Probably one of the smartest choices I’ve made in a while has been my online silence these past few months. When I chose Change as my word of the year, I had no idea just how true that would be. I’ve since realized it’s like praying for patience. When you pray for patience, more often than not, you are given the opportunity to practice patience, to choose to be patient. God has a sense of humor like that. And that’s all I’ll say about that because in ways it’s still an open wound that my God is still healing.
I thought it would be helpful for me to revisit my first post of 2010. Seeing as I had big plans for this year I thought it would be funny to laugh now at how the things I thought I would change pale in contrast to the areas that God wanted to work on. I realize now that I wanted to change my symptoms and God wants to heal the disease.
For a long time I’ve had a guilt-laden balloon hovering over my head that I didn’t spend enough time with God, I didn’t read my Bible enough, I didn’t get up early enough, I didn’t have enough patience with my children, I wasn’t a good enough wife, I didn’t speak up when I felt I should, I didn’t do this, I didn’t do that. In every way possible, I measured up short. I read everything I could trying to figure out systems to help me fix the mess that I was. I’d get up early for a few mornings and get so much done and then crash for the next week, completely undoing any progress I’d made.
My organizational style has always revolved around piles of stuff, stuff I did, stuff I needed to do, stuff I wanted to do, stuff I thought I should do. And these piles would grow until they took over a physical part of my life.
I bought things to fill a hole in me that I didn’t know existed. I spent money on things that I was going to do, who I thought I should be– the seamstress, the jewelry designer, the eBay powerseller, the DIY project queen, phenomenal chef and baker. I’ve dug deep holes for my family in my searching for something that would fill this ache in me that would creep up sometimes and I would find myself crying for no apparent reason.
When I ran out of money, I ate and ate. I wouldn’t eat just one monstrous cinnamon roll, I would have two. I ate until I was stuffed. About two years ago I literally became addicted to Lifesaver wintergreen mints. I ate them like crackers. And it almost killed me (not an exaggeration, my mother-in-law sat by my side overnight while I puked on her couch with hands so swollen I couldn’t bend my fingers). It has been since December and I still have days that I find myself longing for them, the only thing keeping me from running up to the convenience store to buy a roll was that my husband would be able to smell them on my breath. I don’t know how to describe it other than to say that my tongue tingles on the sides and I can almost taste them.
When I was full, I zoned. I escaped in any way I could, music my teenage years, tv during my first years of motherhood, online forums, Facebook, Farmville, blogs since then. I was desperate for a distraction, from what I didn’t know.
I wanted to be a good wife. I wanted to be a good mother. I knew how vitally important my interactions with my children were to their well-being, would affect them for the rest of their lives. But how could I pour into my children when I felt so empty? How could I expect them to live the way God wants when I was such a mess? How could I be a good wife/mother/person when all I wanted to do is to curl up in a hole and live a life in my head? A life without pain or complications.
Sure, I had my good days. I have many memories that I cherish. I can see the good. I remember the day I married the man who became my very best friend. I fully remember how incredible it was to welcome each of my children into this world, the joy of carrying them in my body. My precious babies.
And still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. I couldn’t shake the voices in my head, voices of my past, voices of my failures. I couldn’t shake the bad habits that I found such comfort in.
I’ve heard people talk of how they can’t get enough of God, how the Bible just seems to come alive and speak to them. I heard and I tried, but I couldn’t find the same thing. I found myself going through the motions and dragging myself through the Bible when I eventually got it off the shelf. It became something else that just filled that balloon.
The one thing that I did have was prayer. I am a prayer addict, if you will. I pray for random people that cross my path, things that pop into my head and fervently for my family. I believe in prayer, I believe in my Savior, I believe in my God. I cling to and have clung to prayer to get me through everything, good and bad.
And then, last December I noticed something and I wrote this. It was then I made a conscious decision for change. I figured it would be the usual things, finally losing that weight, getting on a good sleep schedule, typical change-y things. What I didn’t realize was that these things went deeper than I thought. God was leading me to dig deep, look at the way I was, who I was, to look at the junk I piled into my life, the wounds I’d buried deep under the guise of moving on.
At times this year I have felt frustrated, with myself and others. I have been angry, oh so angry. I have been embarrassed, scared and exhausted. I have cried more and had more hypothetical conversations in my head (I’m an introvert and tend to work things out in my head, it feels safer that way) than I have in a very long time. I’ve grieved some things that had been just too painful to deal with until now.
And with each tear, each hypothetical word, God was stitching up the broken places in my heart. I’ve been challenged to forgive, to respond differently and change some habits. I’ve missed the mark at times, but found myself still walking forward for the first time in a long time.
God brought resources in my life that met needs that had long felt abandoned. A new curriculum. A new church family. A new friend. He’s brought old friends back into my life. He’s strengthened our marriage. He’s renewed my commitment to my children.
Sometimes the hardest things we go through in life are what brings the greatest rewards, the greatest healing, the greatest joy. The greatest faith.
This is my heart. This is my journey.
I can’t believe the short post I started to write ended up being over 1200 words. If you would like someone to pray for you, please email me. I would be honored to pray for you. I have been blessed with people in my life willing to pray for me and would love to pay it forward.