I am back.
I want to whoop and sigh and dance and weep. I have been through a Valley. With a capital V. It has honestly felt like a journey of Tolkian ilk; certainly not a vacation. Not a respite but a workout of body mind and spirit.
And it has taken years.
Years of screaming in the darkness,
I. Still. Need. You. God.
Dont leave me, here. Alone
A long time ago when the heaviness was just beginning I was walking down a isolated lane. Surrounded by green trembling leaves and arched cathedral trees. When gently but sorrowfully a Voice said,
It is going to get worse before it gets better.
What does that mean? I am daily seeking your Face, Lord, daily asking for intervention and your mercy. I feel the darkness coming. I need assurance and love.
I need you to Fix. This.
I cant take much more. And all you can say is buckle up, buttercup?
I was petrified.
And boy did it get worse.
The attack began on what I could see and touch. I came a hair's breadth away from loosing all my material things; house, car, income. My lifestyle of staying home, volunteering at church, homeschooling my kids, chauffeuring them around was very likely going to crumble to pieces.
I was beyond terrified and I clung to God.
No. That's a lie. I really began to walk away from Him.
Not that anyone would have been able to see it. I still was very active in church. I still prayed with my children and diligently taught them God's Word. I still worshiped and went on retreats. But in my spirit I was mad and hurt.
God did get my family out of a pickle. But it was not a long term fix. I knew that in my core; that there was a malignancy that was hiding away just under the surface. I was able to keep my house and the income did rebound. For a while I was able to stay home with my kids.
Itt slowly began to unravel again.
And my anger and bitterness prospered more than anything else.
It was righteous anger in my mind. I had been wronged and hurt by those I loved and trusted the most. I was justified in my cancerous thoughts and flailing rage.
To those who knew me then, you might be surprised. Maybe you wont be. I thought I hid it very well. I hid it from my self quite successfully. I was the victim, hurt by family friends and God. And I could easily show you with Scripture how I was right and they were wrong.
Then it all really went crazy.
This time the attack wasn't on my finances, my house, my car, my lifestyle. It was an outright personal attack against me, my husband, my children. When I say attack I don't mean like an eagle seizing a trout. I mean like a terrorist flying a plane into my soul.
Suddenly I was alone. Just me and the Lord. My husband was slipping away. My family thinning and weak. And I knew what I had to do this time. I jumped into God like a swimmer leaping from a burning boat into the ocean. I served Him with my whole heart. Bitterness was gone. Anger was gone. I abandoned everything to follow where He would lead. I wanted only God's healing, I would obey whatever He said.
Then it got better.
No. Then it got worse.
My husband was completely gone and life as I knew it was never going to be the same again.
The ocean I had plunged into had become a crashing sea of boiling waves. I was very certainly going to go down and not make it up again. My whole adult life was dedicated to being a Christian, a Wife and a Mother. And now that reality had disappeared in a vapor, my core identity was being blown to pieces. So in this tumultuous sea of turmoil I did what any child of God would do. I began to learn how to turn over on my back and float. I saw what it was like to realize how to give up the struggle. I had spent the last year repairing my heart before the Lord and I was ready to turn it all over to Him. At the absolute critical moment.
Don't be fooled. That choice to float rather than struggle was a minute by minute struggle to keep going. A whole year of repair work. A year of reconstructive surgeries. Graft after graft. Stitch after stitch.
New life began to open up. But anyone who knows anything about recovery knows every single hiccup can put you right back in the ER. My husband, in humility before the Lord, took my hand and we began to see what God had in mind all along. We tried to pick up every piece that the tornado had scattered. But you cant pick up every one and somethings just cant be glued back together. A new thing had to begin.
But I wasn't me.
I had lost myself in the chaos. I had entered this millennium as a mother of a preschooler and a two rapidly growing boys. A SAHM who was more often than not in church. I was now an empty nester who needed to find a job. I had no idea who I was. I tried to find the edge pieces. You know, the beginning pieces to the 5,000 piece puzzle. The flat edges of Truth. The Corners of God, Faith, Trust, Peace.
Just when I had begun to punch the destination in the GPS that would lead me to my new career, my mother fell ill. Just three months after my dad had died my mom went for surgery and never left the hospital.
That is a journey I am still processing a year later.
Today, I went for a long walk. I saw brilliant May skies and liquid lavender wild flowers. I wanted to speak kindly. I was excited to hear from Jesus and to follow His next adventure. I thought with schoolgirl love of my husband at work. I opened my hand and cast my grown children to God's care. I felt purposeful. And maybe even happy. Certainly peaceful and suddenly, there I was.
I was back. The vulnerable girl of 8
the gawky 18
the unteachable 25
the tender 33
the chaotic angry 48
suddenly all merged into me again.
I am back. Whole. And I'm finally able to live again.