Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sometimes Life is Just HARD!

Many who know me often say that I have lived far more life than my simple 35 years warrants. I hear this OFTEN when I share PART of the story of my life. And sometimes it makes me wonder WHY so much has happened to me, yet other times it simply reminds me why I am who I am. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God has a plan for my life. He has from the before the moment He planted me in my mother's womb. And while I don't necessarily believe that He has CAUSED all that has happened in my life, I DO believe that He is in control and can use every situation, no matter how HORRIBLE, to his glory.

There is so much to my life, I simply could NOT write it all down ... EVER, I think.... but defiantly not in one simple post. But I do feel led to share some of the burdens of my heart now. I am not sure why God has me to share this now or here, but I feel STRONGLY that He is leading me to share. But I also feel that I am to share in a sort of "overview" way.

I feel the need for one small disclaimer here....One thing I have NEVER set out to do in my blog or life is to point fingers or to judge others. Never. That is not my heart. God ALONE stands in judgement, and I have no business to do so. I also have no business to share other's sins or burdens with anyone. So if it sounds like I am being vague or obscure, it's simply the way I feel God leads me to share my heart here.... I share the things on MY HEART that effect MY life and it is MY version of the reality. Please remember this as you read on!

For as long as I can remember I was told that I am nothing. Worthless. A mistake. A girl, so of no personal value. I was raised in an oppressive home where the boys were worshipped and I was virtually invisible, unless I was in trouble. Nothing I ever did was ever good enough because of the gender I was born. In my family I endured physical and emotional abuse until I finally moved out in my teenage years. This abuse took MANY forms, and came from the hands of MANY people. As soon as I was able I left, hoping to "create" a new life and a new identity for myself.

In my "new life" I was still that broken and hurt little girl that I had been for so many years, but I hid her, pushed her down and pretended to be a strong, self assured, confident young woman. The illusion worked okay as long as no one looked closely at me, as long as they didn't ask questions, as long as I was in control of my reality. But the truth is it was all just a big illusion. Deep inside I was hurting. Deep inside I was unsure of anything EXCEPT that I didn't want to be hurt again. Deep down I didn't think I deserved anything good.

The truth is that anyone close to me could see that, could see the inconsistencies and could sense that something was wrong with the picture. Unfortunately I was not strong enough or smart enough to reach out to those people who cared, who saw the cracks and cared what was under them. I was trying too hard to cling to the illusion to see that the reality needed treated. I ended up hurting people close to me. People I loved, and still love, deeply. People who were some of the first in my life to treat me right, respect me and truly care about me. But in my vain attempt to hold onto the illusion I lost all track of reality.

As much as it pains me to say, this tendency has been one that I continue to fight to this very day. I don't want to be that hurt little girl. But sometimes, no matter how many times I have given her over to the Lord, a piece of her wiggles her way out from the depths of my heart. All of my adult years I have suffered from anxiety, panic attacks and migraines; all stemming from my early formative years and the pains I endured then. I have done YEARS of counseling, YEARS of recovery and YEARS of work to own who I am, what I am and ACCEPT all that I am. Without the Lord I do not believe that I could even begin to endure the pain of what I was born into, but with the Lord I can embrace it, accept it, and try to use it to bless others. But even in claiming that I am honest enough to say that everyday is a journey. And the journey is HARD at times. Some days the best I can do is say I am here in the Lord's arms. Other days I am truly thriving and doing well.

The next step in the journey of my life came in what I now see was a desperate attempt to be loved unconditionally and have a place in some one's life "forever". Needless to say, I married for all the wrong reasons and hoped for a happily ever after. After 12 years of hurt, pain and abuse I can now see that the very foundation of my marriage was skewed and every attempt to stabilize it over the years has failed. It breaks my heart to say this for a number of reasons, but God has clearly showed me that it is so. Like I said, I married in a desperate attempt to have everlasting love. I married a man that professed to be a Christian and to not believe in divorce, what I didn't see at the time was a deep, seeping wound in his own soul. I was so busy trying to look "good enough" to him that I didn't look under his surface either. Two wounded and hurting people coming together, trying to build a life together without a shared vision is a perfect equation for disaster.

I firmly believe that God dose not approve of divorce, but I also believe that He would not have us living in a way that continually degrades and hurts people. For many years I struggled to be what Mark needed in a wife, only to now see that he needed a possession not a person. Over the years I lost so much of what makes me a unique person, and I am only now starting to see how much was lost. In the past few months since stepping completely away from that toxic relationship the Lord has clearly shown me how far past the line in the sand I had allowed myself to fall. I simply look at the life I was leading and CAN NOT believe what I allowed to happen.

All I can say to ANYONE out there reading this is, if your dearest friends, your spiritual leaders and your heart say that there is a BIG problem PLEASE take it to the Lord with WILLING ears. I took it to the Lord so many times, but my ears only heard what I thought that they were supposed to hear. I lost many years and kept my children in a toxic situation for too long because my ears were closed to anything that didn't fit the picture I had in my head. The Lord has brought forth people now that CLEARLY show me the parts of me that make me ME that were completely lost because Mark did not accept them. Mark did not accept me, the unique and special child of God that He created me to be. I am THRILLED to see those dead parts of me coming back to life! But ashamed of the length of time that I let them lay dead because another person did not approve. I pray that I NEVER let another person define who I am and that I ALWAYS look to the Lord for that definition.

Soon after we were married I accepted Christ into my heart and life, and by this action have been forever changed. I began a long and painful journey of healing. Many times along the way I have simply wanted to walk away from it, it all hurt too much. But I have journeyed forward and learned MUCH about myself in the process. I have learned about the holes I have in my heart that I try to fill in unhealthy ways. I have learned about the lies I was taught about who I am and what I am capable of. And I have learned to replace all of those things with God's truths. I have learned about the broken parts of myself and how to take steps to fix those things. I have learned to look to God and the family of believers that He surrounds me with for strength and inspiration. And I have learned that though these things that formed my like sucked (yes PR, I cursed here.... but is there REALLY any other word for it??) God will use these situations, my responses to them and His miracles in my life to make my life a testimony to others. Sometimes a testimony of His strength and grace, sometimes a testimony how NOT to live, sometimes a testimony of His unending love. But NEVER a testimony to MY strength, because without Him I am nothing, it is by HIS strength that I walk my path in life.

In the midst of this journey life just kept happening. You know, the whole world does not stop and hold still just because one lowly person is struggling. And even that person's life doesn't go on hold either! So just a few short weeks after I accepted Christ into my heart and my life tragedy struck. You see I was pregnant at the time, and God chose to take my unborn child home to heaven a little earlier than I had planned. When I was 36 weeks pregnant with Taylor she died of complications of pre eclampsia. And I wasn't exactly healthy either.

This was a major stumbling block, not only in my walk with Christ, but in the holes in my heart. The enemy fought dirty trying to get an in in my life during this time, but God surrounded me with strength and grace in the wonderful people He put in my life during that time. Without the love and support of people like Tom & Terri, Vince & Mary, John & Allison, Sparky, Sherri, Joan & many others that my exhausted brain is not remembering I shudder to think of where I might be today. God KNEW who and what I needed and put it all together in my life. But the holes in my heart were still there. I had a husband who was struggling with his addictions and not giving me the love or support that I needed. I saw this child as another form of unconditional love, but God saw otherwise. I know now that He had a plan in place that I was TOTALLY clueless about, but in those dark days it was the best that I could do to simply put one foot in front of the other and get through each day alive. The only strong desire in my life was to be in heaven with Taylor, and only the strength of God and his people fighting for me kept me here on earth.

I had only begun to come out of the deepest part of the darkness of Taylor's death when I found out that I was pregnant again. I was terrified to say the least. I every step of the way I thought that something tragic was going to happen. I was sure that the Lord was punishing me for something and that He would take my child again. I KNOW that is not how the Lord is, but my hurt and broken mind couldn't let go of that thought. Then when I was 16 weeks pregnant I found out that something tragic HAD happened. My baby had not formed the "normal" way in my womb, the child I was carrying had a sever birth defect commonly known as Spina Bifida. My world shattered again.

There was one big difference this time, this time I had choices. What felt like the entire medical community (well, all except one fine doctor) was advising me to terminate my pregnancy. I felt in my heart that I just could NOT do that. I began to fight for the life of my unborn child with gusto. Even before I could comprehend the depth or severity of the diagnosis I had just been given, I fought. I KNEW that the Lord was giving me THIS child for a reason, and I still believe that to this day. Life has NOT been easy with him, but I love him with all of my heart. Even now, thrown back in the fiery pits of hell fighting many who just do not understand him, I am honored that the Lord gave him to ME to raise. I find my strength and courage in KNOWING that the Lord matched Nathaniel and I together for a reason. No matter what storm comes this way I know that the Lord is with us, and He will carry me when I am too weak to crawl another inch forward. And even more than that the Lord will ALWAYS be there for my precious children, even when I can't.

It is interesting the way that things take twists and turns. I began this morning with a strong feeling that the Lord wanted me to pour out my heart here. There are many things that have been bouncing around in my mind and I just haven't had the guts to put the words down here, but this morning I felt SO STRONGLY that I HAD to blog that I just started writing about what He pulled forward from my heart.

In the middle of this writing I had an encounter of a NOT GOOD kind. Not that the PEOPLE involved were bad people, but that the SITUATION is an attack of the enemy. This encounter knocked me off my feet emotionally. This encounter put stress into a situation that I find peace and acceptance in. This encounter puts fear and worry in my heart, and even though I KNOW to give it to Him there is just so much of it that I feel like I have been giving and giving and it's still here! And in the moment I wanted to stop where I was and give up. I even had the stop point written: "Though I had it on my heart to share more today, something just happened to me that has me reeling again. Life keeps dealing these blows you know? Well, you probably don't know, because I haven't told you. But the blows are coming at me fast and hard. I only know one place to turn, and that is to the Lord, my God." But every time I spell checked to post the Lord put something else on my heart.... till here I am! A novel latter, and I am not sure He is done yet!

So I am sitting here, waiting for a phone call that was promised to me this afternoon that I haven't got yet. Asking the Lord "Anything else?" But terrified of the answer he might give, or the sorrows He might pull up from the depths of my heart! It has been a HARD day for sure, full of HARD steps and heart stopping twists.

Last week I made the decision that life was too much, I was getting panic attacks too often and it was time to get medical intervention again, even if I could not afford it. I saw a doctor yesterday, and was completely frustrated that he would not give me the prescriptions for the medications that worked for me in the past. My belief is that if it has worked before why not start there? But he didn't see it that way at all. So of the four prescriptions that I used to take he gave me one, substituted a different medication for another and flat out told me no for the last two. I am not sure what to do. Part of me really just wants to go back to what works, but the other part of me says I can't afford the doctor that can make that possible. So I have started the two he gave me and will see where that takes me, but I am just not hearing a clear answer from the Lord on this right now.

Also last week I made the HUGELY difficult choice to try and get mental health services for Nathaniel again. This is a really hard thing for me to do, and today's encounter just further confuses my mind. So many people don't understand Nathaniel, or even me and just say that all of his problems are either created by me or my fault. I know this is not true, I have WONDERFUL medical support that tells me that this is not true, and yet the enemy keeps attacking with this one. Bringing mental health into the picture can go one of two ways, there is no in between with it. Either it will help us all live better or it will make things horribly worse, and the hardest part is that there is no way to know WHICH way it will go until we walk the path! But I did make the call and Nathaniel has an appointment in two weeks. Won't you please hold this in prayer for him and for our family?

Oh, and all of this is on top of the fact that Friday I went on a personal leave of absence from my paying job to attend to Butterfly Boutique while Faline does some soul searching and figures out where she wants her life to go! Nothing like shaking it all up a bit hu?

So here I am.... at least 8 hours after I started this "little" post, wondering WHAT the Lord has in store. It is 7 minutes to 5 pm, and I am pondering whether I should call the person that said that they would call this afternoon, or just wait on the Lord. And WHAT I should do to convince Nathaniel that it really would be a good thing to do his book report?? Oh dear Lord... I think I should crawl into bed now!

If you read this far, thank you for listening to the cries of my heart. If not, that is ok too! I have days that I just can't finish reading a post no matter how much I love the person writing it!

Blessings to you!


{april kennedy} said...

I read...all the way to the end. Thank you for pouring out your soul. Writing tings down can be very theraputic. The journey you are on and have been on is very difficult, but you are doing all the right things. Now that. Believe in yourself and God and you will continue on the journey He has planned for you. Love and prayers to you and the kids.