all you have gone through will be changed by His glory and power into rewards so great, you cannot imagine. Be strong and God will see you through. Just have faith and hang on, things will be ok. God promises. Blessings and peace.

  10. marsha weisel - April 3, 2022 1:16 pm

    Thank you Sean, for doing your part to help to lift people up. You are living proof that there is good in the world and I love how you always reach out to your readers, especially those in need. Thank you.

    • Beverly Wynn - April 3, 2022 10:28 pm

      I agree…. Ditto

    • Rena Anderson - April 6, 2022 6:00 am


  11. Connie - April 3, 2022 1:25 pm

    Just hold on honey. I hope you are reading these comments. Life does get better. I won’t share my story on here but trust someone who has lost everything and just hang on. Life gets better. One day at a time. Even if you can’t see it right now. Big hugs from Alabama.

  12. Gladtobealive - April 3, 2022 1:36 pm

    You literally have to roll with the punches ( metaphorically speaking, cause I can punch back). But, I married that guy and three years later was left wondering what I was going to do. Speaking for myself; I found another job, went back to school, got a better job, met and married the best man ever. Still loving him, two children, 42 years of marriage and counting.I’m a firm believer that when one door closes, another one opens. Have a little faith in yourself. Best wishes. We’re rooting for you!

  13. Kate - April 3, 2022 2:05 pm

    How true, holding on is so, so hard some days, but …. Hold on and somehow things do get better, maybe not in an hour, or a day, or a month, and maybe even a year, but there are miracles waiting for you, just hold on.

  14. Cathy M - April 3, 2022 2:30 pm

    God has someone else for you Becky, and when you find him you will get down on your knees and say a prayer of thanks. Garth Brooks sings. Unanswered Prayers. Hang on tight and stay busy. Don’t let this heartbreak steal your happiness. He is not worth it. Trust me

  15. Susie Flick - April 3, 2022 3:18 pm

    Like I replied above – as hard as heartbreak is, it can be a blessing.

  16. Karen🕊 - April 3, 2022 3:19 pm

    That was so good. So good. Thank you.

  17. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - April 3, 2022 4:42 pm

  18. Cynthia Russell - April 3, 2022 5:26 pm

    Goodness Gracious, HOW I LOVE YOUR WORDS!! Thank You Again, & Always!! C.R.

  19. MAM - April 3, 2022 6:08 pm

    And as usual, Sean, you throw in that zinger of an ending sentence! But holding on and especially holding onto God is the answer to all tribulations. I’m so happy I didn’t marry the first guy I thought was the ONE, because it would have been a disaster. God kept me safe and ready for the one I’ve been married to for almost 54 years.

  20. Sandy - April 3, 2022 7:03 pm

    Sean, thank you for this story. Although my situation may be a little different it’s still the same. And im many year older,but I am still looking for that happy ending. You’re giving me hope. Thank you.

  21. Sandra - April 3, 2022 7:59 pm

    Thanks, Sean, and Becky. My life isn’t as rough as young anonymous either, but it’s got some serious potholes right now. I’m hanging on!

  22. Linda Moon - April 3, 2022 10:13 pm

    This ‘whomever’ needed needed Becky’s message today. And….do you still smoke, Sean???

  23. pattymack43 - April 3, 2022 10:28 pm

    Becky speaks the truth!! BUT, it is so very HARD going through the pain. Have a little faith in the One who loves you. Determine to wake up and get up every tomorrow. One day without any idea how you got there, you will realize that you are on the other side of your pain and sorrow. CELEBRATE that day!! There will be a million more just like it!! Joy will conquer pain………….

  24. Phil - the Brown Marlin - April 3, 2022 11:54 pm

    Hmm…a name comes to mind. What IS that blooming name? Come on, brain! Oh, yeah, the name is Job, a guy who lost it all, but wouldn’t give up. And he got through it by the grace of God, and all was restored to him. Hang in there, young lady. Don’t give up. God loves you. So does Sean and the rest of us.

  25. Steve McCaleb - April 4, 2022 12:55 am

    Tell Becky that Robert Schuller hit it right when he said”Tough times don’t last….tough people do.” Hang in there young lady. There’s a brighter day a coming.

  26. phyllis - April 4, 2022 3:01 am

    Ms. Becky, remember God does not have ANY grandchildren. English teachers, don’t look: “God don’t make no junk”. God has promised to never leave us, never. I will be sending up prayers for you just like the rest of the folks leaving these comments. God bless you.

  27. Jimmy Edwards - April 4, 2022 3:58 am

    Sean wow you have HELPED save redeemed lives with these words.

  28. Renee - April 4, 2022 7:16 pm

    Sean, please tell the young woman that as Becky found out, there are angels on earth ready to love her and lift her up. She is a gift and she is enough.

  29. oldandblessed - April 4, 2022 7:28 pm

    Heck, smokin’ that first cigarette is a real spiritual experience, or is it chewing tobacco?

  30. Debora Bettis - April 7, 2022 10:02 am

    Dear sweet girl. Yes, disappointment hurts. When I was just under 20 years old, I fell in love (or thought I did). But my hopes and dreams were shattered, when my “guy” dumped me for someone else. I thought I would die from the heartache, but I didn’t. I was lonely for a time, but eventually met someone who made me feel loved. He was worth the wait. And that guy who dumped me, years ago? His wife (who he dumped me for) dumped him. I feel sorry for him.

  31. Kary - April 8, 2022 3:11 am

    …..to the “young woman” I speak from experience that God will take care of you. Talk to him every day. He loves you the most! He won’t let you down girl! Read His promises. I was brought up going to Sunday school and learned who Jesus is. Short story…..I had a few awful boyfriends. But one day my best friend set me up with a blind date. Now 50 years later we have known one another and almost married 49. God sent him to rescue me I firmly believe! He will rescue you! And to Becky, thank you for sharing your story of hope. Bless you two! Praying for you “young woman”. You are loved by so many as you read these beautiful comments. Makes me so happy so many care and love you. Especially God! And lastly thanks to you Sean for sharing both stories. God bless you.

  32. Naomi Smith - April 9, 2022 1:29 am

    Thank you Sean! You are the salt of the earth. You love people. You have set an example that we all should follow.
    The lady who wrote you is made of a much better fiber that her fiancé. She is better off without him. God has a better plan. He will lead her through this rough patch.
    Your friend, Becky, is more than a survivor, she is a thriver. Thank you, Becky for your valuable advice.

    Sean, keep doing what you do.

  33. Susan W Fitch - April 18, 2022 9:45 pm

    Oh, this hits a note! Precious girl, God loves you more than you can comprehend! I relate to your torment, but JESUS loves YOU! I can testify to that! Blessings upon you!


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